Stewardship Saint of the Month: Saint André Bessette, C.S.C.

Saint Andre Bessette was born in 1845 in the village of Saint-Grẻgoire
d’Iberville, in what is now the Archdiocese of Montreal, Canada.
Baptized as Alfred, by the time he was 12 he had to work because
both of his parents had died.

At age 22 he moved to the United States, where he labored alternately in mills and on
farms in New England. He returned to Montreal where
he joined the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1870 with
the encouragement of Father André Provençal, who had
observed Alfred spending whole nights in prayer and sent
a note with Alfred that read, “I am sending you a saint.”
Alfred made his final vows in 1874 and was given
the religious name of André. For some forty years Brother
Andre served as janitor, porter, infirmarian, gardener,
baker of the altar bread and in other capacities at the
College of Our Lady of the Snows near Montreal. In
1905, at age 60, Brother Andre was transferred to

From his childhood Brother Andre had a strong
devotion to Saint Joseph and spent his life promoting
devotion to the foster-father of Jesus. He founded
and helped to build the Oratory of St. Joseph. The
popularity of the oratory grew as it became a place of
pilgrimage because of the many healings attributed to
the intercession of Brother André and Saint Joseph. It was
referred to as the “Lourdes of Canada,” and became one
of the most popular shrines in North America drawing
millions of pilgrims to Montreal.

Much attention centered on Brother André himself
because of the number of cures that were attributed to
him, so many, in fact, that he was called the “Miracle
Man of Montreal.” Brother Andre died on January 6,
1937, at age 91. Over a million mourners processed past
his casket. He was beatified by Saint John Paul II in 1982
and he was canonized a saint in 2010 by Pope Benedict
XVI. His feast is on January 6.