Frère André

While at a marriage group on Saturday, my wife and I met a young Québécois woman who told me of a miracle which occured to her when she visited St Josephs Oratory in Quebec. Apparently she was suffering form a chest problem and upon going to the shrine she felt a great heat in her chest and the pain disappeared. A minor miracle? Maybe, but God works in small ways as well as great.

As I look at Brother Andre's face I am overcome with a feeling of peace, and contentment.

Brother André was a lay brother of the Holy Cross order who was devoted to Saint Joseph (the Virgin Mary's husband). André especially related to the carpenter Joseph because of their shared experience as laborers and migrants.

Born Alfred Besette in 1845 and orphaned at 12, Brother André joined the Holy Cross Order at 25. Due to his poor health, he was assigned the humble duties of receptionist and doorkeeper at the College Notre-Dame in Montreal. However, another of his assigned tasks was visiting sick students and he soon gained a reputation as a miraculous healer through his prayers to St. Joseph.

Before long, a new venue for his fast-growing healing ministry became necessary. Brother André raised $200 from small donations and giving student haircuts at 5 cents each to build a small wooden chapel in 1904 near the site of the modern basilica. Grandly named Saint Joseph's Oratory, the chapel was just 15 feet by 18 feet.

Brother André's powers attracted pilgrims from great distances and he performed his healing work until his death in 1937. In 1916 alone, 435 cases of healing were reported. Interestingly, Brother André never witnessed a miracle himself. He counseled and prayed with the sick, but they were cured after he had gone. He later said this was his greatest cause of suffering.

André's popularity was so great that he soon attracted the attention of church authorities, and a special commission was set up to test the alleged cures and André's integrity in 1911. The commission recommended that pilgrimages continue, without commenting on the miracles.

André was beloved throughout his life and still remembered today for his life of simple faith, continuous prayer and unfailing kindness. When he died in 1937, a million people filed past his casket despite bitter winter cold.

André's dream of building a great shrine to Saint Joseph became a reality in 1955, when the present basilica was completed. Brother André is buried in the basilica and was beatified (declared "Blessed") by Pope John Paul II in 1982, a status one step below sainthood.
from Sacred Destinations

Prayer for the canonization of Brother Andre'

Lord, you have chosen Blessed Brother André
to spread devotion to Saint Joseph
and to dedicate himself to all those who are afflicted.
Grant through his intercession the favour that we now request…

We also pray that the Church may canonize
him as soon as possible. Grant us the
grace to imitate his piety and charity so that,
with him, we may share the reward
promised to all who care for their
neighbours out of love for You.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord


Prière pour la canonisation du frère André

Seigneur, qui as choisi le bienheureux
frère André pour propager la dévotion à saint Joseph
et se dévouer auprès des affligés,
accorde-nous, par son intercession,
la faveur que nous sollicitons.

Obtiens-nous que la sainte Église
le canonise au plus tôt et accorde-nous aussi
la grâce de l’imiter dans sa piété
et sa charité afin de partager avec lui
la récompense promise à ceux qui se
préoccupent du prochain par amour de Toi

Par Jésus Christ, notre Seigneur.


Saint Joseph's Oratory
3800 Queen Mary Road,
Montreal, Quebec, H3V 1H6

Bienheureux frère André
priez pour nous.



Elisa said...

My birthday falls on his feast day.

de Brantigny........................ said...

Then you shall be especially close. Thanks for reading my blog. It is always good to hear from you, I try to look at yours as often as I can.

Your friend Richard