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SMC honors Moreau feast day with play

Megan Loney | Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What do a yoga class, a vision, the Notre Dame fight song and a gardener have in common? Father Basil Anthony Moreau, of course.

Saint Mary’s College honored the feast day of Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, the Founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, with a play incorporating all of these seemingly unrelated entities.

“The Fighting Jardiniers” is a play written by Bill Lawrence at the prompting of Saint Mary’s director of special events, Richard Baxter. Baxter said he asked Lawrence to develop a script that would examine Holy Cross spirituality.

“Following the Beatification of Father Moreau, I wanted to do something at Saint Mary’s which would help us better understand where we were with Father Moreau’s intent to establish Holy Cross ministries,” Baxter said.

Lawrence and Baxter met while studying at the University of Utah and both are now affiliated through their work at Holy Cross Institutions.

Though the play was created to help establish an understanding of the influence of Father Moreau’s vision in the lives of students at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross, it is lively and invokes smiles and laughter, Baxter said.

“This is not meant to be a boring, dull, educational evening of material regurgitated from dusty history books,” he said.

The play takes place at Holy Cross High School, a fictional high school in Indiana, and how Moreau’s vision of Holy Cross has been fulfilled, Baxter said. The school’s mascot is the Fighting Gardner, or jardinier in French, which is where the title of the play comes from, according to a press release.

The production featured Saint Mary’s students and faculty including assistant professor Michael Kramer, associate professor Bill Svelmoe, and sophomore Maria Chipman.

There was more on the agenda for the cast than providing quality entertainment for the audience, Baxter said. He hopes the audience took the lessons presented in the play to heart.

“I’d like for people to leave [the play] with an appreciation of continuing Moreau’s hope that we educate the whole person – not just the mind,” he said. “I also hope they leave with an appreciation for the call to sainthood, something Father Moreau took to heart. This is something we all must face day-to-day, minute-by-minute, in the trenches of our routines.”

The play was also one of the activities the College planned to celebrate Heritage Week, a week to remember and celebrate the origins of Saint Mary’s, including celebrating Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, who was beatified on September 15, 2007 and whose feast day was yesterday, Baxter said.