Feast of St. André Bessette

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This portrait of St. André Bessette is found at the oratory in honor of St. Joseph he established. (Courtesy of the Archives of St. Joseph’s Oratory)

Jan. 6

Born in Canada and orphaned at the age of 10, André worked for three years in the United States as a weaver and manual laborer. After returning to Canada in 1870, he joined the Congregation of the Holy Cross and took final vows in 1874.

He served for the next 40 years as porter of a school and, along the way, gained a reputation as a healer. When students fell ill, they came to Br. André and together they prayed to St. Joseph, the patron saint of Canada.

For decades, Br. André humbly served his community near Montreal as doorman, janitor, barber, gardener and infirmarian. With St. Joseph as his model and intercessor, he developed a healing ministry and huge following. In 1904, he moved into Montreal to help build the Oratory of the Holy Cross and remained there for the rest of his life.

When Br. André died in 1937 at the age of 91, an estimated 1 million people came to pay their respects.

When this “Miracle Man of Montreal” was canonized in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said he “lived the beatitude of the pure of heart.” He is the patron saint of André House in Phoenix.