Dear Followers of Jesus,
This weekend, the Universal Church celebrates the memorial of Saint André Bessette. Brother André is the first saint in the Congregation of Holy Cross. He ministered in Montreal and the people of Canada are proud of his life, his mission to heal and his canonization that took place in Rome in 2010.
The cover painting for this bulletin was first published in AIM Magazine in December 2017. I painted the image of Brother André to coincide with an article I wrote for that issue of the magazine.
I find Brother André incredibly fascinating. He was a sickly child who was not expected to live. Instead, he died at 91. He grew up illiterate. In the work of the Holy Spirit, he was accepted into the Congregation of Holy Cross that is best known for education. Our religious community really did not know where to assign him so they appointed him porter at their college in Montreal. He stayed in the doorway for over 40 years. André had a great devotion to Saint Joseph, especially after his own father died when he was very young. God used that devotion to heal people as they came to the door.
In the high point of André’s ministry, he would see up to 600 people a day. He would invite them to go to confession or to Mass. He would suggest that people pray to Saint Joseph or any form of prayer. He would use oil from a lamp in the chapel to anoint some people in their pain and frustration. He offered people hope when their was little medical care accessible to them.
André would sleep only one or two hours at night. He spent the night praying for all the people who had come to him during the day. He was a simple man with an amazing life of prayer. He thought of himself as God’s little one, as God’s little puppy not only because he was short in stature, but also because he was only leading people to God through Saint Joseph. André never considered himself as a healer.
The Shrine of Saint Joseph in Montreal is a large worship center in honor of Saint Joseph, the largest in the world to honor the foster father of Jesus, and was founded by André. The money came to him through the families that had a miraculous healing. The shrine continues today and millions of people still search for healing and hope.
When we finish Sacred Heart Church, a relic of Saint André Bessette will be housed in the altar. I am so grateful that André’s presence will be in the center of our community in a real way. I look forward to praying more from the faith of Saint André for our community and parish that is also in need of healing and hope, mercy and love in so many ways. Please offer your life, your suffering, and your incompleteness to Saint André. He will lead you to God, to the love and miraculous power of Christ Jesus.
Saint Andre Bessette, pray for us!