Friday, October 22, 2021

Saint Andre Bessette – Feast Day – January 6

Saint Andre Bessette was born on August 9 1845 in Mont-Saint-Gregorie, East Canada(Quebec). He lived as a lay brother in the congregation of the Holy Cross and passed away in Montreal, Canada, at the age of 91. His feast day is celebrated on January 6 and January 7 in Canada.

Saint Andre Bessette Biography

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

Andre Bessette was born on August 9 1845 in Mont-Saint-Gregorie, Quebec as Alfred Bessette as the eighth child in a family of twelve children. As an infant he was so frail he was baptized conditionally as an emergency ritual. His father, Isaac Bessette, lived as a carpenter and a lumberman and his mother, Clothilde Foisy Bessette played the role in educating the children of the family. Unfortunately for Alfred, his father passed away in a logging accident when he was nine and was orphaned when her mother passed away three years later of tuberculosis. 

Alfred then was put under the care of Timothee ans Rosalie Nadeau of Saint Cesaire, Quebec and whilst living with his new family, he was instructed in catechism by one Reverent Andre Provencal. It was due to this that he developed great devotion to the passion of Christ and Saint Joseph and  recieved confirmation from Bishop Jean Charles Prince.

It was after he was sent to school when he was 14, that it was discovered that Alfred had difficulties in reading and writing. and due to this, he was trained as a laborer as it was seen fit by his caregivers that it was no use educating an orphan. He was then taken in by Louis Ouimet, the then mayor of Saint Cesaire. During his stay with the Ouimet family it was realized that he also had difficulties in keeping a steady job for himself due to his weak health and so he moved around a lot having short lived professions till he moved back to his home town in 1867. 

In the year 1872, Archbishop Ignace Bourget of Montreal, intervened on his behalf so that he may be accepted to the congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal after he was rejected for his weak demeanor and health problems. Reverent Andre Provencal, after seeing his devotion and generosity, had earlier presented the congregation witha note saying,”I am sending you a saint.”

He was admitted to the congregation and took the name, Brother Andre for which he was known for the rest of his life and made his final vows on February 2 1874, when he was 28.

He worked as a porter at college Notre-Dame in Quebec. He was known to have had great confidence in Saint Joseph, that he recommended the saint’s devotion to everyone that came to him with afflictions. He also used to anoint the people he visited, with oil and many claimed that they had been heal after the act and praised him but he would always reply that it was the power and intervention of the saint.

During a pandemic, he volunteered as a nurse and not a single soul perished. The sick would often flood the doors of the college to a point it causes a stir with the superiors and so he was instructed to receive them in a nearby tramway station.

In 1904, he began a campaign to build a chapel in honor of Saint Joseph and despite ridicule, twenty years later, construction of the basilica named Saint Joseph’s Oratory began. He had struggled with the project due to very limited funding but was able to finally kick-start it. Unfortunately, he was not able to see it finished but witnessed the erection of the statue of Saint Joseph in his unfinished basilica.

He passed away on January 6 1937 at the age of 91 in Montreal, Canada and was buried below the Oratory’s main Chapel.

Birth

Andre Bessette was born on August 9 1845 in Mont-Saint-Gregorie, Quebec as Alfred Bessette.

Death

He passed away on January 6 1937 at the age of 91 in Montreal, Canada and was buried below the Oratory’s main Chapel.

Nationality 

He is Canadian in nationality.

Family Background

Alfred was born as the eighth child in a family of 12 children. His father, Isaac Bessette, lived as a carpenter and a lumberman and his mother, Clothilde Foisy Bessette played the role in educating the children of the family. His father passed away when he was nine in a logging accident and his mother passed away when he was 12 due to tuberculosis.

Beatified

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 23 1982.

Canonization

He was canonized as saint on October 17 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Venerated in

He was declared venerable in 1978 and is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church.

Relics

His remains are in the Saint Joseph’s Oratory and his heart is preserved in a reliquary in the Oratory in Montreal, Canada. They were once stolen in March 1973 but recovered in December 1974 by a criminal lawyer with the name Frank Shoofey.

Major Shrines

His major shrine is the basilica, Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal, Canada, where all his relics are.

Prayers

The following is a prayer to Saint Andre;
 
“Saint Andre, 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 go to mass. Intercede for all believers so that we see in Jesus our divine physician, healer of our soul and body.”

Quotes

When he was older he used to quote that,” When I joined this community, they showed me the door and I remained 40 years”

Saint Andre Bessette

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