The Miracle Man of Montreal
Today in the Church we lovingly remember the Miracle Man of Montreal. No, he didn’t play Left Wing for the Montreal Canadians, but Saint Andre Bessette certainly lived like he had angel wings. Saint Andre was born in 1845 and had a rough start in life. His family was poor and his parents died when he was young. Saint Andre’s dad died in a work accident when he was nine, and then his mom died three years later. The siblings were split up, and Saint Andre spent his early years being ill and barely literate. He bounced around from job to job. Eventually he applied to the Congregation to the Holy Cross in 1870. Due to the intervention of the bishop, they accepted him and assigned Saint Andre the job of porter. In addition to answering the door, he did jobs such washing floors and windows, cleaning lamps, carrying firewood, and working as a messenger. As porter, Saint Andre welcomed the sick and heartbroken and invited them to pray with him through the intercession of Saint Joseph. With that, miracles took place! Soon, his reputation grew as people reported that their prayers had been answered. Then Saint Andre received visitors regularly for twenty-five years. Also, out of his devotion to Saint Joseph, he built a chapel with help from friends and money he earned from giving haircuts to students. By the time Saint Andre died at age 91, he was well known all over Canada. It was reported that half a million people filed past his coffin to honor him.
Saint Andre may have failed at many things in life as he went from job to job, but when he prayed for the sick through the intercession of Saint Joseph, people got well. I am sure Saint Andre is pleased that this year is the Holy Year of Saint Joseph. Saint Andre reminds us of the tremendous value of having a devotion to Saint Joseph. Plus, here is another saintly porter, like Blessed Solanus Casey, where great things happened through their hospitality and prayer. As we go about being hospitable, you never know what miracles God may work through our kindness. May we always see Christ in others and generously receive them with the warmth of our kindness and love. God bless and stay safe!
Fr. Steve Breck
Pastor, St. Mary Magdalene