Always Walk Ahead: Celebrating the Past and Looking to the Future
St. Edward’s University is honored to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Brothers of St. Joseph, now the Brothers of Holy Cross. Looking back, we see an inspiring story of courage, fidelity, purpose and humility led by Jacques-François Dujarié.
Ordained in 1795 during the “Reign of Terror” in France, Father Dujarié secretly ministered during the height of the French Revolution, a time of tragedy, oppression, religious suppression and violence. His ministry was directed to the marginalized as he stealthily traveled from town-to-town to bring hope to a world in desperate need.
Founding the Brotherhood
In 1803, Father Dujarié came out of hiding to begin his public ministry. Witnessing firsthand the tragic impact of the revolution on French citizens, especially the poor, Father Dujarié saw the urgent need for education for the young. Having already founded the Sisters of Providence as teachers to the poor, he began to invite young men for the same purpose. On July 20, 1820, he accepted his first postulant in Ruille. Others soon followed, and the community of brothers dedicated to St. Joseph quickly grew.
Transitioning to the Congregation of Holy Cross
In 1835, due to poor health and advanced age, Father Dujarié entrusted the leadership of the Brothers of St. Joseph to Father Basil Moreau. At the time, Father Moreau had gathered a group of auxiliary priests. He believed the church would be best served if the brothers, sisters and priests were united into one community. On March 1, 1837, 54 Brothers of Saint Joseph and seven priests signed the “Fundamental Pact,” forming what is now the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Establishing an Enduring Legacy
For 17 years prior to Holy Cross’s establishment, the Brothers of St. Joseph developed a spirituality, a style of education and a way of life that perpetuates to this day. This legacy remains foundational today to the mission of St. Edward’s as a Holy Cross university.
From these humble beginnings, the ministry and educational charism of the brothers has thrived for two millennia. Today there are more than 128 Holy Cross schools and parishes in 18 countries around the world serving an estimated 200,000 students annually, including at St. Edward’s. The faculty and staff of St. Edward’s stand on the brothers’ shoulders as we continue their legacy and educational ministry. As men and women with hope, we practice Father Moreau’s words to “prepare our students for better times than these.”
Honoring Our Heritage
During 2020, St. Edward’s celebrated this bicentennial anniversary through a series of webinars, programs and events highlighting the contributions of the Brothers to St. Edward’s University, society and the world. The celebration continues in 2021 and will include the blessing of the Brothers of Holy Cross Garden on the university campus on April 15, 2021.
Join us in honoring our heritage. See additional information at the Holy Cross Institute website and the Congregation of Holy Cross General Administration (Rome) website.
Celebrating the Holy Cross Educational Experience
The values, growth and worldview that stem from a Holy Cross education shape individuals of compassion and purpose. In the videos below, hear a student, alumna and parent express their appreciation for their Holy Cross educational experience and why it remains a guiding influence in their lives.
Sydney Wade ’20
Parent of Edward Lizak ’23
Martha St. Romain-Avery ’84, MBA ’93