Born into a devout and wealthy family near Poitiers, France, in 1752, St. Andrew was bored by religious and life in general throughout his early years. Undisciplined and frivolous, he got into one scrape after another as a child. Later, he ran away from school and still later dallied with the idea of becoming a soldier while he was in the process of studying law! However, with he aid of a country uncle who happened to be a priest, Andrew threw off yoke of his devilment and discovered that a vocation to the priesthood lay underneath.
After his ordination, the Saint returned to his native village as the local curate but still infected with a worldliness that was recognized ad mocked by his parishioners an their form of address to him. Once again Divine Providence intervened through the causal criticism of a beggar to whom Andrew had refused alms. Suddenly, he came to the realization that his way of life was not at all in accord with the spirit of the Gospel. He sold all his possessions, did away with all his petty pretensions, and lived an extremely simple life—even his manner of speech became simple.
During the French Revolution, Andrew refused to swear allegiance to the revolutionary government and ministered to the people in secret. In 1792, he was prevailed upon by his Bishop to leave for Spain, but he returned five years later and tended in secret to the people’s spiritual needs. With the coming of Napoleon to power, peace was restored and strove to rekindle the people’s faith through mission, preaching, and confessions.
In 1806, with the aid of St. Elizabeth Bichier the holy priest founded the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross, whose rule he formulated. Aimed directly at the care of the sick and the education of the young, this Congregation played a large part in the renewal of religion in France after Revolution. Though retiring from his parish in 1820, St. Andrew continued to direct the sisters till his death on May 13, 1834. More than once he miraculously multiplied food for the sisters and those in their care.
PRAYER: God, You taught Your Church to observe all the heavenly commandments in the love of God. Help us to practice works of charity in imitation of Your Priest, St. Andrew, and merit to be numbered among the blessed in Your Kingdom. Amen.