Features/Brother Andre

Thousands flock to the Vatican to welcome St. André to sainthood

Br. Andre Bessette posterVATICAN CITY - The former doorman from Montreal’s Notre Dame College received a hero’s welcome from approximately 5,000 Canadians in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 17 when Pope Benedict XVI elevated Blessed Brother André to sainthood.

In proclaiming him St. André Bessette, Benedict praised André for living “the beatitude of the pure of heart.”

The Pope said St. André “showed boundless charity and did everything to soothe the despair of those who confided in him.” Although he had little instruction, he “understood what was essential to the faith” and had an intense prayer life.

Brother André among six 'shining examples' of holiness canonized

Brother Andre tapestryVATICAN CITY  - Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed six new saints Oct. 17, including the "Miracle Man of Montreal," calling them "shining examples" of holiness and the power of prayer.

Canadians cheered the canonization of Blessed André Bessette, 1845-1937, a doorman known for his devotional practices and his healing touch, which led to him becoming known as the Miracle Man of Montreal.

The Pope said St. Bessette "showed boundless charity and did everything to soothe the despair of those who confided in him." Although he had little instruction, he "understood what was essential to the faith" and had an intense prayer life, the Pope said.

Members of Holy Cross 'family' rejoice over Brother André's sainthood

br. andre paintingSOUTH BEND, Ind.  - Members of the Holy Cross "family" have been sharing stories about one of their own — Blessed André Bessette.

The founder of St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal — to be canonized Oct. 17 by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican along with five others — will become the Holy Cross Brothers' first saint.

Blessed André banners, pamphlets, statues, photos and celebrations to mark the canonization can be found at Holy Cross parishes, schools, missions and university campuses all over. But perhaps the best tributes to him are the lessons members of the Congregation of Holy Cross say they have drawn from his life and applied to their own lives and ministries.

Memories of Brother André in Markham

Mrs. DalyMarkham, Ont. - Alyce Daly is 96 but she vividly remembers the special visits Brother André, Canada’s new saint, made to her family’s home in the 1920s. But, she adds apologetically, she doesn’t recall any miracles.

What she does retain are fond memories of a saintly man sitting in the parlour and at the dinner table in the family home on Curzon Avenue in Toronto’s east end. The Dalys lived just steps from St. Joseph Church, and outside its doors people lined the sidewalks and spilled into a nearby park to glimpse or touch the famous Miracle Man of Montreal.

Brother André was devoted to the father of Jesus and the many miracles attributed to Brother André were, he always maintained, the work of St. Joseph.

Brother André immortalized in art

Leeza ShakkouriMarkham, Ont. - When Leeza Shakkouri creates a painting, her audience is usually her art teacher and her classmates. But the Grade 12 student’s recent project was different.  She painted a portrait of Brother André that was unveiled Oct. 9 at a Mass celebrating Brother André Catholic High School’s 25th anniversary.

The portrait will be permanently hung in the school for the entire school body to enjoy.

Salt+Light will have canonization covered

 

Brother André Salt and LightTORONTO - Every time Sébastian Lacroix visits St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, he pays a visit to the Votive Chapel.

“Just being there for me is inspiring and you realize there’s a big story to tell: the story of Brother André but also Brother André’s dream that continues today,” he said, referring to the soon-to-be canonized Canadian’s dream of building the Oratory.

Brother André’s story is captured in two documentaries (an English and French version) created by Salt + Light Television that offer a biographical look at Brother André’s life and legacy in time for his Oct. 17 canonization, said Lacroix, producer of the French version.

The Church takes its saint-making seriously

Brother AndréBy some estimates, the Church has formally recognized and honoured more than 10,000 saints. There have been saints ever since the first century. In the long history of the Church, Catholics have even celebrated and prayed to saints who never existed (St. Christopher, St. Ursula). Pope John Paul II himself declared 482 saints over his 28-year papacy.

The process of canonization normally stretches over a generation or more. Some causes for saints have been maintained over a century before finally making the grade.

For Catholics, all this effort put into saint-making is not a sideshow, not a frill, not the arcane nonsense of the canon law hobbyist. Saints are essential to our communion. We are not who we profess to be without the communion of the saints.

The Canadian saints

St. Isaac Jogues
St. Jean de Brebueuf
St. Charles Ganier
St. Isaac Jogues (1608-1646): born in Orleans, France, he was ordained to the Society of Jesus. In 1636, he was sent to Quebec as a missionary to the Hurons and was tortured and imprisoned by the Iroquois in 1642. He was rescued and returned to France, but went back to Quebec and sent on a peace mission to his torturers. He was captured by the Iroquois en route and on Oct. 18, 1646, his captors killed him. Named one of the Canadian martyrs by Pope Pius XI, their feast day is Oct. 19.
St. Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649): was a French Jesuit missionary and martyr of New France whose mission was to evangelize native Americans. He lived among the Hurons for more than 15 years. In 1648, the Iroquois launched a war of extermination against the Huron. Refusing to flee when their village was attacked, Brébeuf and his assistant, Gabriel Lalemant, were captured and tortured to death by the Iroquois. Brébeuf is one of the Canadian martyrs.
St. Charles Garnier (1606-1649): was born in Paris and joined the Jesuits in 1624. After teaching at the Jesuit college at Eu, he was ordained in 1635. The following year, he was sent to Quebec as a missionary to the Hurons. Garnier was murdered by a war party of Iroquois on Dec. 7 at Etarita, where he was stationed. Even when the mission was attacked and he himself wounded, he continued to baptize neophytes and to assist a wounded Huron. Garnier is also one of the Canadian martyrs.
St. Antoine Daniel
St. Gabriel Lalemant
St. Noel Chabanel
St. Antoine Daniel (1600-1648): was born in Dieppe, France, and became a Jesuit in 1621 at 29. He arrived in Acadia in 1632 and was then sent to Quebec. He was a missionary near Bias-d’or Lakes and founded the first boy’s college in North America in Quebec in 1635. He worked in Huronia for 12 years. On July 4, he had just finished Mass when the mission was attacked. His martyred body was thrown in the flames of the burning Church at Mount St. Louis.
St. Gabriel Lalemant (1610-1649): was born in Paris and became a Jesuit priest in 1630. After remaining in Quebec for two years, he was sent to the Huron missions as Brébeuf’s assistant. He was barely there a month when the Iroquois attacked the mission of St. Louis where they found Brébeuf and Lalement. After setting fire to the village, they led the two priests back to St. Ignatius where they were tied to stakes and put to death. Some of the relics of Lalemant were carried to Quebec. Also one of the Canadian martyrs.
St. Noël Chabanel (1613-1649): was the youngest of the priests and the last of the eight martyrs. Born in France, he became a Jesuit priest at the age of 28. He was a successful professor and humanist and had a strong desire to help the Canadian missions. He was martyred on Dec. 8 at Nottawasaga.
St. Rene Goupil
St. Jean de La Lande
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
St. René Goupil (1608-1642): had to leave the Jesuit novitiate because of bad health. He studied medicine and offered his services to the Jesuit missions in Canada. On his way to Ste. Marie, he was captured and tortured by an Iroquois war party, along with Isaac Jogues. He was the first of all the martyrs and was killed while making the Sign of the Cross on the brow of a child near Auriesville, New York.
St. Jean de Lalande (1600s-1646): at 19, offered his services as a layman to the Jesuits in New France. He accompanied Jogues to the Mohawk mission in 1646 and was captured with him and tortured. The day after Jogues’ death, he tried to sneak out of the lodge at night to recover the priest’s body. A guard killed him.
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700): Born in France, the stories of hardships and dangers in Montreal that made other people shiver awoke a call in St. Marguerite Bourgeoys from God to serve the native Americans. She helped start a school for the children of Montreal, called Ville Marie. Making numerous trips to France to recruit teachers, these woman became the first sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame. Her feast day is Jan. 12.
St. Marguerite d'Youville
St. Marguerite d’Youville (1701-1771): founder of the Sisters of Charity, is the first Canadian to be elevated to sainthood. She studied under the Ursulines, married Francois D’Youville in 1722 and became a widow in 1730. She worked to support herself and her three children and devoted much of her time to the Confraternity of the Holy Family in charitable activities. She was appointed directress of the General Hospital in Montreal and, since her death, her order has established schools, hospitals and orphanages across the world. Canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1990, she is known as the “mother of the poor.”



Kateri Tekakwitha

Canada's
Blessed, Venerable & more

Blesseds

André Grasset
(1758-1792)
Kateri Tekakwitha
(1656-1680)
Marie de l’Incarnation
(1599-1672)
François de Laval (1623-1708)
Marie-Rose Durocher
(1811-1849)
Brother André
(1845-1937)
Marie-Léonie Paradis
(1840-1912)
Louis-Zéphirin Moreau
(1824-1901)
Frédéric Janssoone (1838-1916)
Catherine de Saint-Augustin
(1632-1668)
Dina Bélanger
(1897-1929)
Marie-Anne Blondin
(1809-1890)
Émilie Tavernier-Gamelin (1800-1851)
Bishop Vasyl Velychkovsky, C.Ss.R. (Ukrainian) (1903-1973)
Bishop Nykyta Budka (Greek-Ukrainian) (1877-1949)

Venerable

Vital Grandin
(1829-1902)
Alfred Pampalon
(1867-1896)
Élisabeth Bergeron
(1851-1936)
Délia Tétreault
(1865-1941)

Causes For Sainthood

Jérôme Le Royer de la Dauversière
(1597-1659)
Jeanne Mance
(1606-1673)
Fr. Pierre-Joseph-Marie Chaumonot
(1611-1693)
Br. Didace Pelletier
(1657-1699)
Jeanne LeBer
(1662-1714)
Sr. Rosalie Cadron-Jetté (1794-1864)
Sr. Marcelle Mallet
(1805-1871)
Sr. Élisabeth Bruyère
(1818-1876)
Sr. Élisabeth Turgeon
(1840-1881)
Sr. Marie Fitzbach
(1806-1885)
Sr. Éléonore Potvin
(1865-1903)
Sr. Catherine-Aurélie Caouette
(1833-1905)
Fr. Alexis-Louis Mangin
(1856-1920)
Br. Théophanius-Léo (Adolphe Chatillon)
(1871-1929)
Gérard Raymond
(1912-1932)
Bishop Ovide Charlebois
(1862-1933)
Sr. Marie-Clément Staub
(1876-1936)
Fr. Eugène Prévost
(1860-1946)
Br. Antoine Kowalczyk
(1866-1947)
Louis Émond
(1876-1949)
Fr. Victor Lelièvre
(1876-1956)
Catherine de Hueck Doherty
(1896-1985)
Pauline Archer-Vanier (1898-1991)
Georges Vanier
(1888-1967)
Sr. Carmelina Tarantino (1937-1992)


 

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Brother André still speaks to ‘le petit monde’

Brother André museumFor those of us whose 21st-century lives are defined more by the Internet, our genetic codes and dollars that ricochet around the world at the speed of light, it might be difficult to imagine how the life of a 19th-century farm boy who grew up to offer healing through St. Joseph, holy oil and prayer could possibly matter to us.

In his new devotional book about Br. Andre, Fr. George Madore imaginatively meditates on the life of Canada’s first male native-born saint. Madore’s meditation brings him to a conclusion that he makes the title of the book — Brother André: A Saint for Today.

Brother André’s canonization has Quebec talking about the faith

St. Joseph’s OratoryBrother André will be canonized in the province that has the lowest church attendance of any place in North America. While 85 per cent of Quebeckers identify themselves as Roman Catholic, only 20 per cent attend church once a month, according to a 2007 study by sociologist Reginald Bibby.

Quebec society is distinct in its relationship with the Church, and the difference has a lot to do with Quebec’s unique history.

Excitement abounds in Brother Andre's hometown

Brother André monumentMont Saint-Gregoire, Que. - When Gilles Bessette attends the Montreal celebration of Brother André’s sainthood later this month he’ll bring along a family keepsake — a rosary that belonged to Canada’s new saint.

“What I usually do with it, when I have friends who are very ill, I lend it to them. I don’t pretend that it will procure a miracle, but I find that it’s a way of honouring Brother André and of showing a sign of affection to my friends,” said Bessette, a relative of Brother André’s.

Healing hands opened up devotion to Brother André

Brother Jacques BerthiaumeMontreal - Why he was spared death and received two miracles as a child, Brother Jacques Berthiaume will probably never know until he meets his maker. But he’s certain of one thing: Brother André, the Quebec miracle worker, really is a saint.

“I am very proud because I can say I knew a real living saint — not some foreign saint that I’d only heard about,” said Berthiaume, 84, who, according to doctors, was going to die as a child.

Berthiaume was born in Saint-Césaire, a small town 60 km east of Montreal. It was also Brother André’s home town for a brief period before the local pastor, Fr. André Provençal, wrote a letter recommending him to the seminary.

Canonization brings renewal to St. Joseph’s Oratory

Brother André tombMONTREAL - Two million people visit St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal every year but, since founder Brother André’s canonization was announced, shrine administrators say the numbers have visibly increased. Fr. Claude Grou, the Oratory’s rector, hopes this is a sign of renewal.

“I think it is just the beginning,” Grou said. “I think the celebration we will have in the month of October in Rome and in Montreal will generate more interest and I believe after that, people who have seen the celebration on television or come here, will feel the importance of coming back to this place as a place they will go pray, where they will grow closer to God, where their faith is strengthened.”

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