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Brother André: André and Joseph

Matthew Harrison

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ite ad Joseph.
That's the inscription below the statue of Joseph in front of St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal. Go to Joseph.
BrAndreIt's a famous instruction by Blessed Brother André Bessette, CSC, who's feast day we celebrate today. Of his devotion to Joseph, Fr. H.P. Bergeron, CSC, one of the humble brother's contemporaries, writes in The Wonder Man of Mount Royal:
The underlying principle of this devotion was, that as Jesus was placed under the care of Joseph, so the Church, which is a continuation of Christ, must also be entrusted to his special care. (p123)
Fr. Bergeron explains that Brother André's "mission was not to expound the hidden mysteries of the life of Saint Joseph, but ... to show himself a living copy of his protector." (124)
Joseph: humble, trusting, prudent, patient, a guardian, a protector. Certainly admirable virtues to model oneself after -- particularly for men and fathers.
Fr. Bergeron explains that though Brother André's devotion to Joseph was great, he also had a great love for the Passion of our Lord. He writes those were the two key elements of the saintly porter:
The sufferings of Our Redeemer became his absorbing love and his constant preoccupation. The Passion was always his favourite topic of conversation. He liked to enter into detailed descriptions such as we read in the prophets or the mystics; his whole life was influenced by this constant turning of his mind towards the Passion of Christ. (126)
... While making the Stations of the Cross he seemed to be conversing with Saint Joseph. (127)
The Mass and the Holy Eucharist were also a great love for the lay brother. He encouraged frequent communion, and even offered this advice:
"Before Mass ... always say this prayer: 'O holy Angels, grant that I may be filled with the presence of God on the altar as you are penetrated by it in Heaven. (127)
As I wrote, these quotes come from Fr. Bergeron's The Wonder Man of Mount Royal (translated into English from French by Fr. R. Boudreau, CSC). It's been a pleasure for me to flip through this book and get a better idea of who Brother André was. I wanted to learn more about this great figure of the Canadian Church as he is on the cusp of being reconized as Saint André! (as you may have read HERE or mentioned yesterday in the blog posting containing Fr. Rosica's CCO Address)
It's something I encourage all of our readers to do: get to know the Saints and Blesseds of Canada better! Try typing one of their names into a search engine: unlock their lives, and allow them to become real witnesses to you today!
May Brother André, with St. Joseph at his side (and ours), pray for us!

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