January 6 is the feast of St. André Bessette, C.S.C.
Born in Quebec, Canada in 1845, he was a sickly child and was tragically orphaned by age 12. The pastor of his parish was amazed by the young man’s generosity and devotion so he sent him to the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montreal with a note that said, “I’m sending you a saint.”
He took vows and the name Brother André in 1874 and began work as a porter at the school run by the congregation. He recommended devotion to St. Joseph to all sick people he met and tended to. Many people began to claim that they were cured through his intercession, and Brother André’s fame grew and he became known as the “Miracle Man of Montreal.” He maintained that all healing was the work of St. Joseph and launched a movement to build a chapel in his honor. In 1924, construction of Saint Joseph’s Oratory began.
Brother André died in 1937. News outlets reported that one million people attended his viewing. Now his remains rest in the completed Oratory, which is Canada’s largest church and a popular pilgrimage destination.
He was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 — the first canonized saint from the Congregation of Holy Cross, which also founded the University of Notre Dame. St. André Bessette is remembered for his humility, openness, and devotion to St. Joseph. “It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures,” he was known to say.
Get to know the patron saint of hurting hearts through our Spotify playlist inspired by his life and legacy.