"If anyone wishes
to come after Me,
he must deny himself,
and take up his cross and follow Me."
The main devotion of Brother André was not St. Joseph but the Passion of Christ. Whenever he wanted to speak seriously to a sinner he would speak of Christ's Passion. According to witnesses, he would speak of Christ's sufferings as if he were present to the event and those who looked upon the face of Brother André could tell he was suffering with Jesus. Those who listened to him would never tire of hearing his account of the Passion. Every Friday evening at the Oratory there was an Hour of Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament followed by a spontaneous meditations, lead by Brother André, on the sufferings of Christ which greatly moved those present. Brother André would tell everyone that they should have a crucifix in their homes and when a statue was more prominent than the crucifix he would point this out. Inevitably he also spent much prayer time before the Blessed Sacrament. He served Mass for practically ever priest who came to celebrate Mass at the original Oratory. He often had the Rosary in his hands and this lead inevitable to his unique devotion to St. Joseph. He would say that you cannot love Mary without loving Joseph and vice versa because they are inseparable. (Bernard LaFreniere, CSC, Brother André, St. Joseph Oratory, Montreal, Q, Canada, pp. 105-122)
So, Brother André also had a great devotion to St. Joseph which he learned as a child from his mother. His companions who knew him as a young man at St. Cesaire would remark, "He's going crazy with devotion to Saint Joseph." He advised thousands of people to "Pray to Saint Joseph and have confidence in him. I will pray with you." Many cures were facilitated by the use of medals and oil of St. Joseph. Some accused him of superstition. "Man is not a walking brain," he would explain. "We need to see, and to touch,and to feel." And so he would say, "Make a novena, and rub yourself with a medal of Saint Joseph." He said this to thousands of people according to his witnesses. When he traveled, he had a large number of medals of St. Joseph in his pockets which he gave out freely insisting that they use them with confidence along with prayer. (Ibid., pp. 76-82)
From his youth Brother André practiced penance by wearing a chain around his waist. He confided that to overcome temptation of the flesh, "often during winter nights I would go in the blacksmith shop and throw water over myself or go out in a dark corner of the yard in back of the college and roll naked in the snow." Some of this penance came with severe stomach pain due to indigestion. Most of the time his only food was a crust of bread dipped in milk and water. He ate alone and hastily at a corner of the table since his occupation as the porter of the college did not allow him to eat at the community meals. Penance is not only physical but also denial of self will. Brother André relates"I never asked a colleague for help and I never refused anything that was asked of me. I accepted it all, and when I was unable to finish the work in the daytime, I did it a night." Add to this all the people he spoke to every day which, at times, must have lead to fatigue, or a real penance. (Laurent Baoucher, CSC, Brother André, St. Joseph's Oratory, QC, Canada, 1997, pp. 43-44)