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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
January 11, 2009

We Are All Chosen for Mission
                                    
     This weekend the church celebrates the feast of the Baptism of Jesus.  It is the official end of the Christmas season.  Jesus was born, he was visited by the magi who signified that he came for all nations, and today, he is baptized.  The event stresses the point that he was seen or recognized as God’s son.  The entire Christmas message is that Jesus was the vehicle through which God came to his people.  The appearance of the Holy Spirit at the baptism in the Jordan tells us that Jesus was not alone but rather, he lived his life in and with God.

    The Christmas message is beautiful but it is often difficult for us to put into practice.  This past week the church celebrated the feast of a very poor and humble man whom we could probably take as an example of this Christmas message.  This man, known to many of us as Brother Andre, is a perfect example of God’s presence among his people.  His story also tells us that God sends his Spirit to assist those who wish to live in him.  Many people from many nations came to visit this poor and humble man and many were cured from illness. 

    Brother Andre was born in a small, little known town outside of Montreal, Canada in 1845.  He was the 8th of 12 children and was born in poor health which improved very little in his lifetime.  His baptismal name was Alfred Bessette.  Despite his poverty and his ill health, he lived a long and saintly life.  When Alfred was six years old his father died in an accident.  Six years later his mother died of tuberculosis.  At that time he was taken in by his aunt and uncle but this situation was very short lived because they decided to move out west and Alfred’s health did not allow the rigorous life of the frontier.  Consequently he was left on his own to survive on menial work that he struggled to find.

    Alfred’s parents had been very devout Catholics who had taught their children to love God.  Alfred did not have to be forced to pray.  He spent long hours in prayer each day.  As a young man he decided to seek a life with the Brothers of the Holy Cross.  He was temporarily accepted but his ill health caused the religious order to refuse him for a permanent life in the order.  If it hadn’t been for the help of a priest that knew Alfred very well, the Brothers of the Holy Cross would have refused him permanently.  Alfred did make profession of his vows and spent the rest of his life devoted to God’s people as Brother Andre.

    Brother Andre spent the rest of his life performing very simple and menial tasks such as being a doorkeeper, a dishwasher, and laundry man.  His holiness radiated through everything he did and he soon became known as the miracle man in Montreal.  He became so popular that a special chapel had to be built for people to have a place to come when they visited him.  This chapel was the beginning of the famous St. Joseph’s oratory in Montreal which was named after Brother Andre’s deep devotion to St. Joseph.  Brother Andre died at the age of 91 in the year 1937.  He had lived his baptismal mission to the end.
                                Lorette P. Nault