Friday, January 6, 2012

My brush with Andre

Saint Andre Bessette
Today's (optional) Memorial is for Saint Andre Bessette. I was asked if I'd ever been to St. Joseph Basilica in Montreal which was built by Brother Andre in honor to St. Joseph. I replied, "That's out of town isn't it?"

However, a few years back, a parishioner brought me some oil from the Basilica. The bottle says:
"Brother Andre often advised those who came to him to rub themselves with some vegetable oil which had been burning in front of the statue of St. Joseph. Even today, oil used in this manner remains a link with our tradition. It is an expression of faith. It is not the oil itself which cures, but the Lord who hears the prayer of the faithful."

My Blessed Oil from Blessed Andre
Brother Andre was known to be a healer but never took credit for the "cure". He also understood that just as much as healing was good for the soul, sometimes enduring with pain or sickness was also a value.

On another occasion he said: "If the soul is sick, one must begin by treating the soul." His often repeated questions were well known: "Do you have faith? Do you believe that God can do something for you? Go confess yourself to the priest, go to communion and then come back to see me." These were the words he used constantly when asked for favors and cures.
Brother Andre understood the sense and the value of suffering and spoke with depth when addressing the subject. "People who suffer have something to offer to God. When they succeed in enduring their suffering, that is a daily miracle."
To someone who was suffering, he said: "Do not seek to have these trials lifted from you. Instead, ask for the grace to bear them well."