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The late Elie-Ange Fortin, a director of the Pilgrims of St. Michael

on Saturday, 01 March 2003. Posted in Obituaries, Social Credit apostolate

A full-time Pilgrim for 47 years, he died on a tour of apostolate.

It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the death of our valorous full-time Pilgrim, Elie-Ange Fortin. He was one of the seven members of the board of directors of the Pilgrims of St. Michael and of the Louis Even Institute for Social Justice. He died suddenly on February 10, at the age of 72, during a tour of lectures in the Saguenay-Lac St. Jean area, in Quebec. His body laid in rest in the House of the Immaculate on February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, in front of the beautiful statue of the Immaculate Conception. In the parish church, the funeral was celebrated by Father Gérard Montpetit, OMI, the superior of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Rougemont. He was accompanied by Father Jacques Chaput, the parish priest of Rougemont, and by Father Edmond Brouillard, OMI, the chaplain of the Pilgrims of St. Michael. The Pilgrims of St. Michael and relatives of Elie-Ange Fortin thank all those who took part in the funeral. The following homily of Father Chaput summarizes the life of this great apostle, totally dedicated to his work.


Homily of Fr. Jacques Chaput at Elie-Ange Fortin's funeral

This afternoon, we are gathered in memory of Mr. Elie-Ange Fortin. It is not by chance that we are gathered here; many among you have several reasons to be here. For those who knew Elie-Ange, it is out of respect, gratitude, and friendship that you came to pray in St. Michael's Church in Rougemont.

As Christians, let us go beyond our sadness, and let us turn our eyes on Jesus Christ, who died and resurrected, the very One who is our hope.

In the preface for the dead, we proclaim, "For all those who believe in You, Lord, life is not destroyed, but it is transformed, and when their sojourn on earth ends, they already have an eternal dwelling in Heaven."

Our life on earth is therefore considered, in the light of the Christian Faith, as a sojourn, a pilgrimage, a stage, a mission entrusted to us. For Elie-Ange Fortin, this Christan mission materialized in the apostolic service among the Pilgrims of St. Michael.

Elie-Ange Fortin was born on May 3, 1930, in St. Come de Beauce, Quebec, in a family of nine children. His parents were farmers. He was proud of his patrimony; hard-working, charitable, always willing to help. He was raised during the Depression of the 1930s, a crisis that ended only with the declaration of World War II, which caused billions of dollars to be issued for death, while our statesmen had not a penny before to help feed the families.

These facts had marked him. His mind was open to the message that his mentor, Laurent Genesse, shouted at the entrances of churches, after Sunday Masses: "Our fellow countrymen suffer from hunger, while farmers and workers fill stores with products. What is lacking for products to join those who need them? Money, only money. Our governments can find money for war and death, but they cannot find any in peacetime for life. What a mystery! The population fulfills its role, its mission, by making the goods. The Government, however, does not fulfill its duty; it does not create the money required by the population to exchange their goods. The problem is simple, but it is at the root of many hardships. The Government must create as much money as the people create goods."

Elie-Ange Fortin was then 19 years old, in his prime, when he heard this message. With his brave and honest nature, and having suffered himself from the consequences of the Depression, he drank in those words, understood them, and made himself a fiery propagandist by giving up all his leisure time to teach others the great truths he had just discovered.

At the age of 25, he took the plunge and courageously answered God's call, renouncing the world and all of its pleasures, to consecrate all of his life in the service of God and of his neighbour, having understood that we will all be judged by these words of Our Lord: "I was hungry, and you did feed Me."

So, free from all hindrances, he dedicated himself totally to his Work, travelling the length and breadth of Canada, from door to door and town to town, visiting families, begging for his meals and night's lodgings, like the Poverello of Assisi. Every day was like an adventure; he never knew in advance where he was going to eat or sleep. He even went several times to France in order to accomplish there his apostolate through lectures and the visit of families. He truly exhausted himself at doing it for so many years, but he was happy.

His faith in God was very deep and solid. He never missed the great privilege of attending Holy Mass every morning, for he understood its infinite greatness.

He was burning with an ardent love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. He consecrated himself to Mary, according to the formula set up by St. Louis De Montfort, on September 8, 1970. He totally lived his consecration. He was assiduous to the recitation of the Rosary every morning before the Mass and at noon and in the evening after the meals.

He had the great pleasure of being offered by Mr. Patrick Bisson, of Rougemont, an airplane ticket for Medjugorje, where the Blessed Virgin appears since 1981. He came back from this pilgrimage overjoyed and filled with graces; from now on, he could no longer talk about the Virgin Mary without shedding tears.

In the 1960s, in order to edify families, the Pilgrims of St. Michael acted out the mysteries of the Rosary, the Birth of Jesus and of the Redemption. Because of his humility and goodness, Elie-Ange was chosen to play St. Joseph, in the joyful mysteries, and Our Lord, in the sorrowful mysteries.

Worn out by twenty-seven years of non-stop apostolate on the road, often being forced to fast, not eating at regular hours, far from thinking about taking a rest, he took up the heavy task of cooking for the House of the Immaculate, a task that he accomplished for twenty years. This required of him many sacrifices and self-abnegation. He never took any vacation, never enjoyed any amusement. Even with this task of being in charge of the kitchen, his weekends were still devoted to the apostolate, to hold meetings in various areas.

It is in one of these tours of apostolate that the Blessed Virgin Mary was waiting for him to bring him home. One can say that he died on the battlefield, killed in action. On February 8-10, he went to the Saguenay-Lac St. Jean area to hold the monthly meetings. He gave his conference, on the Sunday afternoon. He was very joyful. He gave a summary of his life as a Pilgrim of St. Michael. And he said many times that he was very happy of having dedicated his life to God and his neighbour among the beautiful team of the Pilgrims of St. Michael — six years part time, and forty-seven years full time.

On Sunday evening, he was put up at the place of Mr. Normand Dubé. He recited the Rosary with him before going to bed. At half past midnight, Mr. Dubé heard moaning. He got up and saw Mr. Fortin fallen on the floor, begging his good Mother to help him. "Mary, Mary" were his last words. Mr. Dubé said to us: "Tell the parish priest that I had the privilege of witnessing the death of a saint."

Our good Heavenly Mother came to take Elie-Ange on the year dedicated to the Rosary, proclaimed by Pope John Paul II. She took him on the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, to allow him to celebrate in Heaven these beautiful days when all of the Celestial Court glorify Mary in Her Immaculate Conception.

We will pray for Elie-Ange, but we believe that we can also pray to him.

It is not by chance that we celebrate the Eucharist during this funeral. Elie-Ange took part every day in the parish Mass. Today, he is invited to go to the table of the Lord.

In this communion to the resurrected Christ, we believe that Elie-Ange has entered the world of the Resurrection, with He whom he had served all of his life. May this faith that is ours support our hope and keep us ready, always at His service. Amen.

Father Jacques Chaput

Parish priest of Rougemont

About crosses

by Bishop Fulton Sheen

The vertical bar pointing to heaven is God's Will. The horizontal bar contracting it is our will. When our will is in conflict with God's Will, we have a cross. Our life is going in a certain direction, maybe towards God. But it is a crooked way, or a slow road, or we tarry too long. So God cuts another road crossway to ours. As we cross His Will by sin, so He crosses our will by love to make us perfect, and it comes out as pain, sacrifice, sorrow, bereavement, grief.

One of the greatest tragedies in the world is wasted pain. Pain without relation to the Cross is like an unsigned check — it is without value. But once we have it countersigned with the Signature of the Savior on the Cross, it takes on an infinite value. Never ask: "What did I do to deserve this?" because Jesus may say to you: "What did I do to deserve the Cross?" If God the Father permitted His Divine Son to feel the agonies of Calvary, it must be because crosses fit into the Divine Plan.

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