Bl. Andre was orphaned as a young boy - small, weakened by chronic illness, and uneducated, he had little in the way of worldly skills to recommend him. He was initially accepted by the Congregation of the Holy Cross, but once they determined he was too frail to do any substantial work, they attempted to expel him from the order. Fortunately, the local bishop intervened and Bl. Andre remained with the order, where he was assigned porter duty for their boys' school. As he put it, "They showed me the door and I remained there for 40 years."
Among his duties was lighting and extinguishing candles and lamps at the school and chapel. He began collecting the oil from the lamps burned at Mass and in the sanctuary in honor of St. Joseph, which he brought with him when he was called to visit and pray with the sick. He applied his "St. Joseph's Oil" to the afflicted and effected miraculous cures. It is still sold at the Oratory. His reputation for bringing comfort and peace of mind to the ill was widely reknowned, and much of it stemmed simply from his ability to listen, observe, and to discern the state of souls. As his fame grew and he visited people who'd called looking for a rub of oil and a quick miracle, Brother Andre would often tell them to go to Mass and to Confession first, then call him.
I've long been a fan of Bl. Andre's because, like Stes. Bernadette and Therese, he exemplifies the virtue of true humility, and his story demonstrates what incredible, powerful, transformative love God can show us using the lives of these simple, obscure people to do great things in the world.
From a simple wooden shack of a chapel built with loose change saved by Bl. Andre for years and years....we now have this:
Beautiful story, and a wonderful place to visit if you ever have the chance.