The goal was to visit French speaking Montreal in the province of Quebec. We drove out from Detroit to see what could be seen over a long holiday weekend. We had stopped in Ottawa for a morning and continued on to Montreal.
The old city is so quaint.
One could easily confuse the cobbled streets with someplace in Europe. The city is really beautiful.
As we are wont to do, we visited every large church and cathedral we saw. For instance, the Basilique Cathedrale Marie Reine du Monde (Mary Queen of the World) is a scale replica of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Hard to believe this one is smaller.
The highlight of the trip was Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal (Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal in French). It is set overlooking all of Montreal and is home of Brother André, who was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2010.
The view from the entrance, at the top of the curved stairs.
Construction began on the slopes of Mont Royal near Notre Dame College in 1904, but it was fully completed until 1967. It’s dedicated to Saint Joseph, and Brother André gave him all of the credit for his reported miracles.
Despite the inside being decorated in the austere manner that I attribute to the 1970s (I much prefer style of the Basilique Cathedrale Marie Reine du Monde), I was really moved by the entire site and learned a great deal about the faith of Brother André.
On the grounds behind the main structure is where Brother André lived. His quarters were very humble, as one would expect of a guy who was never ordained a priest.
In the chapel area on the first floor is where the evidence of his miracles starts to become apparent.
All those plaques are impressive, but what is that below?
From the website of St. Joseph’s Oratory:
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.
All those crutches are from people with infirmities who came to St. Joseph’s to pray for healing. They left without needing the crutches any more. Many people felt healing through Brother André.
Even as a Catholic, I don’t understand the idea of relics such as the presentation above.
There is a smaller worship center in the basement that is dedicated to Brother André.
I was moved by the crutches in the small chapel below Brother André’s living quarters. I wasn’t prepared for what we saw near the larger chapel.
Whenever I doubt my faith these pictures remind me that there are things that happen to those who believe in God that defy explanation. Many people felt the touch of God and walked away healed. Those aren’t just decorations. I found some modern canes stuffed in amongst the old wooden crutches. The miracles aren’t over.