Saint André Bessette - Family Reflection Video
At birth his name was Alfred. He was born on August 9, 1845 in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, Quebec, Canada. Because he was sickly, he was given emergency baptism. When he was 10, his father died in an accident at work in the woods and at 12 his mother followed suit. Now an orphan, he moved from one poor relative’s home to another.
At age 20 he made his way to New England and worked for four years in mills in MA, CT and RI. He returned to Quebec impressed the local pastor at Saint-Césaire, Father André Provençal, with his devotion to prayer to Saint Joseph. Alfred told his Pastor of his desire to become a religious brother. Encouraged by Father André Provençale, he knocked at the door of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Initially the Congregation of Holy Cross rejected him on the grounds of frail health and lack of basic education. Father Provençal appealed to the Holy Cross leadership saying, if you reject this young man, you are rejecting a saint. In 1870 Alfred Bessette entered in the Novitiate of the Congregation of Holy Cross and adopted the name Brother André in honor to his Pastor.
He was a man of intense prayer. He was the Door Keeper of Collège Notre-Dame for 38 years and then the Guardian of Saint Joseph's Oratory. He had an immense devotion to Saint Joseph and often prayed to God through the intercession of Saint Joseph. Millions of people received favors from God through the prayers of Brother André. He was known to be the miracle man of Mount-Royal. He died on January 6, 1937 and over a million people participated at his funeral. He was canonized on October 17, 2010 in Rome by the Pope Benedict XVI.
Today, Brother André is a friend to all people. Students, teachers, parents, faithful people from all walks of life, pilgrims from different religious traditions easily associate themselves with Saint Brother André. He is a friend of the humble, suffering, and sick people. He continues to intercede for all people. Every year, over two million people come to Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount-Royal where they can pray at and venerate the remains of Saint Brother André at his tomb. Pilgrim families visiting Saint Joseph’s Oratory receive gracious blessings from God through the intercession of Saint Joseph and Saint Brother André. It is evident that Saint Brother André touches the hearts of thousands of families each year who come to seeking physical and spiritual healing. When Saint Brother André and his friend Saint Joseph, Protector of families, pray together God chooses to bless families fully and quickly with many graces and blessings.
Today, the dynamic team of Brother Andre and Saint Joseph continues helping families around the world experience the words of Jesus fulfilled: the poor are anointed with glad tidings, captive families are liberated from violence and abuse, the blind recover their faith and hope and those oppressed by fear and anxiety go free to live at peace with each other. Amen.
- Father Willy's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page.(You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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About Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C.
Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C. is President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. He entered Holy Cross Fathers in 1964. He earned a Bachelors in Philosophy from Stonehill College in 1967 and a Masters in Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 1971. In addition to English, Father Willy is conversant in French and Spanish. He's a native of Old Town, Maine and one of 12 children. He remains a diehard fan of the Boston Red Sox, even though he has served as Chaplain for the Los Angeles Dodgers.