Patron Saint of Family Caregivers

Canadian bishops bestowed upon Saint Brother André the title of Patron Saint of Family Caregivers in Canada on September 30, 2016.  Such devotional title reminds us of the very strong bond that unites him to the sick and those who dedicate themselves every day to their well-being.

Journey of conviction

This decision rewards an initiative undertaken by the Regroupement des aidants naturels du comté de L’Assomption (RANCA) in the fall of 2010, just a few weeks after the canonization of Brother André. The Regroupement’s coordinator Ms. Caroline Vadeboncoeur had met with Father Mario Lachapelle, CSC, to express her desire to see Brother André recognized as the Patron Saint of Family Caregivers.

To lend support to her request, she resolutely started a petition, collecting thousands of signatures, many of them from pilgrims at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal.

The request was then submitted to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) which suggest that this devotional title may be a way of helping, encouraging and supporting families and friends who take care of their sick and dying loved ones.

«When I was a family caregiver, I often put myself under the watchful care of Brother André. He gave me the strength to carry on.»

Caroline Vadeboncoeur, coordonator, Regroupement des aidants naturels du comté de l’Assomption

«It is with great joy that we welcomed the decision to recognize Saint Brother André as the Patron Saint of Family Caregivers in Canada. These men and women who devote themselves to their loved ones every day show us concretely how far love and compassion can go. Like them, Saint Brother André knew how to listen humbly to the thousands of people who came to share with him their suffering.»

Father Claude Grou, CSC, Rector of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal

Prayer of the Caregiver

Saint patron des aidants - Prière de l'aidant

As generations of caregivers have done before me,
Saint Brother André, I am coming to seek you out:
be my patron saint and guide.
Give me the stamina I need to accompany
the person under my care.
Clear my mind when it is time to make important decisions.
Show me how to bring compassionate relief,
so that everything takes place with respect.
Saint Brother André, I surrender my fatigue to you.
Please give me resilience
in the face of long-term illness and suffering
Help me to place my ailing relative in God’s hands.
Teach me to give of myself out of love,
free from self-interest.
Safeguard me from exhaustion and isolation:
be my patron saint and guide.
Amen

Author: Caroline Vadeboncoeur