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Saint Mary’s representatives recall Le Mans, France ceremony

Mandi Stirone | Friday, September 21, 2007

Traveling to France for the beatification of Father Basil Moreau was a “once in a lifetime experience,” said Saint Mary’s senior Haley Nickell.

Nickell was one of several Saint Mary’s representatives who traveled to Le Mans, France for the beatification of Father Basil Moreau last Saturday.

“I learned a great deal about where the Sisters of the Holy Cross come from and a lot about their history,” Nickell said. “I now have a much greater appreciation for them and what they do for us.”

Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney, professor Joanne Snow, Adaline Cashore, the director of donor relations, Richard Baxter of special events, John O’Connor, director of the board of trustees and Debby Kelly, who works in human resources, all joined Nickell at the beatification ceremony.

Snow shared Nickell’s excitement about attending the ceremony.

“I have come to know the Holy Cross tradition through my service on the mission council, and I knew it would be a great spiritual experience,” Snow said.

The ceremony was held at Antares, an arena in the area.

“The beatification was mostly a big mass,” Nickell said. “They did have a formal rite of beatification in which we learned a little about Father Moreau’s life and a formal petition, but other than that it was a normal mass. There was also an opening ceremony, a prayer vigil, and a mass of thanksgiving.”

Nickell said she was surprised by the excitement surrounding the ceremony.

“I knew that this was a huge deal, but I don’t think I could have known how excited everyone there was going to be,” she said. “This is such a big deal for all of the brothers, sisters and priests of the Holy Cross order and everyone associated with it.”

Snow said for the Saint Mary’s community, the beatification should be a “renewal of our commitment to the Holy Cross charismas.

“I think it will mean a greater understanding of what it means to be a Holy Cross college,” she said.

It would also add “an awareness of the Holy Cross tradition” to the campus, Snow said.

Snow, Nickell and Cashore were the representatives of the Saint Mary’s community at the ceremony.

Cashore said the Congregation of the Holy Cross is deeply ingrained in her life. She has had three generations of her family, including herself, attend Saint Mary’s and has been working at the College for 18 years.

“Everything I do personally, professionally and spiritually is tied into Saint Mary’s and the Sisters of the Holy Cross,” she said.

The ceremony in France was emotionally moving, Cashore said.

“At the beatification I was witnessing hundreds of priests and brothers and sisters from all over the world … truly the family … I think I really understood who the family of the Holy Cross is,” she said.

But for her, the most significant part of her trip to Le Mans was the ceremony that took place outside of the town where Moreau was baptized.

“That was very touching because it was a more personal event kind of between the town and this whole group of people that were there to celebrate,” she said.

Judy Fean, the director of Campus Ministry, didn’t attend the beatification but said Saint Mary’s honored Moreau in South Bend with a mass last Sunday.

Fean sits on the College’s Beatification committee. The committee is made up of people from different departments of Saint Mary’s, all planning various events in honor of the beatification, she said.

The committee has planned a liturgy for Moreau’s feast day on Jan. 20. A retreat will also be held during the spring semester, with the theme of praying with Moreau. There will also be a lecture series in October entitled, “For all the Saints: The Journey of Father Moreau,” Fean said.

Sister Betty Smoyer, said she believed that the beatification will be a gift to the campus.

“[The beatification is] an opportunity for us to learn anew the great gift of Father Moreau’s vision and the great gift of his spirit,” she said.

Smoyer added that the beatification could benefit the campus in a spiritual sense as well.

“A person being raised to this level calls the whole church to a new sense of community,” she said. “We have a new intercessor … we can pray for him to intercede for us.”