This is the house in the village of Laigné-en-Belin, France where Basil Moreau was born in 1799. This is the same year when Napoleon gained political power in France.

The revolution had affected the life of faith of many people but the Moreau family held on to Catholic values. The pastor of Belin had died during the revolution and his assistant had gone into exile. Many priests had gone underground and celebrated the sacraments in individual families. Basil was baptized ten days after his birth by one of these underground priests named M. Guyon. Basil was brought up to fear God, love the Church, pray together with the members of his family, obey his parents and respect authority.

When the revolutionary government had taken over Church property, they also took away the school from the local Church. The local government could not find enough teachers and the priests who could teach were mistrusted by the people because they had taken the Oath. As a consequence, children of the village had no education. By the time Basil was nine years old tension between the Church and State had eased considerably. The pastor of Belin, Father Le Provost, decided to start teaching the brighter children of the village. He taught that Basil would make a good priest so he approached his parents who agreed to let him study provided the boy would do his share of farm chores. So Basil each would drive the cows to pasture carrying with him book and paper pad to do his school work.

In 1814 Basil was 15 years old and time to attend college. As you can see in the illustration, Basil and his father walked to the College of Chateau-Gontier which was about 80 kilometers from Leigné. At this time the college was regarded as a preparatory school for the seminary.

The principal of the College was Abbé Horeau who had refused to take the Oath and had been imprisoned because of this. Abbé Horeau saw in Moreau a hard worker with an aptitude for study and a gift for leadership. He appointed him as one of his prefects and allowed him to teach one of the lower classes.

3. Toward the Priesthood