Among all the flowers blossoming at Saint Joseph’s Oratory, one flaunts its name proudly: the Iris ‘Frere Andre’.

This hybrid was bred by Elaine Bessette of the United States. She was determined to honour her family’s sainted religious brother. The flower was registered with the American Iris Society in 1996, a year after the first seedlings were sent to the Oratory in order to test their resistance to the Québec weather, and it went on the market in 2003.

The petals of the Iris ‘Frere Andre’ are colored white, lavender, and violet. The stalks can grow as high as 84 cm (33 in.). Sometimes, the iris will bloom twice a season (at the beginning of June and in September), and they last about two weeks.

On the landscape of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, you’ll find these beautiful blooms in the flower beds at the pedestrian entrance as well as in front of the original chapel of Brother André.

Official description of the American Iris Society

‘Frere Andre’ (Elaine Bessette, registered 1996). Seedling EWMBS-92-11. TB, height 33″ (84 cm), mid to late season bloom. Standards and style arms sea lavender violet (RHS 85D), darker midrib streak; falls medium violet (88B), lightly veined darker blue violet (89D); beards sea lavender violet, lemon yellow (13A) in throat; ruffled; slight sweet fragrance. ‘Edith Wolford’ X M. Byers “space age” seedling, parentage unknown. Aitken 2003.