That’s it, fall is already well established. Due to the closing of the museums, I invite you in this blog to discover our heritage in a completely different way. Let’s get outside the walls of the Oratory and discover a place out of the ordinary in the great outdoors.
Since October 17, 2010, Brother André has been recognized as a Saint by the Catholic Church, 73 years after his death. This recognition is the fruit of a long work accomplished by what was then the Office for the Cause of Brother André. Since my arrival at the Oratory in 2017, I have processed the archives of this office. This blog post presents the process that led to Brother André’s canonization.
The year 2020 is a busy one for anniversaries at the Oratory. It marks the 100th novena to Saint Joseph, the 80th anniversary of the first novena to Brother André, the 175th anniversary of Brother André’s birth and the 10th anniversary of his canonization.
Since its foundation in 1904, the Oratory has closed its doors to the public only three times. Aside from the current closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Oratory also closed its doors for one week during the 1998 ice storm.
Did you know that as early as 1940, the Oratory broadcast a 15-minute morning show on CKAC with the inevitable morning prayer. However, it was not until May 5, 1946, that the Sunday Mass in French was broadcast.
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!