On October 30, 2010, the canonization of Saint Brother André was celebrated with a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. This is the second time in 30 years that the Stadium has hosted an event concerning Brother André: the first event took place on June 20, 1982 on the occasion of Brother André’s beatification. Archbishop Paul Grégoire, Archbishop of Montreal, gave the homily for the occasion.
A Significant Event that Marked My Life and that of the Congregation Of Holy Cross
On October 30, at the Olympic Stadium, there were many of us from the Holy Cross family, gathered with more than 40,000 people to give thanks to God for having given us this exceptional man, Brother André. He is the first member of our religious community and the first man born in the country to be declared a saint for the whole world.
As soon as Brother André died, many pious images were produced and distributed by the Oratory. They are usually wallet-sized images with a representation of Brother André on one side and a prayer text on the back. The inscriptions on the back of these images give them great interest.
That’s it, fall is already well established. Due to the closing of the museums, I invite you in this blog to discover our heritage in a completely different way. Let’s get outside the walls of the Oratory and discover a place out of the ordinary in the great outdoors.
I have been employed at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal for a little over five years. I was not at the Oratory at the time of Brother André’s canonization. I wasn’t even in Montreal. Although I remember where I was and what I was doing in October 2010, to tell the truth, I knew very little about the man Pope Benedict XVI had just canonized.
Since October 17, 2010, Brother André has been recognized as a Saint by the Catholic Church, 73 years after his death. This recognition is the fruit of a long work accomplished by what was then the Office for the Cause of Brother André. Since my arrival at the Oratory in 2017, I have processed the archives of this office. This blog post presents the process that led to Brother André’s canonization.
It’s been ten years already. Not by accident was Brother André canonized on October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. His whole life was dedicated to relieving the sufferings of others, giving them hope and telling them they were beloved by God.
“I have always left the Oratory in God’s hands… he will do with it what he will.” The 10th anniversary of Brother André’s canonization reminds us that these words pronounced by this humble brother with the heart of an apostle are still full of relevance and promise.
When he founded the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1837, Father Basile Moreau opened the door to a wide range of missionary engagements. ln 1840, he responded to the requests of an Algerian bishop; the next year, he established a new team to support the work of the Church in the American Midwest. Six years later, in 1847, he accepted the invitation of the Bishop of Montréal, and sent a group of Sisters, Brothers and Priests to Quebec. ln 1850, he agreed to send a team to Rome to care for orphans. Finally, in 1852, he acquiesced to a request made by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, and took on the difficult Bengal mission.
The end of Summer holidays is an important reality in different areas. It marks the back-to-school and back-to-work periods, the return to parliament, to cultural and artistic activities or the return from a particular place. Even if it means the end of the vacations, it is always marked by a certain feverishness.
Each year, several thousand schoolchildren come to visit the Oratory. They are always impressed by the character of Saint Brother André and by the immense house of prayer that he erected with his friends in honor of Saint Joseph.
Several years ago a diocesan priest from the South Shore gave this touching testimony on his website: “If I am free on a Sunday, I like to participate in one of the Sunday Masses at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. The liturgy is simple. The singing is beautiful. And above all, the gathering of the faithful speaks volumes. The testimony of people’s faith, modest but real, stimulates my faith and my hope… People of all nations, of all colors, of all ages, of all states of health and probably of diverse religions, come to pray to God during the Eucharist, and to Saint Joseph in the huge hall with votive lamps and to Brother André at his tomb. It is truly the universal Church that is present here and it is, visibly, the salvation wrought by Jesus for all that is manifested here.”