At the service of the archives of Saint Brother André

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.

Like everyone else, I knew the main lines of the story of the doorman at Notre-Dame College, but nothing more. In my family history, the miracle is not due to Saint Joseph but rather to his mother-in-law, Sainte Anne! I knew that thousands of people claimed to have been healed through the intercession of Brother André, but that was the end of my knowledge.

Frere Andre sculpture

7-3: Caption: Brother André takes a break for sculptor Albert Chartier, circa 1936.
Associated Screen News. Archives of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal

Today, I am in charge of the center that takes care of the archives of a saint. This is not trivial. As you can imagine, my colleagues and I take our work seriously. As you will discover in the coming weeks through our blogs, there is much to say about Saint Brother André and his work. You will discover how the life of Saint Brother André inspired a host of gestures and initiatives aimed at sharing his spirituality and devotion to Saint Joseph with as many people as possible.

I leave it to others to draw parallels between Saint Brother André and the mission of Saint Joseph. But there is a resemblance that never ceases to fascinate me. Like Saint Joseph, Saint Brother André left few written traces. We have many testimonies about the man he was, but by his own hand, almost nothing. For the archivist it can be a bit disappointing… And yet, when we open the boxes and plunge into the history of all the lives that his presence inspired, we have no doubt that we will still have years to discover who he was and the extent of his action in the world.

It is therefore to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the canonization of Saint Brother André that we invite you to discover with us archival documents chosen especially for the occasion! We hope that they will inspire you to want to know more about the life of the founder of the shrine and, why not, to pique your curiosity about the very special world of archives. A little like Saint Brother André, we are happy to “welcome” you to our vaults!

David Bureau, Archivist

Chaise frère André

Bakery of Saint-Césaire where Brother André worked.