(This is a six part series leading up to January 6, the Feast Day of Saint Andre Bessette, the patron of our parish community.)
Our neighborhood is desperate for healing. Answers to long term poverty and heartache elude us on a daily basis. Our parish community walks with people in the mystery of human suffering. Our faith provides solace when our efforts fail, when human trial is beyond our expertise, when our answers fall short. Our parish community relies on a power greater than our selves to make sense of human tragedy and anguish.
Alfred (Andre) Bessette was born on August 9, 1845. He was a sickly child and by the time he was twelve years old, he was orphaned. He experienced poverty, loss and hardship. He professed his vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1872 even though the community was reluctant to receive him because of his illiteracy and poor health. He developed a great devotion as a child to Jesus Christ and to Saint Joseph. When he was assigned to become the porter at the college, the gift of healing became evident to those he welcomed. The first written testimonies of cures attributed to his prayers were published when his was 31 years old.
Brother Andre received 600 people a day asking for healing. Many people were cured of their physical ailments and many others were brought to a deeper faith in God. Healing happened in many ways through his forty years of answering the door at the college.
Saint Andre Bessette becomes a model for us of hospitality and healing as we base our ministry in the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. The mission of the Gospel challenges us to welcome to stranger, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the imprisoned. Healing happens when community is formed, when our reliance on God is celebrated, when we turn to God for the answers we so desperately seek. We live and pray in the mystery of addictions, mental illness and long term poverty.
Photo: We celebrate the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick at each Mass on Wednesdays and on the first Sundays of the Month. This is one aspect of our healing ministry at Saint Andre Bessette Church.
Saint Andre Bessette, pray for us.