Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Saint André Bessette
Feast Day: January 6
Born: 9 August 1845 near Montreal, Canada
Died: 6 January 1937
Beatified: 23 May 1982 by Pope John Paul II

Canonized October 17, 2010, Saint Peter's Square, Rome, by Pope Benedict XVI

Feast January 6

Saint André Bessette, CSC (French: Frère André; August 9, 1845 – January 6, 1937), born Alfred Bessette and since his canonisation sometimes known as Saint André of Montreal.was a Holy Cross Brother and a significant figure of the Roman Catholic Church among French-Canadians, credited with thousands of reported miraculous healings.He was declared venerable in 1978 and was beatified in 1982.

This Holy Cross Brother, known as "Frere Andre," has been credited with thousands of cures. He was the founder of St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Canada, perhaps the world's principal shrine in honor of St. Joseph. When he died at the age of 91, it was estimated that close to a million people came to the Oratory to pay their last respects. He was beatified in 1982.

Andre was the eighth child in a family of 12 and at baptism he was given the name Alfred. Orphaned at the age of 12, he tried his hand at various trades but was not successful in any of them. He could barely read and write and was sickly most of his life. At the age of 15 he became a Brother of Holy Cross but was rejected at the end of the novitiate. At the insistence of the bishop of Montreal, however, Brother Andre was allowed to make religious profession. For forty years he worked as porter at the College of Notre Dame, until he was needed full time at the shrine of St. Joseph. People from all over Canada came to him for cures or for spiritual direction. The Oratory that he built in honor of St. Joseph was solemnly dedicated in 1955 and raised to the rank of a minor basilica.

The Opening Prayer of the Mass describes two characteristics of the spirituality of Brother Andre: his deep devotion to St. Joseph and his "commitment to the poor and afflicted. " For many years he gathered funds to replace the primitive chapel with a suitable church, even cutting the hair of the students at five cents each. His concern for those who needed spiritual healing and support led him to spend 8 to 10 hours a day receiving clients. He became so well known that secretaries had to be assigned to answer the 80,000 letters he received annually.

If one were to seek the outstanding virtue of Brother Andre one would have to say that it was his humility. He once said: "I am ignorant. If there were anyone more ignorant, the good God would choose him in my place. " And when the power of healing was attributed to him, he responded: "It is St. Joseph who cures. I am only his little dog."

The significance of the life and works of Brother Andre for today's Christian is the fact that this humble Brother, who could scarcely read or write, was chosen by God as an instrument for good. As we read in the Preface for Martyrs, God reveals his power shining through our human weakness.

Opening Prayer Lord our God, friend of the lowly, you gave your servant, Brother Andre, a great devotion to St. Joseph and a special commitment to the poor and afflicted. Through his intercession help us to follow his example of prayer and love and so come to share with him in your glory.

Alfred Bessette was born in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, Quebec.then Canada East), a small town situated 40 kilometers south-east of Montreal. He was so frail when he was born that the curé baptized him on an emergency basis and then conditionally the following day.He was from a working class family; his father, Isaac Bessette, was a carpenter and lumberman and his mother, Clothilde Foisy Bessette, saw to the education of her ten children (two others died in infancy). In 1849, with employment scarce and his family living in poverty, Alfred's father decided to move to Farnham (in Quebec) where he hoped to earn a living as a lumberman. Tragically, he lost his life in an accident, crushed by a falling tree, when Alfred was only nine years old. His mother found herself widowed at the age of forty with ten children in her care. She died of tuberculosis within three years, and Alfred found himself orphaned at the age of twelve.ater Brother André would say, "I rarely prayed for my mother, but I often prayed to her."He was sent to live with his mother's sister, Rosalie Nadeau, and her husband Timothée, who attempted to establish Alfred in various trades, but the boy's fragile health (which would afflict him throughout his life) made sustained manual labor difficult.Since he obviously did not have a trade, Alfred began a thirteen-year odyssey wandering from job to job with few belongings and little education. He was barely able to write his name or to read his prayer book.At various times he worked as a tinsmith, blacksmith, baker, shoemaker and wagon driver.From his earliest days, Alfred exhibited an unusually intense spirituality.He would often spend his scant free time praying before a crucifix or evangelizing his friends, and his many self-imposed penances drew the admiring rebuke of his gentle aunt, who was concerned that the boy was endangering his already poor health.

he Pastor of his parish, Fr. André Provençal, noticed the devotion and generosity of the young man. He decided to present Alfred to the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montreal, writing a note to the superior, "I'm sending you a saint."ndré was given the task of porter (doorman) at Notre Dame College in Côte-des-Neiges, Quebec. He fulfilled this function for some forty years while at the same time doing innumerable odd jobs for the community.[citation needed] At the end of his life, he would joke that when he came, he was shown the door, and stayed for forty years.In addition to his duties as receptionist, his tasks included washing floors and windows, cleaning lamps, bringing in firewood and carrying messages.His great confidence in Saint Joseph inspired him to recommend this saint's devotion to all those who were afflicted in various ways. On his many visits to the sick in their homes, he would recommend them in prayer to St. Joseph, and would anoint them lightly with oil from the lamp in the college chapel which always burned before the St. Joseph altar.People claimed that they had been cured through the prayers of the good Brother and Saint Joseph, and they were grateful their prayers had been heard. Brother André steadfastly refused to take any credit for these cures, and, although usually a gentle man, he was known to become enraged at those who suggested that he possessed any healing powers.Because he wanted St. Joseph to be honored, in 1904 Bessette began the campaign to erect a chapel to honor the saint.Brother André's reputation grew, and soon he was known as the miracle worker of Mount-Royal.He had to face the attacks and the criticism of numerous adversaries.He had the strong support, however, of the diocesan Church, and thousands of cures without apparent medical explanation made him the object of popular acclaim.In 1924 construction of a basilica named Saint Joseph's Oratory, began on the side of the mountain, near Bessette's chapel.

Bessette died in 1937, at the age of 91. A million people filed past his coffin.he remains of Bessette lie in the church he helped build. His body lies in a tomb built below the Oratory's Main Chapel,except for his heart, which is preserved in a reliquary in the same Oratory. The heart was stolen in March 1973, but recovered in December 1974.Brother André was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 23, 1982.The miracle cited in support of his beatification was the healing in 1958 of Giuseppe Carlo Audino, who suffered from cancer.On December 19, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a decree recognizing a second miracle at Blessed André's intercession.and on October 17, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI formally declared sainthood for Blessed Andre. Along with Saint André, sainthood was also approved for Stanislaw Soltys, a 15th-century Polish priest; Italian nuns Giulia Salzano and Camilla Battista da Varano; Spanish nun Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola and an Australian nun, Mother Mary MacKillop.

                              PAPAL MASS FOR THE CANONIZATION OF NEW SAINTS:

St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 17 October 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The celebration of holiness is renewed today in St Peter's Square. I joyfully address my cordial welcome to you who have come from even very far away to take part in it. I offer a special greeting to the Cardinals, to the Bishops and to the Superiors General of the Institutes founded by the new Saints, as well as to the Official Delegations and to all the Civil Authorities. Let us seek together to understand what the Lord tells us in the Sacred Scriptures proclaimed just now. This Sunday's Liturgy offers us a fundamental teaching: the need to pray always, without tiring. At times we grow weary of praying, we have the impression that prayer is not so useful for life, that it is not very effective. We are therefore tempted to throw ourselves into activity, to use all the human means for attaining our goals and we do not turn to God. Jesus himself says that it is necessary to pray always, and does so in a specific parable (cf. Lk 18: 1-8).
This parable speaks to us of a judge who does not fear God and is no respecter of persons: a judge without a positive outlook, who only seeks his own interests. He neither fears God's judgement nor respects his neighbour. The other figure is a widow, a person in a situation of weakness. In the Bible, the widow and the orphan are the neediest categories, because they are defenceless and without means. The widow goes to the judge and asks him for justice. Her possibilities of being heard are almost none, because the judge despises her and she can bring no pressure to bear on him. She cannot even appeal to religious principles because the judge does not fear God. Therefore this widow seems without any recourse. But she insists, she asks tirelessly, importuning him, and in the end she succeeds in obtaining a result from the judge. At this point Jesus makes a reflection, using the argument a fortiori: if a dishonest judge ends by letting himself be convinced by a widow's plea, how much more will God, who is good, answer those who pray to him. God in fact is generosity in person, he is merciful and is therefore always disposed to listen to prayers. Therefore we must never despair but always persist in prayer.
The conclusion of the Gospel passage speaks of faith: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Lk 18: 8). It is a question that intends to elicit an increase of faith on our part. Indeed it is clear that prayer must be an expression of faith, otherwise it is not true prayer. If one does not believe in God's goodness, one cannot pray in a truly appropriate manner.
Faith is essential as the basis of a prayerful attitude. It was so for the six new Saints who are held up today for the veneration of the universal Church: Stanisław Sołtys, André Bessette, Cándida María de Jesús Cipitria y Barriola, Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Giulia Salzano and Battista Camilla Varano.
St Stanisław Kazimierczyk, a religious of the 15th century, can also be an example and an intercessor for us. His whole life was bound to the Eucharist, first of all in the Church of Corpus Domini in Kazimierz, known today as Krakow, where, beside his mother and father, he learned faith and piety. Here he made his religious vows with the Canons Regular; here he worked as a priest and educator, attentive to the care of the needy. However, he was linked in a special way to the Eucharist through his ardent love for Christ present under the species of the Bread and the Wine; by living the mystery of his death and Resurrection, which is fulfilled in an unbloody way in the Holy Mass; by the practice of love for neighbour, of which Communion is a source and a sign.
Bro. André Bessette, a native of Quebec in Canada, and a religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, experienced suffering and poverty at a very early age. They led him to have recourse to God through prayer and an intense inner life. As porter of the College of Notre Dame in Montreal, he demonstrated boundless charity and strove to relieve the distress of those who came to confide in him. With very little education, he had nevertheless understood where the essential of his faith was situated. For him, believing meant submitting freely and through love to the divine will. Wholly inhabited by the mystery of Jesus, he lived the beatitude of pure of heart, that of personal rectitude. It is thanks to this simplicity that he enabled many people to see God. He had built the Oratory of St Joseph of Mount Royal, whose faithful custodian he remained until his death in 1937. He was the witness of innumerable cures and conversions. "Do not seek to have your trials removed", he said, "ask rather for the grace to bear them well". For him, everything spoke of God and of God's presence. May we, in his footsteps, seek God with simplicity in order to discover him ever present in the heart of our life! May the example of Bro. André inspire Canadian Christian life!
When the Son of man comes to do justice to the chosen ones, will he find this faith on earth? (cf. Lk 18: 8). Today, contemplating figures such as Mother Cándida María de Jesús Cipitria y Barriola, we can say "yes" with relief and firmness. That girl of simple origins on whose heart God had set his seal and whom he brought very soon, with the guidance of her Jesuit spiritual directors, to make the firm decision to live "for God alone". She faithfully kept to her decision as she herself recalled when she was about to die. She lived for God and for what he most desires: to reach everyone, to bring everyone the hope that does not disappoint, especially to those who need it most. "Where there is no room for the poor, there is no room for me either" the new Saint said, and with limited means she imbued the other Sisters with the desire to follow Jesus and to dedicate themselves to the education and advancement of women. So it was that the Hijas de Jesús [Daughters of Jesus] came into being; today they have in their Foundress a very lofty model of life to imitate and an exciting mission to carry on Mother Cándida's apostolate with her spirit and aspirations, in many countries.
"Remember who your teachers were from these you can learn the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus". For many years countless young people throughout Australia have been blessed with teachers who were inspired by the courageous and saintly example of zeal, perseverance and prayer of Mother Mary MacKillop. She dedicated herself as a young woman to the education of the poor in the difficult and demanding terrain of rural Australia, inspiring other women to join her in the first women's community of religious sisters of that country. She attended to the needs of each young person entrusted to her, without regard for station or wealth, providing both intellectual and spiritual formation. Despite many challenges, her prayers to St Joseph and her unflagging devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom she dedicated her new congregation, gave this holy woman the graces needed to remain faithful to God and to the Church. Through her intercession, may her followers today continue to serve God and the Church with faith and humility!
In the second half of the 19th century, in Campania, in the south of Italy, the Lord called a young elementary teacher, Giulia Salzano, and made her an apostle of Christian education, Foundress of the Congregation of the Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Mother Gulia understood well the importance of catechesis in the Church and, combining pedagogical training with spiritual fervour, dedicated herself with generosity and intelligence, contributing to the formation of people of every age and social class. She would repeat to the Sisters that she wished to catechize to the very last hour of her life, showing with her whole self that if "God created us to know him, love him and serve him in this life", it is necessary to put nothing before this task. May the example and intercession of St Giulia Salzano sustain the Church in her perennial duty to proclaim Christ and to form authentic Christian consciences.
St Battista Camilla Varano, a Poor Clare nun of the 15th century, witnessed to the deep evangelical meaning of life, especially through persevering prayer. She entered the monastery in Urbino at the age of 23, fitting into that vast movement of the reform of Franciscan female spirituality which aimed to recover fully the charism of St Clare of Assisi. She promoted new monastic foundations in Camerino where she was several times elected Abbess, in Fermo and in San Severino. St Battista's life, totally immersed in divine depths, was a constant ascent on the way of perfection, with a heroic love of God and neighbour. She was marked by profound suffering and mystic consolation; in fact she had decided, as she herself writes, "to enter the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and to drown in the ocean of his most bitter suffering". In a period in which the Church was undergoing a period of moral laxity, she took with determination the road of penance and prayer, enlivened by an ardent desire for the renewal of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank the Lord for the gift of holiness that is resplendent in the Church and today shines out on the faces of these brothers and sisters of ours. Jesus also invites each one of us to follow him in order to inherit eternal life. Let us allow ourselves to be attracted by these luminous examples and to be guided by their teaching, so that our life may be a canticle of praise to God. May the Virgin Mary and the intercession of the six new Saints whom we joyfully venerate today obtain this for us. Amen.

      IN VARIOUS  

Une histoire comme on les aime: celle d’un petit garçon issu d’un
milieu peu favorisé, se battant pour grandir mais surtout pour
survivre, convaincu qu’un ange le protégeait, s’acharnant à poursuivre
le chemin qu’il cherchait devant lui, ouvrant son coeur à tous
qui l’approchaient, finalement reconnu et acclamé comme le saint
qui enrichissait la vie de ceux qui l’approchaient.
Mais cette fois, ce n’est ni un roman ni une fantaisie de cinéma.
Plutôt le vrai récit d’un homme de chez nous, à la vie aussi simple que
merveilleuse, qui est devenu l’ami de millions de personnes sans
jamais s’attribuer le moindre pouvoir, le moindre mérite. C’est grâce
à sa confiance en quelqu’un de plus grand, de plus puissant que lui
qu’il pouvait soulager ses visiteurs. Soulager leur corps, souvent;
leur coeur, toujours. Il aimait et faisait aimer. Il conduisait à Dieu
ceux qui savaient accueillir son grand ami, saint Joseph, dans leur
vie. L’histoire d’un saint d’aujourd’hui, incarné dans notre histoire
où il est resté présent et vivant.
ALFRED BESSETTE est né à Saint-Grégoire au sud de Montréal,
travaillé à Saint-Césaire, émigré un temps aux États-Unis, comme
des foules de jeunes de son temps, pour participer à l’essor des usines
de la Nouvelle-Angleterre. Plusieurs de ses compagnons ont adopté
cette nouvelle terre d’accueil et sont devenus les Franco-américains,
qui ont gardé leur nom françaiset un peu de la culture qui s’y
« Je vous envoie un saint… »
Le jeune Alfred est revenu au pays. Il s’est rapproché de celui en
qui il avait une confiance totale et qui représentait le don de soi qu’il
désirait pour lui même: le curé André Provençal. Ce dernier se dit un
jour: «Je sais où le placer ». Il écrivit alors aux religieux de la

congrégation de Sainte-Croix, qui enseignaient aux enfants de Côtedes-
Neiges, face au mont Royal. Il leur dit: « Je vous envoie un
saint… ».
Le jeune ouvrier timide, illettré, voit s’ouvrir une voix qu’il
désirait sans pourtant y croire: il serait un religieux! Sans savoir
comme il servirait le Dieu qui remplissait sa vie depuis son enfance,
il s’abandonnait à Lui. Peut-être surtout à saint Joseph: son ami, son
confident, depuislongtemps . Il devint frère André.
Si le début paraît banal, peut-être semblable à la vie de plusieurs
jeunesau parcours du jeune Alfred, ce qui suit demeure unique,
exceptionnel. On aura rarement vu, dansnotre histoire nordaméricaine,
un cheminement aussi extraordinaire. Au point que
mille choses paraissent presque incroyables dans l’évolution d’une
vie, d’une renommée, d’une petite chapelle. Car petit à petit, au long
desjours et despèlerins qu’il recevait, frère André s’est acquis une
réputation de thaumaturge à nulle autre pareille.
Le petit frère, le petit garçon frêle et malade, est mort le 6 janvier
1937, à l’âge de 91 ans. Un million de personnes sont venues le
remercier pour sa présence dans leur vie. Frère André demeure,
depuis ce jour, fidèle à des millions d’autres. Il n’a jamais cessé de
dire à ceux qui l’invoquaient: « Priez saint Joseph… ».

Who can resist a good story? Especially one about a young boy
from an underprivileged family, struggling to grow up but mainly
just to survive, convinced that he had a guardian angel, striving to
follow the path before him, opening his heart to all those who sought
him out, and finally gaining the recognition and acclaim that he
deserved as a saint who touched the lives of everyone he met.
But, this story isn’t a novel, or even a Hollywood movie. It’s the
true story of a man of the people, who led a humble but amazing life,
and who wasbefriended by millions of people without ever seeking
the least bit of power or recognition. Thanks to his faith in a higher
power, he was able to heal his followers-often their bodies, but
always their hearts. He loved, and was loved in return. He showed
everyone who welcomed hisbeloved Saint Joseph into their lives the
path to God. His is the story of a modern-day saint who lives on in our
collective history.
ALFRED BESSETTE wasborn in the town of Saint-Grégoire, south
of Montreal. He worked for a period in Saint-Césaire, and later, like
countless other young people at the time, moved to the United States
to work in the booming factoriesof New England. Many of his peers
settled permanently in this new land, becoming Franco-Americans
and keeping their French namesand shades of their native culture.
“I am sending you a saint...”
The young Alfred, however, returned to hisnative Canada. He
developed a close relationship with a man in whom he had complete
faith and who possessed the selflessness to which he aspired: Father
André Provençal. One day, Father Provençal said to himself: “I know
where I’m going to send him”. He wrote to the priests at the
Congregation of Holy Cross, teachers of the children in the district of

Côte-des-Neiges, facing Mount Royal. He told them, “I am sending
you a saint...”.
In disbelief, the shy and illiterate young worker suddenly saw
hislife’s calling appear before him: he would become a religious!
Without knowing exactly how he would serve the God who had been
such a central part of his life since childhood, Alfred dedicated
himself totally to Him, but perhaps mostly to Saint Joseph, his
long-time friend and confidante. He became Brother André.
While the early yearsof his career were somewhat mundane, not
unlike the livesof many other young men on the same path, the
eventsthat followed were truly exceptional. Very few people in the
history of North America can claim to have led such an extraordinary
life, to the extent that the myriad of eventsthat shaped the evolution
of the man, the legend and the tiny chapel seem almost unbelievable.
Slowly but surely, as the years went by and the pilgrims travelled to
the mountain, Brother André began to be known asa miracle
Then, on January 6, 1937, the sick and frail old man—the beloved
son and brother of the people—passed away at age 91. One million
people came to pay homage to him. And, since that day, millions of
othershave remained devoted to Brother André. To all those who
came to him in their hour of need, he spoke these immortal words:
“Pray to Saint Joseph”.

Una storia che ci piace tanto: quella di un ragazzino che proveniva
da una famiglia disagiata, che si è battuto per crescere ma soprattutto
per sopravvivere, convinto che un angelo lo proteggeva,
accanendosi a perseguire il cammino che cercava, aprendo il suo
cuore a tutti quelli che lo avvicinavano, finalmente riconosciuto e
acclamato come il santo che arricchiva la vita di coloro che lo
Ma questa volta, non é né un romanzo né una fantasia del cinema.
Ma è la storia vera di un uomo delle nostre parti, dalla vita cosi
semplice e meravigliosa, che è diventato l’amico di milioni di persone
senza mai attribuirsi il minimo potere, il minimo merito. È grazie alla
sua fiducia in qualcuno di più grande, di più potente di lui che poteva
dare sollievo ai suoi visitatori. Spesso dava sollievo al loro corpo ma
sempre al loro cuore. Amava e faceva amare. Portava a Dio quelli che
sapevano accogliere nella loro vita il suo grande amico, San
Giuseppe. La storia di un santo di oggi, incarnato nella nostra storia
dove è rimasto presente e vivo.
Il Beato ALFRED BESSETTE è nato a Saint-Grégoire nel sud di
Montreal, ha lavorato a Saint-Césaire, è emigrato negli Stati Uniti
per un periodo di tempo come tanti giovani del suo periodo per
partecipare allo sviluppo delle industrie della Nuova Inghilterra.
Tanti dei suoi compagni hanno adottato questa nuova terra di
accoglienza e sono diventati franco-americani, hanno tenuto il loro
cognome francese e un po’ della loro cultura.
«Vi mando un santo… »
Il giovane Alfred è tornato al suo paese. Si è avvicinato a colui nel
quale aveva una fiducia totale e che rappresentava il dono di se stesso
che desiderava per lui: il curato André Provençal. Quest’ultimo un

giorno si è detto: «So dove mandarlo ». Scrisse quindi ai religiosi della
congregazione di Santa Croce che insegnavano ai bambini della
Côte-des-Neiges, di fronte al Monte Royal dicendo « Vi mando un
Il giovane operaio timido, analfabeta, vede aprirsi una porta che
desiderava senza nemmeno crederci: diventerà un religioso! Senza
sapere come servirà il Dio che riempiva la sua vita dalla sua infanzia,
si abbandonava a lui. Soprattutto a San Giuseppe: suo amico, suo
confidente da tanto tempo. Diventa fratello André.
Se l’inizio sembra banale, simile alla vita di tanti giovani, ciò che
segue è unico ed eccezionale. Si è visto raramente nella nostra storia
nord americana, un cammino cosi straordinario. Al punto che mille
cose sembrano quasi incredibili nell’evoluzione di una vita, di una
fama, di una piccola cappella. Lungo la sua vita e grazie ai pellegrini
che riceveva, fratello André ha acquisito una reputazione di taumaturgo
uguale a nessun’altra.
Il fratellino, il ragazzino gracile e malato è morto il 6 gennaio
1937, all’età di 91 anni. Un milione di persone sono venute a
ringraziarlo per la sua presenza nella loro vita. Fratello André rimane
da quel giorno fedele a milioni di altre persone. Non ha mai smesso
di dire a coloro che lo invocavano: « Pregate San Giuseppe… ».

¿Quién se puede resistir a una buena historia? Especialmente una
acerca de un niño proveniente de una familia desfavorecida, que
luchó para crecer pero sobretodo para sobrevivir, que estaba
convencido de que tenía un ángel guardián, que se esforzó en seguir
el camino que se le presentó, que abrió su corazón a todas las
personas que lo buscaron, y que finalmente se ganó el reconocimiento
y la aclamación que merecía, como el santo que tocó las
vidasde todos aquellos que lo conocieron.
Sin embargo, esta historia no es una novela ni mucho menos una
película de Hollywood. Esta es la verdadera historia de un hombre
del pueblo que tuvo una vida humilde pero maravillosa, y que se
convirtió en amigo de millones de personas sin siquiera buscar un
poco de poder o reconocimiento. Graciasa que tenía fe en alguien
más poderoso, él pudo sanar a sus seguidores--la mayoría de veces a
sus cuerpos pero siempre a sus corazones. Él amó y fue amado.
Mostró el camino hacia Dios a todo aquel que daba la bienvenida a
sus vidas a su querido San José. Su historia es la de un santo moderno
que vive en nuestra historia colectiva.
ALFRED BESSETTE nació en el pueblo de Saint-Grégorie al sur de
Montreal. Trabajó por un tiempo en Saint-Cesáire, y más adelante,
como muchos otros jóvenes de su tiempo, se mudó a los Estados
Unidospara trabajar en las crecientes fábricasde Nueva Inglaterra.
Muchos de sus compañeros se mudaron definitivamente a esta tierra
nueva, convirtiéndose en franco americanos y conservando sus
nombres franceses y sombras de su cultura nativa.
«Les estoy enviando un santo... »
Sin embargo, el joven Alfred regresó a su nativa Canadá.
Desarrolló una cercana relación con un hombre a quien le tenía una

confianza total y que poseía el desinterés que él aspiraba: Padre
André Provençal. Un día el Padre Provençal se dijo a sí mismo: «Ya
sé a donde lo voy a enviar » Les escribió a los curas de la
Congregación de la Santa Cruz, maestros de los niños del distrito de
Côte-des-Neiges, al frente del Mount Royal. Les dijo, « les estoy
enviando un santo... ».
Sin creerlo, el joven trabajador tímido y analfabeto de pronto
vio el llamado de su vida aparecerse frente a él: ¡se convertiría en
religioso! Sin saber exactamente cómo serviría a Dios quien había
sido una parte central de su vida desde su niñez, Alfred se dedicó
totalmente a Él, pero quizá en mayor parte a San José, su viejo amigo
y confidente. Se convirtió en el Hermano André.
Aunque los primeros años de su carrera fueron algo mundanos,
parecidosa los de la vida de otros jóvenes en el mismo camino, los
acontecimientosque siguieron fueron verdaderamente excepcionales.
Muy pocas personas en la historia de Norteamérica pueden
afirmar que han tenido una vida tan extraordinaria, en la medida que
losinnumerables acontecimientos que formaron la evolución del
hombre, la leyenda y la pequeña capilla parecen casi increíbles. Poco
a poco conforme losañospas aban y losperegrinos viajaban a la
montaña, el Hermano André comenzó a ser conocido como el
trabajador milagroso.
Luego, el 6 de enero de 1937, el viejo y débil hombre —el hijo y
hermano adorado de las personas— falleció a los 91 años. Un millón
de personas vinieron a rendirle homenaje. Y, desde ese día, millones
de personas continuaron siendo devotas del Hermano André. A todas
aquellas personas que fueron a él en su momento de necesidad, les
dijo estas palabras inmortales: «Recen a San José ».

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