The Congregation's general administration is headquartered in Rome, and its Superior General is the Very Rev. Fr . Robert L. Epping , C.S.C., elected to a six year term in July 2016. Responsibility for the administration of religious houses and the apostolic works of the community is largely entrusted to thirteen provinces and ten districts, covering the following countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Ghana, Haiti, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Philippians, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United States.

Foundation of Holy Cross

The developments of 1835 which placed in Fr. Moreau's hands all the pieces of a nascent religious community, he began to lay the groundwork for just that. In 1837, under the leadership of Fr. Moreau, the Brothers of St. Joseph and the Society of Auxiliary Priests joined by signing together the "Fundamental Pact of Union, becoming two equal societies in one community, the Congregation of Holy Cross.

The congregation took its name from the neighborhood of Sainte Croix in Le Mans, where the 12th century church, Notre Dame du Sainte Croix, was to become the mother church of the new foundation. Holy Cross, following the example of its founder, would be ultramontane in its outlook, even adopting at the behest of Pope Pius IX the Roman collar and the black cape for the priest .

Foundation of the Holy Cross Sisters (Marianites of Holy Cross)

There is good evidence that Fr. Dujarie's dream was to found a religious community of three societies, priests, brothers, and sisters under one rule and one superior general. Fr. Moreau made good on that vision by founding in 1841 a third society within the Congregation, that of the sisters. Taking his inspiration from Fr. Dujarie, Moreau named the societies the Salvatorists, the Josephites and the Marianites, after the three persons of the Holy Family . To this day, though in separate congregations, the priests, brothers and sisters of Holy Cross call themselves informally the Holy Cross Family.


The charism of the Congregation of Holy Cross is to educate in the faith. This is the particular gift that the Holy Spirit gave the Congregation through our founder, Blessed Basile Moreau, in order to build up the Church and to respond to the needs of the world for the good of all men and women.

Wherever through its superiors the congregation sends us we go as educators in the faith to those whose lot we share, supporting men and women of grace and goodwill everywhere in their efforts to form communities of the coming kingdom. Constitutions, 2:12

Moreau's particular inspiration was to see that, in a climate of rising secularization and suspicion of religion after the French Revolution, education held the key to evangelization. It was the key to sharing the good news of Christ not just with the wider world, but also within the Church. This education in the faith required the development of the mind, the cultivation of the heart, the enkindling of a zeal for service, the encouragement of hope in the cross, and the uniting with others as family.

Check out videos on the Congregation's charism

 We do not want our students to be ignorant of anything they should know. To this end, we shall shrink from no sacrifice. Blessed Basile Moreau.

 An education in the faith, similar to any education, begins with a rigorous and full development of the mind. The Congregation's schools, from the time of Moreau when Notre-Dame de Sainte-Croix was one of the leading secondary schools in its region, are known for their comprehensive curriculums and academic excellence. Only a rigorous education of the mind gives the background necessary to engage with faith the pressing needs and questions of the day and thus be real gospel leaven in the world.

 We shall always place education side by side with instruction; the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart. While we prepare useful citizens for society, we shall likewise do our utmost to prepare citizens for heaven. Blessed Basile Moreau.

 Any education in the faith also had to cultivate fully the heart. Having grown up in the wake of the French Revolution, Moreau witnessed firsthand the injustices that people with sharp intellects but under-formed hearts were capable of committing. In the Congregation's schools, parishes, and missions, the cultivation of the heart has consisted principally in the spiritual and vocational formation necessary for people to live out their baptismal identity and calling. At its core is the frequent celebration of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

 Zeal is the great desire to make God known, loved, and served, and thus save souls. Activity flows from this virtue. Blessed Basile Moreau.

 This education of mind and heart, Moreau believed, can only set the world on fire if its recipients also have enkindled in them zeal. This zeal is a burning desire, born out of love for God and love for our neighbor, to be sent on behalf of the gospel in service to the Church and the world, especially the poor, the sick, and the suffering. The Congregation's ministries, including our schools, place a strong emphasis on service learning programs and outreach to the least among us.

 We must be men with hope to bring. There is no failure the Lord's love cannot reverse, no humiliation He cannot exchange for blessing, no anger He cannot dissolve, no routine He cannot transfigure. All is swallowed up in victory. He has nothing but gifts to offer. It remains only for us to find how even the cross can be borne as a gift. Constitutions, 8:118

This zeal has to find its ultimate hope in the cross, because there is no way to seek to transform the world without coming face-to-face with the suffering of the poor and the afflicted. No education in the faith is ever complete without teaching how even the cross could be borne as a gift. Only then, with such uniquely Christian hope, can disciples of Christ move without awkwardness among others who suffer and become for them people with hope to bring.

Explore the Congregation's motto Ave Crux Spes Unica

 Union, then, is a powerful lever with which we could move, direct, and sanctify the whole world. We who are disciples do not realize all the good we could do for others through union with Jesus Christ. Blessed Basile Moreau

For Moreau, family was the rich setting in which this education could lead people to completion. Modeling the Congregation on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Moreau called upon his religious to extend the Holy Cross family to those with whom and for whom we serve by living and working together with them. We seek to turn our schools, parishes, and missions into families of faith so that united together as one we can become signs of the true communion possible in God.

This charism of education in the faith, which the Holy Spirit entrusted through Moreau to the Congregation, is nothing short of a work of resurrection. Through educating the next generations in the faith today, Holy Cross continues to contribute to preparing the world for better times than ours.


Blessed Basile Moreau modeled Holy Cross on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. His desire was for the Holy Cross priests, brothers, and sisters to be a family, rooted in the virtues found in the home at Nazareth, including humility, obedience, and chastity.

Moreau consecrated the priests to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the brothers to St. Joseph, and the sisters to Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows. He also put the entire Holy Cross family under the patronage of Our Lady of Sorrows, whose Feast Day we celebrate on September 15.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Stained Glass, St George's College, Chile

As Holy Cross priests, we find our model of priestly charity in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that heart pierced on the cross by the soldier's lance in the final proof that Jesus offered all for us. In imitation of Him, we, too, seek to offer all in laying down our lives in service of the People of God. Especially through ministering the Sacraments, we hope that the blood and the water that flowed from the pierced Heart of Christ continue to give life to our world.

 The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the chief source of the affections of Our Lord, and the center of the most perfect virtues which ever existed: a veritable treasure-house of sincerity, innocence, purity, meekness, patience, and humility. In a word, the Heart of Jesus is a living mirror of the most admirable human perfections and of the choicest gifts of grace. Blessed Basile Moreau

St Joseph Stained Glass, St Geroge's College, Chile

As Holy Cross brothers, we go to St. Joseph as the model of a life humbly lived for God and for others in poverty, chastity, and obedience. In living out his vocation as the husband of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, St. Joseph remained unwavering in his loyalty, faithful to his mission, and unselfishly open to the will of God. Following his example, we seek to offer our lives to God and to others with that same loyalty, faithfulness, and generosity.

 The religious spirit consists in the knowledge and love of the duties of one's vocation and has as its effect to make us increase in the love of our vocation, fulfill its obligations with exactitude, and defend as we ought its honor and interests. The dispositions that I have just mentioned were never better illustrated than by our glorious patron, St. Joseph. Blessed Basile Moreau

Our Lady of Sorrows Stained Glass, St George's College, Chile

The title of Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows comes from the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, during which the prophet Simeon says to Mary, "And you yourself a sword will pierce" (Luke 2:35). According to Tradition, Mary suffered seven sorrows in her life, beginning with the very prophecy of Simeon. The other six sorrows are the flight into Egypt, the loss of the child Jesus in the Temple, the encounter with Jesus carrying His Cross, the crucifixion, the reception of Jesus' body from the Cross, and the burial of Jesus in the tomb.

 There stood by the cross of Jesus his mother Mary, who knew grief and was a Lady of Sorrows. She is our special patroness, a woman who bore much she could not understand and who stood fast. To her many sons and daughters, whose devotions ought to bring them often to Her side, she tells much of this daily cross and its daily hope Constitutions, 8:120

Together, with the Holy Cross sisters, we look to Our Lady of Sorrows as the one who can instruct us and strengthen us in the core of our spirituality and our mission as Holy Cross religious: to proclaim the cross of Christ as our only hope Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Ave Crux Spes Unica

Ave Crux Spes Unica Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope. That is the motto that Blessed Basile Moreau gave to the Congregation of Holy Cross. The words come from the ancient hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt written by Fortunatus and traditionally sung on Good Friday. They capture well the life and work of both the Congregation and Moreau.

We are men with hope to bring precisely because we know the true power of Christ's resurrection. We have witnessed how God can transfigure sin and death what can seem to be most hopeless into wellsprings of love and new life.

 The tree of the cross has been planted where our worthy religious dwell But these religious have learned to savor its life-giving fruits, and if God in his goodness preserves them in the admirable dispositions which they have chosen thus far, they will never taste death, for the fruits of the cross are the same as those of the tree of life which was planted in the Garden of Paradise. Blessed Basile Moreau

Since our foundation in 1837, the Congregation faced a litany of crosses from the deaths of religious due to disease and natural disasters, to attacks and lawsuits from detractors, to scarce financial resources, to political unrest and violence. Seeing himself as the father of Holy Cross, Moreau experienced many of these trials personally and went through his own dark night of the soul in October 1855.

In the midst of these crosses, Moreau always encouraged the Congregation to see the hand of Divine Providence. He believed that the Lord's choicest blessings come through the crosses we bear out of love. This truth of Christ's Resurrection has played out again and again in the life of the Congregation.

The missions to East Bengal and Indiana in the mid-nineteenth century experienced a staggering number of deaths among the Holy Cross missionaries. And yet, through bearing these crosses in hope, Holy Cross brought the tribal peoples of East Bengal to faith in Christ and laid the foundation for the University of Notre Dame to become the premier Catholic research university that it is today.

Uganda, Chile, and Haiti in the late twentieth century all experienced tremendous political unrest and violence from oppressive regimes that threatened even the lives of our missionaries, some of whom were imprisoned and tortured. And yet, through bearing these crosses in hope, Holy Cross forged a solidarity with the people that opened the promise of a better tomorrow through education and work on behalf of justice.

 Jesus entered into the pain and death that sin inflicts. He accepted the torment but gave us joy in return. We whom He has sent to minister amid the same sin and pain must know that we too shall find the cross and the hope it promises. The face of every human being who suffers is for us the face of Jesus who mounted the cross to take the sting out of death. Ours must be the same cross and the same hope. Constitutions, 8:114

As the Holy Father, Pope Francis preached at his Installation Mass, Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.

Strengthened by our patroness, Our Lady of Sorrows, the Congregation continues to stand with people at the foot of their crosses, both big and small. We stand there so as to bear witness to the light of hope that shines forth from Christ's resurrection.

The hope of the cross is to know that things are never hopeless. Even in our darkest hour, our deepest despair, our greatest suffering, God is present and can make all things new. All has been swallowed up in the victory of God's love.

 We must be men with hope to bring. There is no failure the Lord's love cannot reverse, no humiliation He cannot exchange for blessing, no anger He cannot dissolve, no routine He cannot transfigure. All is swallowed up in victory. He has nothing but gifts to offer. It remains only for us to find how even the cross can be borne as a gift. Constitutions, 8:118


Way of the Cross, St George's College, Chile

The Congregation of Holy Cross draws our spirituality and charism from our founder, Blessed Basile Moreau.

As a man of apostolic zeal, Moreau was focused on the mission that Jesus Christ had entrusted to the Church. While always emphasizing the need for personal holiness, Moreau saw himself and his religious family as apostles to be sent out by the Lord on behalf of His gospel.

In particular, the Holy Spirit inspired Moreau to found the Congregation to be sent as educators in the faith. This is our charism. In all our many ministries, we seek to educate in the faith by developing the mind, cultivating the heart, enkindling a zeal for service, encouraging hope in the cross, and uniting with others as family.

As a man of broad study and deep piety, Moreau had many spiritual influences. He learned the French School of Spirituality in the Sulpician seminary; he was an avid student of St. Igantius of Loyola and his Spiritual Exercises; and he became a close friend and collaborator of the Benedictine Abbot and Liturgist Dom Gueranger.

Although the spirituality Moreau handed on to the Congregation reflects these diverse influences, at its core is the cross of Christ. Ave Crux Spes Unica Hail the cross our only hope is the motto that Moreau chose for the Congregation. It is from finding how even the cross can be born as a gift that we become true educators, true men with hope to bring.

To help sustain his Congregation, Moreau gave his religious priests, brothers, and sisters to each other as a family of faith. He also modeled the Congregation on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and consecrated us to them as our patrons.