To help to celebrate the September 15 beatification of Fr. Basil A. Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Ave Maria Press, an apostolate of the Congregation, sponsored an essay contest celebrating Fr. Moreau’s life and his commitment to Catholic education. Over 400 students from Catholic high schools entered the contest. We thank all the entrants and their teachers!

The essays were judged by a team of Ave Maria Press editors and Fr. Tony Szakaly, C.S.C., Chairman of the Board of Ave Maria Press.

The winner of a $500 scholarship, made payable to a Catholic high school or college, is Caroline Dzeba of Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio. Caroline’s theology teacher is Mr. Mike Burtscher.

Caroline is a senior at Archbishop Hoban. She is a member of the varsity tennis team, president of the French Club, and editor of the school paper. She has not decided on where she will attend college but she has applied to Bryn Mawr, Northwestern, Georgetown, and the University of Notre Dame. Caroline’s winning essay is shared below:

Engaging Minds, Hearts, and Hands for Faith:
Father Basil A. Moreau’s Vision for Education

  As a young man who grew up during the turmoil of the French Revolution, Basil Anthony Moreau had a conviction that peace, citizenship, and love, so unlike what he witnessed in the war, truly had a place in the world. Guided by his Catholic faith and love of learning, Moreau was ordained a priest in 1821 and began his lifelong mission of teaching the mind and the heart. Since his founding of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1841, Father Moreau’s mission has spread throughout the world, showing people of all ages how to live with their minds, hearts, and hands, and educating people wholly: mind and soul.

Catholic high schools in the United States, particularly those affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross, work consistently to educate students both intellectually and spiritually. As Father Moreau once attested: “Society has a greater need for people of values than it has for scholars.” The mission of Archbishop Hoban High School, just one of the myriad of Holy Cross schools in the world, clearly expresses a desire to live out Moreau’s vision by “welcoming one another with the hospitality of Christ,” as stated in the school’s mission statement. The faculty and students of the Akron, Ohio school live out this commitment through their multiple community service projects, hospitality in welcoming new students, and dedication to academic excellence. Archbishop Hoban strives, like all Holy Cross schools, to honor the legacy of the Congregation of Holy Cross and Father Moreau.

This holistic approach to education sometimes seems out of sync with society’s “survival of the fittest” mentality. Holy Cross educators and missionaries continue, however, to instill the values of Father Moreau into their students’ lives. The Congregation of Holy Cross works, as Father Moreau, envisioned, to not only teach students quantitative subjects, but how to behave as a disciple with “the competence to see and the courage to act.” Whether it is simply leading by example or participating in religious retreats, Holy Cross students and educators allow Christ to enlighten their minds with intelligence, and, most importantly, they allow God to work in their lives as they truly become disciples.

Father Moreau’s legacy is one of the most commendable in recent memory. His actions created a domino effect of Holy Cross education the world over, showing countless students, parents, and teachers the value of faith with knowledge. At the time of his beatification in 2007, after his intercession led a Canadian woman to be healed of lung disease, Father Moreau’s ministry has spread to every corner of the world. His commitment to educating the soul and mind lives on through his followers. Catholic high schools across the United States take this legacy to heart and work to ensure “a wonderful amount of good” is accomplished through the dual usage of intellect and compassion.

Also as part of our essay contest and celebration, Ave Maria Press is awarding a complete set of textbooks to the teacher with the most student entries. The winner is Ms. Sharon Tyree of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California.

Congratulations to Ms. Tyree and to Caroline and thank you again to all the participants!