One day in 1998, I received a letter from Alicia, a Friend of Brother Andre. Alicia lived in Aguascalientes, a village in Mexico. “From this village so far from Montréal, I give thanks from the bottom of my heart to our Lord for having heard my prayer through the intercession of Brother André and Saint Joseph.” “I bless the day that I was given to read the biography of Brother André. I found so much faith and trust in this ‘SAINT’ (Tuve mucha fe y confianza en este ‘SANTO’) and also in Saint Joseph. With them, a favor is quickly obtained.”
This testimony of trust by Alicia is a simple cry that can only come from the heart, but how meaningful in a world where we are constantly confronted with challenges and trials which seem overwhelming at first glance. Every day, people from the four corners of the earth write us, like Alicia, to tell us how much Brother Andre and Saint Joseph are a special solace during difficult moments that they have to deal with. Confronted by pressures that they don’t know how to face, pushed to their wit’s end in a tough situation, they have found in these friends the strength and courage to overcome the troublesome moment. They put their trust in the Lord and found within themselves unsuspected abilities.
Trust in God was an attitude which marked the entire life of the Nazarene carpenter. Secure in this trust, Joseph was able to deal peacefully with the daily lot of tasks and troubles which life placed upon him. A poor man, Joseph depended on God for everything. He allowed himself to be led by God on the shadowy path of faith, step by step, action after action, confident in the future since God was walking with him.
One can understand why Brother André, who had more than enough trials in his life time, felt close to Saint Joseph. From him, Brother André learned a limitless trust in God the Father, source of love and of life. Like Joseph, his whole life long he taught others to have trust. For him, there was no such thing as a hopeless situation. “Put yourself in the good Lord’s hands. He never abandons anyone by the side of the road.” “People worry for no good reason. Should they be in need, help will come, in the Lord’s time and place.”
What Brother André always did, and continues to do still today is summed up in the conclusion of an important piece of research conducted on the nature of hope. The researcher, Dr. Ronna Jevna of Alberta, declares, “Hope has an impact on the life and longevity of patients… Our relation to the other can be a generator of hope. One ought… to encourage an atmosphere of trust and peace.” The media have furnished us recently with witnesses who very neatly illustrate this reality.
Brother André, and Saint Joseph are among those witnesses. They advocate for a condition of trust and help us to enter into communion with this God who loves us, gives us life in abundance. That is why so many people turn to them as does Alicia in the village at the other end of the world, yet so close to us in faith. Since Brother André had not yet been canonized, she ended her letter by writing, “I will continue to keep Brother André in mind and to spread his devotion in this humble village on the continent so that he may be canonized.” May the trust and the example of Alicia inspire us.
Jean-Pierre Aumont, CSC