The Love of God Within the Heart’s Reach

In 1922, George Ham, a journalist from Maclean’s magazine, came to the Oratory to write a story about Brother André. A Protestant, this is how he described the activities of Brother André:

“Brother André prayed with the afflicted and often mingled his tears with those of the distressed. Brother André’s only desire was to serve God, to practice devotion to good Saint Joseph and to spend his life in easing the sufferings of his neighbor.” This journalist eventually became a good friend of Brother André and one of his first biographers. He recounted that Brother André was appreciated by a number of the faithful, “both Catholic and those belonging to other religious beliefs.”

Like many pilgrims, George Ham understood the significance of a man like Brother André. A man of great compassion for anyone who is suffering, Brother André soothes and changes hearts, heals bodies and brings hope into people’s lives. He makes palpable within the reach of the human heart, the presence and love of this God revealed by Christ Jesus, God as a Father, full of mercy, a God who awakens life and hope.

That was true in 1922. It is still a living reality today, especially during this time of pandemic. To be convinced, you need only to read or listen to the numerous witnesses who regularly come to the Oratory.

Pilgrims have always loved to honor and invoke a saint who have lived experiences much like their own, but especially an experience which puts them in the presence of the love of God full of mercy and a source of life.

Since the canonization of Brother André, there are more and more pilgrims who come in contact with his testimony of faith and compassion and who are inspired by it.

Brother André was canonized almost 10 years ago. When one of our own is canonized, it is our common faith that is stimulated. We discover the pride of sharing the same faith, a faith that enlivens and transforms the quality of our relationships with others and with God.

Today, Saint André provides us with the opportunity to deepen our most profound spiritual roots, and to awaken hope in those who are striving toward their future or having doubts about it.

On August 9, we will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the birth of Saint André. Animated by the same faith and the same confidence, we will be inspired by his testimony of faith and love. United in prayer, we will entrust to his intercession and that of his great friend Saint Joseph all our intentions, in particular for all those who still suffer from the effects of the Covid 19 virus.

Jean-Pierre Aumont, CSC