The Miracle Man of Montreal

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Message  Javier Lun 11 Fév 2019, 11:34 am

The Miracle Man of Montreal


BROTHER ANDRE'S CAREER

Brother Andre, the Miracle Man of Montreal,
is a French Canadian of humble origin,
although from his early youth he seemed to be
marked out by some special Providence for a
strange career of divine service - a promise in
youth which has been singularly amplified in
his mature and older years.

His father was a poor French Canadian
workingman at St. Gregoire d Iberville. Que.,
where Alfred Bessette (who subsequently became
famous as Brother Andre, the "Miracle
Man" was born on August 9th, 1845. Later
the family moved to Farnham, in the Eastern
Townships, where the father, Isaac Bessette,
carried on his trade as carriage worker the
same trade as that practised by St. Joseph.
Four years later Isaac Bessette died at Farnham,
leaving his widow, Clothilde Foisy, almost
destitute, with ten children, of whom the
subject of this sketch was sixth, and when he
was twelve years old his mother also died.

TBC...
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Javier
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Message  Javier Mar 12 Fév 2019, 9:17 am

On the death of his father, the little Alfred
Bessette, following the good old French-Canadian
family custom, had been taken care of
by an uncle, Timothee Nadeau, of St. Cesaire
de Rouville, with whom he lived until he was
fifteen.

He was a weakly boy, and owing to poor
health, and the poverty and early death of
his parents he had only been able to attend
the village schools sufficiently to acquire the
veriest rudiments of an education. When
only twelve years old he was compelled to
make a fight for existence, trying successively
apprenticeships as a bootmaker and baker,
but each time his strength proved inadequate
for these tasks.

Later he worked for a time with the cultivateurs
(farmers) of St. Cesaire, and was
taken on as a sort of chore boy by Rev. M.
Springer, the cure at Farnham, thence going
to Connecticut, where he worked on farms and
at the cotton mills, as so many other French
Canadians were doing.

Returning to Canada when he was about
twenty-three years of age young Bessette went
to live with relatives at Sutton, Que., but kept
in close touch with M. l'Abbe Provencal, curé
at St. Cesaire. This latter soon divined the
religious bent of the young man's genius, and
put him in touch with the Brothers of the
Holy Cross, who were opening a commercial
college in the parish.

His pious nature and anxiety to devote
himself to religious work won him immediate
favor with the Brothers. After a brief novitiate
he was, in 1870, admitted to the Congregation
of the Holy Cross, and Alfred Bessette
ceased to exist for the world, becoming in religion
Brother Andre, a humble member of
that famous teaching Order of the Roman
Catholic church.

TBC...

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Javier
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Message  Javier Mer 13 Fév 2019, 6:39 am

But although he won the regard of his
superiors of the Congregation by his devout
habits, his lack of education made it imposible
for him to undertake anything but the
most humble tasks, and for upwards of forty
years he faithfully performed duties as porter,
doorkeeper and messenger at the Cote des
Neiges Boys College, an institution of the
Congregation of the Holy Cross on the outskirts
of Montreal, for the education of young
boys. As he humorously remarks, hardly had
his novitiate finished before his superiors had
shown him the door, where he had remained
forty years without going out.

Following the rules of the Order that the
Brothers must usefully fill all their time Brother
Andre utilized his spare time washing
dishes and in other occupations, later he developed
into the official barber for the school,
and used to administer the periodical haircuts
to the youngsters attending the institution.

In these humble works Brother Andre continued for many years,
always preserving his devotion to St. Joseph, his patron saint, and,
by his quiet piety and devotion attaining a degree of influence
over generations of the students at the institution altogether
beyond the menial positions in which lie was employed.

His good works for the pupils and his
continual efforts to impress upon them the
intimate relations between the divine and the
human in the course of years invested Brother
Andre with a dignity and influence that
seemed almost a manifestation of the supernatural.

There was nothing of sacerdotal pride
about the future "Miracle Man of Montreal".
His demeanor was modest to a degree, his
habits those of a recluse, except for his loving
relations with the scholars. His bed was
a hard pallet, his meals chiefly bread and
water, with occasionally a little fruit.

TBC...

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Javier
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Message  Javier Jeu 14 Fév 2019, 5:45 am

Gradually the fame of Brother Andre's
piety and good works spread far beyond the
walls of the institution, and by degrees pilgrims
from far and wide invaded the college,
not to meet the high dignitaries, but to pour
out their troubles, both physical and spiritual,
to the humble porter who waited on the school
boys. Always he prayed with the afflicted, frequently
mingled his sympathetic tears with
those of the unfortunate. His influence, always
attributed by him to his patron Saint Joseph,
led to so much physical and mental solace
to those visiting him that many insisted
on making rich gifts to the institution in token
of their gratitude. Brother Andre wanted no
such recognition. All he desired was to serve
God, practise his devotions to good Saint Joseph,
and devote his life to relieving the sufferings
of his fellow man, realizing that he had
been endowed with a special mission in this
regard.

With the increase of his fame as a godly
Brother endowed with miraculous powers
there came an ever growing tide of visitors to
the college at Cote des Neiges, seeking his
intercession with St. Joseph for the relief of
their bodily and spiritual ills. It came to a
point where this continual incursion of pilgrims
to wait on Broiher Andre not only became
a serious problem for the college authorities,
but was the subject of complaint by the
relatives of pupils, who objected to the extra
ordinary number of visitors for the humble
Brother Andre on account of his reputed gifts.
It was argued by these that Brother Andre
was attracting a degree of attention which
could only end in bringing ridicule on the
Congregation of the Holy Cross.

A controversy arose  when Brother Andre
was, without asking it, given warm support
by many who had benefited by his work and
prayers, who demanded since when it had
become wrong to inculcate a devotion to St.
Joseph, and to pray for his intercession on behalf
of the sick, or to distribute his medallions and
holy oil that had been before his altar. They
argued that it would be absolutely inhuman to
refuse such consolation to the afflicted who
sought Brother Andre in their hour of need.

TBC...

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Javier
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Message  Javier Ven 15 Fév 2019, 4:16 am

A compromise was reached, when the college
authorities made a regulation that the sick
and afflicted who flocked to seek help from the
"Miracle Man" - the humble porter of the
college - could only call outside of scholastic
hours. The result was such difficulty and
delay that a pavilion had to be erected where
these pilgrims waited until Brother Andre
could come to minister to them.

Efforts were made to curb Brother Andre's
beneficent work, with appeals to Archbishop
Bruchesi, and even to the civic health authorities
of Montreal. His Grace took no action,
simply watching developments at Cote des
Neiges. The health authorities started an enquiry
in 1906, but dropped it as beyond them.

During this bitter controversy Brother
Andre continued his work, apparently interested
in nothing but his service to God and
man. But already his work had won recognition
from the faithful both Roman Catholics
and those of other "faiths", and steps were
taken by loyal supporters to erect a tiny chapel
on the flank of the venerable Mount Royal,
where .Brother Andre could meet those; supplicating
his assistance. There a handsome statue
of St. Joseph was installed, and thither flocked
pilgrims in hundreds and thousands every day
of the year, seeking the aid of the "Miracle
Man". That again caused increasing difficulties,
and, in face of continued opposition,
Brother Andre continued his efforts until the
little chapel became a larger one, then a crypt,
until now his life's devotion to the glory of
God, the exaltation of St. Joseph, and the
benefit of suffering humanity is to be marked
by a splendid shrine on the lofty eminence of
Mount Royal, whence long after his memory
has become a beautiful tradition of his Church
priests will officiate, and invoke benedictions
on the metropolitan city of Montreal, whose
majestic purlieus lie on all sides of the
mountain.

TBC...

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Javier
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Message  Javier Sam 16 Fév 2019, 4:39 am

This work was carried out by Brother Andre
under sufficient difficulties, with active
opposition from within his own Order, as well
as insufficient funds. But he was supported
by a group of the faithful, who not only collected
funds for the sanctuary, but gave their
own money. No one knew where the money
was to come from, but the work went on.
Every Saturday the workmen would enquire
"Are we to come back again Monday?"

"I don't know," Brother Andre would
reply. "I have no more money. But what
of that? It will come. If next Saturday
we have no money you must wait, if we have
you will get it."


So the workers kept on, always the money
came in, no one knew just how, until the shrine
was completed, and eventually Brother
Andre's extraordinary career met with not
only the approval of Archbishop Bruchesi,
but the Apostolic blessing of His Holiness the
Pope, while since 1904 no less a sum than
$300,000 has been expended on the Oratory,
entirely by voluntary subscriptions, and a
Brotherhood of St. Joseph of the Oratory has
been organized, which now numbers about
12,000 members.

Brother Andre's work is no longer that of
attending the door of the college as a porter,
or cutting the hair of young pupils. He
is now regarded almost with the veneration of
a saint. His whole time is taken up at the
Oratory, where he still ministers with all his
old-time humility and austere abstinence,
which, however, has in nowise abated his delightful
disposition or his love for innocent humor.

The extraordinary manner in which the
"Miracle Man" has won the attention and
devotion of a necessitous world is shown by the
fact that this almost uneducated Brother of
the Congregation of the Holy Cross, after
spending almost half a lifetime in menial services
at the College, now presides over a splendid
Oratory, visited daily by pilgrims from
all over the world, while the services of four
secretaries are required constantly to attend
to the correspondence, which averages about
a hundred letters a day, or more than 35,000
a year. Sometimes as many as four hundred
letters are received in one day, all imploring
physical or spiritual assistance and guidance.

These letters are all read to Brother Andre,
now well along in years, and are also repeated
at the many daily services, where continuous
congregations unite in prayer for those imploring aid.

One of these letters recently received was
simply addressed "To the Brother Who
Works Miracles."
On receiving this Brother
Andre merely smiled, because he always
makes humble acknowledgment that it is not
he, but the great Patron of Nazareth, St.
Joseph, who is the actual miraculous influence.

TBC...

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Javier
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Message  Javier Dim 17 Fév 2019, 5:47 am

HIS MIRACULOUS INFLUENCE

During the ten years existence of the Oratory
a regular record has been kept of all the
acts of grace acknowledged, and is published
monthly in the Annales de l'Oeuvre (Records
of the Work). The figure is seldom lower
than 200 per month, sometimes as high as 300,
averaging about 250 monthly. So it is apparent
that during the past ten years expressions
of gratitude have boon received from
at least 30,000 people for assistance, either
miraculously or through more spiritual
means, given through the ministrations of
Brother Andre.

Amongst Brother Andre's earliest miracles
was that of healing several victims of smallpox
during the epidemic of 1874-75. Another
is mentioned as having occurred over thirty
years ago, when a young student of the college
was badly injured in a game of ball. Before
medical assistance could be secured, Brother
Andre successfully applied "first aid to the
injured"
, and when the doctor arrived the
patient was again playing ball. Other cures
of a minor nature were effected by him, and
these gave him a local fame. The first major
miracle that brought him wider celebrity occurred
in 1910, when Mr. Martin Hannon, a
C.P.R. employee at Quebec, who was the victim
of a serious accident two years previously
by which his legs and feet were terribly
crushed through heavy marble blocks falling
upon them, visited him. Hannon had been
unable to walk, without crutches, and on
crutches he went to Brother Andre, who
rubbed his mangled limbs with holy oil and
prayed over him, and then told him to throw
his crutches away, for he was cured. Hannon
dispensed with his crutches and walked then
and since without even the use of a cane. The
following day he visited the office of a French-
Canadian newspaper, La Patrie, told of his
miraculous cure, and Brother Andre's reputation
as a "Miracle Man" spread afar.

I could not tell you of the multitudes that
have sought Brother Andre's intercession and
prayers, comparatively few unavailingly, but
I have seen two instances myself, in each of
which what appeared to be serious cases, restoration
of health followed. One a young lady
from Plattsburg, N.Y., who had walked on
crutches for seventeen years, after a visit to
Brother Andre, handed her crutches to her
maid, and walked strongly and unassisted several
yards to her waiting automobile.

TBC...

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Message  Javier Lun 18 Fév 2019, 10:41 am

Another was a young lady from near Tupper
Lake, N.Y., a Miss Brooks, who was cured
of paralysis, and who told me in the Windsor
Street station how, after seeing Brother
Andre, she was able for the first time in
several years to use her limbs freely.

But a still greater miracle to my lay mind
was one of more recent date, word of which
came from London, England, in a letter from
an old friend, who is the wife of a nobleman,
once a member of the British House of Commons,
and who while visiting Montreal last
autumn, accompanied me to the shrine, and
carried away with her oils and images of St.
Joseph and other souvenirs. But here is her
letter referring to the miracle : "I have a little
story you may like to tell Brother Andre.
When I came home in November, I found a
letter from a young friend I had not seen
since he was in a perambulator. It was to ask
my prayers for his mother who was dying
from the effects of an accident. Her foot
caught as she was going down a very steep
flight of stairs to the Underground Railway
at Baker Street, London, England, and she
fell the whole length of it, hitting her head
and one of her knees very badly. When she
was conscious she was taken home, and
suddenly she went clean out of her senses and
knew no one and raved about people dead long
ago, and she called for me in my maiden name,
as she used to know me when I was a girl. It
was this that put it into her son's head to
write to me that she was not supposed to
live very long, and that the doctors held out
very little hope for her life. I was told that
she was in a mental hospital and that she did
not recognize even her son when he went to
see her. I asked permission to go there and
was given leave. They told me she could
utter nothing but gibberish and was very
weak. When I came to her bedside, I would
not have known her, but I looked straight
into her eyes and told her I was "Alice".
Then she caught my hand and held it
convulsively, and her poor tongue and lips were
uttering an incomprehensible jumble over and
over again. At last I hit upon it; she was
repeating a prayer in Polish that her mother
had taught her as a child (her mother was a
Polish princess) and I managed to recognize
two of the words.... I told the nurse she
was saying a prayer in Polish, and that she
appeared unable to say anything else....

For some time I sat beside her, and as her
memory of years ago seemed to be the only
workable part of her brain, I asked her in
French if she was suffering pain. And at
once she responded and said "Not at all" and
then went off again into the ejaculatory
prayer. The nurse moved off for a moment,
and I brought forth from my pocket a little
bottle of Brother Andre's blessed oil. I made
the sign of the cross on her with a little of
the oil, and with St. Joseph's medal in my
hand, I just asked if there was any merit in
Brother Andre's prayers and good works that
this poor woman be restored to health for her
own and her son's sake. I came away. The
nurse thought it a hopeless case.... I went
to Ireland for three weeks, and on my return
sent a phone message to the son, fearing he
would tell me his mother was dead. But to my
joy he said she had completely recovered and
was then at a rest home to build up her
strength. Tell Brother Andre that !"


TBC...

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Message  Javier Mer 20 Fév 2019, 6:26 am

But witnesses to the work of the "Miracle
Man" of Montreal are not confined to the
Roman Catholic priesthood. They are testfied
to by well-known medical men of Montreal.
For instance in December, 1911, Dr.
G. A. Henri Dufresne, a well known Montreal
physician, wrote as follows to the Provincial
of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, regarding
the miraculous cure of his brother:

"I, the undersigned, declare that Mr. J. O.
Dufresne, of Nicolet, has been cured of tuberculosis,
in a very advanced stage, after a
pilgrimage to the Oratory of St. Joseph of
Montreal. I attended his illness before his
pilgrimage, and then believed that his death
was imminent. His cure already dates a year
since his pilgrimage, and is maintained.
(Sgd). G. A. Henri Dufresne, MD."


The same Doctor Dufresne in February,
1911, sent to the same authorities a certificate
that he had under his care Mdlle. Alphonsine
Saint-Martin for four years up to May, 1910,
and has considered her a victim of tubercu-
losis in the secondary stage.

"Since that date," wrote Dr. Dufresne,
"she has been completely well and her lungs
are healthy. I witnessed this amelioration in
her condition after a pilgrimage she made to
St. Joseph s Oratory in May, 1910."


Interrogated in February, 1922, Dr. Dufresne
affirmed that both had been maintained
during the eleven years, and that he considered
they were the most striking miracles recorded
at the Oratory.

Another very remarkable and miraculous
cure of spinal tuberculosis is recorded and
duly attested by medical evidence, as is the
custom in the annals of the Oratory. This
was the case of young Charles Eugene Veilleux,
of Riviere du Loup, who went to the
Oratory on October 3rd, 1910, and was ministered
to by the good Brother Andre, with
intercessions to St. Joseph, with the miraculous
result that he acquired a permanent and
immediate cure of this terrible disease, which in
ordinary medical treatment would require at
least three years constant care, and even then
there were fears of a dubious issue.

TBC...

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Message  Javier Dim 24 Fév 2019, 4:32 am

This miraculous result of Brother Andre's
ministrations is attested in the following
formal medical document, dated at Fraserville,
Que., October 5th, 1911 :

"I, the undersigned physician, practising at
Fraserville, declare that I had examined
young Veilleux, son of M. Eugene Veilleux,
of this place, about August 30th, 1910, assisted
by the late Dr. F. E. Gilbert. We found that
young Veilleux was suffering from tuberculosis
of the vertebral column (spinal cord) in
the cerebral region.

"Following this examination we placed the
boy in a plaster apparatus. Shortly after
wards the boy was taken to Montreal by his
mother, and returned thence with her,
completely cured.

"Since then I have examined the boy on
various occasions, and have never discovered
the slightest trace of the terrible malady he
had suffered with, the treatment for which
ordinarily takes upwards of three years.
(Sgd.) L. J. Piuze, M.D."


Such evidence, attested by responsible physicians,
naturally averse to the idea that
miraculous intervention might achieve that
which their medical skill could not accomplish,
must appeal to even the most biased skeptics.

TBC...

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Message  Javier Sam 02 Mar 2019, 7:26 am

CANCER CURED.

Another even more remarkable case if
there could be any superlative degree in the
miraculous is that of Mons. Louis Bertrand,
of St. Henri, a suburb of Montreal, who
was miraculously cured of an advanced cancer
in the arm by the intercessions and prayers of
Brother Andre at the Oratory of St. Joseph.
This miracle is again attested in a sober matter
of fact manner by Bertrand s physician,
Dr. E. C. Campeau, of Montreal. Dr. Campeau
attests the miraculous cure of this dread
disease in the following statement, published
in the Oratory Annals of 1911:

"Monsieur Louis Bertrand, of 74A Ste.
Marguerite Street, St. Henri, suffered from a
cancer of the left arm. Already the ganglions
of the growth had spread and invaded the
elbow. The growth of the cancer was
augmenting rapidly, the cancerous infection
spreading daily throughout his arm. I have
not the slightest doubt as to the diagnosis of
the disease; it was definitely a case of
malignant cancer.

Today I consider that Monsieur Louis
Bertrand is perfectly cured, that the ganglions
have entirely disappeared, while at the
same time every trace of cancerous infection
has equally gone.

As Mons. Bertrand has affirmed to me
that he had not employed any medical means,
which previously had had no curative effect
in his case, I am forced to the conclusion that
this cure is certainly the effect of a miracle,
due to the intercession of St. Joseph, to whose
influence Mons. Bertrand's appeals for aid
were confided. (Sgd.) Dr. E. C. Campeau,
29 Notre Dame St. W., Montreal. May 6th,
1911."


TBC...

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