October/November/December 2010 Newsletter No. 122
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace” (Luke 2:14).
Br. André Bessette called himself St. Joseph’s little dog. He was born in Saint-Grégoire d’Iberville Québec, Canada, August 9, 1845, and raised in a devout French Catholic family. By the time Br. André was twelve, both of his parents had died, and he was sent to live and work with relatives. Br. André’s father was a carpenter like St. Joseph and his mother had a great devotion to St. Joseph which she passed on to little André, who was a sickly child. Br. André “had already often thought of Saint Joseph watching over the Child Jesus and he had made up his mind to imitate this saintly Workman, for he also was to watch over the Infant God Whom he carried at all times in his soul by divine grace and Whom he received with such deep piety in Holy Communion” (Br. André: The Wonder Man of Mount Royal, H. P. Bergeron, CSC, 15).
Br. André faced many challenges, especially as he tried to become a Holy Cross Brother. He grew in holiness and received the great gifts of compassion for the sick and healing, through the intercession of St. Joseph. He wanted to build a Shrine to St. Joseph on Mt. Royal across from the college where he worked as a doorkeeper, in Montréal, Québec. He began with poor health, little education and no money and even his own Brothers’ said it was impossible. Still, Br. André placed total faith in God and the assistance of St. Joseph. A medal of St. Joseph was buried in the ground, where Br. André wished to build the Shrine, and countless prayers were offered. Miracles happened. A small Church was built, then a larger one. When the walls stood and there was no money for a roof, Br. André placed a statue of St. Joseph in the middle and said that the Saint would provide his own shelter; with Br. André’s help and hard work he did. St. Joseph’s home kept growing!
Br. André led weekly Stations of the Cross and a Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration in the small chapel. So great was Br. André’s love for the Blessed Sacrament that he often spent his nights in prayer before Jesus. Br. André’s bedroom, in which he cared for the sick and dying throughout the night, overlooked the chapel. Br. André cut out a window in his room so he could look at the tabernacle and pray to Him day and night.
It is often said that a dog is a man’s best friend. Br. André, St. Joseph’s little dog, certainly deserves the title of his best friend. Sometimes it was as if he was speaking with St. Joseph, said those who saw him in prayer. Br. André’s advice to those wanting cures was simple: “Rub yourself with the blessed medal [of St. Joseph] and with St. Joseph’s oil. Make a novena”(67). Br. André encouraged novenas of Holy Communions, the Sacrament of Confession and the Stations of the Cross.
Br. André died on January 6, 1937, on the Feast of the Epiphany. A million people traveled to Montréal in the cold and snow to pay their respects to Br. André. Above all, Br. André desired for people to grow close to God and be healed. He was willing to offer up any sacrifice for the conversion of one soul. Br. André cared deeply about the sick, poor and suffering of the world. Today, when visiting the St. Joseph’s Oratory, it is amazing to see the thousands of crutches and braces left behind by those who were cured. People continue to pray, through the intercession of St. Joseph and Br. André, for their many needs. In the words of Br. André: “Seldom have I met someone who has come to the shrine and left without consolation, without feeling better about life.” “Place yourself in God’s hands. He will not abandon you.” Yearly, over two million people visit St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, the largest shrine in the world to St. Joseph! Br. André is entombed there.
We wish you a Blessed & Merry Christmas & a Happy and Holy New Year!
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Carmelite, Church Doctor, Ptn. of Missionaries, (1873-1897), France—Oct. 1
St. Thérèse wrote of her love for the Holy Eucharist in several of her poems, including “Heaven for Me”:
“To bear the exile of this valley of tears/I need the glance of my Divine Savior./This glance full of love has revealed its charms to me./It has made me sense the happiness of Heaven./My Jesus smiles at me when I sigh to him./Then I no longer feel my trial of faith./My God’s Glance, his ravishing Smile,/That is Heaven for me!”
Guardian Angels—Oct. 3
“Holy Angels, our friends, our guides, our defenders, our helpers, our intercessors, pray for us” (Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta). Guardian Angels, help us to love and adore Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament!
Respect Life Sunday—Oct. 3
“That one whom you carry, behold he grows in you, yet he enriches you. Gabriel did not reveal the mystery, but the babe who is in me [St. John the Baptist] is the sharer of the secret which you have borne. He shows to me that his Lord dwells in you, O blessed one; from him I have learned who he is and whose Son; and how he is. Since I saw you, he has not ceased urging me to bless you, to do reverence, to rejoice with his Lord who has come to him. As soon as the greeting came to my ears from your lips, the babe whom I carry leaped in me with great joy. He shook in me and I trembled, and he danced in me and I marveled at you; behold, the King, his Lord, quickens me to worship” (Jacob of Serug). Mother Mary, help us to reverence and adore Your Son Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and work for a greater respect for all human life, from the womb to the final phases.
St. Francis of Assisi, Deacon, Franciscan Founder, Stigmatist (c. 1181-1226), Italy—Oct. 4
St. Francis, greatly devoted to adoration and reverence of the Holy Eucharist, wrote the “Praises of God”: “You alone are the Holy One, Lord God,/O you who work wonders./You are the Mighty One,/You are the Most High./You are the all-powerful King,/You, holy Father,/King of heaven and earth./You are Three and One,/The Lord God, all good./You are good, all-good, the supreme Good,/Lord God, living and true./You are Charity and Love,/You are Wisdom,/You are Humility,/You are Patience,/You are Security,/You are Rest,/You are Joy and Gladness,/You are Justice and Temperance,/You are all riches to sufficiency./You are Beauty./You are Meekness./You are the Protector,/You are the Guardian and Defender,/You are Strength,/
You are Refreshment./You are our Hope,/You are our Faith,/You are our great sweetness,/You are our eternal Life,/The great and loving Lord,/God almighty, merciful Saviour.”
Bl. Marie-Rose Durocher, Religious and Founder, (1811-1849), Canada—Oct. 6
Foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Bl. Marie-Rose advised souls to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and “Ask Our Lady to help you. Ask her to entreat her Son to let you know what you should do.” Bl. Marie-Rose was an exemplary teacher and helped found schools for underprivileged girls.
Our Lady of the Rosary—Oct. 7
Our Lady appeared to Sr. Lucia of Fatima and revealed the First Saturday devotion. Mother Mary asked that people attend Mass, pray the whole Rosary, and go to Confession on five consecutive First Saturdays of the month. She promised that all who will console her heart by making the First Saturday devotion will be helped by her at the hour of their death and given the graces necessary to go to Heaven.
Ann. Our Lady’s Apparition at Fatima, Portugal & the Miracle of the Sun (1917)—Oct. 13
Go to Mass and receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist as often as possible! Visit Him at Adoration! Pray the Rosary! Our Lady promised that if people listened to her requests and turned back to God: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
St. Teresa of Avila, Carmelite, Doctor of the Church, Reformer, Mystic (1515-1582), Spain—Oct. 15
St. Teresa wrote of the Holy Eucharist, “O Wealth of the poor, how wonderfully canst Thou sustain souls, revealing Thy great riches to them gradually and not permitting them all at once! .... I could never possibly conceal this or refrain from proclaiming aloud such great marvels.”
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Apostle of the Sacred Heart (1647-1690), France—Oct. 16
“I adore Thee, I love Thee, I praise Thee, I cry to Thee for mercy, I return Thee thanks, I invoke Thee and confide myself entirely to Thee, O most holy and adorable Heart of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who . . . dost remain in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar to the end of time” (St. Margaret Mary).
St. Gerard Majella, Religious, Ptn. of Expectant Mothers (1726-1755), Italy—Oct. 16
“You were devoted to the Blessed Sacrament, obtain for us a vibrant love for the Holy Eucharist” (Litany).
Sts. Isaac Jogues (1607-1646), John de Brebeuf & Companions, Jesuit Martyrs, France—Oct. 19
Although St. Isaac was tortured and his hands mutilated, he returned to share the Real Presence of Jesus with all those who were open to receiving Him. St. Isaac and companions drew strength from Our Eucharistic Lord.
All Saints Day—November 1
“What joy ought not we men to conceive, what hopes and what affections, in knowing that in the midst of our land, in our churches, near our houses, the Holy of holies, the true God, dwells and lives in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar! He who by his presence alone renders the saints in heaven blessed! He who is love itself” (The Holy Eucharist, St. Alphonsus Liguori).
All Souls Day—November 2
“Adoration! It is no little comfort to me, I confess, when before the Tabernacle I think that all those whom I have loved here on earth are adoring with me the same God—they face to face, I under the mystic veil. Members of the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant, we are kneeling before the same Redeemer, the same Father. My prayer rises to melt into the hymn of love which my dear ones beyond the tomb are lifting around the throne of the Lamb in their eternal dwelling, I meet them again in this sacred assembly” (Bl. John Baptist Scalabrini).
St. Martin de Porres, Patron of South America, Surgeon, Peru (1579-1639)—Nov. 3
“He had an exceptional love for the great sacrament of the Eucharist and often spent long hours in prayer before the blessed sacrament” (Pope Bl. John XXIII, canonization homily of St. Martin de Porres).
St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop, Patron of Catechists, Italy (1538-1584)—Nov. 4
St. Charles was a great defender of the faith during the counter-reformation. He upheld the truths of Catholicism, especially the Real Presence of the Holy Eucharist, and instituted widespread catechesis.
St. Martin of Tours, Bishop, Patron of Soldiers (316-397) Italy—Nov. 11
St. Martin bore a great love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the faith and the poor. He was a solider in his youth, prior to becoming a priest and bishop. He was known for working miracles even during his life.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Religious, Ptn. of Immigrants, Founder, Italy (1850-1917)—Nov. 13
“In the shadow of your tabernacle where I can enjoy that intimate union with you which is paradise on earth.” St. Frances founded houses of Sisters, educating children and establishing hospitals globally.
St. Agnes of Assisi, Poor Clare Nun, Virgin, Italy (1197-1253)—Nov. 16
St. Agnes was the younger sister of St. Clare. She also withstood great persecution in becoming a Nun, under the direction of St. Francis, to live a life of prayer centered on the Holy Eucharist. St. Agnes was known for her heroic virtue and supported Clare in their vocation of total poverty. Many miracles occur through her aid.
St. Gertrude the Great, Benedictine & Patroness of the West Indies (1256-1302)—Nov. 16
“I have done My utmost to manifest the tenderness of My Heart in the Blessed Eucharist” (Jesus to St. Gertrude). Jesus revealed that by uniting ourselves to the Holy Eucharist we win graces for souls on earth and purgatory.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Wife, Mother, 3rd Order Franciscan Ptn. (1207-1231)—November 17
Devoted to the Holy Eucharist, St. Elizabeth spent her life for the poor, sick and all those in need.
St. Catherine Laboure, Religious Mystic and Visionary, France (1806-1876)—Nov. 28
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal appeared to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830 in Paris, France. Preceding Our Lady’s apparition an angel awoke St. Catherine and said, “Come to the Chapel. The Blessed Virgin is waiting for you.” Our Lady spoke to St. Catherine near the sanctuary, prophesying many sufferings her country would undergo, but encouraged her by saying: “Do not be afraid. Tell them not to be afraid.” In her second apparition, on November 27, Our Lady revealed her desire for the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine. Over the course of the apparitions, which always occurred near the Blessed Sacrament, Our Mother gave her this message for the world, “Come to the foot of the altar. Here graces will be showered on all, great and little, who ask for them. Graces will especially be showered upon those who ask for them.”
St. Andrew the Apostle, Priest, Martyr, Patron of Russia & Scotland, (1st Century)—Nov. 30
St. Andrew was the first apostle called by Jesus. He proclaimed the True Presence in Russia and beyond.
Bl. Charles de Foucauld, Priest, Martyr, France (1858-1916)—Dec. 1
“The Eucharist means God in us, God with us, God increasingly giving himself to us.” “The evangelization that I am called to live is not through the word but through the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.”
St. Francis Xavier, Jesuit Priest, Patron of Missionaries, Spain (1506-1552)-December 3
After spending whole days preaching and administering the sacraments, St. Francis Xavier often spent his nights in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, drawing strength to bring Christ to souls.
St. John Damascene, Monk, Priest, Doctor, Syria (c. 675-c. 749)—December 4
“If the Word of God is living and powerful, and if the Lord does all things whatsoever he wills; if he said, ‘Let there be light,’ and it happened; if he said, ‘let there be a firmament,’ and it happened; ...if finally the Word of God himself willingly became man and made flesh for himself out of the most pure and undefiled blood of the holy and ever Virgin, why should he not be capable of making bread his Body and wine and water his Blood?... God said, ‘This is my Body,’ and ‘This is my Blood’” (St. John Damascene).
St. Ambrose, Bishop, Doctor, Ptn. of Candle makers, Italy (c. 340-397)—December 7
“He who has a wound needs a medicine….the medicine is the heavenly and venerable sacrament” (St. Ambrose).
Feast of the Immaculate Conception—December 8: Blessed be her holy & Immaculate Conception!
God created Our Lady without sin to be the Mother of Jesus. “Holy Virgin, I beg you: enable me to receive Jesus from the Spirit, according to the same process by which you bore Jesus….May I love Jesus in the Spirit in Whom you adored Him as your Lord and looked after Him as your Son” (St. Ildephonsus of Toledo).
St. Juan Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe Visionary, Lay Mexico (1474-1548)—Dec. 9
St. Juan Diego was greatly devoted to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. He answered Our Lady’s call to ask his Bishop to build a Church for Jesus to be adored. Millions of conversions and miracles continue today.
Feast of Our Lady of Loreto, Italy, December 10—Our Lady of Loreto, pray for us!
“You [God] have indeed prepared a tabernacle for Yourself: the Blessed Virgin. Her Immaculate Womb is Your dwelling place, and the inconceivable miracle of Your mercy takes place, O Lord. The Word becomes flesh; God dwells among us, the Word of God, Mercy Incarnate” (St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1745).
St. John of the Cross, Priest, Carmelite Reformer, Spain (1542-1591)—December 14
St. John of the Cross spent long hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, including nights in prayer before our Eucharistic Lord. As he lay dying, St. John asked to adore the Holy Eucharist.
St. Stephen, Deacon, Martyr, Patron of Deacons and Stonemasons (d. 35)—Dec. 26
O Glorious St. Stephen, first of the martyrs, for the sake of Christ you gave up your life in testimony of the truth of His divine teaching. Obtain for us, dear St. Stephen, the faith, the hope, the love, and the courage of martyrs. When we are tempted to shirk our duty, or deny our faith, come to our assistance as a shining example of the courage of martyrs, and win for us a love like your own. We ask it of you for the honor of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is the model and reward of all martyrs. Amen.
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—December 26
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph had only one life, one purpose: To glorify the Heavenly Father. That is what we also must want. To achieve it, we have to enter into union with Mary and Joseph, share their life--family life, the intimate interior life of which God alone is secret. What happiness to be called to this life. Our love will consist in living with Mary and Joseph on the love of Jesus Eucharistic” (St. Peter Julian Eymard).
Feast of the Holy Innocents—December 28
“The adoration of the Lord in the sacrament is also an education in sensitizing our conscience . . . When the conscience becomes dulled, this lets in the violence that lays waste the world” (Pope Benedict XVI). Pray before Jesus Eucharistic for an end to the slaughter of the unborn.
St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop and Martyr, Patron of Clergy, England (1118-1170)—December 29
St. Thomas was steadfast in leading his flock in the faith of the one, true, church in the Holy Eucharist. He was devoted to the formation of seminarians, care of the poor, sick and all in need. St. Thomas was martyred for defending the faith and authority of the Church.