VATICAN CITY — At today’s canonization Mass to proclaim six new saints, Pope Benedict spoke about figures dear to Catholics of Australia and Canada, Mother Mary MacKillop and Brother Andre Bessette.
St. MacKillop, the pope said, began a teaching ministry that continues today:
“Remember who your teachers were – from these you can learn the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” For many years countless young people throughout Australia have been blessed with teachers who were inspired by the courageous and saintly example of zeal, perseverance and prayer of Mother Mary McKillop. She dedicated herself as a young woman to the education of the poor in the difficult and demanding terrain of rural Australia, inspiring other women to join her in the first women’s community of religious sisters of that country. She attended to the needs of each young person entrusted to her, without regard for station or wealth, providing both intellectual and spiritual formation. Despite many challenges, her prayers to Saint Joseph and her unflagging devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom she dedicated her new congregation, gave this holy woman the graces needed to remain faithful to God and to the Church. Through her intercession, may her followers today continue to serve God and the Church with faith and humility!
The pope said St. Bessette, with simple faith and boundless charity, “lived the beatitude of the pure of heart”:
Brother André Bessette, born in Quebec, in Canada, and a religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, knew suffering and poverty very early in life. This led him to turn to God for prayer and an intense interior life. Doorman at the Notre Dame College in Montreal, he showed boundless charity and did everything possible to soothe the despair of those who confided in him. With little instruction, he nevertheless understood what was essential to his faith. For him, to believe meant to submit freely and lovingly to Divine Will. Everything existed through the mystery of Jesus, he lived the beatitude of the pure of heart, that of personal rectitude. It is thanks to this simplicity, he showed many God. He had the St. Joseph Oratory of Mont Royal built, where he was the faithful guardian until his death in 1937. There, he was the witness of many healings and conversions. “Do not try to have your trials taken away from you,” he said, “rather, ask for the grace to endure them well.” For him, everything spoke of God and his presence. May we, following his example, search for God with simplicity to discover him always present in the core of our lives! May the example of Brother André inspire Canadian Christian life!