To understand how Fr. Moreau became the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross we must take a step back in history.

Jaque-Francois Dujarié was born in 1767, went to the seminary and became a deacon at 24. During the Revolution, the directors of the seminary refused to take the schismatic Oath, the seminary was closed and students disbanded. Dujarié went underground. He made a living by working as a weaver, later he became a shepherd and for a time sold lemonade in the streets of Paris. Eventually he obtained a certificate of patriotism which allowed him to move anywhere. One day he met the Pastor of Ruillé, became his helper and was ordained priest in 1975.

In 1803 Bishop Pidoll appointed him pastor of Ruillé where he won the good will of its people. The parish was large and the condition of the young without education was deplorable. So, he imported two nuns from the motherhouse of Evron to teach the children and care for the sick. However, this was not enough. So, he interested some women in the parish to help in a more dedicated way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the beginning of the Sisters of Providence named after the house where they lived which Fr. Dujarié called the "Little Providence". At first they wore lay clothing and only later became a more organized group. By 1826 the Sisters of Providence had grown to fifty and were recognized by the government as a charitable organization dedicated to teaching.

 

 

 

 

 

In 1818 Bishop de Pudoll held the first cleargy retreat after the revolution at the Main Seminary of Le Mans. All the clergy realized the need for religious instructions in the parishes and Fr. Dujarié was chosen to begin instructing pius young men sent to him from the different parishes of Lel Mans which he began to do in 1920. St. Joseph was chosen as the patron saint of the new foundation. A promising young recruit, Brother André was sent to study under the Christian Brothers at Le Mans and to their novitiate in Paris. Brother André became the principal director of the Brothers. By 1829, 300 brothers had passed through the novitiate and 47 schools had been opened.

Unfortunately, Fr. Dujarié's poor health prevented him from proper supervision and relaxation set in within the brothers. Brothers were only given a novitiate of 4-10 months, a minimal amount of intellectual training and hastily sent out to the schools. In 1830 about half of the Brothers left, only 68 remained with the burden of 47 schools. At this point Fr. Dujarié asked Fr. Moreau for help. He suggested a "Pact of Fidelity". The pact signed by Fr. Dujarié and fifteen brothers stated in essence that they would remain attached to the holy Institute and defend it's interests till death, that they would remain united as a congregation by observing its rules and usages.

8. Moreau Accepts Brothers of St. Joseph