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Saint Brother André, pray for us

on Saturday, 01 January 2011. Posted in Saints & Blessed

Thanksgiving Mass at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium

On October 30, 2010, over 45,000 people gathered in Montreal's Olympic Stadium for a Thanksgiving Mass in honor of Brother André's canonization. 58 Canadian Bishops were also present, as well as many religious from Br. André's Congregation of Holy Cross. Here are excerpts from the homily given by Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, Archbishop of Montreal:

The Church never canonizes someone solely for who he was and how he lived before. She canonizes someone also for what he has to say to and show the men and women of today. What then does he have to say to us? What then can be shown to us by Brother André, who, in his time, was recognized as a great miracle worker and had the audacity to undertake construction, on Mount Royal, of what would become the largest oratory dedicated to Saint Joseph. He first tells us and shows us that life is beautiful and fruitful when it is oriented towards listening to and serving others.

Brother André was a man of attentiveness and compassion. He left it up to all those who were unhappy — rich or poor — to approach him. Very often, he went to those who could not come to him. Almost every day, in his office, for hours and hours, he lent his ear. He made himself attentive to those who confided in him their misfortunes, their sufferings, their illnesses, their disappointments, their failures, their unhappiness… After listening, he comforted them. He called them to courage and hope. He exhorted them to trust in God. He prayed a lot for those who spoke to him. He prayed to God. He prayed to Mary. With fervour, he prayed to St. Joseph, he prayed before Christ on the Cross.

One of his friends, Mr. Joseph Pichette, said of him, "Before leaving to visit the sick, he took us to pray with him in the chapel, and he would pray for a long time. During his visits with the sick, he would ask us from time to time to drive him to the church, where he sometimes prayed for an hour or more." (...)

What Brother André also tells us and shows us is that life is worth living in the company of God. In God, Brother André had a living faith. Not an intellectual faith. Not a complicated faith. Not a faith learned from books. A faith received on the knees of his mother. A faith informed by long times of prayer and meditation. A faith that was bathed in love. If there was one thing that the brother was certain of, it was the love of God. It pleased him to say, "How the good God is good! How He takes care of us!" He also loved to say, "The good God loves us so much, infinitely, he wants us to love Him."

Brest in him. Brother André spoke about suffering in words that were simple, yet surprising and luminous. He said, "Those who suffer have something to offer to the good God." He said, "Don't ask that your trials would be lifted; ask God more for the grace to bear them well." He said, "Place yourselves in the hands of the good God; He abandons no one in adversity." We live in an era when it's tempting to think that one can live without reference to God. Brother André reminds us that what gives flavour to life and makes it fruitful is living it with God, in His intimacy and in His love.

Brother André was convinced that God could use him to accomplish wonderful things. For many decades, people came to him as a worker of wonders. It never went to his head. In fact, he often said: "The world is silly if it thinks that Brother André is doing miracles. It is the good God who does the miracles. Saint Joseph obtains them." And, following Saint Paul, he said, in reference to God, "An artist makes the most beautiful paintings with the smallest of brushes".

This is not a small Saint that has been canonized, but a great, great one. This great saint — Brother André — is from our country, our own town. Among our parents and grandparents, or among the friends of our parents and grandparents, many knew him. He lived close to us on Mount Royal and said, "When I die, I'll be much closer to the good God than I am now, I will have much more power to help you."

Brother André…Saint Brother André, we pray to you, keep your promise. Pray for us: pray that we become women and men of attentiveness and compassion, women and men who love God with a great love because they know they are very loved by Him, women and men who, having become "disciples" of Jesus, become "meek and humble of heart" like Him and in Him find "rest". Amen.

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