St Andre Bessette was a Holy Cross brother known for his humility and devotion to St Joseph.
Who Was Saint Andre Bessette?
St Andre Bessette was the unlikeliest man to become a saint. He was physically weak, wasn’t a brilliant theologian, and multiple times he was almost expelled from the religious Order that he wanted to be in.
André had been a sickly child since his birth in 1845. He had eleven siblings, and his family was French Canadian, living near Montreal.
Tragically, his parents both died and at age 12 he was adopted. He tried working in various trades and failed at all of them.
When he was 25, André sought entrance with the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Ultimately, they decided he could do one job, be a doorman, and for the remaining forty years of his life that is what he did day-in and day-out. He was devoted to St. Joseph, and he asked the bishop if he could build a chapel to the saint. The bishop refused, citing that he did not want to borrow money and go into debt to build any such chapel.
So Andre, using the small change that he was paid to do haircuts at the boy’s school where his religious Order worked, built a simple wooden shelter as the chapel. Over the subsequent decades, as soon as Andre saved up enough money, he would add on to the wooden chapel.
Eventually he was able to start building what he dreamed, a true basilica, but he died in 1937 before he saw it fully completed.
No matter, since all that he wanted was the chapel to be built in St. Joseph’s honor, because of the great devotion he had to that saint.
Unassuming, humble, and faithful, Andre worked his whole life at the most basic jobs and started with what he had, ultimately taking no credit for the work that he did. Only in hindsight were people able to see how much his life blessed countless people.