Congregation of Holy Cross – Patrons
The preeminent model of one who finds hope in the Cross of Christ is the patroness of Holy Cross, Our Lady of Sorrows. The Blessed Virgin Mary bore great, hidden sorrow, but trusted without fail in the Providence of God. At no other point in her life was her pain and her hope deeper than at the foot of the Cross of her Son. This is where the Congregation identifies itself in the life of Christ: with Mary, at the foot of the Cross. It is through the eyes of Mary that we can learn to see the Cross not as an obstacle to hope, but as the deepest source of our hope.
The Congregation of Holy Cross is blessed with other patrons as well. Blessed Basil Moreau modeled his religious family of 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.
Father Moreau consecrated the priests to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the brothers to Saint Joseph, and the sisters to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He placed the entire Holy Cross family under the patronage of Our Lady of Sorrows, whose Feast Day we celebrate on September 15.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
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 centurion’s lance. In imitation of Him, we, too, seek to offer all in laying down our lives in service of the People of God. Through the administration of the Sacraments, the blood and water that flowed from the pierced Heart of Christ continue to give life to the 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 Basil Moreau
Window of Saint Joseph and of Saint Joseph’s Oratory (Montreal, Canada), Shrine of Blessed Basil Moreau
The model of Saint Joseph
As Holy Cross brothers, we go to Saint 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, Saint Joseph remained unwavering in his loyalty, faithful to his mission, and 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, Saint Joseph.” Blessed Basil Moreau, Circular Letter 138)
Our Lady of Sorrows
The title of Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows finds its origin in the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, during which the prophet Simeon declares 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).
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”!