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The making of St. Brother André

Brother André is the first Canadian-born male saint.Since his death in 1937, Brother André's reputation for holiness spread throughout Quebec and around the world.

Only four years after his death, his friends and fellow religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross began the process for the official recognition of holiness by the Roman Catholic Church. 

The first step is the recognition of a future saint's virtues, which gain him or her the title of Venerable. These virtues are primarily faith, hope and charity, as well as other moral virtues, such as justice, prudence and courage. Pope Paul VI conferred this honorific title upon Brother André on June 12, 1978. 

THE BEATIFICATION

Beatification is the second step in the canonization process. It began with an investigation, at the level of the local diocese, that is, Montreal, into Brother André's life, his words and his good works. 

The results of the investigation were sent to the Vatican in Rome. The promulgator (or promoter) of the cause is responsible for presenting the report and demonstrating the truthfulness of the claims. Another person will play the devil's advocate and test the authenticity of the claims.

Beatification requires a miracle, that is, irrefutable proof that a person who suffered from an incurable physical illness was completely healed due to the intercession of the potential saint; the healing must be scientifically inexplicable.

The miracle must be recognized by the Church; the pope then approves the beatification. Pope John Paul II conferred the title of Blessed to Brother André on May 23, 1982, thereby authorizing public devotion to the Holy Cross brother in the local diocese in which he served. 

THE CANONIZATION

In order for Brother André to be canonized, another miracle was required. The pope, after having consulted with the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, makes his final decision in a consistory, with the College of Cardinals. 

Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Brother André's canonization mass Oct. 17. By solemnly declaring the humble brother from Montreal a saint, he will underline definitively the universal nature of Brother André's holiness. 

This canonization is a much-anticipated moment, for the popular sentiment in Quebec and
abroad has been unanimous: Brother André is a saint.

St. Brother André will be the first Canadian-born male saint, following St. Marguerite d'Youville, the first Canadian-born female saint. 

The Church in Canada also benefits from the holy example of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Canadian Martyrs, who lived and served in Canada but were not born here.

Currently, 11 Canadian blesseds (eight women and three men) are awaiting canonization.

Rolande Parrot

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