by Yvette Poirier
Five continents were represented at our Congress; North, Central, and South America: Canada, United States, Mexico, and Ecuador; Europe: France, Switzerland, and Poland; Africa: Benin; Asia: The Philippines; and Oceania: Australia and New Zealand. We had simultaneous translations in French, English, Polish, and Spanish.
We placed our Congress under the patronage of Our Lady of the Cape from Canada, Our Lady of Czestochowa from Poland, Our Lady of Good Success from Ecuador, and Our Lady of Guadalupe from Mexico. After giving the program for the Congress, Miss Therese Tardif quoted His Holiness Pope John Paul II's words to the ambassador of the Philippines, a quote that was posted in French, English, Spanish, and Polish in front of the stage: "Let us work together in search of solutions to the great scourge of poverty."
The subject matter of the conferences during the Congress was Social Credit that brings the solution to the "great scourge of poverty". For three days, we held very meaty conferences on the philosophy and technique of Social Credit by remarkable specialists: Mr. Vic Bridger from Australia; Mr. Bill Daly from New Zealand; Mr. Francois de Siebenthal from Switzerland; Mrs. Diane Boucher who holds a masters degree in economics; and from Alain Pilote, a specialist in Louis Even's writings. During the week following the Congress, we profited from good lessons by distinguished "Social Credit" economists who elaborated on economic works aiming towards the application of Social Credit.
We had the honor of welcoming to our Congress two Bishops and eight priests, as well as our good Father Edmond Brouillard, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, from Rougemont, the chaplain of our two houses.
Mr. Francois de Siebenthal spoke to us of his apostolate with Mr. Marcel Lefebvre in Madagascar last May. In a small county in the bush, far from large cities, our two fervent Social Crediters established Social Credit in a simple manner, a bit like the story in "The Money Myth". "Madagascar," Mr. de Siebenthal told us, "is the concrete example of a talk given by Mr. Louis Even. I re-read all the early writings by Louis Even in a small pamphlet. He spoke of Switzerland, of methods, of referendums, and of local banks in Switzerland. We simply applied this project from the 1930's of Louis Even, applied it in Madagascar."
Most Rev. Benjamin J. Almoneda, Bishop of the Diocese of Daet, in the Philippines, who came to our Congress with his secretary, Father Noel Domingo, was won over to Social Credit through reading the "Michael" Journal. He understood that it is the solution to take his country out of dire poverty. As His Excellency was making a trip to the United States, he took advantage of the opportunity to come to visit us in Rougemont during our Congress, and he stayed for the week of study. Bishop Almoneda would like Social Credit to be applied in his country where the people are starving. To prepare the minds of the people, he has asked for a pallet of "Michael" leaflets: "The Money Myth" and "It is urgent to put an end to the scandal of poverty".
Even before coming to our Congress and the week of study, Bishop Almoneda had decided to speak on the importance of Social Credit at the Bishop's Conference in the Philippines. As he is responsible for the formation of future priests, he wants to teach Social Credit to the priests' teachers and to the seminarians. Mr. Melvin Sickler, our American full-time Pilgrim, spent the months of October and November in the Philippines as a guest of Bishop Almoneda. (See article on page 11.) When he was back to his diocese, Bishop Almoneda wrote to us:
"This is to thank you for your hospitality and for the many gifts you shared with me and my companion during the Congress and study week last September 4-11, 2004 in Rougemont. All the activities, prayers and discussions were a very enriching nourishment of mind and soul. I found a treasure in Rougemont, as I told your Bishop, Francois Lapierre, of St. Hyacinthe, in our audience with him. The teachings of Louis Even and his followers will be a precious guide for us to renew our diocese."
Bishop Carlos Garfias Merlos, of the diocese of Netzahualcóyotl, in Mexico (formerly Bishop of Ciudad Altamirano), did us the distinguished honor of also coming to our Congress, along with his secretary, Father Felipe Navarro, and with Father Telmo Ugarte Hernandez. Two other priests who support Mr. and Mrs. Guillermo in their apostolate came to the Congress: Father German Arrieta and Father Mario Saldivar.
Bishop Garfias Merios appreciates our battle to apply the social doctrine of the Church through Social Credit, and he wants to train 300 young Mexicans of his diocese who want to become fervent Pilgrims of Saint Michael. He was edified by the behaviour of the team of young Mexicans who are in training at our two houses. Mr. and Mrs. Guillermo Beltran will help us train this army of young people in the apostolate of the Rosary Crusade and in the leaflet distribution in their vast country of Mexico. Three Mexican boys and four Mexican girls have decided to work full time with Mr. and Mrs. Beltran. One of them, Guillermo Jr., who is 18 and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Beltran, shook the young people with his determination:
"I have a message from God to give you. My mission is to shake up the youth, here. The youth, who do not want to join us, they are the oldest people in the group. The most active in the Movement are the youngest. I am not old; I am only 18. I sacrificed a lot of things to come here: I sacrificed my video games, I sacrificed my computer, I sacrificed all the pleasures of the world; I put all this aside to take the road to Heaven, to go to Heaven.
"I have a message for you, the youth: Please, change your hearts, convert yourselves. You run after all kinds of things. You never have enough. You are lacking the most important. If you do not have God, if you do not look for Heaven, you lack everything. You think you have everything but you have nothing. We, we work for Heaven. We have everything; we don't need anything else! You must have the heart of a poor person. We must have a love for the poor. Come here to save your souls and become again young at heart. Follow me in the apostolate, and then, you will become young again." – Guillermo Beltran, Jr.
Pioneering in South America Mr. Giovanni Alava and Pierre Marchildon have been pioneering in Peru, Columbia, and Argentina in South America. These three countries are victims of the International Monetary Fund. Poverty reigns among these people. "In Argentina, in 2002," says. Pierre Marchildon, "the American financiers devaluated the peso, so much so that it takes three pesos for every American dollar. It was in 2001 that the Argentineans established a local currency with seven million members, which permitted them to purchase products and services among themselves. Someone chosen by the government infiltrated the ranks of this organization; the government and the bankers collapsed the system."
But the founders of this local money did not capitulate; they had in their possession a "Michael" leaflet, "The Money Myth", on which, probably, they had based themselves to found a local currency. They decided to copy our leaflet to spread it in Argentina. They were overjoyed to receive the visit of Mr. Marchildon and Mr. Alava who told them that we could furnish them, for free and in any amount, this leaflet "The Money Myth". They ordered 300,000 copies.
"We," says Pierre Marchildon, "gave several conferences in our tour of apostolate. We explained the social doctrine of the Catholic Church and that Social Credit would permit its application. It was in Peru that we took the most subscriptions: 100 families subscribed. The people are poor. They subscribe for one year at a time."
For his part, Mr. Carlos Reyes makes the Work of "Michael" shine in his dear country, Ecuador. 34 Pilgrims support Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Reyes in the founding of our Movement in Ecuador. Mr. Carlos Reyes is training them in the leaflet distribution. He also wants to initiate them in taking subscriptions to the important "San Miguel" Journal, the little brother of "Michael". 34 people from Ecuador wanted to come to our Congress, but they could not get their visas in time.
Back to Ecuador, after the Congress, Mr. Reyes and Mr. Marchildon had three days of intense study on Social Credit with 300 people from different movements. Mr. Reyes wrote to us: "On October 3, we had the Solemn Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Good Success with the Vicar General and 5 priests, all in favor of the St. Michael work. We had swords, banners, and flags in the church, and the consecration to St. Michael."
In 2004, if "Michael" expands throughout the entire world, it is thanks to the sacrifices that were made in the "Michael" Movement in the last 70 years. Our great apostles of the Rosary Crusade are the leaders on the subscribers list. Our apostles are the greatest wealth of our Work. Here is the list of our champion subscribers, our local apostles, Colonels and Lieutenant-Colonels for the year 2003-2004 that began on August 16, 2003. and closed on August 15, 2004:
500 subscriptions or more
Mrs. Simone Gingras 1,931
Patrick Tetrault 1,874
Mr. Mrs. Roger Gingras 1,817
Mr. Mrs. Benoit Ouellet 1,812
Mr. Mrs. Bertrand Gaouette 1,500
Mr. Mrs. Guillermo Beltran 1,105
Mr. Mrs. Bernard Roy 1,092
Mrs. Marie-Jacqueline Potvin 1,002
Janusz Lewicki, Poland 1,021
Mr. Mrs. Carlos Reyes, Ecuador 942
Mrs. Diane Mayer 888
Lambert Boucher 840
Marie Kara 826
Mrs. Rose-Marvin Munguia 765
Evelyne Clement 535
Lionel Bournival 516
Mr. Mrs. Gary O'Donnell 512
Mr. Mrs. Robert Mason 511
Mrs. Micheline Thibodeau 501
Our great champion of the year of the part-time workers was our devoted Mrs. Simone Gingras, an apostle without measure. Each month, she consecrates several days to the Rosary Crusade apostolate in the door to door.
During the Congress, Marcelle Caya, the champion of the subscriptions to "Michael" of the Full-time ladies, made a call to action to awaken the deepest sleepers: "The door to door with the Rosary Crusade," she said, "is the backbone of the 'Michael' work. If we remove the backbone, all will collapse. We must absolutely go door to door to subscribe to 'Michael'. We must visit every door. We are in 'Michael' to sanctify ourselves. We are in'Michael' to become saints. We had holy founders. We must follow them. And we must spread 'Michael'. If we had not had our Directors who founded the 'Michael' Journal, today we would have to found it. But now, we only have to spread it. All, without exception, should start taking subscriptions to "Michael". Pope Saint Pius X himself, when he was the Patriarch of Venice, would go from home to home to take subscriptions to his journal. Here is what we read about him:
"Propaganda everywhere: To publish Catholic newspapers and put them in the hands of brave people is not enough; we must also work to spread them as far as possible, to make them read by all, and especially to those that Christian charity demands we snatch from sources poisoned by bad influences."
"Acts! This program that Saint Pius X planned in 1910 for so many apathetic and heedless Catholics, who perhaps bemoaned the progress of evil, and did nothing to hinder it, he himself put into action. He himself founded a candid Catholic newspaper entitled La Difesa. The Pope, then Patriarch of Venice, was not content with founding, with supporting La Difesa; he worked to spread it with an untiring devotion. He was seen going in a gondola, from palace to palace, home to home, like a salesman, to solicit subscriptions to his newspaper.
"Each of us," again says Marcelle Caya, "should immediately go to action in our areas, in our countries, without waiting for the full-time Pilgrims to come to help you. Each should be a motor that starts immediately the day after the Congress, upon their return to their homes. All to action, immediately: the Canadians, the Americans, the Ecuadorians, the Mexicans, the French, the Swiss, the Africans, the Poles, the Filipinos, the Australians, the New Zealanders, etc." — Marcelle Caya
We should all be patriots who have the heart to save their own country. Our nation is a great family that we must not abandon.
Honor to our Full-timers for their years of total service
Therese Tardif 50 years
Rejean Lefebvre 40 years
Yvette Poirier 35 years
Rene Drouin 35 years
Marcelle Caya 35 years
Pierre Marchildon 30 years
Mrs. Aurore Menard 30 years
Jude Potvin 25 years
Lucie Parenteau 5 years
"We have a vocation," says Christian Burgaud. "We must not choose the highest vocation but fulfill the mission that God has given us. The Rosary Crusade is our mission; that is to Christianize our country. We hear talk of the Olympic Games in Greece. But, for me, the true athlete is he who follows the Ten Commandments of God and who makes the effort to follow the straight road; he who does not hold with the way of life of the world. He who gives himself in the apostolate, he is a true athlete."
Among our full-time missionaries, Colonels and Lieutenant-Colonels:
Melvin Sickler 3339
Jacek Morawa 2227
Marcelle Caya 2219
Lucie Parenteau 2211
Gerard Migneault 2052
Christian Burgaud, France 1972
Diane Guillemette 1635
Diane Roy 1484
Yvette Poirier 1387
Pierre Marchildon 1155
Florentine Seguin 804
Rejean Lefebvre 738
Helene Lachance 586
Marcel Lefebvre 511
Our full-time missionaries give all their Saturdays to the Rosary Crusade, and some among them do tours of apostolate. Mr. Melvin Sickler went to Western Canada for the months of June, July, and August. After three weeks, Patrick Tetreault joined him. The two valiant warriors gathered a total of 1,400 subscriptions.
"The door to door," says Mr. Sickler, "is the recipe for remaining in humility. The door to door teaches us to practice love of neighbor. Even if there are some who receive us badly, we must know how to love them anyway and to stay humble, not try to give tit for tat. Even the person who receives me badly, I wish him to receive the Social Credit dividend. He has a right to it just like the others."
This year our Marshall Melvin Sickler did the apostolate in the door to door in eight Canadian Provinces: Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Plus, he spent two months in Mexico.
On the Monday morning of the Congress, many gave their impression of the Congress, and the enthusiasm was at its peak. Here are the reflections of Mr. Vic Bridger:
"It is your great Catholic Faith that brings a multitude of people to Social Credit. I would like that this fervent spiritual faith would transmit Social Credit in our faith. Douglas said that faith can move mountains, but dynamite certainly would. Meaning that it requires action. Our faith must be transformed into action, that is the goal of the Congress. If our faith transforms itself into action for Social Credit, we will have succeeded in our objective; we will have succeeded in our Congress."
"C. H. Douglas said that there are those who affirm that democracy, Christianity, and Social Credit have failed. It is up to us to prove the contrary by our actions, and we will succeed. There is a lot of work left to do. It will not be easy and it will not be done overnight; we must be realistic. But still, if your religious faith transmits itself into action for Social Credit, we will advance more in the next few years than we did in past years." — Vic Bridger
"I will report in New Zealand," said Mr. Bill Daly, "the enthusiasm that you have transmitted to me. At the Congress I better understood the relationship between the teachings of the Catholic Church and Social Credit. This will give me more enthusiasm to explain it in New Zealand."
We also had in attendance at our Congress the good Father Pamphile Akplogan, a priest from Benin, Africa, who has understood the urgency of applying Social Credit to settle the crucial problem of poverty in Africa. Father Pamphile is in the process of studying in France with the Sulpician Community. Here are his impressions of the Congress:
"I was at Lourdes two weeks before the Congress, and I offered Holy Mass for the success of your Congress. I will return to Lourdes to give thanks to the Blessed Virgin for the success of the Congress. The Cross, the Host, and the Virgin, I discovered that these three devotions are practiced by the Pilgrims of Saint Michael. I also found a very strong devotion to prayer and the meditation of the Rosary. I thank the Pilgrims of Saint Michael for their endurance. They have been fighting a good fight for many years."
Father Pamphile will go to Benin in December with our French full-time Pilgrim, Christian Burgaud, for a tour of apostolate and conferences.
Poland favored us with the presence of Reverend Father Jozef Jakubiec, from Krakow, Doctor Jan Wilk, the President of Catholic Action of the Archdiocese of Krakow, and of Father Boguslaw Jaworowski, of the University of Lublin. Here are the reflections of Doctor Jan Wilk the Monday of the Congress:
"To express my thoughts briefly, I want to use a symbol: this meeting seems to me to be a group of people with hearts and minds lit up who have put themselves around a fire that symbolizes Social Credit. This fire, this light is spreading everywhere in the world, and our hearts are rejoicing at this phenomenon. This light shows the defects of the financial system that are in use everywhere across the world. Only the idea of Social Credit is capable of visibly thwarting this financial system that is in use. This defective financial system reminds me of a circulatory system with a defective heart. It's as if the heart sucked more blood from the system than it puts back in, therefore the heart takes more, and keeps it for itself, and gives only some back to the system.
"Therefore to camouflage a little bit this strategy, they try to add new credits from time to time to the financial system, but its only virtual money, as if we put a substitute for blood in the living system. Consequently, this state of affairs is like having less and less good blood, and more and more tainted and defective blood. That will lead us towards catastrophe; it is only a question of time. We are Christians. Therefore we are obliged to have an open heart, and also to be vigilant. And our love should also include our enemies, those who make this bad system work, and we should love also those who suffer from the consequences of it." — Dr. Jan Wilk
Father Jozef Jakubiec, who is in charge of the Shrine of the Holy Family in Krakow, was also delighted with the Congress. He told us on Monday morning:
"Yesterday (Sunday, Sept. 5), on the earth, there were two places where the power of God were particularly evident: at Loreto, in Italy, where the Holy Father John Paul II met the representatives of Catholic Action. We can imagine the enthusiasm of the young and the less young that was evident everywhere. And another place where the enthusiasm of the young and less young was very high was in Rougemont, Canada.
"Being with you, I notice that my heart and my mind are enlightened to your great idea of Social Credit. It is an idea the whole world needs. Twenty-six years ago Poland was under Communism. In the month of October 1978, joyful news arrived in Poland; it was the election of Pope John Paul II. The Polish people cried with joy at that moment.
"When the Pope, in his first speech at Saint Peter's Basilica, said to the whole world: 'Do not be afraid. Open your hearts and your homes to Christ, to love' , it was an extraordinary event. The Pope is probably the biggest Pilgrim of our times. I also noticed that you, the Pilgrims of Saint Michael, during years and years, you have prepared the road for the Pope and for this pilgrimage that he is making during his pontificate.
"Today, 26 years later, he is no longer in the same state, but he is still able to surprise the world by his actions. Therefore to resume, in pursuing the idea of the Pope, I call all who will return to their countries to say:'Do not be afraid.' Never lose this hope. Let us bring it to those who have already lost it. Let us get up and go." — Father Jozef Jakubiec
Father Jozef Jakubiec and Doctor Jan Wilk want to found, at the Shrine of the Holy Family in Krakow, a school to teach Social Credit, at the elementary, secondary, and university level, and a bank that lends interest-free money, working along the Social Credit principles. Let us pray to Saint Maximilien Kolbe and Louis Even to assist them in their foundation. Fr. Jaworowski, who teaches the social doctrine of the Catholic Church at the University of Lublin, greatly appreciated the Congress also. He had an interesting report to give us of his tour of apostolate during the months of July and August with our Full-time Pilgrim Jacek Morawa. Father Jaworowski always has his Rosary in hand. His good words showed us his great devotion towards the Immaculate:
"We should be vigilant and keep in our hands the Rosary of the Immaculate. In the last moments of His life, Christ put us in the heart of the Blessed Virgin. The Rosary is Christ's testament. Let us also put in the other hand the sword of Saint Michael, the 'Michael' Journal."
During our Congress, we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the death of our beloved founder, Louis Even, who passed away on September 27, 1974. Bishop Almoneda reminded us of these words pronounced by our dear Louis Even in the last moments of his life: "I would like to be 20 years old again. I would travel across the world, and I would cry out to all to convert." It is, according to Bishop Almoneda, in the same missionary spirit of Saint Therese who said: "When I am in Heaven, I will continue to do good on earth." When we see the development of "Michael" in the five continents, we see Louis Even "who continues to do good on the earth."
We will end with a quote of our dear Louis Even that we can apply to the year 2004-2005 that we are now undertaking:
"We greet the new Social Credit year with hopes of making it a fruitful year of apostolate, sanctifying also by our charity, by the purity of intention that accompanies the activities of the members of the Louis Even Institute, and by their efforts to remain in the state of grace so as not to lose the supernatural merits of their work."