Father Menard's Words
“"The 'unloved'. Children to whom we have forgotten to say 'I love you'."
"The hand of the layman supporting the hand of the priest is supporting the world."
"What an immense privilege it is to be able to help the least of this world."
"Widen your outlook and your heart; extend it to all countries and towards all peoples."
"Let us not ask God to make us happy but useful; happiness will come later."
"What I know about tomorrow is that Providence will rise before the sun."
"The taste of shared bread has no equal."
"One cannot help someone without receiving more in return."
"God does not ask for success but for effort. Providence will do the rest."
"Each gesture that we pose has a repercussion
on the whole world."
A Quebecer born January 6, 1916 in East Broughton, Beauce County and christened Henri. His father was a modest shoemaker who, to provide for his eleven children (nine boys and two girls), kept a small shoe store adjacent to his shop and home, a few steps away from an asbestos mine that employed most of the local manpower.
Young Henri attended elementary school in his village while some of his elder brothers had already started their secondary studies away from home. There were little chances that Henri would be able to pursue his studies since his family was financially unable to provide for them.
It was a stroke of luck that Canon Bernier, founder of Canada's first late vocation seminary, that of St-Victor-de-Beauce, happened to come to East Broughton on a recruiting mission. Divine influence undoubtedly helping, Canon Bernier did not hesitate to take to his late vocation seminary the fourteen year old youngster whose qualities largely made up for his youth and lack of financial resources.
Following six years of study at St-Victor, he entered the Foreign Missionaries' novitiate in Pont-Viau where he remained but one year because although the missionary's purpose was truly his, the spirit he was seeking was that of St. Francis of Assisi. So, he went knocking at the Franciscans' door and was immediately welcomed in. There, he was given his patron saint's name of Eusebe. He completed his theology studies and was ordained priest in the Fall 1941. He went on to further studies in sociology at the University of Montreal until 1943.
His oratorical talent prompted his superior to appoint him preacher at the Franciscans' retreat house in Châteauguay, near Montreal where, during three years, he distinguished himself not only by his eloquence but also by the evangelic message he was passing on.
In 1945, Hector Durand, an important Montreal contractor and business man, after attending one of Father Menard's retreat, offered him his financial support for a church organization, either already in existence or to be established. It was, for them, the beginning of an association that was to last over twenty-five years and would be difficult to match.
Their major project was the foundation of the Holy Apostles started in Canada and taken abroad later on by Father Eusebe. In 1972, Mr. Durand's untimely death put an end to his apostolic work on earth, to which he had so generously devoted his fortune, his time and his life.
Since 1962, Father Menard has worked mostly in the United States and Latin America. With unfailing ardor, he continued to promote adult sacerdotal vocations and lay christian commitment.
While his Canadian foundation spread out as far as Africa, Father Menard was establishing missions in United States, Peru, Columbia and Brazil.
Father Menard was died in Montreal on 26th
AT ALL TIMES, IN EVERY AGE
The time is always ripe for hearing a new call.
The time of the harvest had come. And the ripe grapes, all swollen with sun and nectar, lay waiting day in and day ou, in constant danger of being lost, of drying up or rotting on the vine; waiting for the harvesters to gather them and carry them to the cellars of abundance.
The master of the vineyard knew this and was attentive.
One morning he went out at dawn to hire some laborers. In the square at the center of town he found dayworkers who had come for the harvest. He agreed on a wage with them, perhaps a piece of silver, and sent them into his vineyard.
Since these first workers weren't enough, he came back around nine o'clock in the morning looking for men still without work and said to them, "You go into my vineyard too, and I'll pay you a just wage, according to your hours of labor." And they went.
But the harvest turned out to be so abundant that even more hands were needed. Around noon and again about three hours later the master of the vineyard came back to the hiring place. He was sure he would find the workers he needed, In fact, when he first planted his vine he knew that there would never be any lack of laborers in his country; if so, he would have never undertaken such a vast planting. He once again found people ready to work and sent them into his vineyard.
Meanwhile, the day grew older. And undoubtedly some storm or another was threatening or some devastating cloud of locusts was advancing. The harvest bad to be safe in the cellars before nightfall at all costs.
The shadow of the sundial read five hours past noon when the master of the vineyard returned to the square and found some men unoccupied:
"How is it that you have stayed here A day doing
"Well, no one has hired us."
Were they too timid to go looking for work? Or did they think they wouldn't make good harvesters and gave up all hope?
But the master, a good judge of men, sized them up differently: "Go ahead; you go work in my vineyard also."
Heeding his call in spite of the late hour, they left in great haste for the harvest of the ripe grapes.
After the day had ended, the master of the vineyard said to his foreman:
"Call the harvesters and give them their agreed wage, starting with those who came last."
The latecomers each received one piece of silver, the same as those who had worked since sunrise. The last men were understandably somewhat jealous. But the master has another way of seeing things. What counts for him is the harvest gathered in his cellars; without it, everything - or almost everything - would be lost. He is happy and wants everyone who participated in saving the harvest to have a share in his joy, whether they spent many or few hard hours in the sun, had more or less know-how, showed greater or lesser zeal in the final hours.
Think about it: There was much worry and fear during the day; but because everyone responded to the call, tonight the entire harvest rests in great vats in the immense cellar. All are invited to the same rejoicing. How good and overflowing will be the wine of the wedding feast in this kingdom!
And you, reader and friend, perhaps it's you that the master of the vineyard of humanity wants to see at the hiring-place sometime today; you who have already spent some 17, 18, 25 or more years on this earth.
Perhaps in reading through the pages which follow you will hear a call; or perhaps a call you have already heard will become even clearer.
Don't shut your heart, don't harden yourself with resistance as if this book were an intruder - at least not without having run through a few of these pages. Don't let the chance to answer slip through your fingers: "If you really want me, Lord, I'm ready to follow you."
If God allows our planet to carry over three billion people in our day, you can be sure that he has also made plans for a proportionate call of at least one million apostles and priests. Perhaps you are one of them.
The harvest of souls is waiting for you. The
gathering in of men is in danger of perishing for want of
laborers, like the ripe grapes on the hillsides.
by Rev. Yvon Archambault, M.S.A.
Since the beginning of his ministerial priesthood, the young Franciscan "Padre" Eusebe, filled with the Word of God, was not only an elocuent preacher, but also such a convinced apostle, that his gestures (acts) always went with and helped his words.
The long time that he loved to spend in prayer and meditation introduced him to the intimacy of
Christ and let him discover the grandeur of the priesthood and to make him aware of the urgency to give priest to the Church, above all where they were most needed. Now his way is marked out.
The grandeur of the priesthood. His love for the priesthood and his high esteem for priests touched the hearts of his retreatants, who went away some converted and others questioning.
The urgency to give priests to the Church. Such an apostolate must be nurtured by the Eucharistic bread and the Word of God meditated (prayed) on extensively; such an apostolate is possible only in union with Christ.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him, will produce abundantly, for apart from me you can do nothing (Jn 15:51).
Father Eusebe was a happy priest, a priest who continuously praised the Lord by means of his priestly life: Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has bestowed on us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavens (Ef 1.3)!
Cardinal P.-E. Leger is in favor of the project of the foundation of a society of common life without public vows.
10 July 1957
Opening in Cromwell, Ct USA (Norwich Diocese) of the Holy Apostles Seminary
The Archbishop of Montreal approves the project of foundation of the Society of the Holy Apostles, society of common life without public vows, for the formation of young men and adults thinking of the priesthood, for the direction of retreat houses and poor parishes.
Decree of erection by Cardinal P.-E. Léger of the Society of the Holy Apostles as ‘pious union’.
The Missionaries of the Holy Apostles begin their apostolic work in the Amazon of Peru
Approval of the Society of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles as ‘pious union’ at Indiana, Peru, by Msgr Damase Laberge, o.f.m., bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Saint-Joseph-de-l’Amazone, Peru.
Decree of the canonical erection of the Society of the Holy Apostles promulgated by Cardinal P.-E. Leger.
From 11 November 1965 to 10 January 1966
Visit of Fr. Remi Couture to Tchad and Cameroon concerning the Foundation in Africa
03 November 1966
Opening of the Holy Apostles Seminary in Nsimalen (Yaounde)
12 December 1966
Foundation of Seminario de los Santos Apostoles in Bogota (Colombia)
12 January 1967
Creation of Conceicio de Nova Aparecida Parish in Campinas (Brazil)
17 December 1967
Moving of the Holy Apostles Seminary from Nsimalen to Otele
28 March 1969
The taking over of the Minor Seminary of Saint Theresa in Mvolye (Yaounde)
Recognition of the Society of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles as a Society of common life without vows and of diocesan right, by a decree from the Apostolic Vicariate of Saint-Joseph-de-l’Amazone (Peru), Msgr Laurant Guibord, o.f.m. The Society is attached to the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples (Propaganda Fide).
Death of Mr Hector Durand, co-founder of the Work of the Holy Apostles.
Opening in Assisi (Italy) of a Vocational Centre in collaboration with the French Poor Clares.
23 February 1986
Acceptance to take over Saint-Paul's Minor Seminary in Bangui, Central African Republic.
Death of Fr. Eusèbe-Henri Ménard, Founder of the Work of the Holy Apostles. He is buried on the territory of the Society at the cemetery of ‘Saint-Joseph-de-Rivière-des-Prairies’ parish.
Initiation of a process for the unification of both Societies founded by Fr. Eusèbe Ménard.
From 30 July to 18 August, a Chapter General was held to prepare the unification of the two Societies.
Founding of the Society of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles. The decree of foundation is read by Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte.
Recognition of the Society of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles as a clerical Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right.
A great man has left us
Mr. Hector Durand was born April 25, 1892, in Saint-Jean-de-Matha in the county of Joliette (Canada). He went to grammar school there and began his classic studies in Joliette Seminary. Following the example of his father, a small industrialist, Mr. Durand had a stronger liking for construction than for studies.
Before deepening his aptitudes, he needed experiences, one of which was his stay in western Canada. There, he met a nurse, Miss Clara Farrell, to whom shortly thereafter, he married. They returned to Montreal with a little money saved from the west. It is then that Mr. Durand built houses.
His spirit of initiative, his talent and his untiring work, always backed by his excellent wife, that allowed Mr. Durand to become, in a time of great economic difficulties, a champion in the construction of house.
At the end of the second world war, in 1945, Mr. & Mrs. Durand had a few hundred apartment houses, besides what they had built for their brothers and sisters. However, the tough Hector Durand, carried in the deepest part of his interior life, a seed that was only waiting for the providential occasion to grow and blossom.
This opportunity took place when Mr. Durand went on a closed retreat with the Franciscans of Chatauguay. The preacher of this retreat for businessmen was a young 29 year old priest, Father Eusebe Menard. His preaching, centered on the Word of God and more specifically on the Gospel, produced a shock whose effect was felt right up to the death of Mr. Durand.
Rightly, Father Menard always repeated that he realized his work thanks to Mr. Durand, who he always referred to as Co-Founder. In spite of ups and downs, the Menard/Durand relationship produced, in 27 years, fruits that could be compared with any priestly work.
Above, we have pointed out that the Biblical preaching of Father Menard in a time when the Sacre Scriptures where far from being found in every house. We have to also underline, with no less emphasis, the originality of the priest/lay collaboration, 15 years before the 2nd Vatican Council.
The great strength of Mr. Durand was above all, his faith: his faith in the priest, his faith in the Church, his faith in Christ. Not only did he read the Imitation of Christ (the book on his night stand), he imitated Christ. For him, faith without works did not make sense. There's where we see why he spend his entire personal fortune not only to organize the Society of the Holy Apostles, but to work unceasingly, and persevered, almost with rest, for the last 27 years of his life in order to give more priests to the Church.
The last paragraph of his Testament, written by hand, and signed November 13, 1971, is significant for breadth of his intentions, and which could very well be, for us, a great opportunity to reflect: "I am sorry for not having built more houses to form priests."
He who has just died was a giant and those who knew him will only slowly discover the immense grace that the Lord gave them by letting them have interacted with a man such as he. His detachment and generosity could not have reached their heights without his determination and his dedication. Not only his works live on, but also, for some time now, his apostolic actions go beyond the frontiers of our country. Africans, South Americans and Asians benefit from his generosity.
May God be praised forever for having given us Mr. Durand. May He give us from on high, a bit of his charity.
(Pierre Bouchard's Homily, March 9, 1972 )