The day following the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on December 31, 2022, it was Thérèse Tardif's turn to leave us for the house of the Father. Miss Tardif, Director Emeritus of MICHAEL, died on January 1, 2023. Her funeral Mass was on January 6, 2023, which would have been Miss Tardif's 94th birthday.
Thérèse Tardif was born on January 6, 1929 in Saint-Odilon de Beauce, Quebec, the daughter of Josapahat Tardif and Orphélie Maheux. Through her father and at a young age she was exposed to the teachings of Vers Demain (the French-language version of MICHAEL) and began apostolate work. In September 1954 she joined the movement full-time.
She became Secretary of the movement, and in the last years of the life of our founding Director, Gilberte Côté-Mercier, Thérèse Tardif helped Mrs. Côté-Mercier with the production of our journal. When Mrs. Côté-Mercier died in 2002, Thérèse Tardif succeeded her as Executive Director until 2020, when she retired for health reasons.
At the beginning of 2022, Miss Tardif had to be hospitalized and was placed in a long-term care facility. It was there that she passed away on the first day of this year, after a life of total dedication to God and justice, especially for the poorest.
Father Patrice Savadogo, diocesan representative of the Pilgrims of Saint Michael for the diocese of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, presided over the funeral Mass at St. Michael's parish Church in Rougemont, Quebec. He was accompanied by seven priests, and was given a message of condolence from Most Rev. Christian Rodembourg, the Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe. The Bishop stated that, had it not been for a commitment outside the diocese, he would have proudly presided over Miss Tardif's funeral Mass.
Here is the eulogy offered by our current Executive Director, Marcelle Caya, at the funeral Mass.
by Marcelle Caya
Members of the clergy, Pilgrims of St. Michael, family members and friends, following a month long hospitalization in January 2022, and unable to walk, Miss Thérèse Tardif was placed in a long-term care facility in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and then in Marieville where she died peacefully, from cancer, at the age of 94, on January 1, 2023, the Feast of Saint Mary, Mother of God. It was her wish to die on a Feast day of the Blessed Mother, and we thank our Heavenly Mother for fulfilling her desire.
"Whoever starts to plow and then keeps looking back is not worthy of the Kingdom of God," Jesus tells us (Luke 9:62). Thérèse did not look back. She was committed and liked to say that she never regretted her decision to commit her life to helping the poor escape their sad condition, and as such, she gave her life to advance the work of Louis Even.
Lady of determination, thank you. We give thanks to God.
Thérèse Tardif listened many times to the fable written by Louis Even called "The Money Myth Exploded" because her father Josaphat repeated it to folks who passed through his blacksmith shop. So when she saw poverty in the world, she already understood that the problem was in the financial system.
The parable explains the creation of money in the form of debt with interest. Since the interest to repay a loan is not created by the banking system, debts are literally impossible to repay.
The following words of Cardinal Saliège, Archbishop of Toulouse, France, in his Lenten Pastoral Letter of 1954 on the duty of Christians in society made a significant impression on Miss Tardif: "The economic system mass produces poor, homeless, starving people! Every Christian must make it his duty to fight and replace it."
This is why she did not hesitate to leave her sales clerk position at the age of 25 and join in the work of Louis Even to fight the broken economic system and replace it with Economic Democracy. She never looked back.
We thank God for this lady of principle!
Thérèse Tardif was involved in all the main events of the Movement with the founders. She and the late Florentine Séguin were the founders'"right-hands". She was also a tireless missionary on the road, conducting meetings and soliciting subscriptions in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, France, Switzerland and Belgium, in addition to her office work.
Lady of the apostolate and lady of service, thank you!
In 1957, she was appointed Secretary of the Board of Directors, and also wrote many articles for the Vers Demain Journal, of which she was Editor-in-Chief following Mrs. Côté-Mercier's passing. She also served as our photographer, Congress and meeting facilitator.
Devoted lady, thank you, praise be to God!
She was Executive Director of the Louis Even Institute for 20 years, and Editor-in-Chief of the four journals, named Vers Demain in French, Michael in English and Polish, and San Miguel in Spanish.
We thank God for this lady of generosity.
Miss Tardif received the Pilgrims of Saint Michael and all visitors with enthusiasm and benevolence. Everyone thanks you for your warm welcome to our Movement and to our home.
Thank you, lady of kindness, lady of welcome.
For Miss Tardif, being born on January 6, the Epiphany and day of the Three Kings, was an honour and a joy that she shared with us. She loved singing and she loved flowers. We say thank you to the Magi for making a small stop for Miss Tardif on their way to Bethlehem.
Lady of joy, great lady, thank you.
Blessed Virgin Mary, bless your devoted daughter who has greeted you so many times with her daily rosaries. Merciful Jesus, receive today in paradise the soul of Miss Tardif who did not fail to recite every day your Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Heavenly Father, to her who every day received the Eucharist, please open the door of the Eternal Kingdom to her.
Lady of faith, thank you for your example of piety.
Since her retirement in 2020, Miss Tardif had taken as her motto, which she repeated several times a day to anyone who would listen: "Life is beautiful, the Good Lord is good!"
Yes, Miss Tardif, your life was beautiful; yes, the Good Lord is good. See what a great honour God is doing you today, as you are accompanied on this last journey by several priests and friends of the work who have known and appreciated you. Dear priests, in the name of Miss Tardif and in the name of all the Pilgrims of Saint Michael, we sincerely express our gratitude to you for being with us.
Thank you Father Patrice Savadogo, Father Abbot Don Raphael Bouchard, Father Éloi Giard, Canon Réjean Racine, Father Brice Séverin Banzouzi, Canon Gérald Ouellette, Father Eric Coulibaly and Father Honoré Ntumba.
Thank you also to all the Pilgrims of St. Michael and all the friends present. And again, thank you Miss Tardif for your exemplary life. Thank you for not having looked back. With God's grace, together we are determined to continue the mission, because "life is beautiful and God is good!"