In the aftermath of the French Revolution, the quality of educational, parochial and pastoral services was slow in recovering. Even after three decades, discouragement was often the lens through which people looked toward the future. Blessed Basil Moreau entered this arena as a man of hope, convinced of humanity's goodness and potential, recognizing the "image of God imprinted" within all people. He embraced the call to be an evangelizer, an educator and a missionary. He was passionate and purposeful about making a difference in the world. Nothing less than the future of religion and society was at stake. In this conviction and call, this passion and purpose, we find the roots of Holy Cross education.
Moreau was prophetic in his student-centered approach to education and a pioneer in designing a curriculum that could be a social equalizer. He was an advocate and promoter of Catholic social teaching at a time when ease of access to education, workers' rights, social equality and service to the poor, abandoned and underprivileged were tentative concepts and inconsistent practices. He knew what needed to be done to revitalize education, parish life and social services, and he called others to take up the work with him.
The work began in a neighborhood, a suburb of Le Mans, France -- Holy Cross by name. In that neighborhood, a school was built that would become a premier college-preparatory institution. Within that neighborhood, a religious community of brothers, priests and sisters would be born -- the Congregation of Holy Cross. From that neighborhood, these religious would be sent to work with their colleagues in schools, parishes, hospitals and in many other contexts among the people, first in France and then internationally. Today, the family of Holy Cross lives and ministers in 16 countries on five continents.
Father Moreau knew that the transformation needed by society and the church would engage the people of Holy Cross in a "Work of resurrection". Through that work, in all its forms, they would "work of resurrection". Through that work, in all its forms, they would "contribute to preparing the world for better times than ours". This contribution, and the efforts to transform society in the present and for the future, constitutes the charism of Holy Cross even today.
Holy Cross educators have identified four pillars and four themes as the core values that serve as the basic foundations and strategies through which educators inform and form students who, in turn, can become agents of transformation for a better future in neighborhoods, cities, countries and even the world.