Postulator challenged with so many Brother André miracles

  • October 4, 2010

crutches and plaquesThousands of people during Brother André’s lifetime and more since his death in 1937 have claimed the humble brother’s prayers healed them, cured them, made them whole. There are racks of abandoned crutches, canes and wheelchairs on display in St. Joseph’s Oratory.

The problem for the postulator of Brother André’s cause was how to decide on just one miracle to present to medical and theological experts. When Andrea Ambrosi became postulator of Brother André’s cause in 2002, he had to find the right miracle to move the cause forward.

“My attention quickly focussed on a young boy of nine,” Ambrosi told The Catholic Register in an e-mail. “It was a very encouraging case to study as it was facilitated by the short period of time that had passed to gather documents and witnesses from the time it took place to the beginning of our investigation.”

The Quebec boy was nearly killed in a car crash in 1999. He suffered a head injury that put him in a coma. Doctors expected him to die. Medical experts who investigated the case found no scientific explanation of the boy’s sudden recovery.

The only challenge Ambrosi faced was establishing that the boy’s family had prayed exclusively to Brother André for their child’s healing, so the miracle could not be attributed to the intervention of any other saint.

“In order to untie this knot, the ecclesiastic tribunal of Montreal carried out a supplemental investigation that cleared the way of any doubt,” Ambrosi said.

The boy’s family has asked the Holy Cross Fathers and the Oratory of St. Joseph to keep their identities secret.

Since 1983 canonization requires only one documented and scientifically verified miracle which occurred after the death of the saint. When Brother André’s cause for sainthood was launched in 1960, however, it was under the old rules requiring two miracles.

Prior to Brother André being declared blessed in 1982, investigators documented a 1956 case of a man who inexplicably recovered from a heart condition. This was recognized as a miracle. There were 12 other cases presented as possible miracles before investigators chose the 1956 case.



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