The Work of the Pilgrims of St. Michael
To fight against economic terrorism
The Work of the Pilgrims of St. Michael was founded by Louis Even, who died in 1974, and by Mrs. Gilberte Côté-Mercier, who died in June, 2002, at the age of 92.
This Work was founded in 1935, during the Depression, with ten years of unemployment and dire poverty in every industrialized country, only because of a lack of money. This economic crisis ended instantly with the declaration of war in September, 1939. All governments, which could not find a dime for the unemployed during the Depression, found the billions of dollars required for six years of war. No money for peace to help families, but plenty of money for six years of destruction and slaughter. Can there be any greater crime, injustice, terrorism than this? No money for life, but billions for death.
In the first week of January, 2002, a meeting took place in Delhi, India, organized by the Justice, Peace and Development Commission of the Indian Conference of Catholic Bishops, which was reported by Vatican Radio on January 9. In his speech, Archbishop Concessao developed on the subject he had mentioned at the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican in October, 2001, defining social injustice as the worst form of terrorism. He stressed the fact that the terrorist attacks of September 11 made much ado in the world, but that one continued to keep silent on another type of terrorism that makes, every day, thousands of victim, and which does not even receive the attention of governments.
Archbishop Concessao referred to the economic and financial mechanisms that rule the globe and which, according to statistics, are more deadly than terrorism in its common interpretation. “We live in a state of scandalous social injustice,” he said, “and the tendency goes towards an aggravation of the situation. The Church must therefore fight for social justice, without which peace and harmony cannot exist.”
For over 65 years our founders, followed by thousands of apostles, have been fiery fighters for social justice. All the Popes since Leo XIII have spoken about social justice in many encyclical letters and other documents that form what is called the “social doctrine of the Church”.
Pope John Paul II is on the forefront of this fight for social justice. He is truly the Pope of the Rosary and of justice. He often repeated that there can be no peace without justice, and no justice without God. When mankind turns away from God, problems multiply without limits. Man without God destroys his own home, the whole environment, and even human lives.
At the beginning of his pontificate, John Paul II mentioned that it is the duty of every Catholic, every Christian, to work for the establishment of justice in the world. He gave a wonderful piece of advice to the Poles by urging them to enlighten the public opinion, so that the population can put pressure on their governments. The more the population is united and informed, the more the governments will be forced to serve and respect the people.
The example of the Poles is convincing: they managed to unite, and the Communist dictatorship collapsed. Following this victory, all the other countries of Eastern Europe followed their example, and today, there is no Soviet Union.
Twenty years ago, who could have imagined that the USSR would collapse, cease to exist? Nobody! The true power resides in a population that is united with God.
The Louis Even Institute and the Work of the Pilgrims of St. Michael work to enlighten, inform, unite, and form men and women who can kneel before God, and stand up before governments, in order to remind them of their duties, which is to serve the people.
This Movement is a matchless work of the press that is made up of about fifty Full-time Pilgrims who, without making vows, give voluntarily two, five, ten years, or even all of their lives for the glory of God and the salvation of their brothers and sisters. When they are Full-timers, they remain single.
Those who stop being full-time apostles can remain in our Movement by being part-time apostles, and help it locally, in their own place, in their spare time. We can count on between 2,500 and 3,000 people who help our Work in various ways, like visiting families to present our journal and solicit subscriptions, receiving and accommodating our Pilgrims, helping at our print shop or other jobs in our two houses in Rougemont.
Our Work can also rely on an army of young (and not so young) people who distribute our offprints (4-page leaflets) in their areas. This allows us to diffuse as many as 28 million 4-page leaflets in one year.
Fortunately, all the work in our Movement is done voluntarily, be it the administration, publishing, printing, and diffusion of our journal. It allows us to reduce to a minimum the price of our journals and leaflets. Nevertheless, we still have to pay for the paper, ink, and postage, which are all very expensive. It is not with the money we collect for subscriptions to our journal — five dollars a year — that we can finance all of this; we must rely on benefactors, since the demand for our leaflets (offprints) is always on the rise.
We therefore call on your generosity to help us to continue and increase our fight, which is a war of ideas, and not a war with cannons. Even the most modest donation is welcome with gratitude. In the Gospel, Our Lord said, about the widow's stipend, that she was the one who had the most merits, not because she had given the largest amount of money, but because she had given her last pennies, all that she had. God does not reward large sums, but big efforts. For example, $25 allows us to print 2,000 four-page offprints of the “Michael” Journal that we offer, for free, to all those who are willing to distribute them voluntarily.
We invite you to come and help us in any useful way. Let us all be soldiers of Christ. One ounce of good can overcome a ton of evil.
This article was published in the Oct.-Nov.-December, 2002 issue of “Michael”.