Congregation of Holy Cross

Procession into the Notre Dame Basilica The Congregation of Holy Cross is the community of priests and brothers who founded Notre Dame and who continue to animate campus today.

The community was founded in France in 1835 by Rev. Basil Moreau, who is now on his way to becoming a Saint. Blessed Moreau dispatched a young Father Edward Sorin to the mission territory of the American frontier in northern Indiana, where he founded the University of Notre Dame du Lac. From that moment on, the University has been nurtured by the men of this religious order — every president of Notre Dame has been a Holy Cross priest, for example.

To come to know Holy Cross is to discover something of the essence of the Notre Dame community. In the following pages, you will learn more about the Congregation — their history, their founder, their personality, and their spirituality.

The ‘Personality’ of Holy Cross

The "charism" of a religious community is its particular personality within the Church — that which makes it distinctive and sets it apart from others. The Congregation of Holy Cross is an apostolic, Roman Catholic community of priests and brothers committed to common table, common prayer, and a common mission.

The Spirituality of Holy Cross: Hope

It is bold to claim that the cross of Christ is our hope. It is even bolder to believe and live the cross as our only hope. Yet the Congregation of Holy Cross professes this truth as the center of its spiritual tradition. Holy Cross’ motto is: “Ave Crux, Spes Unica — Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope!” For 175 years, they have worked to bring the hope of the cross to schools, universities, parishes, and other ministries on five continents of the globe.

Blessed Basil Moreau, Holy Cross, and Notre Dame

Born Basile-Antoine Marie Moreau (Basil Anthony Marie Moreau in English) in Laigné-en-Belin, in the diocese of Le Mans, France, on February 11, 1799, Moreau would be forever affected by the spiritual upheaval caused by the French Revolution. Church property was seized, priests were executed and arrested, and religious communities were expelled from France. Moreau's hope was to fill this vast spiritual and educational gap.


The Vocations Office of the Congregation of Holy Cross offers more information about Holy Cross priests and brothers, tips for prayer and discernment, vocation stories, and retreat opportunities to learn more about the community. Explore a vocation with Holy Cross here.