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Blessed Brother Andrè, to become first male Canadian saint and first saint from Congregation of Holy Cross

2010-05-18

They are members of the Congregation of Holy Cross, a Catholic order founded in 1837. The order has 1,500 members, half are priests and the other half brothers.

In this hallway inside the generalate, are pictures of members who are on their way to canonization.

And this statue is of their first member who will become a saint. His name is Blessed Brother Andrè Bessette.

Brother John Paige
Vicar General, Congregation of Holy Cross

“It’s wonderful to have our first saint and he was also our first member beatified. So it’s very important for Holy Cross, but it’s also very important for the Church in Canada.”

Blessed Brother Andrè will become Canada’s first male saint.

He was born in a poor family on August 9 in 1854 near Montreal. Without a formal education, he was barely able to read or write.

Brother John Paige
Vicar General, Congregation of Holy Cross
“So it’s kind of amazing that one who the world would consider quite inadequate, poor health, no education, very poor, quite disadvantaged, would in fact have this gift of prayer which was recognized by his parish priest and then that was the recommendation for keeping him as a member of our congregation.”

He joined the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1874. While serving as a porter at a university in Montreal he began healing the sick and earned the name ‘Miracle Man of Montreal.’

Father Cleary heard a first hand account of a miraculous healing. A professor told him, that when he was a young boy, his newborn sister had a brain tumor.

Father Hugh Cleary
Superior General, Congregation of Holy Cross

“There was no medical hope for her so his mother brought her up to visit Brother Andre. He simply put his hand on the infant’s head and said she would be alright and that was all. Sure enough the tumor disappeared, almost immediately.”

In 1982, Blessed Brother Andrè was beatified by Pope John Paul II. He will be proclaimed a saint on October 17.

Both Father Cleary and Brother Paige are making special plans for the celebration. Father Cleary will return to Rome for the special day and Brother Paige will celebrate in Montreal where there will be a celebration with fireworks and a concert.

In the meantime, reminders of Blessed Brother Andrè’s compassion and faith fill their Holy Cross generalate in Rome. Blessed Brother Andrè, a man of simple means with a gift of healing and prayer.

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