Dear Followers of Jesus,
There is a new statue in Sacred Heart Church. The new bronze statue is an image of Saint André Bessette. The statue came from the artistic hands of Rev. Anthony Lauck, CSC who died in 2001. Fr. Lauck was a priest and artist at the University of Notre Dame. I considered him a spiritual and visual mentor when I was in college. Copies of this statue are located in many of our Holy Cross institutions. I am so proud to have this art welcome folks through the doors of Sacred Heart Church. André’s hands extend down to welcome the weary and unfortunate.
Saint André Bessette is important to this community for many reasons. Not only was he the very first religious to be canonized, but also his relic is in the new altar at Sacred Heart. I also painted an image of Saint André that hangs in the main enterance and that image was published in AIM Magazine a couple of years ago.
Saint André was illiterate and his ministry as a porter drew the attention of many people. He became a healer in Montreal. He ministered at the door for over forty years. His ministry was to welcome people but in that position his faith drew others to Saint Joseph and his healing potential. He lived a very simple life. He believed that small things would lead him to God. This belief led him to receive over 600 people a day. He slept only an hour or two and spent the night praying for the people whom he had met during the day. Many people were cured of their ailments and diseases.
Saint André died January 6, 1937 and over one million people came to his funeral in Montreal during that snowy winter. His reputation extended throughout Canada and the United States. His legacy of simplicity, hospitality and healing forms our ministry and lives as members of the Congregation of Holy Cross.
A Prayer for Healing to Saint André Bessette
I come to you in prayer for healing. (…state your need…)
You were no stranger to illness.
You were an orphan and homeless.
You questioned your strength and place in life.
You were illiterate and your body was weak.
You received thousands of people at the door.
I come before you today in need.
Pray that I might be restored to health in body, mind and soul.
With Saint Joseph as my guide,
Strengthen my faith and give me peace,
That I might accept God’s will for me,
No matter the outcome.
Saint André Bessette, pray for us.
I love this painting—that your brush strokes can capture the soul of your subjects signifies the openness of your spirit to THE Spirit’s leading. A
I lived in Montreal for three years and I was struck by the reverence Brother Andre is still given in that city, despite how complicatedly the Montrealais feel about Catholicism in general (for some very good reasons). I also find some solace in this song by Blue Rodeo – the lyrics are a bit confusing but overall – in the context of the rest of the album – it strikes me as an effort to find words for a beautiful and mystical experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Zf6IpNuXZQ