Features/Brother Andre

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.

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.

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


Blessed, Venerable & more


André Grasset
Kateri Tekakwitha
Marie de l’Incarnation
François de Laval (1623-1708)
Marie-Rose Durocher
Brother André
Marie-Léonie Paradis
Louis-Zéphirin Moreau
Frédéric Janssoone (1838-1916)
Catherine de Saint-Augustin
Dina Bélanger
Marie-Anne Blondin
Émilie Tavernier-Gamelin (1800-1851)
Bishop Vasyl Velychkovsky, C.Ss.R. (Ukrainian) (1903-1973)
Bishop Nykyta Budka (Greek-Ukrainian) (1877-1949)


Vital Grandin
Alfred Pampalon
Élisabeth Bergeron
Délia Tétreault

Causes For Sainthood

Jérôme Le Royer de la Dauversière
Jeanne Mance
Fr. Pierre-Joseph-Marie Chaumonot
Br. Didace Pelletier
Jeanne LeBer
Sr. Rosalie Cadron-Jetté (1794-1864)
Sr. Marcelle Mallet
Sr. Élisabeth Bruyère
Sr. Élisabeth Turgeon
Sr. Marie Fitzbach
Sr. Éléonore Potvin
Sr. Catherine-Aurélie Caouette
Fr. Alexis-Louis Mangin
Br. Théophanius-Léo (Adolphe Chatillon)
Gérard Raymond
Bishop Ovide Charlebois
Sr. Marie-Clément Staub
Fr. Eugène Prévost
Br. Antoine Kowalczyk
Louis Émond
Fr. Victor Lelièvre
Catherine de Hueck Doherty
Pauline Archer-Vanier (1898-1991)
Georges Vanier
Sr. Carmelina Tarantino (1937-1992)


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.

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.

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