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SMC prepares for beatification trip

Katie Kohler | Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Saint Mary’s will join the Congregation of the Holy Cross in celebrating the beatification of the order’s founder, Father Basil Moreau, on Sept. 15 in Le Mans, France.

The official letter from the four Holy Cross congregation leaders – Sister Joy O’Grady, Father Hugh Cleary, Sister Mary Kay Kinberger and Sister Kesta Occident – said the congregation will honor Moreau for the whole year.

“Through Basil Moreau’s legacy, we are called to a radical identification to Christ, and to cultivate in our own lives union of hearts and zeal for the mission,” the letter said.

Pope Benedict XVI approved Moreau’s next step toward sainthood on April 28, 2006. Pope John Paul II venerated Moreau on April 12, 2003 for the miraculous cures attributed to him.

Members of the Saint Mary’s community will be present at the ceremonies, including students, faculty members and administrators.

Saint Mary’s senior Haley Nickell will be the only student the College will sponsor to attend. More than a dozen submitted essays to apply for the position of student ambassador, according to Sister Rose Ann Schultz, vice president for mission and one of the Saint Mary’s delegates to the events.

“I was brought up in a strongly Catholic family and I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to see something like this,” Nickell said.

The College is sponsoring Nickell, mathematics professor Joanne Snow and Director of Donor Relations Addie Cashore to attend the ceremonies in France as Saint Mary’s ambassadors.

College President Carol Ann Mooney, her husband, George Efta, Schultz and other faculty and staff members will also attend. More than 130 people serving in ministries sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross will attend, Schultz said. Every member of the delegation had to submit an essay application to take part in the celebrations.

The group will leave Sept. 12 and will return on the following Tuesday.

Upon their return, Nickell and the other attendees will present their experiences to the school. In November, they will travel to Chicago to present to the Chicago Club of Saint Mary’s.

Nickell said she was excited about attending the beatification given Moreau’s contributions to Saint Mary’s.

“It is such a big deal because if it wasn’t for Father Moreau, we wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “It’s really exciting.”

Saint Mary’s, along with several other Holy Cross congregations, helped plan the events for the upcoming ceremonies.

“A general planning committee for all the congregations [of the Holy Cross] met throughout the year,” Schultz said.

The opening of the beatification celebration will take place in Laigné-en-Belin, France -Moreau’s birthplace, she said.

On Sept. 15, the Mass and rites of beatification will be held in Le Mans. Bishop Jacques Faivre of Le Mans will preside, and Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, will represent Pope Benedict XVI and will present the papal decree, signifying Moreau as blessed, Schultz said

“Beatification recognizes Basil Moreau’s commitment to holiness, expressed in his desire to serve people wherever there was a need,” she said.

On Sept. 16, a Mass of thanksgiving will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Julian. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington D.C., will preside, Schultz said.

She called the event a milestone for the Holy Cross community.

“It is a graced moment in our common heritage as a Saint Mary’s College community and is an opportunity for us to learn more about this holy man whose vision for education was absolutely remarkable,” she said. “Moreau’s vision has inspired members of this college to carry on his enduring mission of education.”