St. Andre Bessette, CSC

With all the hoopla over the upcoming canonization of Mother Mary MacKillop, the first Australian saint, it would be terrible to forget another important canonization coming up this weekend, on Oct. 17: the amazing Andre Bessette, the Holy Cross brother of Canada (1845-1937).  Here's a brief intro, from Salt and Light, on the life of the first member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross to be canonized.  More info on his life of humble service can be found here, at Notre Dame University's website.  St. Andre, pray for us!

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8 years ago
Right on time, Padre. Right on time.
Beth Cioffoletti
8 years ago
"His service was to open the door."

How very inspiring.  I think that Saint Andre Bessette may become my favorite saint.  His life reminds me of the "little way" of St. Therese of L.
Bill Collier
8 years ago
Our parish book club recently read and discussed the biography of Brother Andre by Jean-Guy Dubuc. I agree that Br. Andre's life was much like that of of St. Therese of the Little Flower, though Br. Andre, unlike St. Therese in her cloister, interacted with tens of thousands of people during his long life. He also died without leaving a paper trail of his own making.

Moreover, like many saints, he had to suffer the slings and arrows of a significant number of the religious in his own congregation. Some were jealous that a porter was receiving ever increasing numbers of visitors seeking his help, others regarded his "St. Joseph's oil" (i.e., common lamp oil from a devotional lamp to St. Joseph that Br. Andre would distribute for medicinal purposes) as quackery. The story goes that the lay doctor at the Montreal high school where Br. Andre was the porter was initially the sworn enemy of Br. Andre because of the latter's dispensing of medical information and treatment without the benefit of any medical training. One day the doctor's wife developed a hemorrhaging sinus that couldn't be stanched. The doctor, very reluctantly, asked Br. Andre to visit his wife. As the doctor and Br. Andre were about to enter the doctor's room, Br. Andre told the doctor that his wife would live. Shortly thereafter, the hemorrhaging abated on its own for no apparent medical reason, and the woman was fully cured. As one might imagine, there were no further complaints from the doctor about Br. Andre's medical efforts.  

As the biography made clear, Br. Andre was equally well-regarded by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. His fame spread far and wide, not in small part as a result of his humility and constant reminders that the healings were the result of St. Joseph's intercession with his Son. Perhaps the most striking thing to me about how this simple man affected so many lives was the fact that more than a million people filed past his casket when he died in 1937. He's become one of my favorite saints, too.    
roberta gittens
8 years ago
Thank you Fa. Martin for your article, media information and kind words.  I can add that a film on Blessed Andre's life will be shown on EWTN-TV on Saturday, October 16th @ 5pm (PT). His beatification in Rome will be televised (live) on Sunday, October 17th @12:30am. Encores will be shown @ 9am and 9pm (PT).
As an Associate of The Brothers of Holy Cross, I am deeply moved and grateful to God, that this man of God (and of the people), will be honored and that his life and faith will be made known, as an inspiration to us all.


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