Canonization of Blessed Andre Bessette

Resolution on the Canonization of Blessed Andre Bessette adopted by the 128th Supreme Convention on Aug. 5, 2010.

128th Supreme Convention

WHEREAS, Alfred Bessette was born on August 9, 1845 in Mont-Sainte Gregoire, Quebec, to a family living in poverty; and

WHEREAS, he was orphaned at the age of twelve and was forced to leave school to earn a living, wandering from job to job and working at various times as a farm hand, a tinsmith, a blacksmith, a baker, and a cobbler; and

WHEREAS, in 1870 he was accepted in the novitiate of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal and received the religious name of Brother Andre; and  

WHEREAS, he served as the porter at the Notre Dame College in Montreal for nearly forty years, spending his days receiving guests and visiting the sick and the afflicted in nearby homes and hospitals; and

WHEREAS, his great confidence in St. Joseph inspired him to present many of the sick with medals of the saint and anoint them with oil that came from a lamp burning next to a statue of St. Joseph in the Notre Dame College chapel; and

WHEREAS, Brother Andre urged the sick to pray with confidence and perseverance, guiding them to begin their path to healing through a humble commitment to faith, through confession and a return to the sacraments; and

WHEREAS, Brother Andre’s reputation grew as thousands of pilgrims visited him, many claiming to have received miraculous cures through his prayers and the intercession of St. Joseph; and

WHEREAS, in 1900 Brother Andre received permission to raise the money to build a small wooden oratory honoring St. Joseph on Mount Royal; and

WHEREAS, Brother Andre spent his days seeing the sick and counseling those who came to the oratory which, by the 1920s, hosted over one million pilgrims annually; and

WHEREAS, his hope for a larger shrine was realized in 1914 when construction began on a basilica that would become known as St. Joseph’s Oratory; and

WHEREAS, Brother Andre died in Montreal in 1937 at the age of 91 without seeing the completion of the Oratory; and

WHEREAS, Brother Andre is buried in Saint Joseph’s Oratory, which is registered on the list of National Historic Sites of Canada and is the world largest shrine dedicated to St. Joseph, drawing more than 2 million pilgrims annually; and

WHEREAS, Brother Andre was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and is scheduled to be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 17, 2010.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Brother Andre’s life of service to the sick and afflicted will be an inspiration to all Knights of Columbus to imitate his life of simple faith, continuous prayer and unfailing charity; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that Brother Andre’s great devotion to St. Joseph will serve as a reminder for all Knights of Columbus to honor and pray to the foster father of Jesus who is the exemplary model for husbands and fathers; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that Knights of Columbus will learn from Brother Andre and from St. Joseph what it is to care for Jesus through acts of charity for the sick and the afflicted; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that devotion to St. Joseph, the patron saint of Canada and the Guardian of the Holy Family, will inspire Knights of Columbus to continue the work of building a Culture of Life through protection of the unborn and support for marriage and family; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that we will honor the vision of Brother Andre through a commitment to charity, unity and fraternity that will cause our Order to reach ever more people in need.