The Spirit of Holy Cross Brother Andre Bessette, C.S.C. Felt at Stonehill
February 19, 2010
On Friday, February 19 the Vatican announced that Blessed Brother André Bessette, C.S.C., will become the first Congregation of Holy Cross Brother to be canonized a saint on October 17. Although Brother André spent much of his life as a doorkeeper, welcoming guests to Notre Dame College, the Congregation's school in Montreal, his spirit is present on the Stonehill campus.
For example, when the Gatehouse, at the Belmont Street (Route 123) entrance, was dedicated at Reunion 2007, it was in the name of Brother André. On that occasion, the Class of 1957, which made the Gatehouse their 50th anniversary gift to the College, invited Counselor to the President Rev. Robert Kruse, C.S.C. '55 to dedicate the new building. As he did so, Fr. Kruse recalled Brother André's legendary example of providing welcome.
As Fr. Kruse elaborated in his dedication prayer, "the hope is that all visitors-alumni and friends alike-meet with Brother André's spirit of welcome when they come to campus...May all who come here, students and teachers, staff and administrators, friends and strangers, find a safe haven and a hospitality that is an expression of your own divine goodness."
There are two statues of Brother André at the residence of the Holy Cross Fathers to the west of campus on Route 138. In light of Brother André's upcoming sainthood, one (pictured left) was recently moved from the Chapel of Mary on Stonehill's campus to their chapel while the other is in their nearby garden (pictured above).
The official announcement of Brother André's canonization was made at a Consistory of all the cardinals living in Rome in the Consistory Room of the Pontifical Palace just outside of Rome. A Mass of Thanksgiving for the Stonehill community will be planned accordingly.
Brother André was the founder of Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal and has been credited with countless miraculous healings.
When he died in 1937 more than a million people filed before his casket at the Oratory. On his tomb is inscribed the phrase, "poor, humble, servant of God," which aptly describes his power to heal body and soul.
Brother André was declared Venerable by the Catholic Church in 1978, the first step toward sainthood, and Blessed in 1982 by the late Holy Father, John Paul II.
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