A human, a priest, an oblate, a saint!
A human being filled to the brim with the Love of Christ. He got to know Him in his filial relationship with the Father through his own delving into the Gospel. Very early on, Father Gauthier grasped how the heavenly Father loves all his children through all their intellectual, psychological and spiritual faculties.
A priest deeply rooted in his priestly ministry, he is welcoming, available, open and eager to communicate the richness of his priestly heart, loving God more than anything. How many times have I been supported by Father Gauthier, in total amazement at his luminous depth! I was overwhelmed by the accuracy of his reflections and, for him, it seemed incredibly easy, indescribably obvious, to grasp God<s action through the slightest peccadillo of human activity. A wonderful priest with hid heart connected to divine Wisdom!
The word Oblat, the dictionary definition of which is “one who puts the needs of others before his own,” fits him like a glove. We Oblates were privileged to have Father Gauthier at our service, humanly, psychologically and spiritually, for some ten years. He was devoted beyond measure, seeking with all his strength to instruct us in the depths of our spirituality. He wrote study circles of unprecedented richness, preached retreats, led recollections; stopping at nothing for our human, even psychological and above all spiritual growth. Father Gauthier experienced the whole of the human being and knew how to look at the Creator's rich contribution in each of us.
A saint: his invincible faith was in the Church founded and willed by Christ. Whatever happened, Father Gauthier lived with the certainty that, because of Christ, the Church always retained its holiness, and human beings could have recourse to it or adhere to it at any time. I find a resemblance with Pope Francis, who lately has been communicating that the Church is open to all and for all.
Attentive to whomever he had in front of his, his unwavering freedom placed him spontaneously and viscerally in the heart of the person loved unconditionally by the Father.
I would like to draw your attention to Father Gauthier's holiness during the great ordeal of the 1st Advent Sunday in 2015, when paralysis crippled him? Many witnessed his courage to recover as much as he could physically. They saw how, in the midst of all this, he maintained a lively sense of hope, and an even stronger sense of JOY of living and loving, through the very great dependence he had on receiving care. In these attitudes, I saw his Oblate heart. In living these five apostolic attitudes, he showed faithful affection for Father Louis-Marie Parent, O.M.I., and also for the Institute of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate.
I think we can safely say that Father Gauthier adhered fully, serenely and peacefully to the loving will of his God. Following the example of Saint Paul, he waited and lived in depth with Christ, 103 years of earthly life offered by the Father.
Father Gauthier, I owe you eternal gratitude for being a wonderful human being, priest, Oblate with the heart of an Oblate, and saint that God gave to His Church.
Father Gauthier once wrote: “When they tell you I’ve passed away, don't believe them! I will NEVER die!” I GIVE ETERNAL GRATITUDE for nourishing our bond with you to such an extent. You are ALIVE...
For absolutely EVERYTHING: THANK YOU INFINITELY!
A brief portrait of Father Gauthier
This will be a brief portrait of Father Gauthier, not from what he did, but from the privilege I had of seeing and loving him over the past 50 years. My notes will allow me to do it in a few minutes; otherwise, I could talk to you for hours.
Ten years ago, I said to him, “I love you so much; don't ever die.” He replied, “Don't worry; I'll wait until you're ready.” And he kept his word. I was ready only in the last two months, and he knew it. He was the greatest gift the Lord ever gave me.
An Oblate from Amos said to me last night: “He was a walking saint.” I added: “A gifted communicator and human relations expert.” I never saw him trying to look good, to place himself above others or ahead of others. For him, relationships came before protocol or principles. He remained himself in his simplicity and his genius for relationships. I'm in a good position to see that in his approach, he surpassed every psychologist I've ever known.
His frankness was another one of his values. To get closer to the truth (and he never said he possessed it), he was capable of becoming angry at an injustice, capable of denouncing, if necessary, in order not to leave a situation ambiguous. He was well aware of falsehoods and distorted words. However, after listening carefully, he did not pass judgment, but tried to gently guide towards greater truth, while letting the Holy Spirit flow freely.
All the people who spoke to me about him as a guide felt unique and loved, whether they were couples in the region, other lay people, priests or Oblates.
When I followed the Exercises of St Ignatius, which he led in La Pocatière, I was 30 years old, and it was a real conversion. Christ became very present in my life, a loving presence that He never ceased to show me, above all, in the person of Father Gauthier.
Father Gauthier also knew how to have fun. He had a great sense of humor, was not scandalized by more daring speeches and laughed heartily. He also knew how to make us laugh, and was just as good a comedian at social evenings, as he was at large Oblate festive gatherings. He wasn't afraid to imitate characters by singing like them.
One day, before his paralysis, we were at the top of the stairs here at Richelieu, and I challenged him, saying, “First one down!” He raced down the stairs and got there before me.
In short, Father Gauthier knew how to love, welcome, accompany and advise with wisdom, without giving orders, with intelligence and sincerity.
He is now capable of autonomy again, able to speak and walk like an angel.
Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher wrote:
“Love all the days the Lord gives you.” Father Gauthier loved for 35,595 days. That's why he never lost his SMILE.
He will always be my great friend and advisor.
By Janine Giguère, to the Oblates, October 6, 2023
Foto del sitio web de Saint-Ignace de Loyola :