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Lifelong friends & healing partners

Alfred Bessette was still a child when his mother instilled in him a devotion to St. Joseph.

His father, Isaac, a carpenter by trade, had died in a lumber accident. Alone with 13 children, his mother, Clothilde, was still a big believer. She explained to Alfred, that someone else, in addition to his father in heaven, was watching over him. It was Joseph, the father of Jesus, who happened to be a carpenter as well.

At once, young Alfred adopted St. Joseph as his father. As he worked in various manual trades before entering the Congregation of Holy Cross, he quickly understood that St. Joseph would be a role model, a guardian and a friend throughout his entire life. Moreover, he spoke about St. Joseph everywhere he went.

In Canada, the strong devotion to St. Joseph dates back to colonial times. Missionary Joseph Le Caron had chosen St. Joseph to accompany him in his ministry with the Hurons. Popular devotion was established when St. Joseph was proclaimed the first patron of New France, on March 19, 1624, and all newborn boys at the time were named Joseph. Today, many chapels are dedicated to St. Joseph.

Alfred Bessette presented himself as a candidate for the novitiate of the Congregation of Holy Cross on Nov. 22, 1870. A curious coincidence, Pope Pie IX declared St. Joseph "patron of the Universal Church" just two weeks later, on Dec. 8, 1870.

Encouraged by this "promotion", Brother André confided everything in St. Joseph, including the sufferings and cures of the pilgrims and the building of an oratory in his honour.

Rolande Parrot

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