Saint André Bessette expressed a saint’s faith by a lifelong devotion to St. Joseph. Sickness and weakness dogged André from birth. He was the eighth of 12 children born to a French Canadian couple near Montreal. Adopted at 12, when both parents had died, he became a farmhand. Various trades followed: shoemaker, baker, blacksmith—all failures. He was a factory worker in the United States during the boom times of the Civil War.
At 25, he applied for entrance into the Congregation of the Holy Cross. After a year’s novitiate, he was not admitted because of his weak health. But with an extension and the urging of Bishop Bourget (see Marie-Rose Durocher, October 6), he was finally received. He was given the humble job of doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Montreal, with additional duties as sacristan, laundry worker and messenger. “When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door, and I remained 40 years.”
In his little room near the door, he spent much of the night on his knees. On his windowsill, facing Mount Royal, was a small statue of St. Joseph, to whom he had been devoted since childhood. When asked about it he said, “Some day, St. Joseph is going to be honored in a very special way on Mount Royal!”
When he heard someone was ill, he visited to bring cheer and to pray with the sick person. He would rub the sick person lightly with oil taken from a lamp burning in the college chapel. Word of healing powers began to spread.
When an epidemic broke out at a nearby college, André volunteered to nurse. Not one person died. The trickle of sick people to his door became a flood. His superiors were uneasy; diocesan authorities were suspicious; doctors called him a quack. “I do not cure,” he said again and again. “St. Joseph cures.” In the end he needed four secretaries to handle the 80,000 letters he received each year.
For many years the Holy Cross authorities had tried to buy land on Mount Royal. Brother André and others climbed the steep hill and planted medals of St. Joseph. Suddenly, the owners yielded. André collected 200 dollars to build a small chapel and began receiving visitors there—smiling through long hours of listening, applying St. Joseph’s oil. Some were cured, some not. The pile of crutches, canes and braces grew.
The chapel also grew. By 1931 there were gleaming walls, but money ran out. “Put a statue of St. Joseph in the middle. If he wants a roof over his head, he’ll get it.” The magnificent Oratory on Mount Royal took 50 years to build. The sickly boy who could not hold a job died at 92.
He is buried at the Oratory and was beatified in 1982. At his canonization in October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said that St. Andre “lived the beatitude of the pure of heart.”
I am really inspired by the complements directed to Andre who by coincident is my namesake catholicwise.Having been a former seminarian am really moved by his story May GOD grant you the most vicious place in heaven.
I love his story. It’s a reminder that God works through all of his children. I would have liked to know him.
God speaks through all his children. Be them rich or poor! With status or not! We all have a role to play. But we can all star in our own role, no matter how small it may seem to others. Beautiful story 🙂
Well said, Melani.
Please Pray for the Humanitarian Concerns of People of Pakistan.
Asif Kaleem and Family appeals from Pakistan.
ST ANDRE BESSETTE please sAVE ME FROM THOSE WHO WANT TO HURT ME HERE IN MY HOME WITH NO. FAMILY OR FRIENDSTO DEFEND ME.LOSING MY HOME AND EVERYTHING AND UP IN AGE. I CALL UPON THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY AND THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN TO HELP ME SURVIVE.PLEASE SNED HOLY SPIRIT TO THIS HO– USE AND STOP THE AB– USE AND PAY SOMETHING AS I CANT AFFORED MEDS AND BILLS ETC. BY MYSELF.
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Saint Andre pray for us amen
Lovely story and very inspiring. Pray for us St. Andre.
Amazing story. Man only wanted to use him to answer the door and for other menial tasks. GOD had much BIGGER plans for Bro. Andre!
St. Andre, a humble man. Yet, God exalted him- because of his faithfulness.
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Saint André Bessette, pray for us!
Ecce Crucem Domini!
Fugite partes adversae!
Vicit Leo de tribu Juda,
Radix David! Alleluia!
Saint Anthony, pray for us. For Italy.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us. For Rome.
Saint (Brother) André Bessette, pray for us. For Canada.
Holy Mary, help the helpless. Amen.
Dear St. Andre Bessette, Please help all those I have ever known or met from the scourge by communicating with St. Joseph. As the father of Jesus, I know he will do all he can. So many are suffering. Thank you so much.
Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening. And I surely got a check of twelve thousand bucks. What’s awesome is I’m working from home so I get more time with my kids.
Read this article for more details.. https://payathome.blogspot.com/