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Moreau named to be beatified

Marcela Berrios | Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Earlier this year Pope Benedict XVI green lighted the beatification of the Venerable Father Basil Anthony-Marie Moreau in Le Mans, France for next year, but the healing miracle the Vatican has attributed to him was hardly the only marvel he left the Catholic community.

Father Moreau was also busy during the late 1830s and early 1840s founding the congregations of priests, brothers and sisters of Holy Cross, in the likeness of the Holy Family as well as the Marianites.

He died in 1873, but the paperwork for his beatification was not filed until 1955, after the recovery of a bedridden Canadian mother suffering from complications from a premature birth was attributed to his divine intercession.

“It was an illness following childbirth that was healed so quickly it could not be explained medically,” said Sister Jeanette Fettig, the representative of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in the Vatican’s beatification committee.

“Once the promulgation of the miracle was approved by His Holiness Pope John Paul II we could start thinking about proposing Father Moreau’s beatification.”

Beatification signals the Catholic Church’s recognition of the person’s ascension to the Kingdom of Heaven and his capacity to intercede on behalf of those who pray in his name.

The person must be proven to be responsible for one miracle to receive the title of “Blessed,” and another miracle after that to be declared a saint, or canonized, Fettig said.

“Right now, we have all the papers approved but the date for the beatification ceremony will not be announced until next year,” she said.

In the meantime, the Holy Cross congregations will prepare the delegations that will travel to Le Mans, as well as the festivities to celebrate the beatification on the home front.

“This is a great moment for the Congregation of Holy Cross and for all the places where they minister, like Notre Dame,” said Father Peter Jarret, Superior of the Holy Cross religious at Notre Dame.

“Every five years, there is a gathering of all the Holy Cross religious in the Indiana province.

“Approximately 300 of us will be meeting in June, and the focus of the assembly will definitely be Father Moreau’s beatification and the organization of a large celebration on campus.”

When the date of the anticipated ceremony arrives, the sisters, brothers and priests in Indiana, Canada and Bangladesh – among other locations – will join forces to celebrate Moreau’s life and legacy across the globe as the beatification unfolds over the course of three days in France, Fettig said.

She began overseeing the liturgical committee that will prepare the prayer service the night before the official ceremony.

The next day the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints will turn Father Moreau into Blessed Father Moreau, and later a Mass of thanksgiving will put a finishing touch on the event.

In previous years, the Pope used to preside over beatification ceremonies, and these would take place strictly in Rome – but in the last year he and the Vatican shifted their attention to canonizations, and allowed representatives to officiate beatification ceremonies in the hometowns of those awaiting the rite, Fettig said.

One of the last times the Holy Cross family celebrated the beatification of one of their own was in 1982, when Brother André Bessette was blessed after being credited with numerous miraculous healings.

Mother Marie Leonie Paradis, a Canadian Holy Cross sister, was beatified in 1984.

Saint Mother Théodore Guérin, founder of Saint Mary of the Woods College in Terre Haute, Ind. was canonized last October.

“All Holy Cross friends and students are invited to join us in a year of gratitude for the life and legacy of our founder, Basil Mary Moreau, to understand who he was and who we are today” Fettig said.

“You can see today the fruits of the seed Father Moreau planted,” she said.

“Education was always one of his greatest priorities and here we are, living out those ideals,” Fettig said.