Monday, September 23, 2019

Saint of the Day – January 6 – Saint Andre Bessette

The Memorial of Saint Andre Bessette

Saint Andre Bessette is the Patron Saint of USA
Canada

Saint Andre Bessette Date of Birth, Country of Birth, Profession, Place of Work, Date of Death, Place of Death, Feast Day, Beatification Date, Canonization DateMatrimony/Holy OrdersBrothers who became Saints

Saint Andre Bessette brief life History

Date of Birth August 9, 1845
Country of Birth Canada in North America
Profession Lay brother of the Congregation of Holy Cross
Place of Work Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Date of Death January 6, 1937 (aged 91)
Place of Death Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Feast Day January 6
Beatification By Pope John Paul II on May 23, 1982 at Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City
Canonization By Pope Benedict XVI on October 17, 2010 at Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City
Patron Saint of USA
Canada

Saint Andre Bessette Short life History

André Bessette was functionally illiterate. His faith did not come by reading or study. It came by hearing, by watching, by praying, by listening, and by reflecting. As Catholics we are not a people of the Book. We are a people of the Word.

And that Word is an idea and a person long before it is a script. “In the beginning was the Word, … and the Word became flesh…” St. John’s gospel begins. Our faith would live and thrive even if the Bible had never been compiled. The Church is a living Word. St. André’s life witnesses to the primacy of the living Word over the written Word.

Saint André was the eighth child born into a large and desperately poor family from Quebec, Canada. Alfred was his baptismal name. His father died in a logging accident and his mother of tuberculosis by the time he was 12. The many children had to be dispersed to friends and relatives.

Our saint then spent the next thirteen years doing manual labor, including factory and farm work throughout the northeastern United States. After he had wandered enough he wandered back home by age 25. His perceptive parish priest noted his generosity of spirit and deep faith. He recommended the young man to the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal, sending Alfred to them with an almost unbelievably prophetic note stating: “I am sending you a saint.”

Alfred took the name of this same parish priest, André, and after much difficulty was allowed to join the Congregation as a brother. He was given the unremarkable task of minding the door of a boys school. He welcomed guests, delivered mail, and ran errands. But then something happened. And happened again. And then still again.

Sick people who came to visit him were cured by his touch and his prayers. Brother André insisted it was God and St. Joseph. But thus began a many decades long ministry to the sick of Canada who sought out his healing touch. The lines of sick people became so long that he could no longer do his job at the school door. He attended to people all day long.

He became famous for all the right reasons. He built a modest shrine to St. Joseph on a hill. The shrine became very popular and grew until it became, and still is today, the most dominant structure in all of Montreal. Our saint did not live to see it completed. But he lived so long and so well that 1 million people filed past his casket when he died. He edified people not by his learning but by his healing and by the warm humanity that animated it.

Today’s Catholic Quote:

Saint André, you healed the sick and found time to attend to all who came to you. You encouraged those who sought you to confess their sins and to go to Mass. You thus understood the need for both spiritual and physical healing. You thus understood the Church and God Himself. Intercede for all believers so that we see in Jesus our divine physician, healer of soul and body.

Saint Andre Bessette