|Andre, honored by the CSC|
Sick folks began to visit Brother Andre for prayer and comfort. He sometimes rubbed them with oil from one of the chapel lamps. He often solicited prayers on their behalf from Saint Joseph, with whom he felt an especially close bond. As word of miraculous cures spread, folks began to swarm in to seek Andre's help. Although he insisted, “I am nothing … only a tool in the hands of Providence, a lowly instrument at the service of St. Joseph,” his prayers and comfort became so popular that his superiors acquired a trolley stop across the street to use as a reception center for him. Doctors denounced him as a quack, but the faithful still solicited his help. His superiors in the CHC, though suspicious of where such mystic faith could lead, had little choice but to support him in the face of such popularity.
For a long time, Brother Andre desired that a oratory be dedicated to Saint Joseph on Mount Royale (Montreal). Snopes.com declares the following story as legend, but they're empiricists at heart. Andre and some other brothers climbed Mount Royale and buried giuseppini (St. Joseph medallions) on the parcel of land they wished to acquire. The owners sold soon after. Whether there is a connection between that and the current practice of burying statuettes of St. Joseph on property you wish to sell may be uncertain, but I am willing to take the first part of the legend on faith.
|Centennial postage stamp of the Oratory|
Simple man + simple faith + simple vision = many things wondrous and good. On this Feast of the Epiphany / Theophany, my prayer is that our modernity and urbanity do not impede our faith.