Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

January 6 | Character

Saint André Bessette

August 9, 1845 – January 6, 1937

Character is the greatest investment any of us can make. No matter what our situation or station in life, great character makes us positive influences to others and ourselves. But to build character, we need the humility to ask God for his help.

Our limitations and pains can serve as reminders to ask God for help and build character. This was certainly the case with Saint André Bessette.

Saint André Bessette was orphaned at age twelve, suffered from a debilitating stomach illness that made it difficult to secure any job, and was initially rejected by the order he wanted to join: the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Holy Cross later accepted him into their order as a lay brother and allowed him to be a doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Montreal. He humbly accepted the role and served in it for over forty years. It would have been easy for André to become bitter at his seemingly menial job as a doorkeeper, but he did not. Instead, he transformed it into a way of positively impacting thousands of people over his life. The key to this transformation was character. 

André asked for God’s help in building his character, and God responded by working miracles through him. André welcomed visitors with such warmth and love that many were drawn to Notre Dame College just to see him. He cared for the sick in the college, and often anointed them with oil from a lamp in the college chapel. Many people reported miraculous healings from his loving touch.

Who would have thought the humble doorkeeper would be God’s instrument to work such wonders? Yet it is precisely when our character is built of humility and love that God is able to work miracles.

How do I measure the “success” or quality of my life? Whatever role I find myself in, how can I treat it as an opportunity to develop strong character?

No matter what my role in society is, it is an opportunity to build character and rely on God more for help.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Family Caregivers

Symbols: A Small Jar of St. Joseph's Oil and a Statue of St. Joesph

Feast Day: January 6

Feast Day Shared by: St. Carlo Da Sezze and St. Raffaella of the Sacred Heart

Canonized: October 17, 2010

Canonized by: Pope Benedict XVI

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