Louis Even — Biographical notes
Even was born on March 23, 1885, on the “La Poulanière” farm, in
Montfort-sur-Meu, a municipality 30 kilometres west of Rennes, in
Brittany, France. This municipality was also the birthplace of Saint
Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. Louis Even inherited his great
devotion to Mary from this illustrious patron saint. He became a fervent
propagandist of the Rosary throughout his 89 years upon earth.
Even was the fourteenth child (out of sixteen) of Pierre Even and
Marguerite Vitre. At home, he received a sound Christian education. His
elementary studies were made at the school of the village.
August 4, 1896, at the age of 11, he entered the juvenile school of the
Brothers of Christian Instruction, in Livré. On February 2, 1901, he
began his novitiate in Ploërmel. In July of the same year, an
began raging in France, with the enforcement of the Association Law,
which restricted the activities of religious communities. Then in 1903,
the Brothers of Christian Instruction were notified by the French
Government that they had to dissolve their Institute. Henceforth, it was
forbidden in France for the Brothers to wear the religious habit and to
Brothers decided to send their best students on a mission. Louis Even
was part of the group. He left France for Canada in February of 1903.
From there, he was sent to teach the Indians of the Rocky Mountains, in
Montana, U.S.A. He stayed there until 1906. This allowed him to acquire
a perfect knowledge of the English language, which was to be enormously
useful to him later on when he would study Social Credit in the books of
Major C. H. Douglas.
Even returned to Canada for good on June 24, 1906, the feast day of St.
John the Baptist, the patron saint of the French Canadians. That same
year, he taught at Grand Mère, Que. From 1907 to 1911, he was a teacher
at St. Francis' School, in Montreal.
he became deaf and could not teach to children anymore. He was sent to
Laprairie, at the Brothers' printing shop, which was very primitive at
the time. Being hard-working and very brilliant, he developed the
printing shop and expanded it considerably. He acquired new machines,
and to learn their workings, he had to study German, since the manuals
for the machines were in German. He also studied Latin on his own. This
apprenticeship of printing was to be very precious to him later on for
the foundation of his Movement.
(because he was deaf and could no longer teach children), he quit the
community of the Brothers of Christian Instruction where he had acquired
a sound religious and intellectual formation, for he was a man of study
and reflection, always having a book in his hand. He was well prepared
to carry out in the world the mission that God had destined for him. He
was released from his vows on November 20, 1920.
he was employed in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, west of Montreal, at Garden
City Press, a printing shop owned by J. J. Harpell, a Catholic of Irish
descent. There too, Louis Even left an indelible mark of his genius on
December 10, 1921, Louis Even married Laura Leblanc, and fathered four
children: François, now a lawyer; Gemma, a teacher; Rose-Marie, a
teacher and a secretary; and Agnès, a teacher. Being in charge of a
family himself, it helped him to better understand the financial
problems of the working-class families.
J. Harpell was more than just a businessman: he wanted to promote the
intellectual development and general knowledge of his employees, by
having them attend evening classes. In Louis Even, Harpell had found the
priceless master who could make him realize his aspirations. Louis Even
worked as a typographer, a proofreader, and a foreman. He translated
into French the periodical The
Instructor — the organ of J. J. Harpell's Gardenvale study
circle. He trained new workers, and he was the teacher for the
employees' evening classes.
day, in 1934, right in the middle of the Depression, Mr. Fielding, then
Minister of Finance in Mackenzie King's Liberal Government in Ottawa,
said to Mr. Harpell, who was a close friend of his: “If you want to
know where the financial power lies in Canada, look towards the banks
and the insurance companies.”
Messrs. Harpell and Even decided that the evening classes for the next
fall would revolve around the study of money and credit. They set about
immediately, trying to find out a book on the subject. They received
several books and manuscripts; one of them was I. A. Caldwell's book, <M>Money,
What Is It?, which was later translated into French by Louis
Even. But it was a simple 96-page booklet that brought him the light he
was looking for. It was entitled: From Debt to Prosperity, by J.
Crate Larkin, of Buffalo. It was a summary of Major Douglas's monetary
doctrine — Social Credit.
is a light upon my way,” said Louis Even. He then got all of Douglas's
books, plus books of other authors on the same topic. He recognized in
Social Credit a whole series of principles which, once applied, would
make a perfect monetary system and put an end to the Depression.
Immediately, he said to himself: “Everybody must know this.” From
then on he only thought about the means of realizing this wish.
contacts established with The
Instructor (and its French-language version, Le
Moniteur), had given birth to new study circles, affiliated
with that of Gardenvale, all over Quebec; in Sherbrooke, Quebec City,
Trois-Rivieres, and Shawinigan. At the request of these new circles, Mr.
Even went to give them lectures. He naturally spoke to them about Social
Credit. Then he held public meetings across the Provinces of Quebec,
Ontario, and New Brunswick.
Even translated into French the brochure From
Debt to Prosperity. He also wrote articles on Social Credit
Moniteur, which was sent to some 1,200 French-speaking
subscribers across Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario, and the Prairie
August of 1936, Louis Even founded another periodical, the Cahiers
du Crédit Social (literally, Social
Credit Brochures), which he wrote up during the evenings,
still working at Garden City Press during the day, and he held
conferences here and there in the region on weekends. From October of
1936 to August of 1939, a total of 16 issues of the Cahiers
du Crédit Social were published, for 2,400 subscribers.
It was during this same period that Louis Even published his great brochure, Salvation Island (now entitled The Money Myth Exploded), which he would sell for a nickel a piece to the audience after his conferences. As of today, this brochure (also published in the form of a 16-page leaflet) still remains the A.B.C. of Social Credit, for beginners. It now circulates throughout the world, by the millions, in seven different languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Polish).
January of 1936, J. Ernest Grégoire was the Mayor of Quebec City and a
member of the Quebec Legislative Assembly for Montmagny, when he
attended the unforgettable Social Credit conference of Louis Even at
Quebec City's Commercial Academy. He immediately joined Louis Even's
Cause after this conference, to become, along with Miss Gilberte Côté,
one of Louis Even's staunchest collaborators.
Grégoire's resumé included the following: Bachelor of the Sherbrooke
Seminary; Bachelor of Law from Laval University in Quebec City; a degree
in economic and social sciences; a graduate in political and diplomatic
sciences from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium; a degree in
French literature from Lille University in France; a brilliant lawyer in
Quebec City; a professor of political economy and of commercial law at
Quebec City's Commercial Academy; a professorship in political economy
at Laval University; a professor of architecture and of Art History at
the Quebec City Art College.
spite of his brilliant culture and his great knowledge, Mr. Grégoire
would say in public, and to anyone who wanted to listen to him, that
“he did not hold a candle to Louis Even.” In a letter addressed to
the latter on January 1, 1961, Mr. Grégoire wrote: “All those who got
to know you and who remain loyal to you, because they are still
convinced of your science, your sincerity, your devotion, your spirit of
sacrifice, wish with me for Providence to keep you among us for a long
time to come...”
Once Mr. Grégoire understood Social Credit, he said to his students at Laval University: “I have taught errors to you; now I will teach you the truth.” Mr. Grégoire was the great defender of Louis Even's Movement, and in spite of the hideous persecutions that he was subjected to, he remained loyal to Louis Even and his Work till the day he died, September 17, 1980 (at the age of 95).
December, 1936, Miss Gilberte Côté, of Montreal, came upon articles on
Social Credit published by Louis Even. She was 26 years old at the time.
She studied the question of J. J. Caldwell's book, Money,
What Is It? She gave a lecture on Social Credit at the Inter
Nos Circle, in Montreal, in December of 1936. She heard Louis
Even for the first time in February of 1937, in the parish hall of the
Nativity Church, in the Hochelaga district, in Montreal. She was
accompanied by her mother, Mrs. Rosario Côté, and her brother, Rosaire.
It is on that day — an unforgettable one — that they got to know the
great Louis Even. They were delighted to hear him explain so clearly and
logically the solution to the Depression which had then been raging on
in the world for eight long years, causing misery for the nations.
Rosario Côté owned a big house, with a large living room, on St.
Joseph Boulevard, in Montreal. She invited Louis Even at once to come
and hold two conferences during the next month (March). Each time, 75
people came to listen to him. That made a total of 150 people all
together, who came from different walks of life. (There were even
several priests among the audience.) They were all delighted by the talk
of this great master in economics, by the genius that was Louis Even's,
a remarkable teacher who was so easy to understand.
Côté became at once the great collaborator of Louis Even. She was
already quite learned at the time: she was a Bachelor of Arts, was a
graduate in philosophy and literature from the University of Montreal, a
graduate in social, economic, and political sciences from the same
university, where she attended classes in trying to find the solution to
the economic crisis of the time. Only Louis Even was able to fulfill her
expectations in this field. This is the reason why she threw herself
zealously into a great apostolate work to help Louis Even.
Gilberte Côté was also a Bachelor in Music from Dr. Robert Schmitz's Chicago Music School. She gave up her musical career which she was drawn towards very much, to give herself totally to the Social Credit Movement launched by Louis Even. She joined Louis Even's Movement for good as a full-time apostle on the road on January 2, 1939, in the depths of winter. (Mrs. Côté-Mercier died on June 2, 2002.)
Mercier was first educated with the Brothers of Christian Schools, then
with the priests of Lévis College. At the age of 25, he began working
at the Annals
of St. Anne de Beaupré, run by the Redemptorist Fathers.
1938, just to please a friend, he subscribed to Louis Even's Cahiers
du Crédit Social. One night, unconsciously, before retiring,
he picked up one of the brochures, and began to read it. He devoured it.
The next day, he was down at the office of the Annals,
preaching Social Credit. Louis Even nicknamed him “the fireball”. In
1996, almost sixty years later, Gérard Mercier is still in the battle,
having kept all of his enthusiasm.
September 4, 1938, at the peak of the Depression, Louis Even left his
job — which was well-paying for that time — at Garden City Press. He
was giving up much, as J. J. Harpell bequeathed to his employees his
firm which was worth millions of dollars. Putting himself totally into
the hands of Providence for his material needs and those of his family,
Louis Even then decided to give himself full-time to his Work.
Providence looked after him; his son, François, said a few years ago,
on television, that his family never lacked the basic necessities of
Even was well-armed. He had an extraordinary courage. He organized his
meetings by going from door to door in order to invite people to attend
them, and he begged for his meals and night's lodgings. This direct
contact with the families was unparalleled in order to win them over to
the Cause. In the door-to-door and after his conferences, Mr. Even
offered his Cahiers
du Crédit Social, for a nickel a piece, but he gave them
away most of the time, since the families were so poor. Miss Côté
possessed the same daring and the same courage; she wrote up the
leaflets to announce Louis Even's meetings, and she went from door to
door to distribute them. She often had to start over again from scratch,
four to five times in one day, because the political enemies arranged it
so that she would lose the halls she had booked.
September 1939, World War II broke out. Louis Eve, very sad, but far
from conquered, said peremptorily: “Let us found a journal.” There
could not be a worst time to found a journal, because of the war
measures. But with a Breton head like Louis Even's, all obstacles could
be overcome. And the Vers
Demain Journal came into being. (In English, “Vers Demain”
means, literally, “Towards Tomorrow”, or “For a better future”.
The first issue in English came in 1953, as it will be explained a
little further.) Mr. Even was its chief editor. He lived with his family
in a very small house. His small bedroom was used also to write up his
journal. Miss Côté was the administrator. She organized the
administration office of Vers
Demain in her mother's house. She looked after the
registration of the subscribers, the correspondence, and she
participated in the writing up of the journal, besides the meeting tours
and the door-to-door. They had to purchase a mailing machine, filing
cabinets, typewriters, etc., and find collaborators. The most precious
one that she found was her cousin, Juliette Lavigne, who, besides doing
the office work, carried out a great apostolate work at night and on
weekends. Mr. Even used to call Miss Lavigne “the little
Providence”. Rosaire Côté (Gilberte Côté's brother) was a
full-time apostle for 4 years, from 1939 to 1943.
Even and Gilberte Côté, accompanied by Mrs. Rosario Côté, Juliette
Lavigne, and Rosaire Côté, made conferences and did the door-to-door
continuously across Canada. When they travelled by car or by train,
Louis Even brought along his typewriter which he used to put onto his
knees to write up articles for Vers Demain. After Masses, each
Sunday, the founders spoke on the churches' steps. They trained
speakers, and they sent them out to hold meetings here and there and to
speak on the churches' steps on Sundays, to propagate the goods news of
new economics, of an economy of plenty.
1940, to propagate the Vers
Demain Journal, Louis Even, while hospitalized following a
car accident, contemplated establishing the Institute of Political
Action. He wrote later: “Upon Vers
Demain was grafted the Institute of Political Action. And the
Institute propagates Vers
Demain precisely because all political action, to come up to
the demands of the common good, to the desires of the human being, must
be based on study. And the members of the Institute are working without
material gain, because we need nothing less than apostles to
re-establish order in a world where selfishness has sent it
1991, to honour Louis Even and his Work, the name of the Institute of
Political Action was changed for the “Louis Even Institute for Social
Justice” which, since that time, is the official publisher of the Michael
apostles were therefore called upon, through the Vers
Demain Journal, their role being to solicit subscriptions, to
find new subscribers. The first one to answer the call was Gérard
Mercier. And many others joined Louis Even's Movement. For example,
after two years of existence, Vers
Demain had already 25,000 subscribers.
Michael and Vers Demain Journals have part-time
volunteer apostles in every region of Canada, and several apostles
abroad, in the U.S.A., Europe, and other countries. From the very
beginning up to now (1996), the local apostles, led sometimes by a
full-time apostle, have grouped together to do the door-to-door. For
several years, the apostles left on Saturday morning to do the
door-to-door in different localities, all day Saturday, and were put up
for the night with people who received them; on Sunday morning, after
Mass, one of them spoke to the people on the church's steps, while the
others distributed Vers
Demain Journals and solicited subscriptions. They had lunch
with the families, and did the door-to-door for the rest of the
afternoon, and returned home Sunday night. It is thanks to this
door-to-door Crusade if Louis Even's Movement has always been healthy,
in spite of the hateful persecutions it was subjected to. The teaching
given in the families is very much fruitful, and when the Pilgrim
leaves, the 16-page Michael
Demain Journal keeps coming into the home (5 times a year)
with its teaching.
the numerous regional meetings held to stimulate the zeal of the local
apostles and to teach Social Credit to the population, each year, from
the very beginning of the Movement, a general Congress is held (on the
first weekend of September), to which all of the population is invited.
This Congress gathers together the Social Crediters from all regions of
Canada, the U.S.A., and often from France and Belgium.
founders called upon full-time people to join their rank. Gérard
Mercier was again the first one to answer the call. He joined both
founders for good in June of 1941. He married Gilberte Côté on
February 14, 1946.
several other full-time apostles joined the Movement, some for a few
years, some for several years, and others for life. They are all
volunteers. They go into regions to hold meetings, to do the
door-to-door themselves every day while begging for their meals and
night's lodgings, and they organize the local apostles in teams for the
Flag — The White Beret
outstanding propagandist is the white, red, and golden flag which
flutters in the wind on the cars and the homes of the Social Crediters.
The idea for the beautiful flag was conceived by Louis Even in 1941. And
it is in Christ the King Roman Catholic Church of Sherbrooke, Que., that
this flag was blessed with the warm approval of the Most Rev. Philippe
Desranleau, who was the Bishop of the Diocese of Sherbrooke at the time.
In relating the event, Louis Even wrote in the September 15, 1941 issue
Demain: “We shall keep our white flag stainless.” (The
three colors of the flag are meaningful: white means the purity of
intention of the apostles; the red flame, the fire of the apostolate;
the golden book shows that it is a work of education.)
the 1949 Congress held in Asbestos, Que., Pierre Bouchard, a zealous
Social Crediter from Arvida, Que., arrived with some white berets
bearing the symbol of the flag. The beret was unanimously adopted by all
the Directors and all the Social Crediters present. It became the
uniform of the Michael
This Age of Plenty
1946, Mr. Even published his marvellous book Sous
le Signe de l'Abondance (In
This Age of Plenty). The implementation of the principles
expressed in this book would give peace and justice to the world, as
wanted by God. With the fourth (revised) edition published in 1988, a
total of 24,000 copies were published in French. The clear and simple
explanations given make it easy for anyone to grasp Social Credit, even
for people who have no knowledge of economics. And Major Douglas, the
genius who invented Social Credit, asserted that Louis Even was the one
who understood and expressed his thoughts the best.
years later, in 1996, Louis Even's book was finally translated into
English, under the title, In
This Age of Plenty. In 1993, a translation into Polish was
published by the Most Rev. Zbigniew Kraszewski, auxiliary Bishop of
Warsaw, Poland. Bishop Kraszewski received from Pope John Paul II a
blessing for Louis Even's book.
Even also published other brochures: What
Do We Mean By Real Social Credit? and A Sound and Effective Financial System.
journal in English
In 1953, to reach the English-speaking world, Louis Even founded a journal in English, which was first called Social Credit, and then, The Union of Electors. From 1968 to 1973, it was also called Vers Demain, like its French counterpart. Finally, in 1974, its title was changed for Michael, and it is still published under this title in 1996, every two months. Since September, 1999, there is also a journal in Polish, printed in Rougemont, that is also called Michael; an edition in Spanish, called San Miguel, exists since April, 2003.
carrying out their intense apostolate work, through meetings, the
door-to-door, and the publishing of two journals in French and in
English, Louis Even or Gilberte Côté-Mercier gave conferences, every
week, for half an hour, on 33 radio stations and 11 television stations
across Canada — from 1958 to 1964 for television, and until 1969 for
the radio. These broadcasts were paid for by benefactors. But as
immorality became rampant through the media, our Directors stopped the
conferences, to concentrate their efforts instead on the leaflet
Pilgrims of Saint Michael
Even always had a great devotion to Saint Michael. That is why, in 1961,
he placed his Movement under the special protection of the great
Archangel, by giving the title of “Pilgrims of Saint Michael” to the
apostles of his Social Credit Movement.
Rosario Côté lodged free of charge in her home, for 25 years, the
office of the two journals. As the Movement developed, a more roomy
place was needed. A piece of land was purchased in Rougemont, 55
kilometres southeast of Montreal, Que. (A few days after the purchase,
it was found out that the patron saint of Rougemont's Roman Catholic
parish was Saint Michael!) Volunteer workers were called upon to build
the new headquarters. And it is Dollard Leclerc, a building contractor
and a full-time apostle of Louis Even's Movement at the time, who
carried out the construction, under the delightful eye of Louis Even and
the competent administration of Mrs. Gilberte Côté-Mercier. In
December of 1962, Louis Even entered into the new headquarters of his
Movement, to continue the struggle against the financiers. He called
this edifice the “House of Saint Michael”. Louis Even's wife had
died at the beginning of the same month. She was buried in Rougemont's
1965, Louis Even became seriously ill, and it kept him bedridden for
three long months. He was 80 years old. Gilberte Côté-Mercier relieved
him from editing the journal, and looked after it herself, in spite of
her many other jobs. Back on his feet, Louis Even continued to write up
articles for Michael
Demain, and to make conferences throughout the country.
1968, after 65 years of “exile”, so to speak, Louis Even, at 83
years of age, returned to France for the first time, not as a tourist,
but to hold a conference tour and to bring the light of Social Credit to
his fellow countrymen. He was accompanied by Mrs. Côté-Mercier and by
Gérard Mercier. A general strike in France prevented them from holding
their meetings. They went back in 1969, and that time, a Social Credit
circle was established in France, and it developed very well with the
April of 1970, at 85 years of age, Louis Even and his two invaluable
collaborators took a flight to Brazil to go and plant the seed of Social
Credit in that country.
1939, the Vers Demain Journal had been
printed by commercial printers. In 1964, a small printing press was
purchased to print a few thousand leaflets, 9 by 12 inches. In 1972,
Louis Even and the other Directors went to New York City to purchase a
printing press which could print 4-page offprints of our two journals.
This allowed the pages of Michael
Demain to multiply by the millions, and to be shipped free of
charge throughout the world to our registered leaflet distributors.
Looking at his new purchase, Louis Even said: “It is not tomorrow that
we will be able to print millions of leaflets like Saint Maximilian
Kolbe's printing works.” But ever since, the Movement printed and
shipped millions and millions of Michael and Vers Demain offprints, going to
plant the brilliant Social Credit idea throughout all continents, in
Africa, in Europe, in Asia, in the Philippines, in the United States,
etc. (In 1995, the equivalent of 36 million 4-page offprints were
printed and distributed.) This was the beginning of our printing shop. A
few years later, we purchased a typesetting machine, a camera, and a big
printing press capable of bringing out a 16-page tabloid (the format of
our two journals). Since 1976, our Michael
Demain Journals, as well as our millions of offprints, are
written up and printed by volunteer apostles, at the House of Saint
July 14, 1972, at Louis Even's request, the “Pilgrims of Saint
Michael” had the joy of being granted by their Bishop, the Most. Rev.
Albert Sanschagrin, then Bishop of St. Hyacinthe, Que., the permission
to have the Blessed Sacrament in their chapel at the House of Saint
Michael, and to have the Holy Mass celebrated there. The good Oblate
Fathers are now in charge of these religious services. Besides attending
Holy Mass every day, following in the footsteps of Louis Even, the
Pilgrims also recite the Rosary daily (15 decades), the Angelus, and the
Saint Michael Chaplet.
1975, the House of the Immaculate was built, again with volunteer
workers, under the competent direction of Fernand Morin. Bishop
Sanschagrin deigned to come himself to bless the chapel of the House of
the Immaculate. Since 1975, our monthly meetings and annual Congress in
Rougemont have been held in the House of the Immaculate.
a life of complete devotion to the service of God and neighbour, Louis
Even passed away at the age of 89 years and six months, on September 27,
1974, to go and celebrate in heaven, two days later, September 29, the
great Archangel Saint Michael, the patron of his Movement.
Even was the man who changed the course of our lives. We pay him a
tender homage, and we carry on with his Work, under the competent
management of his two greatest collaborators: Gilberte Côté-Mercier
and Gérard Mercier.
Credit is a light for us all. But the life of the great Louis Even
should also be a light for us all as well.