“We are gathered in a large number here to pay a last homage to a person whom we have loved, whom we have admired, whom we have followed for many long years.
“Her reputation spread across the world because she had been chosen in advance like a prophet to proclaim the Word of God. The soul that the Holy Spirit had placed in her was filled with love for her brothers and sisters. She was filled with an extraordinary faith and love. This permitted her, during the long life that the Lord lent her, to bear witness to her Faith and her love, and to manifest to the poor of the earth the gifts God had given her.
“To you, to whom she had been a parent, a friend, a representative, and a Directress, this loss is hard to bear, but for this person who has just left, it is an opportunity that is offered to her to receive the reward for which her life prepared her. At the same time as we rejoice of her entrance into Heaven, our heart is full of sorrow.
“During the course of this ceremony, we will hear this Word of the Lord before these great and splendid events. The Church offers us therefore the Pascal Candle that reminds us of the Baptism that Gilberte received. It also reminds us of the presence of the spirit of God in her heart and in her soul. The ministers of God are dressed in white. This invites us to rejoice because the Will of God was accomplished in the life, the gestures, and the death of she who has left us.
“All together, let us unite our voices to the hymns of the choir; let our prayer of thanksgiving climb towards the Father through Jesus, His Son.
“According to the wishes of Mrs. Côté-Mercier, the Mass will, as much as possible, be recited in Latin. There will also be readings in French so that we can partake of the words of consolation that Our Lord and the Church offer us.”
At the end of the Mass, Father Montpetit added:
“In a few moments, we will proceed to the prayer of absolution. The choir will sing the Libera in Latin, and during this time we, the ministers, will incense the body of Mrs. Côté-Mercier, and also we will sprinkle the body. Just as through Baptism this water redeemed her, washed Original Sin from her, and made her a daughter of God, it is a last gesture of affection and also of purification. The priest and some of the Pilgrims from different countries, who have been invited to do so, will come in front to sprinkle the body of Mrs. Côté-Mercier to signify in this way that international role that she played in the Social Credit Movement, and the effort that she made to make known the Church's position on social questions. Before this, I would like to add a word to the homily that Father Chaput presented to us with such eloquence and with so much conviction, in making this parallel between the precursor of Christ and Gilberte Côté-Mercier in showing the road to salvation.
“I simply want, therefore, to send out a message to all the Pilgrims of Saint Michael, a testimony that comes from the mouth of Most Reverend Albert Sanschagrin, emeritus Bishop of the diocese of Saint Hyacinthe. When I was called by Father Chaput to assist him in the spiritual direction of the permanent residents of the House of Saint Michael and the other Pilgrims, I thought it wise to tell Bishop Sanschagrin, who is retired in our house in Richelieu, that I had assumed the role towards Mr. Mercier, Mrs. Côté, and the Full-timers, as an aide in spiritual direction. At that moment, Bishop Sanschagrin told me: `You know, Mrs. Côté-Mercier is a person of great Faith, and she is a very obedient person.' Coming from her Bishop, this is a testimony of great value.
“And I would like to add a personal note about Mrs. Côté-Mercier's Faith: I was able to note it during the years during which I accompanied her, this Faith that wished to be faithful to the Faith of the Church. She stuck to each of the articles of the Apostles' Creed with all the fibers of her heart, and she wanted to live them, and wanted that those around her also lived these truths. Myself, what especially struck me, is this truth that we proclaim on all occasions and which so often is passed over in silence, `I believe in the Communion of Saints'. All it takes is a visit to the two monasteries on the grounds of the `Louis Even Institute' to become aware of how the saints play a great role in the lives of these people. Father Chaput will approve; he reminded us of her devotion to Padre Pio. For myself, I was able to witness it for many years.”
Père Gérard Montpetit, o.m.i.
Superior of the Oblates
of Mary Immaculate, in Rougemont