The Basilian Fathers were established as a religious congregation as a result of the
closing of seminaries in France in 1822. They reasoned that the school, by then
located in the nearby city of Annonay, would have a better chance of continuing if it
were conducted by a Religious Congregation that could accept and train new
members to continue the operation of the school after the founding fathers'
retirement. The original members chose St. Basil the Great, a fourth century
teacher, bishop and doctor of the Church, to be the namesake of the new
community. The Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Francis of Assisi and St.
Thomas Aquinas have also been our patrons. Since those early days of the
congregation, St. John Bosco has been added to the list of patrons because of his
admirable work with youth.
In the middle of the nineteenth century the French Basilians came to Canada on
invitation of Bishop de Charbonnel of Toronto who had been a student at Annonay.
They opened St. Michael's College in 1852, offering, in the French style, a
combination of what we would call high-school and university education. Today, the
University of St. Michael's College and St. Michael's College School continue the
work begun in 1852. The Congregation grew in numbers and activities in the New
World. Assumption College in Windsor, Ontario was opened as well as several
parishes. Work in the United States began in a permanent way in 1886 at St.
Anne's Parish in Detroit, Michigan and by the end of the nineteenth century the
community was working also in Texas. From these beginnings the Basilians have
spread across Canada, and across the United States where we work in the
archdioceses of Detroit and Santa Fe and in the dioceses of Rochester, Gary,
Galveston-Houston, Las Cruces, Phoenix and Oakland." to "the archdioceses of
Detroit, Galveston-Houston and Santa Fe and in the dioceses of Rochester, Gary,
Las Cruces, Phoenix and Oakland."
For more detailed information about the Congregation of St. Basil, please visit the
Basilian Fathers website.