This morning, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Br. Andre Bessette, the “miracle worker” of Montreal, along with four others.
Here is Toronto’s CTV News report:
Quebec’s Brother Andre canonized in Rome
Updated: Sun Oct. 17 2010 10:34:09 AM
// CTV.ca News Staff
Canada’s Brother Andre, who is credited with thousands of miraculous healings, became a saint during a moving ceremony Sunday at the Vatican.
At least 5,000 Canadians attended the ceremony, which was presided over by Pope Benedict XVI under a bright morning sun in a packed St. Peter’s Square.
Benedict told onlookers that despite the fact Brother Andre had little education, he was an inspiration to many Catholics.
“He showed boundless charity and did everything possible to soothe the despair of those who confided in him,” Benedict said.
Also in attendance were a number of Canadian officials, including Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, who praised Canada’s new saint.
“Here is a person who throughout his life had a dream, and he was able to pursue that dream, he was able to build the St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal,” Cannon told CTV News Channel on Sunday in a telephone interview from Rome.
“So I think that when one looks at him, and what he was able to do throughout his life, he will be an inspiration for generations of Canadians to come who will be able to look at him as a beacon and as a person who had strong faith, strong commitment and who is now universally recognized.”
Brother Andre was born Alfred Bessette in St-Gregoire-d’Iberville on Aug. 9, 1845, and was orphaned at the age of 12.
In 1904, the Holy Cross brother founded Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory, a landmark church on the northern slope of Mount Royal that receives about 2 million visitors every year.
He became known for comforting the sick, and is credited with more than 100,000 miraculous healings before his death in 1937 at age 91. Two of those healings met the Vatican standard for a miracle, reported the Globe and Mail’s Eric Reguly from Rome.
Reguly said Sunday that Brother Andre’s popularity was widespread across Canada and around the world, which was reflected in the crowd outside the Vatican.
“He wasn’t just popular in Montreal and Quebec. He was very popular in Nova Scotia, in New Brunswick. I interviewed a whole bunch of people from Alberta,” Reguly told News Channel in a telephone interview. “A lot of Americans were there, too, because of Andre. Filipinos were there because of Andre, Italians were there because of Andre. He was an international celebrity, he was a superstar, among saints.”
And his magnificent St. Joseph Oratory: