Having grown up only an hour away from Montreal, I was fortunate to make several visits to St. Joseph's Oratory over the years with my family. So many of us have been touched by the life of Brother Andre - a simple, humble man who didn't allow his own frailties to stop him from serving God. He may have been small in stature and considered a weakling by many, yet his tremendous faith in God and devotion to St. Joseph allowed him to be used as an instrument for healing for thousands.
On October 17, 2010, Brother Andre has been recognized by the church as a saint!
Brother Andre was born Alfred Bessette on Aug. 9, 1845, in St-Gregoire-d'Iberville, and orphaned when he was 12 years old.
Once he took his vows, he gave comfort to people who came to him at College Notre-Dame for solace, and many credited him with curing their illnesses.
He founded St. Joseph's Oratory in 1904, although it was a modest chapel and far from the grand landmark that looms over Montreal today.
He was named the Oratory's guardian in 1909.
Brother Andre died at age 91 on Jan. 6, 1937. During the six days and nights before his funeral, more than one million people filed past his coffin.
His heart still rests in a small shrine in the Oratory, where he was ultimately laid to rest.