Fr. Moreau was now 58 years old and at his age it was not an easy matter for him to accustom himself to a different climate, different food and leave behind the daily correspondence to pile up, but he had an obligation to visit his foundations.
The sea voyage left an impression on Fr. Moreau which I here quote:
|"I frequently beheld the immense sea, which was often rough and which depth us pitching and tossing almost constantly. The temperature was cold rather than hot and at times the winds was against us. ...The rough sea made our ship resemble a hospital ward, and there were few indeed who were not sick. -- Finally as if to show itself to us in all its moods, the sea raised its mighty waves during the night from the fifth to the sixth. They shook our ship so violently that several missionaries among my traveling companions were terrified. One of them came running to my cabin in the middle of the night and begged me to hear his confession. During those moments when the waves seemed to lift the ship up to the clouds only to dash it down again into the dephts, I understood more clearly than ever before the sublime words of the Royal Prophet which were chanted at the departure of our missionaries for the Orient; 'They mount up to the heavens, and they go down into the depths.' Never before did I have a clearer insight into my own nothingness and into the power and majesty of God. How we thank Him in such moments for delivering us from death which is only a few feet away!" (Henri-Paul Bergeron, CSC, Basil Moreau, Congregation of Holy Cross, Rome 1985, p. 129)|
After arriving in New York and paying his respect to the Archbishop , Fr. Moreau took a train to Montreal, Canada, and visited Saint Laurent. He arrived unexpectedly and received a warm welcome by the priests, brothers and sisters. Sister Mary of the Seven Dolors, who was now superior of the sisters here invited him to sing a hymn of thanksgiving in Church. Fr. Moreau wrote, "All hearts were profoundly touched. As their voices carried up to the throne of God the incense of their homage, we experienced the exquisite happiness of finding ourselves once more, after such a long separation marked by so many severe trials, in the midst of our family in a distant country." (Ibid., p.130)
Fr. Moreau spent a few days here improving the organization of Holy Cross, promulgating the Constitution, meeting with each religious and presiding over spiritual exercises.
Today on the grounds of this Church there is a marble/gold Memorial to first missionaries sent to Canada by Fr. Moreau in 1847.
Fr. Moreau visited Notre Dame du Lac on Aug. 26, 1857 where he was well received after which he went to the Church where he intoned the Te Deum and celebrated Mass of Thanksgiving. The Church which Fr. Moreau saw was built in 1847, a wooden structure 24Hx90Lx38W which was in the process of being completely decorated, compared to the magnificent Basilica of today.
Please click image to hear the
Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus. ...
|O God, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the
Thee, the Father, all the earth doth worship.
To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry out without ceasing:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Full are the Heavens and the earth of the majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles praises Thee,
The admirable company of Prophets praises Thee,
the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee. ...
Fr. Moreau was particularly touched by the welcome the Sisters gave him, he wrote: "It was a touching scene when they all fell on their knees to receive a blessing of the poor pilgrim and then intoned the Magnificat, which was followed by several French hymns. Then it was that tears betrayed my emotion! I marvelled at the work of God and blessed His Providence." (Ibid., p 131)
At Notre Dame he gave three conferences a day, one of which was on the Constiturions. He interviewed each religious and organized the Councils and Provincial Chapters. After visiting Holy Cross houses in Chicago and Philadelphia he returned to France.