Little Andre Bessette, the French-Canadian miracle-worker was beset by many, many people on a daily basis who asked for his prayers and for him to use his charisms to heal them. But even though Bessette was met by great crowds of people, few gave him a spark of joy. The pint-sized porter who had given his life to serving the sick and troubled in the Holy Cross monastery of Quebec was often frustrated by the people who dogged his heels and beseeched him for a miracle because they lacked the requisite confidence in God to grant them the same healings that they demanded from Andre. That said, there were over 10,000 medically verified miracles attributed to Brother Andre during his lifetime alone. 

There was, however, a farmer whose faith facilitated the most beautiful miracle to occur. 

This man was a husband and father, and his leg was horribly injured when he was working with a piece of farming equipment. He was a simple, trusting soul who went on crutches to visit Brother Andre at the school where Andre met thousands of sick people every week, and he asked Andre to intercede that he might be granted a miracle.   The farmer asked meekly, and did not demand a miracle, and most importantly he had such faith that God's power could be worked through the intercession of Brother Andre and St Joseph that he was ready to do anything. Brother Andre stared at the man and after he had assessed the tiller of the soil acutely he said, "Go, take your crutches into the church and leave them there. Tomorrow you will be working again." 

The man did exactly as he was told and he parked his crutches in the church as symbols of the miraculous, but he left the monastery of the Holy Cross the same way as he had come: as a man with a dire limp who was in agonizing pain. 

The next day he hauled himself before his plough and set himself behind his horses and the wooden oars and he went to work even though he was no better than when he had hobbled on the crutches he had left behind in the church. Those who saw him, including his wife and children, and the man who had come to help him do his farm work, mocked him with their incessant laughter at the sight of him trying to plant crops when he was following the animals like a drunk, his legs so inflamed and painfully bloated that he had a hard time carrying himself. The noise of their guffaws did not stint him, he continued to push the plough even though his limp made him stagger. He knew the truth of Brother Andre's promise that he would be completely healed, and he trusted that it was not to be instant, but to occur at the time Andre had promised and that in blind (and painful) faith he was to do as he was told. 

The next morning, this gentleman farmer astonished all those around him. He awoke and his legs were totally healed. The limp had disappeared as had the inflammation and horrid pain. The farmer has taken Brother Andre at his word, even though he had made a spectacle of himself, dancing in a disabled way before his horses and his family because he had faith that his cure would come if he waited and 'til such time as the miracle occurred.

When the news reached Brother Andre that the farmer had been miraculously healed according to the timetable that he had given him, Andre's face creased in a smile and he confirmed, "See, that is faith." No other miracle was met with such a resounding endorsement that the recipient had genuine faith - the highest compliment from Andre - and no other miracle was seen to give Brother Andre quite the same amount of sweet joy as this one because the farmer acted on such pure faith. 

I write this on the eve of the feast of St Andre Bessette, may it inspire you! You may also like the powerful novena to St Andre Bessette

This post was informed by Katherine Burton's exceptional biography, Brother Andre of Mount Royal. The classic painting of a man at his plough was executed by Henry Herbert La Thangue. 


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