|Five priests officiated the funeral of Mrs. Côté-Mercier. From left to right: Leonard Murphy, altar boy; Father Fernand Albert; Father Jacques Chaput; Father Gérard Montpetit, OMI; Father Edmond Brouillard, OMI; Father Thomas Nadeau, Cistercian; Benoît Ouellet, altar boy.|
The parish church is a gathering place, a place of prayer, a place to meet with Christ. Today, you desired that this parish church of Saint Michael of Rougemont be the place for the last good-bye of Mrs. Gilberte Côté-Mercier.
We have left our occupations to gather here in the Lord's Temple. Our presence here is not haphazard; we undoubtedly have many reasons to be present at this funeral celebration.
For those who knew Mrs. Mercier, it is with respect, with gratitude, with friendship that you have come for the last time around her earthly remains. We are gathered to render her a last service, that of prayer. We are also gathered to present to the Lord her life and her Work. Today, our mother the Church celebrates the feast of Saint John the Baptist, the special patron of the French Canadians. What a happy coincidence, what a beautiful combination: Saint John the Baptist and Mrs. Gilberte Côté-Mercier.
Who was Saint John the Baptist? A prophet who was the link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. A precursor, he who prepared the road for Jesus. An ascetic, a man clothed with animal skins, who ate grasshoppers and wild honey. A preacher, staff in hand, veins sticking out of his arms, skin dried and burned by the desert sun of Judea, a haranguer of the crowds, who cried out the truth.
What an interesting figure! A man who questioned the customs and laws of his time. A man who cried, a man who assembled, who denounced injustices, a man who was not afraid of the truth. At the same time, John the Baptist was a man capable of seeing beyond appearances. Among the crowd of those who came to him, he recognized Jesus. He was a revolutionary, but not a revolutionary for nothing; a revolutionary able to open new avenues, and especially of denouncing evil and the works of Satan.
Mrs. Gilberte Côté-Mercier was a representative of this famous patron, and especially, she walked in the footsteps of Saint John the Baptist.
In each era, God raises up elite souls to save His people. 1910 saw the birth of Gilberte Côté to whom God confided a very special mission, that of fighting two great scourges that were wounding and are still wounding the world: poverty amidst plenty, and Communism.
1929: she is nineteen years of age. The Depression multiplies the needy. Her Christian heart is suffering before so much poverty. But how to assist the multitude of those in need?
In 1936, she assisted at a conference given by Louis Even, which definitely orientated her life. She understood Social Credit that would put an end to poverty in a world of abundance. The Eternal Father set the table for each of his children, without forgetting one. But the present barbaric monetary system prevents human beings from eating at the Father's table.
Like Joan of Arc, our national heroine will take the forefront of the battle, by waving the sharp sword of truth. This truth, she will not merely contemplate it, but she will make herself its tireless apostle. Against the two great evils that were raging across the world: Communism — state dictatorship, and the flawed financial system — financial dictatorship, she would present the dazzling light of Social Credit that would marvelously apply well the principles of the social doctrine of our Roman Catholic Mother Church.
God, Church, and country need defenders. Like the virgin of France, under the banner of the great Archangel Saint Michael, first defender of God's rights, the life of our heroine will become a perpetual fight to defend the Divine Plans, in the defense of her brothers, in the defense of truth in its entirety.
She organized a program of meetings and door-to-door apostolate across the country, and across the borders; her zeal will lead her to bring the good seed even into France and in Brazil, and even in all the countries of the world.
The truth penetrates and enflames her, and gives her an unequal eloquence. Her words teach the small and the humble, and confound the haughty. An army of apostles rises up after her.
In paying her homage, Louis Even, the great master, thus spoke:
“The Joan of Arc of New France to emancipate the country from the financial dictatorship that oppresses the people and dislocates families, she consecrates her brilliant intelligence, her university education, her physical strength up to exhaustion, her whole being, her time, her goods, to the service of the Social Credit cause, without stop, without flagging, approved or criticized, admired or persecuted, with no other concern than that of the truth to proclaim and serve.
“Guardian of the `Michael' Journal, she administers it with a unique competence since its first issue, and brought it to an unequaled place among the media of ideas, without commercial advertisements, without financial assistance from outside forces.
“Vigilant and devoted, with a remarkable clear-sightedness, she defends with intrepidity the Work of `Michael' and its faithful followers against the attack of the enemy.
“A fervent Catholic and fervent Social Crediter, first to set the example, she applies herself constantly to develop in the Social Crediters the spirit of the apostolate, unselfish devotion, pure intention, moral integrity, humility allied with courage, and the recourse to Heavenly forces, in the pursuit of a temporal order that will better permit each individual to tend towards his proper destiny in accordance with God's Will.”
Joan of Arc's battle lasted only one year, but she consummated her sacrifice by being burned at the stake at 18 years of age. That of our Canadian heroine lasted for 66 years, and her final cross was the multiple sufferings of old age.
During the last years of her old age, facing God, facing a happy eternity, she prepared herself by prayer and contemplation. She recited her whole Rosary, contemplated the Stations of the Cross, and edified as always her collaborators by her words steeped in the hearts of Jesus and Mary, the source of wisdom and of truth. With a boundless confidence in the Divine Mercy, she held in her hands her crucifix for a happy death, telling us as she showed it to us: “Here is the key to Heaven that will permit me to enter straight into it.”
The Immaculate was the patroness of her birth and of her consecration; she was born in the beautiful month of Mary, May 25, the same birth date as Saint Padre Pio, whom she greatly admired. The powerful Queen of Heaven guided her steps from her birth until death. May She receive her now into Her Celestial Court, near the Blessed Trinity where she will find waiting to greet her: Louis Even; Gérard Mercier; her father, Rosario Côté; her mother, Joséphine Gariépy; her brother, Rosaire Côté; and all the phalanx of “White Berets” who preceded her.
Thank you God for having given Gilberte Côté to Canada. Thanks to Gilberte Côté for all the good she did for the country. In Heaven alone will we know the greatness of her merits.
We will pursue this celebration in thanksgiving for this life that we are presenting to Our Lord. We confide Mrs. Mercier to God, being convinced that He is a Father full of goodness, love, and mercy.
Father Jacques Chaput
Parish priest of Rougemont