Brother Andre: Friend of the Suffering, Apostle of Saint Joseph

The Catholic pursuit of a holy and spiritual life is something we all strive to achieve in our own lives. I recently read a magnificent book on the life and spiritual pilgrimage of Brother Andre Bessette of Montreal. The book is called, Brother Andre: Friend of the Suffering, Friend of Saint Joseph by Jean-Guy Dubuc. Readers will recognize perhaps the name of Brother Andre because Pope Benedict XVI recently approved his cause for Sainthood. Blessed Brother Andre will be made a saint of the Catholic Church in the fall of 2010.


Blessed Brother Andre of Montreal

The book by Jean-Guy Dubuc recounts the remarkable and sometimes unremarkable events in the life of Brother Andre from his earliest days as a member of the Holy Cross community. In telling the story of his life, the author very clearly and pointedly redacts the everyday experiences of a man that dealt with personal obstacles almost every day of his life as a religious brother.

Most importantly however is the continued perseverance of Brother Andre in completing every single task and assignment delegated to him by his religious superiors. Despite personal adversity, Brother Andre during his lifetime was a fervent advocate of the intercession of Saint Joseph when requesting Divine intervention for the people that flocked to visit him on a daily basis.

Another interesting story recounted by the author involves Saint Joseph’s oil, which Brother Andre touted as a miraculous cure for a cornucopia of ailments when joined with prayer, penance and reception of the Holy Eucharist. Such a tale sets the tone for this book, which is a very easily read collection of stories and observations about Brother Andre’s life and spiritual journey that ultimately will make him the first male saint of Canada.

Whenever I read a book about a particular individual, I am refreshed when the subject of the book in addition to being a potential saint is also very human in their lives and relationships with God and fellow believers. Brother Andre was indeed a colorful character of Catholic faith. His pending canonization by the Church will endear him to more and more faithful Catholics as they explore his spiritual pilgrimage as a faithful caretaker of a frontier shrine, porter for a religious community and a man of intense faith and personal devotion.

The book is published by Ave Maria Press and is available at their website ( ).


Hugh J.McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist writing on Catholic topics and issues. He attended Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he studied both philosophy and theology. He writes frequently at & . Hugh writes about his Irish Catholic upbringing and educational experiences at . He has contributed works to Catholic News Agency, Catholic Online, The Irish Catholic, Dublin, the British Broadcasting Company, London and the Philadelphia Bulletin, Catholic Exchange,, Blogger News Network & The Catholic Business Journal and Comments are always welcome at

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