Archive | 50 years ago the heart of Brother André disappeared

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Archives | 50 years ago the heart of Brother André disappeared

Brother André's heart was stolen from his reliquary on the 16th March 1973.

On March 16, 1973, the Holy Cross Fathers realized that Brother André's heart had been stolen. The relic will be handed over to the authorities 21 months later. Back to the archives on the story of this theft which shook the community of pilgrims and religious at Saint Joseph's Oratory.

On the radio show Tous the corners of the worldof December 21, 1974, the journalist Réal d'Amour announced that the heart of the famous Brother André had been handed over to the religious authorities of Saint-Joseph's Oratory by police officers from the metropolis.

The thieves, who will never be found, return the object through a young Montreal lawyer, Me Frank Shoofey. The motives for which the bandits returned the heart remain unknown.

Brother André's heart is found on December 21, 1974

On March 16, 1973, the Holy Cross Fathers discover that the heart of the founder of Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal, Brother André, has been stolen. The jar in which the relic of the blessed was kept is no longer on its marble pedestal, in a vault of the church on Queen-Mary Road.

There were no signs of a break-in, with the thieves apparently having the keys to the door and gate behind which the organ was located.

The Montreal Police Service immediately opened an investigation.

The thieves will demand a ransom of $50,000, but the oratory authorities refuse to give in to blackmail, explaining that a relic has no monetary value, according to the laws of the Church.

A few months after the theft of the relic, on August 3, 1973, journalist Marie-Hélène Poirier spoke with Father Marcel Lalonde, rector of Saint-Joseph's Oratory, on the radio program Present Metropolitan Edition .

Report by journalist Marie-Hélène Poirier who, a few days after the theft of Brother André's heart, talks with Father Marcel Lalonde, rector of Saint-Joseph's Oratory. Realization of the montage of archive images: Jean-Pierre Pétel

The man of the Church explains what some Catholics felt following the theft.

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“From the testimonies we have had, we see that people have been marked by this event which they deplore. They continue to wish, they continue to hope that this relic will return. »

— Marcel Lalonde, Rector of Saint Joseph's Oratory in 1973

The tradition of guarding the hearts of deceased kings or churchmen comes to us from Europe.

Brother André, born Alfred Bessette, religious of the Congregation of Sainte-Croix, had, it was said, the gift of healing the sick and infirm.

Guided by his devotion to Saint Joseph, in 1917 he undertook the construction of a chapel in his honor on the side of Mount Royal. In 1924 the construction of the basilica began; the work was completed in 1967, 30 years after the death of Brother André.

On the program Champ libre of January 30, 1965, the journalist Paul- Émile Tremblay asks women why they pray to Brother André. Some devotees evoke the healing of one of their own or the hope of recovery.

Journalist Paul-Émile Tremblay speaks with Catholic believers who tell him about Brother André and why they pray to him.< /p>

A believer testifies to her fervor towards the thaumaturge.

“After the Good Lord, it's is him. After the Good God, it is Saint Joseph, then Brother André.

— A vox pop participant

On May 23, 1982 in Rome, Pope John Paul II declared Brother Andrew “blessed”. A long-awaited moment, because popular sentiment in Quebec and elsewhere remains unanimous: Brother André is a saint in the eyes of the faithful.

He will be canonized on October 17, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.

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