I am sending you a saint!
— Rev. André Provençal, St. André’s childhood priest
St. André Bessette was helped on the path to religious life by his beloved childhood pastor, Rev. André Provençal — whose name he eventually took when he professed his Final Vows. Fr. Provençal realized early on that Alfred Bessette (St. André’s given name) was very spiritual. He was amazed at the young man’s dedication to prayer. In 1870, convinced that his young parishioner was surely being called by God, the kind and perceptive priest sent Alfred, then 25 years old, to the superiors of the Congregation of Holy Cross for formation with the prophetic note stating “I am sending you a saint.”
There was a great cause for joy within the Congregation of Holy Cross and throughout the Church on October 17, 2010, when Br. André was canonized a saint by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome. He is the first saint in the history of our Congregation. Given the title “Blessed” in 1982, this “Miracle Man of Montreal” has inspired millions by offering hope, hospitality and healing during his lifetime (1845–1937) and by his profound faith and humble service, enlivened by a special devotion to St. Joseph.
Members of the United States Province made the trip to Rome to be a part of the Canonization Celebrations.
“We are honored and moved beyond words at Brother André’s formal recognition as a saint,” said Rev. David Tyson, C.S.C., Provincial Superior of the Indiana Province of Holy Cross. “It seems wonderfully apt and instructive that the first Holy Cross saint was a man who insisted, sometimes testily, ‘to serve is sweeter than to be served.’”
Below are links to coverage of this joyous occasion for the Congregation of Holy Cross:
- The Canonization of St. André Bessette - English coverage of the canonization of St. André, first male Canadian-born saint, hosted by Mary Rose Bacani.
- Montreal Celebrates St. André - English coverage of the Commemorative Mass at the Olympic stadium on Oct. 30, on the occasion of the canonization of Br. André, hosted by Mary Rose Bacani.
- Remembering Brother André - Catholic Focus episode highlighting the pilgrims who go to St. Joseph’s Oratory and stories about Br. André in southwestern Ontario and different parts of the United States, hosted by Mary Rose Bacani.