YOUR GUIDE IN THE YEAR OF ST JOSEPH IS ST ANDRE BESSETTE
Brother Andre was a little fellow, a butter-bean of a man as they would say in my native Ireland. His warm brown eyes melted with compassion and his cheeks were creased with a discrete smile.
Like Solanus Casey, Brother Andre was a door-keeper to his monastery in Montreal, Canada. When he was appointed porter, he joked that no sooner had he joined a religious order when he was shown the door. He was stationed for long periods of time at the monastery's reception. In the quiet moments, he attended to menial cleaning tasks. He mopped floors and rinsed down windows. But these moments became rarer as his fame as a miracle-worker spread and crowds of people clamored to meet him and confide in him so that he would ask the intercession of St Joseph so they might be healed.
Perhaps as a result, Brother Andre loved car journeys. He relished his little break in the comfort of a car, away from his duties of opening the door and listening to the woes of the multitudes and taking their burdens from their shoulders. During a car journey, Brother Andre enjoyed his one luxury; he could offer a Rosary in peace without many interruptions.
One day Brother Andre was traveling in a car on the roads of Montreal. He was en route to see a sick friend, when he saw a severely disabled man who hobbled on crutches at the side of the road. Brother Andre asked his driver to stop, and he leaned out of the window and called out to the man who held himself up by his crutches. The man told Brother Andre that he had been permanently injured in an accident. When he learned this, Brother Andre replied, "Let go of your crutches and walk!" The man replied indignantly, "I can't!" But Brother Andre rejoined, "I said, "Let go of your crutches and walk!"" In a fit of pique, the man threw his crutches from him and to his amazement he discovered he was completely cured of his disability and able to walk without wooden sticks. He looked at little Andre who looked at him from the car window and said, "I know you are not the good Lord, but you must be someone great!"
"Thank St Joseph, not me," replied Brother Andre in characteristic self-abasement, but in an admission that betrayed his fantastic devotion to St Joseph. Brother Andre lived from 1845 to 1937 and perhaps no other saint of the last century has had his white-hot zeal and passion for St Joseph and all-encompassing trust in his intercession as Andre Bessette. No one can best Bessette when it comes to loving St Joseph.
That there were 10,000 miraculous cures attributed to Brother Andre by the priests of Holy Cross is sensational in itself. But it is all the more awe-inspiring when it is taken into account that this number is confined to the 60 years that Brother Andre was a brother with the Holy Cross Congregation - and when he was alive.
All the more stupendous miracles occurred after Brother Andre died. There is the case of Arthur Ducharme, who as an 8 year-old boy had his arm ravaged in an accident. The muscles and nerves on his arm were scraped to the bone by shards of glass. His parents were told that he would need to have his arm cut off, amputated, but his mother couldn't bear the idea of consenting to strip her son of a limb. Arthur's arm rested in a muslin sling and flapped by his side, he had no working muscle to move it and no nerves to control it. But when Arthur went to the dead body of Brother Andre, who was laid out in his coffin, and Arthur's arm was placed on the petite porter's body, his arm came to life and was suddenly functional as though sharp points of broken glass had never ripped nerve and muscle from it. Arthur sprang around the monastery and delighted in lifting chairs to prove his working arm!
But in life, Brother Andre always, always gave all credit for such miracles to St Joseph. He did so loudly, even when it broke with his French-Canadian etiquette and his usual way of being polite.
Once Brother Andre verbally punished someone who rudely sought to raise him above St Joseph when they said, "Brother Andre, you are better than St Joseph. We pray to him and nothing happens, but when we come to see you, we are cured!" When he heard this, Brother Andre was infuriated, and he shouted, "GET OUT OF HERE! IT IS ST JOSEPH WHO CURED YOU, NOT I! GET OUT!"
Brother Andre would not stand for one moment to take the spotlight off St Joseph. "Go to St Joseph," was the simple instruction he gave every soul who looked into his soft brown eyes and confided their troubles.
Were you and I to meet Brother Andre, he would no doubt tell us, "Go to St Joseph."
This year of 2021 has been dedicated to St Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, who is the only one who ranks worthy of "protodulia", the honor given him as the father who God the Father entrusted with His Son. His wife, the Virgin Mary is the only one who merits "hyperdulia" as the Messiah's mother, but while every other Saint may be honored with "dulia", he who deserves first recognition or "proto" reverence is Joseph.
There is the question of how to give such protodulia to Joseph.
I have some suggestions that may come in handy for you. Offer your daily Rosary in honor of St Joseph, and offer a second daily Rosary in honor of St Andre Bessette. Ask St Andre to teach you how to love St Joseph and seek his intercession. The day of the week devoted to St Joseph is Wednesday, and I'd invite you to regard Wednesday as the day when you may get the most difficult work projects done. As St Jospeh is the terror of demons, he may terrorize the unclean spirits who seek to terrorize you.
This was the case in the life of Padre Pio. As a young priest, Pio was mercilessly attacked by demons who came with clubs to beat him and even showed themselves (the sight of them in their horrid ugliness, Pio admitted was the worst persecution visited on him as young priest), but on Wednesday, Pio was left unharmed because as this day belongs to St Joseph they did not molest Pio on this day.
There is also the marvelous process of consecration to St Joseph.
Just before Christmas, I was at a dinner party, and the other guests were extolling the greatness of a book by Father Calloway on Consecration to St Joseph. Then I was given the book as a gift by my significant other, and I have been preparing to consecrate myself to St Joseph. I tried and failed to start my consecration on January 1st, but it was too overwhelming for me. As per usual I had to discover that I lack the love necessary for such a consecration, and for now I need to rely on St Andre to tell me how to trust in St Joseph.
The reason I tried to start my consecration on January 1st it that it is among a set of dates that Father Calloway recommends as start points for the 33 day consecration. The other dates you may choose to begin your consecration are:
+ February 15
+ March 30
+ April 11
+ July 20
+ September 30
+ November 8
+ December 22
Much of the consecration to St Joseph draws on the inspiration of St Andre, whose feast day is January 6th, the day he left earth for Heaven. And this Year of St Joseph, the feast of St Andre falls on a Wednesday!
The best-selling Consecration to St Joseph may be bought from the Spirit Daily Store