Over the years, the Counseling Office of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, a space of welcome, of listening, and of compassion, has without question become a valuable service offered to people who are wounded, not necessarily physically – as was the case in the time of Brother André (1904 to 1937) — but rather psychically, psychologically, emotionally, affectively, morally, and religiously.
Brother André left few objects behind. The few pieces preserved at the Oratory Museum remind us that Brother André was a simple man. His great devotion to Saint Joseph moved large crowds in the early 20th century. This immense faith left us a legacy: the internationally renowned sanctuary, Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal.
On January 1, 1924, two Oratory employees, Édouard Barsalo and Napoléon Carrières, had a pious idea: to start the new year off right by making a night pilgrimage from Mile-End to the Oratory, arriving on time for the first mass of the year, at 6 a.m. From this initiative, a tradition that has lasted over 80 years was born!
In 1957, Rudolf von Beckerath installed a 44-stop organ in the Trinity Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio. He then made a trip to Montreal, at the invitation of organists Kenneth Gilbert, Raymond Daveluy and Lucienne and Gaston Arel.
It was on December 27, 1870, just a few weeks after arriving at Collège Notre-Dame, that young Alfred Bessette entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Holy Cross1. Dressed in the Brothers’ cassock with a double cincture around his waist, Alfred took his vows of commitment before the novice master, Father Julien Gastineau, CSC. It was during this ceremony that he took the name of Brother André.
By definition, a blessing is “a sacramental. It is an act, when performed by a duly qualified minister, in the name and by the authority of the Church, praying that God may look with favour on certain people and things, or dedicating them to religious service.1”
Tradition holds that on Holy Friday, church bells everywhere fly away to Rome, receive blessing from the Pope and come back to their parish on Easter Sunday to bring back the good news of Christ reborn!
Saint John Paul II initiated what would become the instauration of February 2 as the annual World Day for Consecrated Life. The date is symbolic in using the same date as the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple.