Sunday, 17 October 2010

St. André Bessette, Ora pro nobis.

St. André Bessette of Mount Royal

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged Canadian Catholics to follow the example of St. Andre Bessette, the man better known to Montrealers as Brother Andre.

Friend to the poor and sick, founder of Montreal's St. Joseph's Oratory, and a man once dubbed the Miracle Man of Montreal, Bessette officially joined the sainthood along with five others during an elaborate ceremony in St Peter's Square.

Bessette "knew suffering and poverty very early in life," Pope Benedict said in a homily before an estimated 50,000 pilgrims from around the world, gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Born to an extremely poor family in St. Gregoire, southeast of Montreal, Bessette was orphaned at age 12 and drifted for years as an illiterate, unskilled worker. In 1870, he joined the Congregation of Holy Cross, which reluctantly accepted him and assigned him to a lowly job at the reception area of College Notre Dame in Cote des Neiges.

His early-life difficulties "led him to turn to God for prayer and an intense interior life," Pope Benedict said. "Doorman at College Notre Dame in Montreal, he showed boundless charity and did everything possible to soothe the despair of those who confided in him."

The diminutive lay brother "was the witness of many healings and conversions. 'Do not try to have your trials taken away from you,' he said, 'rather, ask for the grace to endure them,' " Pope Benedict added.

"For him, everything spoke of God and His presence.

"May we, following his example, search for God with simplicity to discover Him always present in the core of our lives. May the example of Brother Andre inspire Canadian Chrisltian life."

For the estimated 5,000 people here to celebrate Brother Andre's sainthood, Sunday's event was a long time coming. His devotees have been pressing the church for canonization since 1937, the year Brother Andre died.

When the gates to St. Peter's opened at 8 a.m. (2 a.m. Montreal time), the lines were already long, with many groups of pilgrims singing hymns to pass the time.

Those here for Brother Andre were easy to spot: they wore white scarves around their necks bearing images of Brother Andre and St. Joseph's oratory, along with the words: "A brother, a friend, a saint."

Security was tight. Bags were sent through x-ray machines and pilgrims were checked by metal detectors.

The five other new saints are: Mother Mary MacKillop, Australia's first saint; Stanislaw Soltys, a 15th-century Polish priest; Italian nuns Giulia Salzano and Battista Varano; and Spanish nun Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola.

1 comment:

Patience said...

My grandmother brought my grandfather there on their honeymoon in 1926 to meet him. My grandmother always believed it did some good and bought them 17 years of marriage. He had an infected foot and the doctors always said it was a miracle that the when the infection spread; it went toward his toes rather than up his leg. (just had to have part of the foot amputated)