Father Benoit Lacroix would have reached the venerable age of 101 on September 8, 2016. Many are those who every day honour the legacy of this exceptional man, as evidenced by the over 200 people attending the tribute held on his birthday—an event spearheaded by actresses Françoise Faucher, Sophie Faucher and Danièle Panneton. It was an intimate, magical time of remembering Father Lacroix, a way of conveying our affection, admiration and respect for him. And of once again telling him, thank you.
We planned this event with Benoit ever-present in our minds,” says Françoise Faucher.“This event was meant as a gift.We wanted it to be an intimate time, one that’s unique, simple, gentle, thoughtful—and funny—just like Benoit was.We wanted to bring him back to us for a short time, among those who knew him, met him and loved him. It’s an honour to know that it also helps to perpetuate his work by supporting the Foundation.
Each in turn, actors and friends Manon Arsenault, Luc Gouin, Benoit Sarrazin, and naturally, Françoise Faucher, Sophie Faucher and Danièle Panneton read and interpreted passages from Benoit Lacroix’s writing, poems and stories, taken from his personal archives.
In addition, inspiring performances were given: Jean-François Casabonne sang a song created especially for the event and that was inspired by a quote from Abbé Pierre.
Gary Boudreault offered a magnificent personal composition that was very fitting for this tribute. And, soprano Caroline Bleau filled the chapel with her voice and moved the entire assembly with her rendition of Gounod’s “Ave Maria,” a work that Benoit Lacroix especially loved.
We had the pleasure of welcoming Sister Lucille Côté from the Sisters of St. Anne. She worked closely with Benoit Lacroix to develop his writing when she was a research officer with the Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture. Clearly emotional, she said: “The evening was perfect.
It touched me profoundly. It was a presentation worthy of him, one that was offered with generosity, humility, tenderness, grace…and friendship. Every word, every gesture was for me a powerful symbol reminding me of the man he was.
Until the artists came on stage, emerging from the same door through which he used to come celebrate the Eucharist. I smiled while listening to ‘Le p’tit train,’ a wonderful story that says so much about him. It’s a self-portrait he offered us in writing. Everything spoke to me. The performances were so genuine and honest. I am very grateful for this event, which allowed me to feel like I was with him again and to pray with him once more. I miss Benoit more than words can say.”
The funds raised during this event will help finance the creation of the Benoit-Lacroix Chair at the Pastoral Institute.
We offer our heartfelt thanks to the organizers and artists for this generous initiative, for their commitment and for the superb quality of this gathering. We also warmly thank those who attended.