By Brother André Marie Catholicism.org
October 25th, 2004
[This article was formerly titled "Blessed Brother André of Saint Joseph." With the canonization of Frere André on October 17, 2010, we have changed the name to something more fitting. The author is grateful that he had the grace to be present in St. Peter's Square when the Holy Father solemnly declared his patron a saint.]
In the city of Montreal, Province of Quebec, Canada, on a rise of earth known as Mount Royal, there stands a religious edifice of staggering proportions. It is three hundred and sixty-one feet high, taller than either Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York or the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Its girth is so massive that it could hold within itself any one of most of the world’s great shrines, including Saint Anne de Beaupré and Saint Paul of London. The cross atop its domed roof can be seen for miles around, guiding the millions of pilgrims who come there each year. It is the Oratory of Saint Joseph, a worthy tribute to him who is the head of the Holy Family and the Patron of the Universal Church.
If one were to ask any Canadian for the name of the person who built this magnificent House of God, he would be told, “Brother André.” Yet, this little lay brother’s name does not appear on any of the official records of the building of the Oratory. He was only a porter — a doorman — at a college owned and operated by his religious congregation. He was a little man, both in size and, if one were to judge by appearance, in importance. He was not a priest; therefore he could neither offer Mass nor preach. Because of poor education, he did not know how to read or write until he reached the age of twenty-five.
How is it, then, that this little brother is known and venerated all over the world as the little saint who built the Oratory of Saint Joseph in Montreal? It is our privilege within the following pages to provide you an answer to that question.>>Please continue reading