Birth of Alfred Bessette on Grand-Bois Lane in Saint-Grégoire d’Iberville, son of Isaac Bessette and Clothilde Foisy. The very next day, he is baptised in the “chapel/rectory” of Saint-Grégoire Parish by Father Pierre-Albert Sylvestre.
The Bessette family moves to Farnham, Québec. Tragically, Isaac dies, crushed under an axed tree, February 20, 1855. His wife Clothilde dies on November 20, 1857.
Alfred, aged 12, moves to Saint-Césaire and receives the Sacrament of Confirmation by Bishop Prince, Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe. A photo of Alfred is taken for the occasion. Alfred works on a farm, and tries his hand (without much success) at many trades.
Alfred emigrates to the United States and works in textile mills in Connecticut and possibly in Massachusetts and in Rhode Island.
He returns to Quebec. After a stop in Sutton and then in Farnham, he settles at Saint-Césaire where he connects with the pastor, Father André Provençal who introduces him to the idea of religious life.
DECEMBER 27, 1870
Alfred becomes a postulant of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montreal. On December 27, he enters the novitiate; from then on he is known as Brother André, CSC, in memory of Father André Provençal.
DECEMBER 20, 1871
He is given the obedience of “doorkeeper, infirmarian, and lamp tender” at Collège Notre-Dame. His duties also include running errands, caring for the garden, cutting students’ hair, managing the laundry and working as general factotum.
AUGUST 22, 1872
He makes first vows.
FEBRUARY 2, 1874
Brother André pronounces his final vows at the age of 28 and a half years.
He greets sick people in the lobby of the school, provoking scorn, complaints, and controversy.
Publication in a French magazine of anecdotal cures by a Brother André using oil taken from a lamp.
Purchase by the Congregation of Holy Cross of the mountain property across the street from the Collège. Brother André dreams of putting up a wayside chapel there, dedicated to Saint Joseph.
OCTOBER 19, 1904
Blessing of a modest chapel: Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is founded.
Assigned as full-time caretaker of Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Brother André leaves the Collège after almost 40 years of service.
From 1909 to 1936, he greets thousands at his Oratory office, who come seeking hope, reassurance, or even healing.
JANUARY 6, 1937
Death of Brother André at 91 years of age, at the hospital in Saint-Laurent. A million people file past Brother André’s coffin from January 6 to 12.
NOVEMBER 7, 1940
Opening the cause for the beatification of Brother André.
NOVEMBER 9, 1960
Decree concerning the introduction of the cause in the Roman Tribunal, by Pope John XXIII.
JUNE 12, 1978
Paul VI declares Brother André “Venerable”, thereby recognizing the heroicity of the virtues of the Servant of God.
MAY 23, 1982
Beatification of Brother André in Rome, by Pope John Paul II.
OCTOBER 17, 2010
The solemn Rite of Canonization of Brother André in Rome. Pope Benedict XVI introduces Saint André Bessette to the Universal Church.
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