In this month of May, the month of Mary, I invite you to take a moment to discover the place of the Virgin Mary in the life of Saint Brother André.

Witnesses of the last moments of Brother André’s life report that, a few moments before he died, this great friend of Saint Joseph entrusted himself to Mary, saying:

“O Mary, my gentle mother and mother of my gentle Saviour, look upon me kindly and come to my aid.”

It is easy to guess that in his last moments, Brother André took up again formulas of prayer that had accompanied him throughout his life. These invocations, like his habit of praying the rosary, were part of a tradition that went back to his early childhood and which was confirmed throughout his life.

When he became a religious of the Holy Cross Congregation, he learned to pray to Mary, the Virgin of Sorrows, the main patron saint of the congregation. As early as the novitiate, the young religious were invited to take up the traditional prayers to Mary such as the rosary and the litany of the Virgin. Brother André welcomed this invitation to pray to the Virgin and thus continue this prayer that he had first experienced on his mother’s lap.

This practice accompanied him throughout his life. Brother André was not content to recite his rosary every day. He used this form of prayer as a precious means of intercession with the Virgin asking her help for the hundreds of people he met.

He who so often, during his life, invited those who came to him to pray to Saint Joseph with fervor and confidence also knew how to invite them to turn to Mary. Saint Joseph was like a faithful friend in whom we can put all our trust; Mary was his mother in heaven. Azarias Claude, friend and confidant of Brother André said: “Brother André certainly had a great love for the Blessed Virgin. He used to hold the beads of his rosary between his fingers and recite them every day, and even several times a day.” It was primarily because she was the mother of the Lord that she should be prayed to and honored.

Brother André’s devotion to Mary, like his devotion to Saint Joseph, makes sense in the context of the Holy Family. Brother Andrew said:

“Never separate devotion to the Blessed Virgin from devotion to Saint Joseph and our Lord; it is devotion to the Holy Family.”

What makes this family absolutely unique is the presence in its midst of the son of God made man. He is the only Savior, and in him and through him God has manifested himself among us; he will always manifest himself.