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Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal

3800 Queen Mary Road
Montreal (Quebec) Canada, H3V 1H6

Telephone : 514 733-8211

Toll free : 1 877-672-8647

Fax : 514 733-9735

Write us : info@osj.qc.ca

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Biography

AUGUST 09, 1845

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.

Biography

1850

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.

Biography

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 the trades of

Biography

1863

Alfred emigrates to the United States and works in textile mills in Connecticut and possibly in Massachusetts and in Rhode Island.

Biography

1867

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.

Biography

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.

Biography

20 DÉCEMBRE 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.

Biography

22 AOÛT 1872

He makes first vows.

Biography

2 FÉVRIER 1874

Brother André pronounces his final vows at the age of 28 and a half years.

1878

He greets sick people in the lobby of the school, provoking scorn, complaints, and controversy.

1878

Publication in a French magazine of anecdotal cures by a Brother André using oil taken from a lamp.

Biography

1896

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.

Biography

19 OCTOBRE 1904

Blessing of a modest chapel: Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is founded.

Biography

1909

Assigned as full-time caretaker of Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Brother André leaves the Collège after almost 40 years of service.

Biography

1909

From 1909 to 1936, he greets thousands at his Oratory office, who come seeking hope, reassurance, or even healing.

Biography

6 JANVIER 1937

Death of Brother André at 91 years of age, at the hospital in Saint-Laurent. A million persons file past Brother André’s coffin from January 6 to 12.

Biography

7 NOVEMBRE 1940

Opening the cause for the beatification of Brother André.

Biography

9 NOVEMBRE 1960

Decree concerning the introduction of the cause in the Roman Tribunal, by Pope John XXIII.

Biography

12 JUIN 1978

Paul VI declares Brother André “Venerable”, thereby recognizing the heroicity of the virtues of the Servant of God.

Biography

23 MAI 1982

Beatification of Brother André in Rome, by Pope John Paul II.

Biography

17 OCTOBRE 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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