• Family and Spirituality

    We are an apostolic religious family of priests and brothers bound together in one indivisible brotherhood in service to the Church and in a communal response to the Lord’s mission.

A Family Serving Families

In 1837, Fr. Basil Anthony Moreau founded the Congregation of Holy Cross in a little town near Le Mans, France.

During the French Revolution, the social systems of France had been decimated, and millions were left without adequate health care, education, or access to the sacraments. Fr. Moreau had a charism for preaching and had formed a group of auxiliary priests to educate and serve the local communities. After he inherited a group of lay brothers from Fr. Jacques Dujarié, he banded the groups together to form the Congrégation de Sainte-Croix. The community was named after Sainte-Croix, the small French town in which it was founded. He consecrated the community as a whole to Our Lady of Sorrows, with the priests devoted especially to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the brothers to Saint Joseph. While Moreau’s vision for the Congregation originally included a group of sisters, as well, they were established as a separate community during the process of Vatican approval.

The Congregation of Holy Cross began to teach, preach, and serve around the nation and quickly expanded to other areas of the globe. Moreau’s unfailing faith in Divine Providence, devotion to the Holy Family, and deep love of the Eucharist guided him through the community’s uncertain early years, allowing it to thrive in the face of continuing opposition.

Faithful to Moreau’s original vision, the Congregation of Holy Cross continues to operate under the model of the Holy Family to this day. We are a family serving families, and we try to treat all those we serve as our own family. Following the pattern begun in the little town of Sainte-Croix, we also attune ourselves to the particular needs of each place in which we find ourselves.


Province of East Africa Family of Priests and Brothers

“…while we prepare useful citizens for society, we shall likewise do our utmost to prepare citizens for heaven.”
Blessed Basil Moreau, CSC

We are an apostolic religious congregation composed of two distinct societies of religious brothers and sisters, “bound together in one indivisible brotherhood”.

We are family of Priests and Brothers who work and stay together. Our founder was inspired by the model family of Joseph Mary and Jesus to found a community of Priests Brothers and Sisters. In East Africa, we also have Sisters of the Holy Cross. Our Spirituality is Ave Crux Spes Unica (Hail the Cross Our Only Hope)

Our purpose is to extend Fr. Moreau’s philosophy of Christian education and to uphold his standards for creating citizens for service to Church and world. Our model is Jesus Christ who was called “Teacher”. Our call is to follow him as Educators in the Faith.


“The footsteps of those men who called us to walk in their company left deep prints, as of men carrying heavy burdens. But they did not trudge; they strode. For they had the hope. It is the Lord Jesus calling us. ‘Come. Follow me.’”

Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 8:122-123


Hail the Cross Our Only Hope

Conformity to Christ the charism of the Congregation of Holy Cross is rooted in an experience of Jesus Christ. The founder’s spirituality is fully centered on Jesus Christ, with access to his person notably in contemplation of the scriptures and the liturgy. Father Moreau believed that it is the essence of religious life to conform oneself to Christ, not only in his external conduct, but in his very being as a religious person. Father Moreau invites his religious to “re-enact the life of Jesus” and to make it “a faithful imitation”: “Our spirit of discipline will imitate His habitual conformity to the good pleasure of His Father, while our community spirit will reflect His life in the company of Our Blessed Lady, St. Joseph and His apostles. Our life of edification will reproduce His life of good example in the midst of the world, and our spirit of work will mirror His labors and His cross.” (CL 14). Father Moreau invites us to become “copies of the divine model” (CL 11). Jesus serves especially as a model for us by his life, his words and his actions. He moved ceaselessly among people of all conditions of life, particularly among the poor, and he was compassionate towards every form of suffering. How are we to imitate him? “Our savior announced only the great and glad tidings which he had brought into the world, and spoke unceasingly of the Kingdom of God” (CL 36), and “We must seek above all things the kingdom of heaven and its justice” (CL 20). Trust in Divine Providence Jesus Christ, our model, is both the revelation of God’s initiating love and the manifestation of human cooperation with it. Basile Moreau, convinced that Holy Cross is the work of God, demands of us “correspondence to the inspirations of grace and our fidelity in seconding the designs of Divine Providence” (CL 23). If we are to be faithful to this providential work of God in Holy Cross today, we must attend to God’s constant presence and activity, for God himself gives us the desire to further his will in all things. The Cross, Our Only Hope Basile Moreau invites each religious person to carry his cross: “it is necessary to know the mystery of the cross and draw from it the apostolic strength of those generous imitators of Jesus Christ whose life here below was a continuous martyrdom” (CL 11). This invitation extends to courage in trials and demands that we “become more and more conformed to the image of the divine Christ crucified” (CL 34). Christ crucified, who gave his life for the salvation of the world, was so important to Father Moreau that he gave as a motto to his congregation: The Cross, our only hope, and proposed as the patronal feast of the entire congregation, Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, the title of Mary at the foot of the cross. This cross is a glorious cross. It is the love of the suffering Savior expressed in the cross which is glorious, not the instrument of torture or of pain. Jesus’ death takes all its meaning in the love with which he faithfully accomplished his mission in life, a 3 love that goes to the end of its commitments. The cross is the source of salvation and liberation, and it is our hope. Spirit of Union Basile Moreau also insists on a union among the members in imitation of the union that existed in the Holy Family and in Jesus’ relationship with his Father in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. This union is based on each individual’s personal relationship with Jesus. Just as the members are organically connected to form a single body and as the branches are united with the vine and share the same lifegiving sap, so also must the faithful of Holy Cross be united with Jesus and with one another.

Our Values

The Congregation’s primary mission is to educate and evangelize, in. Schools Parishes and the different Ministries where we serve. The values of the Congregation of Holy Cross are rooted in their commitment to living out the Gospel message and serving others, especially those in need. this is reflected in our values.


Members of the Congregation of Holy Cross seek to follow Jesus Christ and live out His teachings in their daily lives. We strive to imitate Christ's compassion, humility, and selflessness.


We place a strong emphasis on education as a means of transforming lives and society. We also believe that education has the power to uplift individuals and communities, and they are dedicated to providing quality education to people of all ages and backgrounds.


Holy Cross religious live in community, fostering a sense of brotherhood and support. We share our lives, resources, and spiritual journeys, working together to fulfill their mission. We also strive to care for creation in our communities and ministries by responding to Laudato Si'.

Service to Others

We are committed to serving the needs of others, especially the marginalized and vulnerable. We engage in various forms of charitable and social work to address pressing social issues and provide assistance to those in need.

Encounter with others

Our faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we strive to do what he did for others. We welcome people from different cultural backgrounds within East Africa into our community. We also strive to create an environment of acceptance, respect, and understanding.

Prayer and Worship

Prayer and worship are central to the life of the congregation. Members engage in regular prayer, liturgical celebrations, and spiritual practices to deepen their relationship with God and draw inspiration for their work.

Zeal and Enthusiasm

We encourage our members to approach their work with zeal, enthusiasm, and a strong sense of purpose. Motivated by a passion for their mission and a desire to make a positive impact on the world.


Individuals within the Congregation of Holy Cross are perceived as caretakers entrusted with the resources and talents bestowed upon them. We are called to use these gifts wisely and responsibly for the greater good.

“But we do not grieve as men without hope, for Christ the Lord has risen to die no more. He has taken us into the mystery and the grace of this life that springs up from death. If we, like Him encounter and accept suffering in our discipleship, we will move without awkwardness among others who suffer. We must be men with hope to bring.”

Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 8:118

Holy Cross Patrons

Our founder Blessed Basil Moreau envisioned a community that will live like a family, and he entrusted each society of the Congregation to an individual patron within the Holy Family. The priests of Holy Cross are consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The brothers of Holy Cross, drawing upon their beginnings with Fr. Jacques Dujarié as the Brothers of St. Joseph, are dedicated to St. Joseph. The Congregation of Holy Cross was placed under the patronage of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph embodies the virtues for which all Christians, but especially we religious, strive, including integrity, fortitude, fidelity, and sanctity. We seek to live our vocations as Holy Cross Brothers with the same loyalty, faithfulness, and generosity that Joseph showed in his vocations as the husband of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus.

Secred Heart of Jesus

As Holy Cross Priests, we ground our model of priestly charity in the Sacred Heart of Jesus – that heart pierced by the soldier’s lance in the final proof that Jesus offered all, every last bit of His life, for us. In imitation of Him, we also seek to offer all in ministering the Sacraments and preaching the Good News.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, is both the patron of Holy Cross Sisters and the special patron of the whole family of Holy Cross. In selecting Mary under this title as our principal patron, Blessed Basil Moreau gave us a patron who, better than anyone else, could instruct us in our spirituality and mission to proclaim the Cross of Christ as our only hope.

“Wherever we work we assist others not only to recognize and develop their own gifts but also to discover the deepest longing in their lives.”


— Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 2:16

Holy Cross Heroes

Generations of men have made and lived by their vows within the Congregation of Holy Cross. For the better part of two centuries, Holy Cross Priests and Brothers have made countless sacrifices and shown heroic virtue in service of the Gospel. Stories of these religious have spread throughout the lands where we have served here in East Africa and beyond. We share the biographies of a few of our men who have exemplified what it means to be a Holy Cross Religious and whose holiness has been recognized by the Church, including our holy founder, our first canonized saint Andre, the father of the Brothers of St. Joseph, the Rosary Priest, an intrepid missionary and the founder of the world’s premier Catholic research university. We also profile some of the unsung Holy Cross Priests and Brothers who have brought hope through their lives and ministry.

They are all part of the “great cloud of witnesses” spoken of in the Letter to the Hebrews that inspires us “to rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (12:1-2).

Blessed Basil Moreau

Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, was born in France in 1799. A sought-after preacher and lively professor, Fr. Moreau formed the first association of Holy Cross in 1837 to serve the educational needs of post-revolution France. Soon after, he sent members of his fledgling congregation to Africa, Asia, and North America to serve the Church as educators in the faith.

Saint Andre Bassette

Alfred Bessette entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1870 and took the name Brother André. As doorkeeper in one of the congregation’s schools, he fostered devotion to Saint Joseph among the sick and soon became known as the “Miracle Man” of Montreal for the miraculous cures attributed to his intercession. In 1904, he founded the world-renowned Oratory of Saint Joseph.

Father Jacques Dujarie

Ordained during the French Revolution in 1795, Fr. Jacques-François Dujarié courageously worked as an “underground priest,” often celebrating Mass in secret. When the Revolution ended, he helped rebuild the Church in France, including assembling a group of teaching brothers. These Brothers of St. Joseph became the Brothers of Holy Cross when joined with Fr. Moreau’s Auxiliary Priests in 1837.

Venerable Patrick peyton

Father Patrick Peyton, the “Rosary Priest”, dedicated his life and ministry to spreading devotion to the Blessed Mother, especially through the Family Rosary. He coordinated Rosary events in more than 40 countries, gathering more than 28 million people worldwide in prayer. Father Peyton’s vision that “the family that prays together, stays together,” continues to resonate in the Church today.

Servant of God, Bishop Vincent McCauley

Servant of God Vincent McCauley was a missionary priest to Bangladesh, seminary instructor, and a pioneer in the Holy Cross missionary work in Africa. As the founding bishop of the Diocese of Fort Portal, Uganda, he became an influential leader in the development of the Church in East Africa.

Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C.

Father Theodore Hesburgh served as President of the University of Notre Dame from 1952-1987. Throughout his lifetime, he maintained that all he had ever wanted to be a Catholic priest, and that all he did was in fulfillment of his vocation to the priesthood. He engaged in many outreach efforts to the poor and fought for civil rights — in one instance, right by Martin Luther King Jr.’s side.

Servant of God, Archbishop Theotonius Ganguly, C.S.C.

Archbishop Theotonius Ganguly was the first Bengali bishop in the Catholic Church. He joined the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1955 and was ordained a bishop in 1960. In 1967, he became the first Bengali Archbishop, overseeing the implementation of Vatican II in Dhaka in Bangladesh. As archbishop, Ganguly shepherded his flock through environmental catastrophes and supported the cause for independence from Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War. He passed away in 1977 and was declared a Servant of God in 2006.

Servant of God Flavian Laplante, C.S.C.

Br. Flavian Laplante was born on July 27, 1907, in St.-Louis-de-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada. He entered the Congregation at the age of 16. Br. Flavian arrived to Chittagong in East Bengal on December 1, 1932. His first assignment was to assist at the Congregation’s new high school in Padrishibpur. With the exception of an assignment to Noakhali from 1957 to 1962, Flavian dedicated the rest of his life to ministering in Diang and among the fishermen of the nearby region. Br. Flavian was declared a Servant of God on February 13, 2009 – the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes – by Most Rev. Patrick D’Rozario, Bishop of Chittagong Diocese, Bangladesh.

Sevant of God, Brother Columba O'Neill

Servant of God Columba O’Neill was a cobbler at the University of Notre Dame for 38 years. Br. Columba was known for curing those with illness or ailment, taking no credit for the cures, but claiming they were the result of his “intercession to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” From the writings of his Superior at the time, he was also known for his “humility, love of neighbor, confidence in God, lively faith, devotion to the Sacred Heart, life of prayer, of poverty . . . and all realized that in these was found the secret of his sanctity.

Archbishop Marcos G. McGrath, C.S.C.

A leading figure in the Church in Latin America and a pastor at the heart of the Second Vatican Council, Archbishop McGrath was born in Panama and received his secondary education in the United States, graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1945, and later ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1949.

Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C.

Father Edward Sorin was one of the first four priests who, along with Blessed Basil Moreau, professed perpetual vows in Holy Cross on August 15, 1840. Sent by Blessed Moreau to the United States the following year with six Holy Cross brothers, Fr. Sorin went on not only to found the University of Notre Dame, but also to oversee the rapid expansion of the mission of Holy Cross in the United States.

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