Beatified By: Pope John Paul II Canonized: October 17, 2010, Saint Peter’s Square, Rome, by Pope Benedict XVI
When Alfred Bessette came to the Holy Cross Brothers in 1870, he carried with him a note from his pastor saying, “I am sending you a saint.” The Brothers found that difficult to believe. Chronic stomach pains had made it impossible for Alfred to hold a job very long and since he was a boy he had wandered from shop to shop, farm to farm, in his native Canada and in the United States, staying only until his employers found out how little work he could do. The Holy Cross Brothers were teachers and, at 25, Alfred still did not know how to read and write. It seemed as if Alfred approached the religious order out of desperation, not vocation.
After his vows, Brother Andre was sent to Notre Dame College in Montreal (a school for boys age seven to twelve) as a porter, Brother Andre joked later, “At the end of my novitiate, my superiors showed me the door, and I stayed there for forty years.”
The Archbishop granted him permission to build a chapel to Saint Joseph on the mountain near the college. When he started by adding a roof so that all the people who were coming to hear Mass at the shrine wouldn’t have to stand out in the rain and the wind.
Through kindness, caring, and devotion, Brother Andre helped many souls experience healing and renewal on the mountaintop. There were many cases of physical healing. But for everything, Brother Andre thanked our Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel of Healing.
Go and preach, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is near!’ Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases, and drive out demons. You have received without paying, so give without being paid. Do not carry any gold, silver, or copper money in your pockets; do not carry a beggar’s bag for the trip or an extra shirt or shoes or a walking stick. Workers should be given what they need.
“When you come to a town or village, go in and look for someone who is willing to welcome you, and stay with him until you leave that place. When you go into a house, say, ‘Peace be with you.’ If the people in that house welcome you, let your greeting of peace remain; but if they do not welcome you, then take back your greeting. And if some home or town will not welcome you or listen to you, then leave that place and shake the dust off your feet. I assure you that on the Judgment Day God will show more mercy to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah than to the people of that town!
During his earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus Christ touched and transformed countless lives. The four Gospels record 37 miracles of Jesus, only a small portion of the multitudes of people who were made whole by our Savior. The closing verse of John’s Gospel says, John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”