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24 May

Blessed Louis-Zéphirin Moreau

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me

Louis-Zéphirin Moreau was born premature on April 1, 1824, in Bécancour (Lower Canada). Because of his poor health, his parents felt he was unsuited for farm work and, on the advice of their parish priest, push him to study, first in Bécancour and then at the Séminaire of Nicolet. Though, in November 1845 he is forced to interrupt because of his ill health. At the suggestion of his pastor and teachers, Louis-Zéphirin turns to Montreal where Bishop Ignace Bourget accepts him immediately in his diocese to complete his studies in Theology and to be ordained priest. He soon becomes the assistant-secretary and then titular secretary (chancellery). He is profoundly marked by Bourget’s spirituality – a life of prayer, devotion to the Eucharist, to the Blessed Heart and to Mary, the reading of the Bible – and by the strong personality of this bishop who is at the heart of the religious revival of the 1840s.

In 1852 Moreau accepts to become the assistant and closest advisor of the first bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe, Most Rev. Prince. He becomes secretary and chancellor of Most Rev. Prince and of his successors. In this role he displays a great capacity for work, order and efficiency. When Most Rev. La Rocque dies on July 15, 1875, Moreau is appointed as his successor and is consecrated fourth bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe on January 16, 1876. He administers the diocese for 25 years. During his term he takes important initiatives such as reopening the episcopal palace in Saint-Hyacinthe, building a cathedral, establishing a chapter, creating a court for matrimonial cases and founding the Sœurs de Saint-Joseph de Saint-Hyacinthe in 1877 and the Sœurs de Sainte-Marthe in 1883. He gives a new impetus to the seminary and improves the intellectual and spiritual training of his priests. Bishop Moreau continues the social work already in progress, in particular keeping a close eye on the development of the Union Saint-Joseph that he had founded. During the 25 years of his administration Moreau founded 13 parishes and 22 institutions, most of which were educational (academies or commercial colleges). He takes part in the debates concerning the universities and Manitoba schools. He dies on May 24, 1901, and is beatified by John-Paul II on May 10, 1987.