10th anniversary of the canonization of Saint André Bessette, CSC

Mass on October 30, 2010 at the Olympic Stadium

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. For our Congregation, this declaration was a real source of pride as Cardinal Turcotte reminded us in his homily,

“It is not a little saint who has just been canonized, but a great, a very great one.”

This very great saint—Brother André—is one of our own…. Who among us has not heard of him from a grandmother, an uncle, a member of our family? He lived right next to us on Mount Royal.”

If the Church has canonized Brother André, it is particularly “for what he has to say and show to the men and women of today.”

“Above all, he must tell us and show us that a life is beautiful and fruitful when it is marked by listening and by service to others. He let all the unfortunate… draw near to him…. He listened, then comforted. He invited courage and hope. He urged people to trust in God.”

Cardinal Turcotte stade

© Photo: Bernard Brault

Secondly, what Brother André says and shows, “is that life is worth living in the company of God. Brother André had a living faith in God…. A faith that was drenched with love… Brother André reminds us that what gives zest to life and makes it fruitful is to live it with God, in intimacy with God and in God’s love.”

Relique SFA

© Photo: Bernard Brault

This grand celebration powerfully invited us to follow the example of Saint André, to follow in his footsteps: simply, with boldness and faith, with vision and conviction. This was a reminder of the commitment we have all made as religious men and women of Holy Cross: to let ourselves be inhabited by God’s love and to live our life in the service of others, witnesses to God’s compassion and love.

I had the privilege of collaborating in the Oratory’s mission for 18 years before the canonization. Those years spent at the shrine on Mount Royal gave me the opportunity to hear the confidences and reflections of many people. I saw how much Brother André had been able to mark their life, change it even! Moreover, I was to be directly involved in the process of recognizing the healing that led to the canonization, before the end of my term as rector. For me, it was one of the most intense moments for giving thanks and realizing how important the contribution of Saint André was to the life of the Church, and how important also was the support of all those who contribute to the continuation of the mission of Saint Joseph’s Oratory.

Brother André’s attitude, his receptiveness, his trust in God and his compassion are still of great importance in 2020. In many ways, life is not much easier than in Brother André’s time. With the current pandemic, many people are facing poverty, disease, precarious work, loneliness. Socially and politically, we often feel helpless in the face of uncertainties about the future. Sometimes we even have trouble finding our way toward it.

Brother André reminds us that God is a loving Father who takes care of us. In God, we find strength and courage to take up the challenges, to overcome the obstacles encountered on our path. Following Saint André, it is enough to believe, to trust in God and to open the door of our heart to the needs of others. This is a path of hope.

Canonisation stade 30 oct 2010

© Photo: Bernard Brault

The celebration at the Olympic Stadium marked the conclusion of a long process, of course; but also the beginning of an even greater commitment, rallying people all over the world. As members of the family of Holy Cross, we are invited to redouble our efforts to make ever more known the message of welcome, listening, and compassion, the message of faith and hope offered to the world by the example and life of our friend, Saint André!

Jean-Pierre Aumont, CSC