Long beloved in Canada, Brother Andre will soon become a favorite in America, too!!
His story is incredible in so many ways. Thousands of miraculous physical healings were granted the faithful through Brother Andre’s prayers through St. Joseph. He would anoint the sick with the oil from the lamp which burned before the St. Joseph altar in the chapel of College Notre Dame where he, an illiterate, served as the door keeper. He was inspired by St. Joseph to build a great Oratory across the street from the school on Mount Royal from which the city gets its name. Though built during the depression and against innumerable odds, Brother Andre inspired in the city such a powerful devotion to St. Joseph that the people built the largest church in Canada bearing to this day the third largest dome in the world.
Nearly refused membership in the Congregation of Holy Cross on account of his poor health and lack of education, he was accepted as a favor to the bishop at the time who said of Andre, “You will have a saint on your hands.” When he died at age 91 in 1937, he had outlived everyone in the community at the time of his admission. Over a million mourners filed past his body, which lay in state in the Oratory which he had inspired.
St. Joseph Oratory
Pope Benedict XVI announced Br. André’s pending canonization in the Consistory Hall of Vatican City on Friday. The Oratory of Mt. Royal in Montreal said that his audience included priests and brothers of the blessed’s order, the Congregation of Holy Cross. They were joined by members of the Oratory and members of the Archdiocese of Montreal. Those gathered showed elation and greeted the announcement with “warm applause.”
Fr. Hugh Cleary, CSC, Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and Rector of St. Joseph’s oratory, Fr. Claude Group, CSC, were part of the delegation, as was Canadian Ambassador to the Holy See Anne Leahy.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, Archbishop of Montreal, discussed the announcement at a press conference at St. Joseph’s Oratory. He said the announcement was “the best thing that could have happened this year for the Church of Montreal.”
“I have always been impressed by this man, both a humble man and a visionary, a man of deep faith. An example of determination, still relevant today in 2010,” the cardinal said of the soon-to-be saint.