We're less than 24 hours away from the canonization of Br. Andre Bessette of Montreal. The excitement in Rome is palpable. It can be hard to spot Canadian pilgrims because they don't all wear Canadian flags on their backpacks. But walking around Rome today with a Canadian flag on our camera, Danielle Jones - Salt + Light's camerawoman/editor/production coordinator - and I kept hearing "Bienvenue Canada!" or "Hey! Canada!" Naturally we'd go over and chat and discover that, indeed, we'd been found by yet another group of "Br. André Pilgrims".
At Piazza Navona we found a couple from Midland, Ontario who have had a devotion to Br. Andre and St. Joseph for a long time and couldn't pass up the opportunity to be here in person for the Canonization.
At the Pantheon we found a group of pilgrims from Quebec who couldn't be more excited to see one of their own being raised to the altar. "It's nice to be here in community with all the other people from Quebec because he's our biggest saint. For me, he'll be another addition to my devotional life because he took care of the poor and the marginalized and lived in prayer with others. In fact, that's the food of love," said Gaétan Grenon one of the Quebequois pilgrims.
Canadians are not the only ones celebrating a saint this weekend. Australians are celebrating the canonization of Mary MacKillop, their first saint ever. Approximately 8,000 Australian pilgrims are in Rome retracing MacKillop's footsteps.