The first Canadian-born male was canonized on October 17, 2010.
This poor, uneducated, frail man became known as the “Miracle Man of Montreal” and healed thousands of people.
He had a strong devotion to Saint Joseph and is responsible for the famed St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada (French: Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal).
This Saint is: André Bessette.
First, I’ll share a 17-minute video that gives a brief biography.
Then, I’ll share 3 reasons why I decided to write about him.
Why This Saint?
I’ve never been to Canada, but I have a special connection to it.
I had plans to visit Quebec, and St. Joseph’s Oratory, in 2020 but was forced to cancel because of the shutdowns.
St. Joseph’s Oratory is a National Historic Site of Canada and its largest church.
It is the largest shrine in the world dedicated to St. Joseph.
It has the second largest church dome in the world. (The Vatican has the largest.)
Even though it’s unlikely I’ll be able to visit, it would be wonderful to experience the Oratory in person.
When Alfred Bessette was born in 1845, he was very sick and not expected to survive infancy. He was frail and ill his entire life but lived to the age of 91.
He suffered from constant stomach illness and indigestion. He only ate a mixture of flour and watered-down milk or soaked bread.
He also suffered from anxiety and spiritual attacks, especially at night, because of the souls he saved from the devil.
God healed thousands of people through Brother André, but he himself was never healed.
I find comfort in his story.
I was born healthy but have suffered from unexplained chronic illness my entire adult life.
My symptoms have intensified the last few years and impacted every aspect of my life.
While I obviously don’t perform miracles and heal others as he did, I do offer my suffering for souls.
I know God is using it for a purpose, even when I can’t see it. (I was actually inspired to learn about Br. André and write this post on one of my sickest days.)
I now pray to St. André Bessette and ask for a miracle healing, as well as strength to endure my sufferings.
I’m inspired by Br. André’s devotion to St. Joseph.
I developed a devotion to St. Joseph last year during the Year of St. Joseph.
I did the 33-day preparation using Fr. Donald Calloway’s book and consecrated myself to him on May 1, 2021, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
I dedicate many blog posts to him, which helps increase my knowledge and love for him.
I’m grateful he revealed himself as my spiritual father and continues to bring me closer to Jesus.
Alfred Bissette became Brother André (French: Frère André) after professing religious vows with the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
He gave everything to God and lived a humble, holy and extraordinary life.
While on his death bed, he offered up his prayers and sacrifices for Catholic Spain which was being torn apart by civil war. He also prayed for the Holy Father, Pope Pius XI, who was ill and near death.
After Br. André died on January 6, 1937, his body was exposed for one week and visited by over one million people.
The confessionals in the city of Montreal were flooded with repentant sinners who were impacted by Br. André’s prayers and witness.
His incorrupt body is kept in a black marble sepulcher in the back of the Oratory. His incorrupt heart is on display in a reliquary there.
He’s the first Canadian-born male saint and the first saint of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
He’s often referred to as Brother André or St. André of Montreal.
His feast day is celebrated on January 6th in the USA and January 7th in Canada.
Saints Joseph and André Bessette, pray for us!