Our Traditions

Our heritage surrounds us. From sharing our campus with the motherhouse of our founding Sisters of the Holy Cross to the various traditions you’ll enjoy, you’re a continuation of that heritage. You’re our future.

Heritage Week

Heritage Week is an entire week of activities, designed to celebrate and inform students about our heritage. Student government leaders organize the event, which often includes a tea in Riedinger Alumnae House, an elegant space normally reserved for alumnae events, and an opportunity to visit the College archives.

“The archives have a little bit of everything, from past student scrapbooks dating to the early 20th century to diaries and journals of former students and sisters. It’s like traveling back through time and seeing what the lives of all of my fellow Belles were like in the College’s early years.” ~Sarah Prezek, former Student Government Association mission chair, told The Observer.  

The Ring

Our distinctive class ring is an unchanging link for all Belles. The design features the motto for the College and the Congregations of Holy Cross; the Latin words Spes Unica, meaning “our only hope.” The words reference Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection.

Also included in the design is the French cross, a reference to our French religious heritage, along with the anchors found in the seals of the Holy Cross congregations of sisters, priests, and brothers and the College seal.

Belles typically get their ring in their junior years, and some legacy Belles inherit a ring from a relative. Belles love their rings, and take them all over the world. You can see where the ring has traveled, and with whom, on Instagram or Twitter (#BellesRing). 

Closing the Circle/Opening the Circle

As an incoming first-year student, your class will assemble in a giant circle on Le Mans Green. Closing the Circle symbolizes your class coming together as one and being ushered into the College’s community.

Four years later, during Senior Week, you’ll find yourself on Le Mans Green again. Your class will stand in a circle facing each other and then you will turn around. Opening the Circle represents the reality that you will take what you have experienced at Saint Mary’s out into the world. 

The Moreau Dinner

The sisters who founded the school in 1844 were sent here from Le Mans, France by the founder of the Holy Cross congregations, Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau.

Moreau’s vision for Holy Cross schools is the basis for our Holy Cross education. He believed in preparing the whole person through intellectual pursuits that engage the student’s spiritual, social, physical, and artistic sides. He called it “the art of helping young people to completeness.”

Every year on the date of his beatification on September 17, there is a special dinner held in his honor, featuring French fare, and is open to students, faculty and staff.