Mother, Laura Bégin, married Ernest Giguère on July 19, 1920, both of whom were residents of Sainte-Germaine-du-Lac-Etchemin, town situated one hundred kilometers [60 miles] from Quebec City. Mother, who had consecrated herself to Mary, hoped, with her spouse, to offer many children to God. In the months before my birth, as she hoped that her eldest would be a girl, she had chosen the given name of Marie. Born on September 14, 1921, I was baptized on the same day, feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, known today as the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, and given the name of Marie-Paule. The family was to consist of ten children: six girls and four boys.
Marie-Paule at 18.
We were given a deeply religious education, open to the love of Jesus and Mary, to a love for the Church and the Eucharist, particularly of the sublime priesthood. Did mother sense that this love which she was instilling in her eldest daughter would later be sorely tried?...
While very young, the ideal of the missionary religious obsessed my mind, and I gave myself to God as a victim for souls. At 16, a retreat master, an experienced director, traced the path I was to follow: No, God is not calling you to the religious life; God wants you in the world.
My desire persisted, but God took charge of directing my route, through providential events. The retreat master was right. That had to be my path, in keeping with my vocation as a victim for souls.
So, on July 1, 1944 at the age of 22, it was marriage, bringing with it its joys and hopes, its disappointments and pains. Five children would be my joy: André (1945), Louise (1947), Michèle (1948) Pierre (1950) and Danielle (1952).
July 1, 1944, Lac-Etchemin -
Marie-Paules wedding in the parish church.
Then the intolerable life, one long act of heroism, while I was broken, humanly, but happy spiritually.
In 1957, at the end of a year which was terrible, four persons in authority, without any request on my part and without consulting with one another, discreetly studied our matrimonial situation. Then they presented themselves to me one after the other on four successive days, and each gave me the same directive, that of leaving my husband and placing my children in a boarding school in order to protect them. After three days, I obeyed while being torn apart in an indescribable fashion. I kept silent about all the calumnies and gossip brought about by what was at the time an unusual situation. I did not defend my cause. But big waves were stirred up in all neighboring quarters.
But God was sustaining me. Since 1954, He had been speaking to me of a Work: THE ARMY OF MARY. What was the Army of Mary? I did not know and neither did my spiritual director. All we could do was wait.
In 1958, a Marian year, centenary year of Marys apparitions to Bernadette Soubirous (Lourdes), my spiritual director gave me the order to write my life: Life of Love. That was a year of both great humiliations and great graces. And what a year of spiritual and mystical instructions in preparation for an activity of the mystical order about which I had no knowledge.
The most astonishing of all was that I was informed of the HOUR OF THE CRUCIFIXION which was to come. Why and through whom? More precise information was given me on April 28, 1958: IT WILL BE THOSE OF MY PRIESTHOOD WHO WILL CRUCIFY YOU. 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. ALL THOSE OF MY PRIESTHOOD WHO ARE SINNING THROUGH PRIDE, EGOISM, THROUGH SENSUALITY IN ALL ITS FORMS, WILL CAST STONES AT YOU... (Life of Love I, chapter 53). ... MY PRIESTS THAT ALSO INCLUDES MY BISHOPS... (id. VIII, chapter 26). I kept silent about these words heard interiorly, except for my spiritual director.
In 1965, upsetting events forced my children and me to move to Quebec City. Three years later, as circumstances dictated, we formed a group of friends, lay people and men and women religious, who took to meeting fraternally in a common zeal for the spiritual life. Their number increased and, each year, we would gather for an annual day of prayer. Because our friendship was, above all, spiritual, it was therein that true brotherhood found its strength, in joy.
On August 28, 1971, on the evening of a Marian day held at the shrine of Our Lady of Etchemin, which brought together the Marian Group numbering some seventy-five persons from Canada and the United States, I learned from on-high that this day saw the founding of the Army of Mary which had been foretold me since 1954.
The Army of Mary! That was all that was needed to bring out the Adversary of Marian Works, especially an army which was to be recognized by this trait: its fidelity to Rome and to the Pope. Now, as was the case on the family level, the Lord informed me of the assaults we would have to undergo, and He gave me the means of warding them off. This Work must be most necessary to the Church for God to take such care of it. In spite of the difficulties, the foundations multiplied in the different provinces of Canada, and in the United States, followed by Europe and other continents.
Our meetings were marked by the liveliest joy and good fraternal feeling. It has been that way for years: while trial strikes at one or other of us, there is spiritual mutual aid and then happiness in the joy of serving with cheerfulness and enthusiasm.
This joy is so pure and is so fulfilling to us that we are already tasting something unique, undefinable. Religious and lay people alike, we desire to ascend together in the true love of God and of souls.
In the face of all sorts of difficulties, the Marian Work moved forward according to Gods Plan. On March 10, 1975, His Eminence Cardinal Maurice Roy, Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of the Church in Canada, following a decision of the Assembly of the Quebec Bishops, constituted the Army of Mary a Pious Association. It brought great joy to us, but we knew that the Evil One would redouble his efforts in order to hinder this Marian Work. In 1979, the time had come to publish Life of Love, which unveiled the mystical importance of the Work, kept secret until that time, except with regard to the members of the Marian Group.
The Army of Mary, consisting of several thousand members in Canada and in various countries of the world advocates personal interior reform and the fulfillment of the duties of ones state in an authentically Christian way of life. Ten years later, on May 31, 1981, the Family of the Sons and Daughters of Mary was founded; its goal was to renew the family, the basic cell of society. The Family is composed of various branches: the Community of the Sons and Daughters of Mary which today comprises more than 150 members (75 Daughters of Mary and 83 Sons of Mary, including 43 priests); the Affiliated Priests ; the Associate Members; the Mothers, the Oblates; the Auxiliary (lay) Members: Adults, Adolescents and Benjamins. Likewise, another Work was founded on August 15, 1986: the Oblate-Patriots whose goal is the renewal of society.
IT WILL ALL TERMINATE IN COURT, the Lord had said to me in 1951 (Life of Love I, chapter 25). What court? A civil court? I rather think that it will be a religious court, had said my spiritual director in 1960. Through reading Life of Love and the prophetic words contained in its pages, he already had a glimpse of what the future held in store for me. NOW THE HOUR OF CRUCIFIXION HAS ARRIVED... MY MOTHER WILL GUIDE YOU AFTER HAVING MADE YOU TASTE ALL THE SUFFERINGS OF MY PASSION (id. I, chapter 53).
Did not Christ the Savior, in His time, have to pass before the supreme tribunal? He was accused, and He was judged a priori and by the highest court. Souls which commit themselves to following Christ must expect to tread the same road, for if the act of giving is in the same measure as love, we have to expect the same outcome.
In 1987, facing serious accusations on the part of diocesan authorities who rejected it, the Army of Mary, at the request of certain religious authorities in the Vatican who had been following closely the evolution of this Work, had to defend its case before ecclesiastical tribunals, going as far as the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. On April 20, 1991, the Plenary, made up of Cardinals, issued a Final Decree rejecting the appeal because manifestly lacking a juridical basis... Once again, the Lords words had been confirmed with astonishing accuracy. TODAY, COUNT THE NUMBER OF YEARS THERE ARE BETWEEN THAT DAY IN APRIL WHEN I INFORMED YOU OF YOUR PAINFUL MISSION AND THE DAY IN APRIL WHICH MARKED THE END OF THIS MISSION THROUGH THE CHURCHS VERDICT. (Life of Love, Appendix V, page 93) By using the computer, the computation was arrived at in a few minutes: 12,045 days, taking into account leap years, which gives 33 years to the day. Amazing similitude, in our small measure!
Without Gods grace I could never have endured these trials which followed one upon the other in my life, while working for God and being afflicted by His Church. It suffices to accept them for Gods grace to sustain us. Then what love and lights inundate the soul, raising it above terrestrial fluctuations to stabilize it on high in peace and joy, in a kind of felicity!
Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof, the proverb says. Sufficient to you is my grace of each day, the merciful Master would say.
The cross is the apostolates ransom. The greatest love for God is where there is total giving. To have Love and to live love, in the perspective of spiritual realities, we must first associate ourselves with God and His grace and submit to His influence. No intimacy will ever be more consoling than that which becomes collaboration between heaven and earth. It absorbs the entirety of a life, leaving in it no place for the bitterness or regret which could dim its sublime transparency, so much so that all suffering becomes an offering of love, haloed with peace, in the tenderness of the Lord. Thus, we come to a point where we can even ask God to pardon and to protect those who have been our cross.
Quebec, September 22, 1995
All rights of reproduction, translation and adaptation reserved, for all countries.
© 1998 - MARIE-PAULE, VIE DAMOUR INC., Quebec, Canada