April-May-June 2020 Issue




3 | The Precursor and the Precursors

– Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, m.i.c.

5 | The Splendid Outcome of a Magazine


6 | The Precursor’s Centennial − A Brief Overview

– Éric Desautels

Tracing the history of Catholic missionary magazines in Quebec since the beginning of the 20th century means discovering the links established by the Quebec population with distant societies. This story took off in the 1920s with Pope Benedict XV’s encyclical Maximum Illud. At that time, the Catholic press underwent considerable expansion, increasing from 18.8% to 25.0% of all periodicals published in Quebec between 1915 and 19401.


8 | A Window on the World

– Gloria Pérez Pupo, m.i.c.

Cuba, a restricted country

In 1979, when I entered religious life with the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate   Conception, my country, Cuba, was rather isolated. Our openness on the world was oriented towards the countries and events that were in harmony with the ideology and recommended policies of our government. Little news would come to us from outside of our island.


10 | Délia-Tétreault Museum: The Secret Life of Objects

– Alexandre Payer

From the plucking of the strings with the nails comes a soft and strangely melancholic music that   leaves something tender in the heart. You must see the instrumentalist pressing his valiha strongly against him, because the human body, it is said, reinforces the sound when the instrument is pressed against it.

The valiha (pronounced vali) is a plucked stringed instrument whose soundboard is made of a   hollowed out segment of bamboo 60 to 120 cm long with a long vertical ear. Traditionally, the “strings” of the instrument were made of thin strips of bark incised into the trunk and gently lifted from the table by small rectangular pieces of dry pumpkin that serve as movable trestles. Note that these bands, held in place at both ends by a knotted liana, are now replaced by metal guitar strings (or sometimes even bicycle brake cables!). Pyro-engraved pastoral motifs, leather bands and chiseled elements embellish most of these instruments, emphasizing their predominantly domestic manufacture.


11 | A Return to the Village (Part II)

– Beverly Romualdo, m.i.c. & Dr Rica de los Reyes-Ancheta

In close solidarity with these groups, Sr. Lilia and Sr. Beverly wish to draw the attention of government agencies, particularly the offices in charge of cultural communities; they need to work directly and in a unified way for the development of these peoples. It is essential to continue their education and economic development, not at our own pace, but at their own pace, in order to safeguard their social structures, traditions and way of life. Otherwise, the Filipino heritage would suffer a fatal blow for which future generations would blame us.


14 | A Child’s Prophetic Dream

– Colette Soucy


15 | Centennial Painting: Délia Tétreault and Her Great Achievement

– Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, m.i.c.

Inspiration is evoked spontaneously in a moment of clarity. Julie has a special gift that takes her into her imaginary world and translates it into works that go beyond reality.

In a few words she says: I paint with passion, the imaginary world I create inhabits me. What inspires me the most is to transmit my emotions on a canvas to express myself and to share my perception. I thank you for encouraging me by buying one of my paintings and I hope that my work can allow you to accompany me in this world that transports us into a new universe.


16 | A New Approach in Mission Territories

– Maurice Demers

Quebec Catholic missionaries have long been ambassadors around the world. The missions were originally created with the aim of converting pagan populations to Catholicism. The contribution of Quebecers really took off at the turn of the 20th century. It was the French-Canadian aid or way to the ascent and defense of Western civilization. Obviously, this approach created a limited openness to the other since the appreciation of foreign cultures was dependent on their acquiescence of Christianity.


18 | The Breath of a Dream

– Marie-Nadia Noël, m.i.c.

The 1920s was a decade of change. A young girl from Quebec, Délia Tétreault, Foundress

of our Institute, was at the forefront of innovation and change. She had the idea of publishing a magazine which she called Le Précurseur/The Precursor. For many readers this publication became a breath of newness. Why was that?


20 | Evangelizing by Way of MIC Mission News

– Ravaka Andréa Razafindahy, m.i.c.

After having received the mandate to go and preach the Gospel in Africa, mainly in Zambia and Malawi, I was transformed from the fearful missionary that I was to now being a courageous disciple of Christ. The Holy Spirit helped me to become a powerful instrument of God. I have been in Africa for almost four years and I realize that being simple of heart and available at all times are the most important elements in Evangelization. First of all, I realize that it is not my work; it is not what I want to do or my cultural way of doing things that is important, but of utmost importance is being open to learn new languages, new cultures, new ways of doing…



The Precursor and the Precursors

The Precursor and the Precursors — A Mission to Share

Choosing the name of a magazine is to give it a vocation. In 1920, the Venerable Délia Tétreault chose to call her little newsletter: Le Précurseur/The Precursor 1. What was her intention? Before giving it such a name, I imagine she had meditated a great deal on the mission of John the Baptist.


Who was John the Baptist, the Forerunner?

In scripture, John the Baptist is portrayed as the forerunner. He was quite different from the prophets of the Old Testament who announced a Messiah to come and asked to prepare for his coming by doing penance; they denounced all abuses and foretold impending disasters which often made people say: prophets of doom. To the contrary, John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, was the only one who could say when he saw Jesus: Here is the Lamb of God. Contemporary and cousin of Jesus, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he recognized in Him the Envoy of God.

Our Foundress, Délia Tétreault, could not have given her magazine a more beautiful title while confirming its mission. In 1842, the Society of St. John the Baptist had recognized him as patron saint of all French Canadians and it was on May 10, 1908, at the request of the Society, that Pope Pius X confirmed St. John the Baptist as the special patron saint of the French Canadian faithful.2 A missionary at heart, a woman of her time, Mother Délia wanted her magazine Le Précurseur/The Precursor to reach many people, and to proclaim Jesus Christ following the example of the great prophet John the Baptist. This is the primary mission of the magazine, which remains faithful even after one hundred years of publication.


Throughout the history of the magazine – who were the forerunners?

For a magazine to reach its 100th anniversary, doesn’t just happen by itself. How many  generous people have contributed and it is with much gratitude that I underline all the contribution they have given us over the years. How many bishops, parish priests, religious communities have warmly welcomed us to offer the magazine in their dioceses, or parishes. How many people offered us meals while on the road going from village to village. We came across warm, welcoming people, young people who accompanied us to solicit subscriptions from door to door. And how many collaborators offered to collect the subscriptions and do a follow-up after our departure. What beautiful memories when we think of all those people who helped us all the way. They did so with happy hearts and encouraged our mission work. They themselves were truly precursors of the Good News. Upon our return home, how many Magnificat were said for all the people we had met on our way. Their joys, their sorrows, their intentions, we held in our prayers, and when the magazine entered their homes it became a source of missionary vocations. After reading some of the missionaries’ stories, many young men and women felt called to follow their example.


And what about today?

Recently, I attended the annual AMéCO’s Congress 3. The theme was: In the Midst of a Storm. This was a proper title at a time when the written media is currently experiencing so many challenges. True, we’ve gone through many changes during the one hundred years of our existence, but today with the law on secularism, the abuses in the Church, the indifference towards religions, the decline in religious practices, all these affect us deeply. But as stated during the Congress, this is not the time to give up. No, on the contrary, we must roll up our sleeves and go to the deepest depths of the Christian mystery, putting our trust in the Risen Jesus; He is the center of our faith, the one who gives life and nourishes our hope. To announce the God of Life is our mission and the specific vocation of our mission magazine. Another challenge is the production of a paper format periodical. Newspapers, as we have known them in the past, are struggling to   survive, they are on the verge of bankruptcy. We too want to take care of the planet, of our common home as Pope Francis likes to call it, but most of our subscribers do not use internet, therefore, we are keeping both the paper and digital format for another two years. Competent manpower is becoming increasingly scarce and we have specific requirements, particularly for the French and English languages which are the vehicle of our message. In respect to our readers and the message we deliver, we want to offer a quality magazine while remaining within our budget.


Loyalty to the mission of a magazine

Despite the difficulties, we believe in our mission. The writings and testimonies of our missionaries in the field arouse much interest. The articles lead to reflection and to a deepening of our own personal motivation in life. A magazine requires that it be in tune with its target readers, never discouraging, but always energizing the subscribers. The comments we receive tell us the importance of the written word. One lady said: The testimony of your faith increases mine. Another wrote: I was depressed, but when I read the magazine I felt invigorated. With all my heart, I hope that the magazine will bring a message of peace and love; that it will inspire its readers to continue their ecclesial and social commitment. It is a mission to share. It is up to our readership to be missionaries at heart and the forerunners of today.

Marie-Paule Sanfaçon, m.i.c.

The Team

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