Meet the Friars – Br. Andre Picotte, OFM Conv.

Br. Andre

Br. Andre mixes and pours each batch of candles by hand, assuring the quality of every one.

Friar’s Craft Provides for Aged Brothers: Friar Andre Picotte, OFM Conv. was always creative. Earning a Graphic Design degree, however, didn’t fully prepare him for his unique ministry. Three years ago, while shopping at the mall, Br. Andre noticed the high price of commercially produced scented candles. Looking over the candle, Br. Andre said to his confrere, Br. Ray, “I can do this cheaper … and better!” That very Christmas (2012) he began making scented candles in his home, the Immaculate Conception Friary, in Rensselaer, New York. A new ministry to care for his aged and infirm brothers was born. Named Franciscan Soy Candles, Br. Andre’s venture uses clean-burning, environmentally friendly soy wax, a wood wick, and oil based perfume-grade fragrances, in a lidded glass container. Due to the materials and care Br. Andre puts into each candle, Franciscan Soy Candles burn down evenly and for a longer duration than most commercially available candles. Br. Andre’s candles also have fragrance distributed evenly throughout the wax, guaranteeing a quality scent for the life of the candle. There are many signature candles available in several sizes and scents, and each season new designs have been created, along with new seasonal fragrances. Proceeds from the sale of the candles benefit the aging and infirmed friars of Our Lady fo the Angels Province.

Though it began as a hobby, Franciscan Soy Candles has quickly grown into a busy ministry, retailing on line. You can also purchase Br. Andre’s candles at our National St. Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in Fonda, NY, Franciscan Place in Destiny Mall, Syracuse, NY, and The Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, MD, in addition to several more of our pastoral ministries throughout our province. Br. Andre has produced thousands of candles. A unique feature of Franciscan Soy Candles, and one which uses Br. Andre’s design background, is the ministry’s ability to make customized candle labels. Customers can submit the names of loved ones they want to memorialize or honor, occasions they want to celebrate or commemorate, or any personal idea or concept, and Br. Andre incorporates that into the candle’s label. Another common option is for organizations or institutions to create a custom Franciscan label. These make wonderful milestone or seasonal gifts.

Considering how his new ministry has grown, Br. Andre is both practical and philosophical: “I like making the candles, I like designing the labels and the graphics for them, but I especially love being able to do these things to benefit my aging and ill brothers. It is a blessing that my gifts can serve them in this way.”

11156321_799794550097579_7671656982792890694_nFranciscan Soy Candles offers a seasonal selection of candle designs and fragrances as well as their standard line of candles. All can be purchased online at  www.Franciscancandles.org or by emailing Br. Andre at friars@franciscancandles.org or place your phone order by calling 518-496-4805.