Saint Brother André Bessette

        Brother André was born Alfred Bessette on August 9, 1845, in Quebec, Canada. By the age of twelve, André and his siblings were left orphans-their mother died of tuberculosis, and their father had died three years earlier in a lumbering accident. Though he was barely able to read or write, André was forced to leave school and learn a trade. For thirteen years he labored in various industries despite his own frail health.

In 1870, he entered the Congregation of Holy Cross and was assigned as the doorkeeper of the community’s high school in Montreal. There he welcomed the sick and suffering of the city and encouraged them to pray to Saint Joseph, to whom the Holy Cross Brothers were dedicated by their founder, The Venerable Basil Moreau, C.S.C. Brother André’s visitors often found that they had been healed of their illnesses and received other spiritual favors. Brother André became known as the “Miracle Man” of Montreal, but he always gave the credit to Saint Joseph.

So many people came to call on Brother André that he built a small chapel to Saint Joseph across the street from the school. Through André’s determination and prayer, and the generosity of his many friends, the great Oratory of Saint Joseph began to rise on Mount Royal. Today millions of visitors still come to the Oratory to pray to Saint Joseph and to Blessed Brother André, and to seek physical and spiritual healing.

Brother André died on January 6, 1937 at the age of 92. This simple man of prayer was so beloved, that more than a million people attended his funeral in a blinding snowstorm. His body lies in the beautiful basilica he built in honor of St. Joseph.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 23, 1982. In his homily that day, The Holy Father said this of Brother André:

A daily crowd of the sick, the afflicted, the poor of all kinds-those who were handicapped or wounded by life-came to him. They found in his presence a welcome ear, comfort and faith in God. Do not the poor of today have as much need of such love, of such hope, of such education in prayer?”

        He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 17, 2010.


banquet and Light

“When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late.

Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.”

But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?”

He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”

And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.”

So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.

The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.

Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to (his) disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.

They all ate and were satisfied.

And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish.

Those who ate (of the loaves) were five thousand men.” -Mark 6:34-44.