Sons: Messengers of Liberation

Above the pub on the corner of Center and Charlevoix Streets was a dilapidated apartment in the late 1960s. There was nothing surprising in this: misery crept into many homes in the working-class quarter of Pointe-Saint-Charles, in an age of economic transformation and social upheaval.

An apartment like a hundred others, with the difference that its inhabitants bore the cross in addition to working prostitutes. Priestly churches were thought to resemble small castles next to ordinary homes in the neighbourhood. We told ourselves that if Jesus returned, he would stay in a house, like everyone else Claude Julien, priest and member of the Sons of Charity, explained during an interview at Stefan’s office microphone on the show. Of course surely.

No one in Pointe-Saint-Charles has ever met a debt like these sons of love. Through their fiery speeches about social justice, delivered between two shifts in a neighborhood factory, these worker priests participated in all struggles in the demanding climate that marked the end of the 1960s in Quebec.

In search of lost brothers

For Manon Cousin, for a priest who works alongside Marxist activists, that couldn’t be more natural. Originally from Baie-Comeau, better known as a photographer than a director, she often met these devout priests during her visits to Montreal thanks to her uncle, Guy Cuisine, a member priest of Sons of Charity.

I understood that this story was as special as it was unknown. By meeting citizens of the neighbourhood, I came up with an idea to make a movie about it, so that these events would be told. The director said during her appearance on the program Of course surely.

If traces of the priests persist in the accounts that go from balcony to balcony, there is almost no image left of these monks who replaced the rosary with the assembly line.

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So Manon Cousin had to review the catalog of the National Film Board (ONF), in search of films in which the passage of Sons of Love would be immortalized. The director has relied on documentaries and even works of fiction to illustrate the story of these idealistic young men, whose identity is often just a prominent Roman collar from a wrinkled shirt.

Freedom as an invitation

For the sons, this immersion in the social fabric of the neighborhood was a logical continuation of the biblical writings. They called this combative religiosity liberation theology.

It is to encourage the poor, the most disadvantaged, and the uprooted in society to come together and develop the conviction that God the Creator is with them. Thus, if he is with us, we can take our place in the sun in this world. And do it Christian. It’s not communist , says Claude Julien.

Is this the red fear It was still bursting with force among the bourgeoisie at the time, according to Claude Julien. But her spells did not shake the sons of love. We rubbed our shoulders with the Marxists, but this did not tire us: I believe that our Lord Jesus would have felt comfortable working with these people. The priest adds.

And they worked, cut, and even contributed to the creation of the Pointe Saint Charles Community Clinic, established in the parish priest of Saint-Jean, whose model inspired by the philosophy of Dr. Norman Bethune led to the creation of CLSCs.

But times have changed, and instead the Catholic Church is facing scandals today, especially regarding boarding schools. Claude Julien admits it right away: the church is not a perfect institution. But what Manon Cusin highlights is a time when very little is known when some of its priests believed in the saving power of social justice.

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When we move from individuality to solidarity, when we break the chains of persecution, we are very close to the kingdom of God. , wrote Jay Cousin, uncle of Manon Cousin.

This dream of Pointe-Saint-Charles paradise, where strikes, speeches and demonstrations mingled, will come to life on August 13th on Quebec screens. documentary sons It will also be shown Wednesday evening outdoors in Saint-Gabriel Park, in Montreal, at the Cinéma sous les étoiles event.

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