Tonight on Perspectives: It’s Monday and Catholics in Montreal have much to celebrate today. We tell you why. Prince George has a new Bishop and a look at the Vatican from this past weekend.
Today as we celebrate the feast of St. André Bessette, join Father Thomas Rosica CSB, CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, for an inspiring reflection on the remarkable life of Saint André: Montreal’s porter and heaven’s gatekeeper.
Host Mary Rose Bacani discovers the heart-warming stories of pilgrims who travel to Saint Joseph’s Oratory from all over the world in search of peace, holiness and healing. She also visits the Cantins, a family from Southwestern Ontario that has one of the most impressive archives of Br. André in North America.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. André Bessette, our first Canadian-born saint. We invite you to watch S+L’s documentary, God’s Doorkeeper: St. André of Montreal. Discover the miracle of St. André: a life devoted to prayer and generous service to the sick and needy.
On Saturday, October 15th, a group of 46 students from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana came to Toronto. It was the first day of a 5-day pilgrimage ending at St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal. They arrived in the afternoon and visited the World Youth Day sites in the city. That evening, I gave a talk at the University of Toronto’s Newman Centre at the request of their pilgrimage leader, Fr. Andrew Gawrych, a priest from the Congregation of Holy Cross. Fr. Gawrych was interviewed for the documentary “God’s Doorkeeper”.
I shared my experience of Brother Andre while working on the film “God’s Doorkeeper”. It has been a year since the film’s release, and so I watched the film once again, looked through my notes at the time of production, and it all started coming back to me. I was able to talk not only about my experience during the production, but also what I’ve learned since then. There have been many blessings in my life since then, the greatest being the birth of my daughter Chiara Andrea. I was very happy to have both my husband Richard Valenti and our daughter present as I shared about Brother Andre in my life.
Among those canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday, October 17, 2010 at the Vatican was Canadian Brother André Bessette, of the Congregation of Holy Cross. For nearly 40 years Brother André worked as a porter at the College of Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur in the Montreal neighborhood of Côtes-des-Neiges. Speaking about his assignment as doorman, he once quipped, “When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door.”
As porter of the College, Brother André lived in a small room located near the main entrance that also served as his office. He urged people who came to him to pray with confidence and perseverance, while remaining open to God’s will. He admonished people to begin their path to healing through commitments to faith and humility, through confession and a return to the sacraments. He encouraged the sick to seek a doctor’s care. He saw value in suffering that is joined to the sufferings of Christ. He allowed himself to be fully present to the sadness of others but always retained a joyful nature and good humor. At times he was seen weeping along with his visitors as they recounted to him their sorrows and difficulties. Word spread quickly when many of those with whom he prayed were healed. As Brother André was becoming known as a miracle worker, he insisted all the more, “I am nothing…only a tool in the hands of Providence, a lowly instrument at the service of St. Joseph.”