|There are 1,670 priests and brothers in the Congregation of Holy Cross. They work in fifteen countries on four continents. They grace the lives of men and women and children in America, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Uganda, and Tanzania — from Sao Paulo to Saint Laurent, Chittagong to Cap Haitien, Nairobi to New Orleans. Ever they have been intent on education as the key to epiphany; the particular genius of its brave and complex founders was to see that helping people, especially children, find and shape their miraculous gifts is the essence of the world we might still make, if we have enough courage and creativity.
A religious order begins like any human entity, as an idea in the electric sea of the heart; and among the birthplaces of the Congregation that has elevated the University for more than a century are these two rooms in France — the house in Ruillé-sur-Loir where a young priest named Jacques-François Dujarié celebrated his first Mass (bottom right), and a schoolroom in the same village, where the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé taught children (middle right).
Father Dujarié was ordained at a time when Catholicism was banned and Catholics subject to prison and execution; Dujarié, a man of mad courage, said Masses, visited the sick, and baptized children in barns, lofts, cellars, and caves, going barefoot in the snow, sleeping in straw. Around him grew a clan of men and women of similar wild faith, whom he christened the Sisters of Providence and the Brothers of St. Joseph. At age 67, Dujarié handed his idea to Father Basil Moreau, who melded it all into the Congregation of Holy Cross, which carried that vaulting courage and grace to Africa, the Americas, Europe, Haiti, and India, establishing hundreds of colleges, universities, parishes, high schools and service organizations.
Men like the University’s courtly and generous Brother Fulgence Dougherty (gracing the cover of this issue) have given their whole lives in service. The tireless Father Ed Obermiller (top right) is now charged with recruiting the future of Holy Cross’s Indiana Province. Those are stunning sentences; but they reflect stunning men, and an order of immense courage and grace and holiness. To the world’s Holy Cross men, thank you. — Editors