Features/Brother Andre

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.

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.

Brother André’s compassionate spirit changed thousands of lives


statue of Brother AndréIt is probable that Brother André would not approve of being made a saint. Or perhaps not even comprehend it.

Once on a tour of the exile Quebecois towns of New England, the already famous Brother André arrived in a place where the priest and the whole French-speaking community anxiously waited. He was already known as the “Miracle Man of Montreal.” The Connecticut pastor had organized a procession and the people greeted Brother André with a great feast. The whole community turned out to pray the rosary.

Brother André: A saintly life


Brother AndréCanada’s next saint has always simply been known as Brother André, nothing more. But when Pope Benedict XVI declares him a saint in Rome Oct. 17, what title will he be given?

“We don’t know,” said Danielle Decelles, a spokesperson for St. Joseph’s Oratory. “For us in Montreal, he is St. Brother André.”

Rome has not revealed to the archdiocese of Montreal or St. Joseph’s Oratory what title Brother André will be given in the document proclaiming his sainthood. That will be revealed Oct. 17, said Decelles.

Postulator challenged with so many Brother André miracles


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.

‘A tool in the hands of Providence’


Brother André death bedAll of us at Salt + Light Television rejoice with the Church in Canada, the Church in Quebec and especially the archdiocese of Montreal over the upcoming canonization of Blessed Brother André.  

I have had a personal devotion to Brother André ever since my first visit to the Oratory in 1976 as a high school student. Brother André taught me back then: “Ite ad Joseph” (Go to Joseph) and entrust to the Holy One of Nazareth your projects and dreams, that he may protect you and give success to the work of your hands. Over the past 34 years, I have been a regular visitor to the house that Brother André built for Joseph on Mount Royal. In May 1999, on the day I was named National Director and CEO of World Youth Day 2002, I took the train to Montreal and spent the night at the Oratory. I placed World Youth Day 2002 in the hands of Blessed Brother André, asking him to bless our humble efforts in allowing Christ to touch the hearts and minds of young people of Canada and the world.

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.”

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.

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.

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