Brother André, born Alfred Bessette, surely is one of the most popular Québecois of the 20th century. Even before he was canonized in 2010, his reputation for holiness crossed frontiers and influenced generations of people. At first assigned to be doorkeeper at Collège Notre-Dame, he was then named caretaker at that house of prayer which he shepherded into existence on Mount Royal. The religious brother welcomed thousands of distressed people or those who were looking for a ray of hope. He listened to them and recommended that they pray to Saint Joseph in whom he had full confidence. Any number of miraculous healings took place there and hearts turned toward God. Today, Saint Brother André continues to be an inspiration and a friend for women and men of any religious practice.
Saint Joseph can be seen as the saint of everyday life, to whom one turns for help with both minor worries and at life-defining moments. Saint Brother André had boundless trust in Saint Joseph, his friend and guide. His dream was to build on Mount Royal a chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph — an oratory for prayer to him. Crowds soon flocked to the place. Following Brother André’s recommendation, the great saint is invoked here because, according to him, “He lets no one fall by the wayside.” Traditionally, one confides to the care of Saint Joseph issues related to family, work, health, death and material needs.