Well, today is the day -- Brother Andre of Montreal was canonized by our Holy Father Benedict XVI at St. Peter's. May God be praised!
I actually finished this icon a few weeks ago but waited until today to show it to you as I knew that the canonization would take place on Sunday, October 17. Brother Andre (now St. Andre) is the first Canadian-born, male saint and Canadians, Catholic and otherwise, seem to be very proud. I know I am!
For those of you who don't know the story, Brother Andre was born Albert Bessette on August 9, 1845 in Mont-Saint-Gregoire, Quebec (about 40 kilometers south-east of Montreal. He was so frail when he was born that the priest baptized him immediately. Almost miraculously, Albert survived.
In Wikipedia we read, "His was a working class family; his father, Isaac Bessette, was a carpenter and lumberman and his mother, Clothilde Foisy Bessette, saw to the education of her ten children (two others died in infancy). In 1849, with employment scarce and his family living in poverty, Alfred's father decided to move to Farnham (in
) where he hoped to earn a living as a lumberman. Tragically, he lost his life in an accident, crushed by a falling tree, when Alfred was only nine years old. His mother found herself widowed at the age of forty with ten children in her care. She died of tuberculosis within three years, and Alfred found himself orphaned at the age of twelve." He was sent to live with his mother's sister, Rosalie Nadeau, and her husband Timothée, who attempted to establish Alfred in various trades, but the boy's fragile health (which would afflict him throughout his life) made sustained manual labor difficult. Quebec
"The Pastor of his parish, Fr. André Provençal, noticed the devotion and generosity of the young man. He decided to present Alfred to the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montreal, writing a note to the superior, "I'm sending you a saint." Although he was initially rejected by the order because of frail health, Archbishop Ignace Bourget of Montreal intervened on his behalf, and in 1872, Alfred was accepted, and entered the novitiate of the congregation, receiving the religious name of Brother André, by which he was known for the rest of his life. He made his final vows on February 2, 1874, at the age of 28. André was given the task of porter (doorman) at
Notre Dame College in Côte-des-Neiges, Quebec. He fulfilled this function for some forty years while at the same time doing innumerable odd jobs for the community.
"His great confidence in Saint Joseph inspired him to recommend this saint's devotion to all those who were afflicted in various ways. On his many visits to the sick in their homes, he would recommend them in prayer to St. Joseph, and would anoint them lightly with oil from the lamp in the college chapel which always burned before the St. Joseph altar. Brother Andre's reputation grew, and soon he was known as the miracle worker of Mount-Royal. He had to face the attacks and the criticism of numerous adversaries. He had the strong support, however, of the diocesan church and thousands of cures without apparent medical explanation made him the object of popular acclaim. In 1924 construction of a basilica named Saint Joseph's Oratory began on the side of the mountain near Brother Andre's small chapel. Brother Andre died in 1937 at the age of 91. A million people filed past his coffin."
Here is the same icon which is at the beginning of this posting only now it has been reduced to something called "drawing image". This option is found in the interesting software I often experiment with. I like the look of the image reduced to lines and faint colouring. It now almost looks like a picture in a colouring book! Maybe I should create a colouring book of saints... I wonder...
Remember the mention made of "St. Joseph's Oratory" in the final section I pasted in from Wikipedia? Well, here is a photo of the finished basilica. It has been enlarged since this photo was taken. Truly, this shrine to St. Joseph, is a fitting tribute to both St. Joseph and St. Brother Andre.
Now, just because it is a beautiful fall day outside, I want to show you some lovely fall photographs.
I just call this one "Mill Wheel". I think it is quite beautiful. I know the work of the miller that went on inside such places was hot and very dusty. However, the outside of these work places is always cool and lovely looking.
This next one I simply call "Island of Colour". What a lovely little island in the middle of a big lake somewhere. It could easily have been photographed here in Ontario as I have seen such places on trips up north. At any rate, it obviously lets you know that it is fall.
This final one, probably my favourite, I call "An Infinity of Trees". You know how I feel about trees so if you combine trees with all that beautiful colour, I am hooked!
Well, that is about it for today. May our new Canadian saint give you his blessing and may the peace of God be with you all.