Basil Moreau spent from 1816-1821 studying for the priesthood at the major seminary at Le Mans which was located at St. Vincent's Abbey. The level of teaching was fairly low. It consisted primarily on a series of theological discussions in Latin and the professors were obliged to teach the "Gallican Principles". The great scholastic Masters St. Thomas Aquinas and Suarez were hardly mentioned. Despite this, the chief interest of Moreau was to advance worthily to Holy Orders. Before receiving Minor Orders Moreau expressed his desire to place his life at the service of God by making the following vows:

1. Vow of perpetual chastity.
2. Vow of obedience meaning not to seek any position and to accept assignments.
3. Vow of poverty meaning not to amass riches
and to wear common ordinary clothes, not silk.
4. To fast on Friday and drink only water at lunch while in the seminary
in order to do penance for his sins and increase in the love of Christ.
(Canon Etienne Catta & Tony Catta, Basil Anthony Mary Moreau, Vol I, Bruce Pub. Co., 1955, p.26)

 

Basil Moreau was ordained a priest on August 12, 1821 by Bishop de la Myre and celebrated his first Mass in Laigné-en-Belin in the presence of the pastor, M. Le Provost and his whole family.

But, how would Father Moreau best serve the Church?

As you can see, his desire was to study for the Foreign Missions but his bishop saw in Moreau qualities of intellect and holiness necessary to train other priests for which France had a great need. So he sent him to study at Saint-Sulpice Seminary in Paris from 1821-1822.

Moreau found at Saint-Sulpice an atmosphere of piety, cordiality and friendship. The daily routine consisted of eight hours of sleep, two daily classes of one hour each, devotional exercises and recreation in which even the professors participated. The food was well prepared and the seminarians took turns serving at tables. Here he studied Scripture, Hebrew, dogma, philosophy and morals. Moreau took extensive notes and we still have some of his notebooks.

The topic widely discussed in academic circles at this time was the inadequacy of reason for arriving at truth except for the consensus of mankind as presented in the writings of Lammaus. But, if man has no interior power to arrive at truth, how can one judge if the principle here stated is true?

4. Fr. Moreau in the Solitude of Issy