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The Financial Bases of the Army of Mary,
A Work Guided by Heaven

“The men of this time scoff at mystics, those ardent hearts fixed on the infinite, who go to Christ, the Savior, through Mary, totally stripped of everything. Centered on God’s will, who desires to make men happy, they speak out and set the ways right through an apostolic and conquering action, a way of love, pardon and peace, a way that sanctifies and corresponds to the divine designs for our earth that is dying because it knows not how to love.”

It was on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes 2003 that Mother Paul-Marie wrote those lines in the article “The Pope of a Mystery” (His Holiness Pope John Paul II) (January-February 2003 issue of Le Royaume, p. 23 in the English edition.). Now, this passage presents us with a striking condensation of what the life of our Foundress has been, a life of constant love and renunciation, centered on the accomplishment of God’s will. Mother Paul-Marie has bestowed upon everyone the flowers of giving and pardon, rising above human weakness in order to attach herself inseparably to God, manifesting to us, in addition, the way of abandonment to God’s Will in all His desires.

This article is devoted to the finances of the Army of Mary and of the Works associated with it, however this aspect of the Marian Work, as much as its spiritual dimension, is rooted in the life of Mother Paul-Marie, and it is only fitting that we consider it, even if only briefly.

A Life of Love

Marie-Paule was born on the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, September 14, 1921, in a home impregnated with the Gospel values: charity, simplicity, openness to providential events, a life of prayer and renunciation.

At a very early age she learned to forget herself for others. Extremely active, she helped her mother with household tasks, looked after her brothers and sisters (she was the eldest of ten children) and lent her services to the parish or wherever she went.

Marie-Paule always had a predilection for the poor and the unwanted. Her brother, Claude, raised little animals, including hens. At the age of nine, seeing that there were enough eggs for their needs, she asked her mother for permission to go and gives some eggs to a needy family.

Life of Love, which she later wrote at the Lord’s request, abounds in events demonstrating a charity that was inventive and attentive to her neighbor’s needs. Of all those who benefited from her devotedness, we might mention the old bedridden lady living in miserable conditions whom Marie-Paule aided every day for more than four years, always gratuitously; and the very poor girl in her class for whom Marie-Paule organized a collection in order to provide her with the basic necessities, including a dress made by Mama Laura.

She desired to suffer for the salvation of souls and to this end she made, at the age of 12, the offering of herself as a victim to Jesus. Not long afterwards, she heard an interior Voice say:

ONE DAY YOU WILL BE VERY GREAT, MY CHILD. HAVE CONFIDENCE. BE GOOD.

The young girl, who desired to become a religious, often heard the same interior Voice repeat those words whose meaning she did not understand.

On the day of her fifteenth birthday, deeply moved by the torment of the Divine Crucified, she offered Him to take His place on the Cross so that He might suffer no more. The following day, the feast of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, she made herself Jesus’ fiancee and was commiserating with Mary over Her sorrow when this latter said to her interiorly:

MY CHILD, IN HONOR OF MY SEVEN SORROWS, YOU WILL GO ON THE OPERATING TABLE SEVEN TIMES.” (And this indeed happened.)

Marie-Paule also took an interest in business. Her father sold insurance, and she would often install herself in a corner of his office to knit and listen to his conversations with his clients. These latter sometimes complained that their wife understood nothing of business, which made Marie-Paule think. She asked herself: “How could a woman improve herself in this field?” The future would give her the opportunity to show how.

At the age of 16, Marie-Paule had much to suffer from the conduct of a member of the clergy. The interior Voice informed her that this priest was living in impurity. As she was offering up the merits earned her by the sufferings this priest caused, she heard interiorly:

BE GOOD, MY CHILD. ONE DAY YOU WILL BE MY MESSENGER TO THE RELIGIOUS AUTHORITIES. IF THEY HAVE CONFIDENCE, GREAT EVILS WILL BE AVERTED IN TROUBLED TIMES.

In August 1938, she made her first closed retreat. Although she was hoping to consecrate her life soon to the Lord through life as a religious, the retreat master assured her that her place was definitely in the world. Providential events confirmed the preacher’s words, and Marie-Paule married on July 1, 1944. During the nuptial blessing, she received a supernatural grace: she saw herself clad in a long white dress and wearing a white veil; she seemed to be floating above the earth, as if going from one country to another for some cause.

Life of Love tells of the years that followed, years marked by increasingly heavy crosses, while Heaven’s interventions became more and more frequent. Marie-Paule underwent the nights of the soul and the Lord endowed her with numerous charisms for the welfare of His Church. Little by little her mission took form, while at the same time the mode of communication with Heaven became more refined, leaving no place for diabolical interference.

On April 28, 1958, Jesus announced to her that she would be crucified by members of His priesthood, and He went on to say:

“Like me, you are innocent, but on all sides, voices will cry out that you are hateful, that you are the most infamous of creatures.... You, a pure woman who have given of yourself even to the point of breaking your heart for your fellowmen, and whom I have miraculously sustained; you who have benefited from so many talents all of which have served my cause, you who have sung and smiled that you might not weep and sigh.” (Life of Love, vol. I, chap. 53)

The following May 4, the Lord explained:

“You know, my child, that my beloved Mother lived on earth and that she ascended into heaven without dying! I must tell you, today, that she has become incarnate, and her maternal regard has alighted upon you. It is you, my child, who suffer my Passion and who, in the name of my beloved Mother, will give Christ back to the world.” (Id.)

That mission would be confirmed by certain mystics, among others:

Marthe Robin would say of Marie-Paule: “She is totally lost in Mary, totally hidden in Mary.” (Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, 1973)

The Blessed Virgin asked Don Stefano Gobbi, founder of the Marian Movement of Priests, to bless Quebec, “Her” city because she was living there, as she explained to him. (Quebec, 1976)

The seeress of the Lady of All Peoples received this message concerning Marie-Paule: “She is the handmaid.(Amsterdam, 1977)

And the handmaid must walk in the footsteps of the suffering Servant.

The Founding of the Army of Mary and Its Associated Works

The Army of Mary which the Lord had foretold to Marie-Paule in 1954, was set on foot August 28, 1971, and Heaven asked that the little review The Army of Mary be produced as a means of binding together the members of the Work.

Marie-Paule, whose principle it is never to run into debt, had only $5.00 in hand, but, trusting in Providence, she complied. The first issue of the review came out September 14, 1971, and she was able to pay the bill. And there she was, launched upon an apostolic course that would be rich and fruitful because prepared in the crucible of sufferings and humiliations of all kinds, and carefully guided by Heaven that informed, sustained and commanded. To Marie-Paule goes the merit of unfailing and heroic obedience, whereas God’s ways baffle human wisdom, and Marie-Paule was the first to experience this as she wrote down, without understanding and always out of obedience, the many divine indications.

It was in simplicity and poverty that the Marian Work was put together; Marie-Paule’s kitchen table served as the first secretariat for the Army of Mary; the modest bookcase was several boards resting on empty tin cans that she covered with tinfoil. The secretarial work for the review was done gratuitously by Marie-Paule’s daughter, Louise, who was married and lived a few streets from her mother’s place.

It was in continued obedience to instructions from On-High that Marie-Paule founded, each in its turn, the Family and the Community of the Sons and Daughters of Mary (in 1981,when she took the name Mother Paul-Marie as the spiritual Mother of these two Works), the Oblate-Patriots (1986), the Marialys Institute (1992) and, to head these five Works, the Community of the Lady of All Peoples (1999).

These spiritual Works have solid financial bases and are maintained by corporations. In fact, in 1973 and at the request of a federal government official, Marie-Paule took steps to have the Army of Mary constituted a non-profit organization, and the Work obtained its federal charter on September 24, 1973. From then on a distinction would have to be made between two entities:

– “The Army of Mary”, an association of lay people that neither possessed nor administered any goods; and

– “The Army of Mary Inc.”, a non-profit corporation that gives legal maintenance to the Work and can administer goods. Each year, the corporation submits a report of its financial activities to the two levels of government, the federal and the provincial.

It would be the same for the other Works issuing from the Army of Mary, each of which would have its corporation, as well as the different workshops and fields of apostolate: statue workshop, the Work’s paper, the travel agency, etc.

The Financial Principles and the Example of the Foundress

The directors of the Work have always respected to the letter the instructions the Lord gave to Marie-Paule, namely:

– never to ask for money because God was going to provide for everything;
– never make any publicity;
– never contract debts;
– never have a social life in the Work;
– never live at the expense of the Work;
– to share donations received with the impoverished and with other works;
– to work gratuitously for the Work.

“The acceptance of such a program,” wrote Marie-Paule in 2002, “meant accepting to walk in pure faith, obeying without understanding and going against human prudence. ‘The foolishness of God is wiser than men’s wisdom.(Cf. 1 Cor 1:25.)

“Not only was this program accepted, but it has been obeyed to the letter for close to 32 years, without our paying any attention to the ‘bunch of vipers’ which have so sullied the Army of Mary’s reputation. Nothing can stop the action of those who place their trust in God....

“From the very first days of its apostolic activities, the finances of the Army of Mary have been the result of the directors’ hard work, made up of donations received without asking for anything, and in giving without cease in such a manner that ‘the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing’, according to the spirit of the Gospel” (Article “The Finances of the Army of Mary” in the March-April 2002 issue of Le Royaume, p. 20 of the English edition).

Our Foundress has given the example of boundless devotion and has never received a salary for her numerous functions in the Marian Work, activities that, up until very recently, kept her at her post, usually 16 hours a day, beginning at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning: office work, voluminous mail, writing (numerous publications, and articles for the Work’s paper), internal administration, apostolic activities, etc.

In order to be available to the Marian Work, Marie-Paule sacrificed all social life. Similarly, her five children eased her task by lending their cooperation in the first years, but then went on their own way, in the understanding of an apostolic situation generously accepted.

Marie-Paule has made it a point of honor not to live at the expense of the Work. She pays her own modest personal expenses, including her subscription to the paper – and Marie-Paule is its director and principal contributor –, her apostolic trips, etc., and all of this thanks to the royalties she collected for her volumes of Life of Love, with a surplus left over for the Marian Work. At the Lord’s request, she even paid for her set of the volumes she wrote, for it was a matter of a Work of God (indication from Heaven).

In 1986, Marie-Paule began receiving the old-age pension and this permitted her not only to pay her expenses but also to make donations. As a religious since the death of her husband in 1997, her vow of poverty forbids her possessing any goods whatsoever, and it is with serenity that she looks forward to death, happy to have not a cent or any goods other than the dress for her interment.

Some of her children contribute to her support through donations, so much so that she has never lived at the expense of the Community either.

Property Assets

As was mentioned, Marie-Paule’s apartment, situated at 2040 - 26th Street in Quebec City, was the first secretariat for the Army of Mary. In 1974, two ladies who had volunteered their services for the Work came to live in the apartment next to Marie-Paule, and it then became the secretariat for the Army of Mary and the review.

Gradually, members wishing to serve the Army of Mary came to rent some of the eighteen apartments in the building (the proprietor was happy to have quiet and honest tenants). We must point out that everyone remained financially independent, since Marie-Paule never consented to anyone’s giving all of his or her goods to the Work.

In 1976, the directors of the corporation, “The Army of Mary Inc.”, acquired the building on 26th Street, and it became the International Center of the Army of Mary.

The Work developed rapidly and other buildings had to be acquired or built, and Heaven asked that plots of land at Lac-Etchemin be bought, with a view to future development. The first plot was bought in 1983. Generous donors and the different corporations of the Work (Vie d’Amour, the bookstore, the paper, etc.) permitted the Army of Mary and the Family of the Sons and Daughters of Mary to acquire a number of pieces of land.

Following is an up-to-date list of the buildings belonging to the Marian Work, identified by the name received at the time of their acquisition or construction.

1. The International Center of the Army of Mary in Quebec City, bought in 1976.

2. The Center of the Immaculate in Quebec City, bought in 1980. This three-storey building first took in, on the top floor, religious and lay people. After the founding of the Family and the Community of the Sons and Daughters of Mary (May 31, 1981), this floor became the residence for the Sons of Mary religious. On the ground floor a large hall is used for conferences and catechism courses for adults and young people. The premises also harboured the secretariat for the paper, various workshops and the bookstore.

This building was acquired at a cost of $400,000.00, and is the only one for which funds were collected, and this on the instigation of Father Philippe Roy who wished to get his friends interested in it. The fund-raising campaign brought in $185,000.00; Raoul Auclair donated $70,000.00; Vie d’Amour gave $60,000.00 and other departments of the Work likewise contributed; Mr. Gérard Poulin made a loan of $100,000.00, interest-free, which was reimbursed him at the end of 1980, the building having been completely paid for.

3. The Saint Joseph Farm at Lac-Etchemin was bought in 1984 for the Sons of Mary novices, thanks to Vie d’Amour and some donors. Ten years later, a large addition was made to it in which are located various workshops, and the building was rechristened Marienthal.

4. The Our Lady of Fatima Pavilion in Lac-Etchemin was bought by the Daughters of Mary in 1986. It is the residence of some Sisters and some women Oblates of the Family of the Sons and Daughters of Mary.

5. In 1988, the Daughters of Mary bought the Résidences La Mennais in Lac-Etchemin, and the edifice would be known under the name Virgo-Fidelis. The Sisters would occupy the two upper floors while the two lower floors would take in Oblate residents, elderly autonomous persons who would be able to live a retirement benefiting from the appropriate services (cafeteria, infirmary, chapel, etc.). The branch of the Oblate residents of the Family of the Sons and Daughters of Mary bought the Our Lady of Fatima Pavilion of which the Daughters of Mary would assume the direction and the service for the lady Oblate residents.

6. Mariacel in Quebec City, was purchased in 1988 by the Family of the Sons and Daughters of Mary to house its secretariat, the sewing workshops and the bookstore Espoir et Vie.

7. Mariapolis in Quebec City, was bought in 1992 by the Family of the Sons and Daughters of Mary. Since 1996, it has been occupied by the Rosier d’Or, a store selling religious articles and books and is attended to by several Daughters of Mary Sisters.

8. The Eucharistic and Marian Center Spiri-Maria was built in Lac-Etchemin at the express request of Heaven. Construction began in 1999 and terminated in January 2000. This edifice receives persons desiring to make a retreat of two or five days and became, temporarily, the International Center of the Community of the Lady of All Peoples.

This building had been completely paid for with the termination of the work on it. The contruction of the chapel was made possible by an amount of $400.000.00 granted by the Mother Paul-Marie Foundation and the sum of $500.000.00 bequeathed in the will of Miss Aurore Pelland, a member of the Army of Mary and friend of Marie-Paule who did not know that, under a humble and poor exterior, this lady, who had come to reside as a woman Oblate at the Our Lady of Fatima Pavilion, was, in fact, a wealthy person.

9. Royau-Ma in Lac-Etchemin, was bought by the paper Le Royaume in the year 2000. Located there are the paper’s secretariat and the offices for the publishing house Vie d’Amour.

10 and 11. The Residence of the Lady and Rosa Mystica were built on the grounds of Spiri-Maria in 2001 and 2002 and are the property of the Daughters of Mary. The Residence has become the International Center of the Community of the Lady of All Peoples.

12. Val-Maria at Lac-Etchemin, a small farm was bought in 2002 by the Sons of Mary. In 2003, it became the Sons of Mary’s house of formation (novitiate).

All of these buildings have been paid for, thanks to the profits generated by the different corporations of the Marian Work, and to donations received.

Special mention must be made here of the volunteer work of many members of the Work and of the Community of the Sons and Daughters of Mary as much in freshening up the premises of the buildings acquired as in renovating and landscaping the sites; this made possible a reduction of costs. Nor should we forget the numerous volunteers who donate their services to the different houses of the Work.

Single-family residences were also acquired by the Work at Lac-Etchemin. Of these there is the paternal home of Marie-Paule bought by the Family of the Sons and Daughters of Mary in 1985; the summer house Saint François bought by the Army of Mary in 1985, transferred to the Family and then to the Community of the Sons of Mary in 2001. The summer house Villa Sancta Maria was given to the Daughters of Mary by Robert and Denise Beaudry in 1987.

“Give to Caesar What Is Caesar’s” (Mt 22:21)

a) Respect for the Laws

Marie-Paule has always been extremely careful to respect the laws, be they of the governments, of the municipality, or of any other kind, and she asks the same respect of her collaborators.

In what concerns the municipal taxes applicable to the tracts of land and the buildings of the Work, she requires that all sums due the municipality be paid. As a charitable organization the Work does not have to pay taxes on the buildings it possesses at Lac-Etchemin; however, Marie-Paule has insisted that taxes be paid for buildings that do not have a religious purpose in the strictest sense of the term or not totally, such as the Our Lady of Fatima Pavilion and Royau-Ma, as likewise for the vacant tracts of land possessed by the Work.

Honesty in business is, for her, of primary importance. One of her principles in this matter is that when embarking upon a business venture one must always begin at the bottom of the ladder, then expand as the development of the project permits.

b) The Speedy Payment of Bills

Since it is a principle of Marie-Paule never to contract debts, bills are paid as soon as possible; when the merchandise is received, the quality and quantity of the goods are immediately checked and the cheques in payment are sent out.

Once, during the first years of the Work, at a meeting of the Army of Mary’s board of directors composed of Marie-Paule and some businessmen, one of the latter, seconded by the others, suggested to Marie-Paule that three months be allowed to pass before paying bills in order that the Work might profit from the authorized “terms of payment” through the benefit of the interest earned. Marie-Paule replied, “I know, but when we have received the merchandise in good and due form we must pay for it. If we want to set things right we must be the first to do the rectifying, hoping that others will follow that example, because the suppliers also have costs to bear.”

c) An Impeccable Bookkeeping

Marie-Paule insists that the Work’s accountants keep the books in perfect order and as called for by the requirements of the law.

Sister Julienne Boisvert, who did the accounting for the bookstore at Mariacel a number of years ago, one day received an unannounced visit by a government auditor. He was deeply impressed by the impeccably-kept books and by the clear and precise answers given his questions, with supporting evidence. “If all the businesses kept their books like this,” he said to Sister Julienne, “there’d be no need for a government inspector.”

“We teach justice and truth,” our Sister replied, “so we have to be the first to practice them.”

The auditor returned for a few years, as a matter of form, and he declared to Sister Julienne, “I’ve never seen books kept so well!”

Sister Julienne initiated numerous Daughters of Mary in accounting and set up an accounting system adaptable to the different Works. Thus, our transparency in the matter of accounting prevails not only at the International Center of the Community of the Lady of All Peoples, but equally in the national, regional and local centers of our Works.

Sister Julienne had to call a halt to her contribution to accounting for reasons of health. Today Sister Monique Goupil (for the Community of the Daughters of Mary) and Mr. André Bélanger (for the Works) are capably carrying on in her place.

Donations

The order of the day proclaimed as of the founding of the Army of Mary was, “combat evil by doing good.” One of the fields of our apostolate is that of contributing to different works of charity, including those of the Holy Father.

a) Our Donations to the Holy Father

From 1973 to 1995, the International Center of the Army of Mary organized 27 pilgrimages, principally to Europe, but also to the Holy Land, to Turkey (Ephesus), to the United States and to Jamaica.

During pilgrimages to Rome between 1973 and 1984, a total sum of $539,200.00 was given to the Holy Father (this sum included $125,000.00 in 1981, $80,000.00 in 1982 and $100.000.00 in both 1983 and 1984). This money came in part from the profits from the pilgrimage being made, from the Army of Mary and from the different departments of the Work, from our members’ “little banks for the Holy Father”, from Mass offerings. The sum was remitted each time to the Secretariat of State at the end of the pilgrimage, not at the beginning of it, for the Work did not wish to use these donations to obtain special favors.

In the autumn of 1984, fifteen Sons of Mary left for Rome, with the priesthood as their aim. They studied at the Pontifical University of the Angelicum. In 1985, they numbered thirty-three, of whom twenty-nine were students at the Angelicum. The Work’s directors informed the members that the next sums collected from among them for the Holy Father would be used for the work of vocations, to defray the costs of the Sons of Mary’s studies.

However, the Marian Work continued to give donations and Mass offerings to the Holy Father, especially on the occasion of its pilgrimages to Rome. Nevertheless, it had quite a surprise when, on March 10, 1986, Cardinal Louis-Albert Vachon, then Archbishop of Quebec, returned to Marie-Paule the bank drafts given to the Holy Father by the Work in June 1985, on the pretext that the offerings for Masses were too high (sometimes $100.00, once $2,000.00 on the occasion of the Holy Father’s birthday). It had already been understood that these amounts were intended as Mass offerings and a donation for the Holy Father’s works. Cardinal Vachon wrote as follows:

“The Mass-offering tariffs must be set by the bishops of the same ecclesiastical province and subsequently be respected by everyone. Therefore, you should respect these tariffs by making a very clear distinction between the sums covering offerings for the Masses requested and the donations the Army of Mary would like to make to the Holy Father for his works.... I would suggest that you have the Masses celebrated in Quebec, and I will be happy to pass along to the Holy Father, if you judge this appropriate, the donations from the members of the Army of Mary.”

And yet Marie-Paule, in making these offerings, had proceeded in the manner suggested by Cardinal Maurice Roy, Cardinal Vachon’s predecessor, and it had worked well over the years. She informed Father Denis, who was in Rome accompanying the Sons of Mary, of this, and he got in touch with a religious authority who then spoke to Pope John Paul II of this affair.

“How can anyone refuse these donations,” the Holy Father said, “when we even accept those coming from non-Catholics?”

An inquiry was called for. The directors of the Work learned later that it had been two persons of the French section of the Secretariat of State, and not the Holy Father, who had taken the decision to refuse the bank drafts (or had been acting on orders from elsewhere). Pope John Paul II asked that the donations and the Mass offerings from the Army of Mary be henceforth directed to the John Paul II Foundation in Rome. (Cf. Vie d’Amour, Appendice, vol. II, pp. 204-206, 246-247.)

b) Our Donations to the Underprivileged and to Works of Charity

Marie-Paule had her collaborators and the religious acquire the habit of being generous, of receiving with one hand and, with the other, of giving discreetly to the underprivileged (members and non-members of the Work), to organizations of charity, to victims of catastrophes anywhere in the world (for example, the tsunami of December 26, 2004).

Our Foundress has never kept for herself any donations received from members of the Work: even personal cheques (whether in the amount of $50.00 or $100.00) were endorsed and handed over to the Work.

One day she received a cheque of $5.00 from a person who expressed their pleasure in giving but their regret that it was so little because of their financial difficulties. When the opportunity presented itself, Marie-Paule sent this person $50.00, asking them to accept it for their children or for some other purpose, in order not to wound the person.

How many acts of generosity Marie-Paule performed! To give just one example that illustrates both generosity and pardon; in the 1980s, an ex-member of the Army of Mary was doing a great deal of injustice to the Work. This deeply grieved his wife, who happened to tell a member of the Army of Mary of their extreme poverty, no longer having the use even of a refrigerator, for its mechanism had quit working. Learning of this, Marie-Paule lost no time in having the best and largest refrigerator that would suit this family delivered to it, and they were not to know from where it came. (This man is still campaigning against the Work today.) (Cf. Vie d’Amour, Appendice, vol. I, p. 288.)

c) Our Members in the Service of the Church

Many of our members collaborated in their parishes, which led numerous parish priests to remark that the members of the Army of Mary were their “best parishioners”.

Some dioceses in which the Sons and Daughters of Mary were working benefited not only from the devotion of these men and women religious, but also from the devotedness of members of the Work who went to L’Aquila in Italy to renovate the seminary placed at the disposal of the Sons of Mary, or, again, to Jamaica to renovate a house destined to be an orphanage, or to build a second residence in order to separate the children from the adolescents. It was in a marvelous spirit of fraternalism that our members participated in these works, and for many of them, they were their finest pilgrimages.

The Archbishopric of Quebec and the Finances of the Army of Mary

Whereas Cardinal Maurice Roy was favorable to the Work, which had just been founded, the Lord informed Marie-Paule that one of his auxiliary bishops, Bishop Lionel Audet, was “THE ENEMY NO. 1 OF THE ARMY OF MARY(information given in January 1972; cf. Life of Love, vol. VIII, chap. 75, p. 427). And, in fact, Bishop Lacroix, of the Archbishop’s Office, would confirm to Marie-Paule that what Cardinal Roy did was undone by Bishop Audet.

a) Documents Disappear

Strange things went on in the Archbishop’s Offices, things having to do with the Army of Mary. For example:

– Certain letters went without a reply; did they get to Cardinal Roy?

– The balance sheets the Army of Mary sent, at Cardinal Roy’s request, to the Archbishop’s Offices in 1981, then, the two following years, to Cardinal Roy, retired, as well as to his successor Archbishop Vachon, disappeared from the files of the Archbishop’s Offices. Since Archbishop Vachon made a demand to Marie-Paule for them in January 1984, she sent him, the same day, a copy of the three financial reports. Then she recalled what had been “shown” her on June 21, 1973:

THE PREMISES OF HIS EMINENCE CARDINAL MAURICE ROY WERE VISITED DURING THE NIGHT AND IT WAS DOCUMENTS THAT WERE TAKEN AWAY.(Id., p. 432)

It was “indicated” to Marie-Paule that they were documents of the Army of Mary. But in 1984, two offices were “visited”, that of Cardinal Roy and that of Archbishop Vachon. (Cf. Vie d’Amour, Appendice, vol. I, pp. 165, 181.)

b) Archbishop Vachon’s Interest in the Material Aspect of the Work

Unlike Cardinal Roy, Archbishop Vachon (who became a cardinal in 1985), during his meeting with Marie-Paule, showed interest solely in the material aspect of the Work. On November 5, 1984, he summoned Marie-Paule to the Archbishop’s Office – she presented herself along with Fathers Philippe Roy and Victor Rizzi – in order to question her about the destination of donations received, about the purchase of houses and plots of land at Lac-Etchemin, about the rumors of construction, and he asked if the Work had any debts.

“We have to know what you’re doing,” Archbishop Vachon said, “in order to be able to reply to those who question us, even from Rome.”

The following November 9, and given the difficulties being raised by the religious authority, there was a meeting of the Army of Mary’s board of directors who were opposed to sending to the Archbishop’s Offices copies of the contracts covering the purchase of the plots of land. It was proposed that a canonist in Rome be consulted in order to know what the requirements of the Church were in regard to this matter. Father Denis, who was in Rome, contacted a doctor in Canon Law, whose response was confirmed by a cardinal.

“A distinction must be made between a Pious Association and the civil corporation. The Bishop’s Office does not have the right to meddle in the corporation’s business. The Army of Mary is definitely a private association.”

That final affirmation concerning the Army of Mary’s character of a private association is important and it contradicts Archbishop Vachon’s claims to the effect that the Army of Mary was a public association, the type of an association under ecclesiastical authority. The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura would also acknowledge that the Army of Mary is a private association of the faithful, affirming that the disposal of its goods is regulated by its own statues (decree of the Congressus, March 17, 1989).

c) A Story of Taxes

On May 4, 1987, Cardinal Vachon issued a decree stripping the Army of Mary of its status as a Pious Association which had been granted it by Cardinal Maurice Roy.

We will not here hark back to the injustices that vitiated that decree, but rather to another attempt by Cardinal Vachon to do harm to the Work. On May 27, 1987, at a moment when, on the advice of a highly-placed Vatican authority, the Army of Mary was appealing to Rome against his decree issued two weeks earlier, the Archbishop of Quebec wrote to the municipal authorities of Quebec City in order to have the Army of Mary deprived of its exemption from property and business taxes, a privilege it benefited from by the same right as other religious groups, even those non-Catholic, and other non-profit associations. Subsequently the Army of Mary received a bill for municipal taxes, but our legal advisor managed to have the municipality of Quebec acknowledge that the Army of Mary did not have to pay those taxes.

Calumnies in the Mass Media

As of its founding the Army of Mary has had to face numerous campaigns of calumnies launched from certain bishoprics and religious communities or organized by individuals out to war on this Work. The mass media has often reported these campaigns, thus contributing to the propagation of misinformation about the Marian Work.

When these media set about spreading preposterous accusations of a defamatory nature that tried to portray the Army of Mary as a “sordid organization” that “exploited people”, the Work had to ask these media to either prove their allegations or retract them, failing which they would be sued for damages with interest – the aim of the Work being not to obtain financial compensation but rather that the truth be made known and the vile accusations ended.

Let us look back on the case of two branches of the media, TQS and L’Informateur catholique.

a) The Television Station “Quatre-Saisons” (TQS)

On December 6, 1987, TQS presented on its program, “Camera 87”, a report on the Army of Mary that was listened to by nearly a million television viewers. The directors of the Work, who were satisfied with this documentary in its generality, for it presented the facts objectively and honestly, warned the TQS management that a hostile action could be forthcoming against the Army of Mary.

And it was not long in coming. On January 24, 1988, the hostess of “Camera 88" at TQS read excerpts from four defamatory letters received at the station – discordant notes among the hundreds of favorable letters and telephone calls received –, in which it was said that the Army of Mary “exploits people”, that it is a “sordid organization” whose goal is the “accumulation of profits”, etc.

The Army of Mary, which obtained copies of the eight defamatory letters sent to the station and signed with fictitious names, was not long in identifying the person at the origin of that campaign of denigration (cf. Vie d’Amour, Appendice, vol. III, pp. 268-270) and the station TQS was obliged to make a retraction over the air on February 21, 1988, and present its excuses to the Army of Mary.

b) L’Informateur catholique

In the May 22 to June 4, 1988 issue of L’Informateur catholique, Father Jean Ravary entitled his “Info-billet” “Ah non... pas encore Marie-Paule?” [Oh no! – not Marie-Paule again?], and launched a repetition of the calumnies against the Work and its Foundress.

“When people tell you that they are harassed, seized by the throat, for sums of money claimed from them, are hounded down, and that they are frightened, I find that that suffices for the public at large to open its eyes...”

Father Ravary and Mr. Paul Bouchard, Director of L’Informateur catholique, received from our legal adviser a formal demand to prove the serious accusations made against the Army of Mary, and since they refused to do so, proceedings were instituted in August 1988 in the Superior Court against Spirimedia Inc., Father Jean Ravary and Mr. Paul Bouchard.

On October 26, 1989, Father Jean Ravary and Mr. Paul Bouchard underwent their judicial cross-examination in the Superior Court in Montreal, and Father Ravary was unable to produce a single valid letter from “among the thousands” of letters he had said he received to confirm his remarks.

On February 23, 1990, this affair was closed by an out-of-court settlement at the request of Spirimedia Inc., Father Jean Ravary and Mr. Paul Bouchard, anxious to avoid a lawsuit. By the terms of this settlement L’Informateur catholique undertook to publish a retraction and pay to the Army of Mary an indemnity of $7,500.00. The retraction appeared in the April 1-14, 1990 issue of L’Informateur catholique:

“We must advise you that we had no legal proof of our allegations concerning the Army of Mary to the effect that it is a ‘trap’ where people ‘are harassed (and) seized by the throat because of sums of money demanded of them, and are hounded down, and are frightened.’

“Consequently, we offer our apologies to everyone who may have been prejudiced by the allegations mentioned previously.”

c) A Proof of the Falsity of the Accusations Concerning Money

In the 1980s, a couple, who had been introduced to us by a priest, expressed a desire to have living quarters in the International Center of the Army of Mary. Two years later an apartment became free and was offered to them; they accepted.

After having sold their house, the two went to see Marie-Paule and offered to the Work the sum coming from the sale of their house, saying they already had a sizeable bank account. The man was not a little put out by the categorical refusal of Marie-Paule who explained to him:

“You’re tenants here, and if one day you’re no longer happy here, you have only to move elsewhere and you’ll have available the money to do so. We’ve never agreed to any such arrangement with anyone, and we won’t start today.”(Cf. Vie d’Amour, Appendice, vol. IV, pp. 294-295.)

Legacies for the Army of Mary

Here we are going to touch on a delicate point, for Marie-Paule is not interested in money; she has never asked for it, certain that the Lord Himself would look after the Work’s needs.

Never at any time has Marie-Paule asked anyone whomsoever to bequeath their goods to the Army of Mary, and it would be a great suffering for her to learn that members of the Work have urged people to do so. (Yet this practice, in itself, is quite respectable; numerous organizations, charitable and of other sorts, ask people to bequeath them a legacy.)

Mr. André Bélanger, our Works’ accountant, accepted to act, gratuitously, as executor of the wills of certain persons who desired to leave something to the Army of Mary. However, each time, he made quite sure it was clearly established that it was on their own initiative that these persons were leaving something to the Work, which had never made any request to this effect.

Let us consider the cases of some people who left a legacy to the Work or to the Foundress.

a) The Case of Aurore Pelland

We have already mentioned the legacy of $500.000.00 coming from Miss Aurore Pelland, that money was used to help build the Spiri-Maria chapel. It might be fitting to mention here certain details of Aurore’s life.

Aurore had three sisters. She had asked the Lord that she be the last to die, in order to be able to leave a substantial donation to the Marian Work, and He granted this request. Before they died, her sisters had asked Aurore to rent for herself a very luxurious apartment. Thus she lived in an apartment for which she paid between $3,000.00 and $4,000.00 a month, until the day when she had had enough of that, saying that she was missing what was really the essential: daily Mass.

It was then that she came to live in the Our Lady of Fatima Pavilion at Lac-Etchemin as an Oblate resident. No one in the Work knew that this lady, very simple in appearance, poorly dressed, was, in fact, a wealthy person. But then she became very ill and had to be hospitalized. By telephone she informed Marie-Paule that when she would leave the hospital she would not be able to return to Our Lady of Fatima Pavilion because of the special care she would need, and that she did not know where to go. Marie-Paule immediately invited her to come to the Army of Mary Center in Quebec City for the time of her convalescence, an invitation Aurore joyfully accepted. (This same act of generosity had been performed for other persons, and once again it was made from no ulterior motive, but solely to render a service.)

After her arrival at the Center in mid-December 1998, Aurore confided to Sister Chantal her intention to change the terms of her will; it had already been made in favor of one of the Work’s corporations, but she desired that the money be applied precisely to a future construction which she herself designated. Ill and unable to go out, Aurore asked a woman notary to come and see her.

On learning why she had been asked to come there, the notary, alone with Aurore, demanded that this latter put in writing that it was totally of her own free will that she was thus altering her will. Aurore did so.

Aurore died on February 28, 1999, and it was only after her death that Marie-Paule learned of the importance of the sum Aurore had bequeathed the Work.

In the year 2000, when the construction of Spiri-Maria was underway, there was some hesitation about building the chapel at that time, all of the necessary funds not being immediately available. However, the Lord indicated to Marie-Paule that she should temporarily use Aurore’s legacy for the chapel of Spiri-Maria, adding to it a donation from the Mother Paul-Marie Foundation, and that she should subsequently pay back the $500,000.00 legacy Aurore had bequeathed for the future building. To date, $100,000.00 of the amount has been reimbursed by the Work.

Here’s an anecdote concerning Aurore’s stay in the International Center of the Army of Mary. One afternoon, they were to change her bed for a hospital-type bed and the patient had to be transferred to another room. Marie-Paule spontaneously offered her bed to the sick lady for the few hours necessary.

From the time she was a tot, Aurore had had a morbid fear of death, but at the age of 9 she had a dream about the Blessed Virgin who told her reassuringly, “Don’t worry; I’ll come to get you at the end of your life.” Aurore spent the last three months of her life at the International Center of the Army of Mary. Marie-Paule went to visit her regularly. At that time, there was nothing to indicate that Aurore, now 90 years old, would not recover from her most recent operation. When Aurore gave up her soul, Marie-Paule was beside her, holding her hand. Aurore was one of the very, very few persons in the Work to have this presence near her at the moment of her passage into Life.

Marie-Paule learned of this anecdote – Aurore’s fear and her dream – only when she read this article. “So,” she thought, “that’s how Mary, our Mother, came to get Aurore in order to lead her into Her house where so many completely devoted souls are consecrated to Her cause, and from where She came to get her.”

b) Other Legacies

– Before his death Father Philippe Roy had willed his goods to Marie-Paule, knowing that she would not use this bequest for herself but for the Work which he had served, first as Director General and then as Marian Father. The money left by Father Philippe will be used to perpetuate his memory, through the construction, later, of the building, the Philippe Roy Pavilion.

– One day, Marie-Paule learned, with astonishment, that a lady whom she had met only once during a pilgrimage to Jamaica, had left her the sum of $52,000.00 which Marie-Paule gave to the Work. Another lady, the only one of her family to belong to the Army of Mary, left about $20,000.00, a car and some furniture. When the time came to take possession of these inheritances, André Bélanger was given the charge of going to meet with the families of the two deceased ladies and of telephoning from their localities to Marie-Paule, President of the corporation of the Army of Mary, to give her an account of their respective situations.

With respect to the bequest of $20,000.00, André informed Marie-Paule that the lady’s family was very poor and that one of her brothers had a car in a lamentable condition. On learning of this, Marie-Paule told André to give to the brother of the deceased the car bequeathed to the Work, and to propose to the other members of the family that they take the furniture they might want. From this bequest, the Work got only between $7,000.00 and $8,000.00, and even this was given in donations to different persons.

– Another lady had willed to the Work her goods plus a sum of $25,000.00 for the studies of the Sons of Mary priests. Her will with regard to the money was respected, but the furniture was given to the members of her family.

The members of the Army of Mary are not overly concerned with money matters; there are no dues to be paid and people are left free to procure or not to procure the white dress or alb for the religious ceremonies. And when the Eucharistic and Marian Center Spiri-Maria was opened, Marie-Paule gave the order that collection boxes not be placed in the chapel to receive the alms of the faithful, in order that there be no emphasis on the material.

In Conclusion

Who would ever have believed that a person, left totally to herself, with impaired health and $5.00 in hand to get the review The Army of Mary started, would have been able to accomplish so much on both the spiritual and material planes? Here again we see the evidence of God’s action, He who has never ceased guiding this Work across all the obstacles thrown up by men.

Those obstacles, moreover, are another proof of the authenticity of the Handmaid’s mission and of her configuration with Christ who, in His time, was taken for a fool and who never received the approval of the authorities in high office.

Everything was foretold Marie-Paule; everything has come to pass, point by point. We can only marvel over the Work that God and the Immaculate have brought into being, thanks to the fidelity of their Handmaid.

Sylvie Payeur-Raynauld, July 18, 2005