Saint Brother André, Patron Saint of Caregivers

In this month of Saint Brother André, Patron Saint of Caregivers, we want to highlight the importance of those who devote much of their time and energy to people who are ill and isolated because of their age or loss of autonomy. Following the example of the Canaanite woman in the Gospel of the August 9th liturgy, and of Saint Brother André, caregivers know that life is no match for hope when it comes to believing. Believing as an immense yes to life.

We are aware of the very important role played by caregivers in helping people who need tenderness and love not only to heal, but to live and know they are loved. In this context, more than ever, we are discovering the essential role of caregivers.

In the Gospel of Matthew (13:21-28), which the liturgy of August 9 proposes to us, the Lord invites us to give a warm welcome to those in need, whether strangers or those close to us. He himself sets the example. He welcomes and hears the Canaanite woman who prays to him for her daughter. Strangers are not always those who come to us from faraway lands. They are often relatives, neighbors or friends in need of help, knocking at the door of our home or our heart.

When we devote time to helping someone, we can’t help but rejoice when we see their smile and comfort. Our warm presence communicates a personal beauty, and we ourselves become better for it.

Through his welcome, Jesus teaches us that he came for everyone, without exception. Following his example, we are invited to open ourselves up to everyone, and in particular to those close to us who need our friendship, our support, our presence to keep hope alive and to continue smiling at life despite the difficult times.

In the Gospel, Jesus shows great admiration for the generosity and faith of the Canaanite woman. Many a caregiver could identify with this Canaanite woman, who shows great determination in caring for her sick daughter. And today, it’s the same look the Lord gives to caregivers. A look of admiration and concern. As he reminds us, if he was attentive to a stranger, he could not be indifferent to the generosity of caregivers and their appeals, because for him, we are children of God. He came and gave his life for us, so that we might have life in abundance.

In the Gospel of August 9, 2023, Jesus invites us to follow in his footsteps and to be among those who pass on life and happiness to those around them. The commitment of caregivers is a testimony to what we can do to make the words of the Gospel effective.

As patron saint of caregivers, Brother André teaches us the language of the heart and of faith, so precious for those who dedicate their lives to the service of the suffering and needy. That’s why, in this month of Saint Brother André, we want to give thanks to the Lord for the generosity and perseverance of all caregivers, who, following the example of their patron saint, are building a world where compassion and concern for others know no exception. They can make their own that beautiful Easter hymn that proclaims:

Jesus who burned my heart
At the crossroads of scripture,
Don’t let their wound
In me close:
Turn my steps inward,
Force my steps to adventure,
So that the fire of your happiness
To others take!…
And by your name in my eyes,
Make yourself known!

With this hymn, we understand that God needs us to welcome others and reveal his love to them, as Jesus did to the Canaanite woman. Jesus invites us to look at others with love, so that others can recognize his love in our gaze.

Let us ask the Lord to transform our hearts so that, like Saint Brother André, we can welcome our brothers and sisters with compassion. Then the Lord can illuminate our hearts with his joy and fill us with his love. In this month of August 2023, may Saint Joseph and Saint Brother André help us to believe in the Risen Christ, the One who has set our hearts on fire with his Love.