One day, I had the pleasure of meeting Armand and his wife. They were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. As a gift, they had asked a friend to take them to the Oratory. Armand’s wife told me with great pride: “The first thing we did, the day after our wedding, was to come here to the Oratory. We’ve always had great confidence in Saint Joseph and Brother André. Armand and I wanted to come here to celebrate.”
In 1904, Brother André Bessette, a Holy Cross religious, created a shrine to Saint Joseph in Montreal. Every March, the patron saint of the universal Church is celebrated there. Did you know that Blessed Basile-Antoine Moreau, who was born in the Sarthe department in France in 1799 and was the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, is considered one of the forerunners of devotion to Saint Joseph in the 19th century?
This Sunday’s gospel reveals God’s message to Joseph. Through the dream he had, Joseph is invited to enter into God’s plan by welcoming Mary with her child because this unborn child comes from God. Through the angel, God asks Joseph to give this child a name that corresponds to his mission: “You shall call his name Jesus, that is, The Lord and Savior. (Mt 1:21) The evangelist Matthew concludes, “When Joseph awoke, he did what the angel had told him to do.” (v.24)
The second Sunday of Advent invites us to be converted, to adjust our lives to what God wants from us.
When we look at the life of Joseph in the Gospels, there is a first thing we can observe: Joseph leaves the field open to God’s action in his life, even if it upsets his plans. Joseph acts by allowing himself to be guided by the Spirit of the Lord of which Isaiah speaks in the first reading of this Sunday: a spirit of wisdom and discernment, a spirit of counsel and strength.
Faced with the difficulties of life and the tragic situations of our world, we sometimes doubt the presence of God and his love in our daily lives. Our hope is then put to the test.
The season of Advent reminds us that God is always at work in our lives and wants to be close to us as he was in the life of Saint Joseph. Saint Teresa of Avila used to say to those who are looking for a way to God: “All they have to do is take Saint Joseph as their guide and they will not go astray. Brother André, for his part, kept repeating to all those who approached him: “Go to Joseph, he will know how to listen to you, he will know how to help you.” This is why we propose that for this Advent 2022 we take Saint Joseph as our guide to live this time of preparation for Christmas. May his journey of faith inspire yours!
In the Votive Chapel of Saint Joseph’s Oratory, eight prayer stations remind us of the different titles under which we can ask for Saint Joseph’s intercession for our many needs: comforter of the suffering, hope of the sick, protector of the church, patron saint of the dying, terror of demons, support of the family, strength of the pure in heart.
Every year, the Roland Gauthier Archives and Documentation Centre welcomes interns as part of their studies in archival science, library science or document management. It is with pleasure that we share with you the text of Marc-André Ouellette, our intern in 2022.
A whole adventure was played out in the pages of the magazine L’Oratoire during the year 1954.
Appointed editor-in-chief of the publication in September 1953, Father Émile Legault, CSC, published an editorial in January 1954 in which he declared that “it is time, more than ever, for a crusade for the rejuvenation of Saint Joseph. Father Legault does not mince his words: speaking of a play he is composing on Saint Joseph1, he expresses the desire to “correct the adulterated image” of Joseph, an image inherited from the theatrical plays of the Middle Ages called the Mistères.2.
The Oratory is part of the Montreal landscape. My father told me that at the age of 10 – which brings us back to 1920 – he had the mumps and that it made him suffer terribly.
Wearily, his mother said: let’s go up to the Oratory to see Brother André. When they arrived, they got in line and she explained to him that her son had the mumps and that it made him suffer a lot. Brother André made a little pout, put both hands on my father’s ears, without touching them. And they leave. My father assures: the pain disappeared in the moment, there was nothing left.
The other night I had an amazing dream. I was juggling balls: one was called Father, one was called Pilgrim and one was called Joseph.
The one that first caught my attention was Pilgrim. This word evokes in me all those visitors to the Mount Royal Shrine, where I have been devoting myself for several years now. I have seen them of all colors, of many nationalities, of many cultures, beliefs and religions.