In 1937 a million people gathered in Montreal
Saint Brother André died on January 6, 1937 at the age of 91.
A whole week, nearly one million visitors stayed long hours and even days in the freezing rain and sleet at -30 degrees waiting to see brother André, founder of St. Joseph’s Oratory one last time
a person who has marked them for life by his numerous miracles
more than 500 firefighters and 500 policemen take turns to ensure order in the crypt
where Brother André’s body laid in state
They invite visitors not to stop, allowing them only a few seconds in front of the open casket.
Each day, 75,000 to 100,000 people march in front of Brother André
At the funeral , three times as many people try to approach the coffin
The crypt will remain open to the faithful even at night
People come from all over to pay their respects to Brother André
In the United States, special trains arrive from Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Many even make the journey by plane as a San Francisco pilgrim whose son was cured by Brother André
A New York millionnaire, on the other hand, left every morning for Montreal
and flew back every night for eight days, even after the funeral
He would take four or five people with him each time
On the day of the funeral the regular tram network did not suffice the demand
The company is re-using old vehicles
The funeral took place at the Cathedral of Montreal
Montreal’s coadjutor bishop Georges Gauthier asked for the exegesis of his heart
This tradition, once widespread in France, was to extract the hearts of kings before carrying them in the ground
His heart is exposed at St. Joseph Oratory until today…
Official website of the St-Joseph’s Oratory
The text accompanying the clip entitled The day before the funeral of Brother André (film shot January 7, 1937, 6:58 min.) [Archive], taken from the archives of the SRC, series Saint Joseph’s Oratory: the miracle of Brother André [ archive], clip no 2.
Le Devoir, January 7, 1937, pages 1, 3 and 10, “Death of Brother André (Alfred Bessette)” [archive], on Bilan du siècle, de l’Université de Sherbrooke [archive] (accessed October 6, 2010).
Olsen, Brad (2008). Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations. CCC Publishing. p. 312. ISBN 978-1-888729-13-9. brother andre funeral.