At this time,
in the midst of our troubles
one might have said that God wanted to keep us ever mindful of the Cross of Jesus Christ
in order to encourage us to carry our own crosses,
for they are becoming heavier each day, although they always appeared to us as a sign of hope." (Basil Moreau, Chronicles, 1856)
Sufferings is inevitable in this life and Fr. Moreau had more than his share of them.
In 1855 two years before visiting America, he passed through a period of depression which from the theological viewpoint can be described as the "dark night of the soul". He saw only the negative side of reality such as the deepening hostility of his bishop, criticism of his administration, the death of missionaries sent to Bengal, the decimation of the New Orleans foundation by yellow fever and the rising cost of living in France. Although the financial report was satisfactory, he became obsesses with the idea that the Congregation was bankrupt. The functioning of the Community continued only because his bursar forced him to sign documents by holding his hand. At night, he prayed the Stations of the Cross searching for light, knocked at the tabernacle door but received no answer. At that moment he understood the Lord's abandonment in his agony and the despair of Judas. He told his colleagues that the devil appeared and taunted him, "You are damned, Moreau," he jeered, and all under your direction will be damned." After two months of suffering he received a letter from a lady who told him that she had seen him like Peter walking on water. This flooded his soul with light. (Gary MacEOIN, Father Moreau, founder of Holy Cross, Bruce Pub., Co., Milwaukee, 1962, p. 13-134)
The above experience of Fr. Moreau was also a premonition of events to come. A Brother Marie Julian in charge of finances at the Paris foundation was convinced by some swindlers to invest a large sum of borrowed money in a bogus stock which led Holy Cross into deep debt. The undeserved criticism, accusations and lack of cooperation of Priests he had put into positions of authority finally lead to his resignation as superior general.
Father Sorin who became superior general, after years of vacillation sold the Le Mans property in order to pay the debts and Fr. Moreau was left without a place to stay. Even his armchair in which he slept for twenty years was sold at auction. He did not have the 52.50 francs to purchase it so Mother General of the Marianites provided the money. He moved across the street to live in a house occupied by two Sisters where he had a tiny room. Fr. Moreau spent the rest of his days preaching and giving retreats.
Sadly the Priests and Brothers of Holy Cross did abandon Fr. Moreau in his last days. Fr. Moreau, however, totally abandoned to divine providence could write:
am ready to render good for evil,
blessing God who deigned to let me drink the cup of humiliation....
He is my witness that I would be happy to suffer even more, even death, in order to raise up again the earlier work of Holy Cross."
(June 16, 1870)