Our Holy Cross Heritage

Holy Trinity was founded by the Brothers of Holy Cross in 1910 to educate the growing number of children of Polish immigrants who settled on the near north side of Chicago. Holy Trinity is the second oldest high school ministry of the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States.

As the neighborhood around the school changed, Holy Trinity High School made a conscious decision to continue welcoming local youth, many of whom represented new groups of immigrants. Unlike other schools that had been in the area and moved out, Holy Trinity has provided more than a century of continuous service to the youth of Chicago. In 1984, after a lengthy study and with the cooperation of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Holy Trinity High School added young women to the student body. Today, in keeping with the spiritual tradition of the Brothers and the educational framework of their founder, Blessed Fr. Basil Moreau, C.S.C., we continue to educate youth from across the city, recognizing the unique spirit of all students and challenging them to realize their potential.

As a member of the Midwest Province of the Brothers of Holy Cross, Holy Trinity is part of a supportive, worldwide community of educational institutions, including 16 high schools and eight colleges, including the University of Notre Dame.

Originally founded as a parish high school affiliated with Holy Trinity Parish, complete responsibility for the direction of the school was assumed by the Brothers of Holy Cross, Midwest Province, in 1960. Today, the responsibility is shared with a Board of Trustees composed of community leaders, graduates and other concerned persons who ensure ongoing development and enhancement of the unique Holy Cross educational traditions.

Notable Holy Cross Figures

Wherever Holy Cross brothers and priests are sent, in the U.S. or abroad, they answer God’s call by bringing hope and healing to those they serve. Notable figures from the Congregation of Holy Cross include:

Rev. Jacques Dujarié

In 1820, Rev. Jacques Dujarié (1767-1838) began assembling a group of young men to instruct the youth in the countryside of Northwestern France. French society, including the Church, was still wrestling with the upheaval caused by the French Revolution. Among the problems was that almost a whole generation in France had grown up with little to no formal education in general, let alone in matters of faith.

Fr. Dujarié, who had been ordained in secret during the Revolution, provided the young men with rudimentary training and then sent them out to rural parishes to teach. These young men became the Brothers of St. Joseph. As he grew in age and his health declined, Fr. Dujarié turned over the leadership of the brothers on August 31, 1835, to a young and energetic priest named Basil Moreau.

Rev. Basil Moreau, C.S.C.

Blessed Basil Moreau (1799-1873), who had been ordained in 1821, organized a group of Auxiliary Priests to assist the diocese by preaching parish missions and by instructing the youth.

For the sake of their common mission as educators in the faith, Moreau joined Dujarie’s Brothers of St. Joseph with the Auxiliary Priests in 1837. The newly established Association of Holy Cross took its name from the Sainte-Croix neighborhood in Le Mans in which it was formed.

Moreau’s vision for Holy Cross was not complete until 1841 when he founded a group of sisters to work with the brothers and the priests. Moreau envisioned the sisters, brothers, and priests of Holy Cross compromising one holy family in imitation of the Holy Family. Eventually, the sisters separated from the brothers and priests in response to directions from the Vatican.

Moreau believed that the work that God had entrusted to Holy Cross extended beyond the borders of France to the rest of the world. Holy Cross today serves in 16 different countries on five continents, The first Holy Cross religious arrived in the US in 1841. Rev. Edward Sorin and Br. Vincent Pieau, along with six other brothers, settled in northern Indiana. In 1842, they founded what would become the University of Notre Dame. Holy Cross currently conducts five other universities and colleges, and a network of high schools extends through the East, South, Midwest and West of the US.

A Holy Cross Saint: Br. Andre Bessette, C.S.C.

Born in Quebec on August 9, 1845, Alfred Bessette was orphaned by the time he was 12. He had little formal education, but from an early age he had a lively faith and a strong devotion to St. Joseph. His childhood pastor encouraged him to consider a vocation to religious life. He sent Alfred to the Congregation of Holy Cross with a note that said, “I am sending you a saint.”

Initially, Holy Cross did not accept Alfred because of his poor health. With the assistance of the Archbishop of Montreal, he was received into Holy Cross in1870 and took the name André, the name of his childhood pastor. Brother André was assigned as doorkeeper of Notre Dame College in Montreal, where he greeted visitors and tended to their needs.

Many people began to experience physical healings after praying with Brother André, and his reputation as a healer began to spread. Br. Andre remained humble, saying that the real source of these miraculous cures was St. Joseph’s intercession. He founded a shrine to his favorite saint across the street from Notre Dame College, which eventually grew into a huge basilica, the Oratory of St. Joseph, on the highest hill in Montreal.

Brother André died on January 6, 1937 at the age of 91. The basilica is a major pilgrimage site, attracting over two million visitors a year. On October 17, 2010, St. André Bessette became first saint of the Congregation of Holy Cross when he was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.