Rev. Eusebe-H. Menard
A Quebecer born January 6, 1916 in East Broughton, Beauce County and christened Henri. His father was a modest shoemaker who, to provide for his eleven children (nine boys and two girls), kept a small shoe store adjacent to his shop and home, a few steps away from an asbestos mine that employed most of the local manpower.
Young Henri attended elementary school in his village while some of his elder brothers had already started their secondary studies away from home. There were little chances that Henri would be able to pursue his studies since his family was financially unable to provide for them.
It was a stroke of luck that Canon Bernier, founder of Canada’s first late vocation seminary, that of St-Victor-de-Beauce, happened to come to East Broughton on a recruiting mission. Divine influence undoubtedly helping, Canon Bernier did not hesitate to take to his late vocation seminary the fourteen year old youngster whose qualities largely made up for his youth and lack of financial resources.
Following six years of study at St-Victor, he entered the Foreign Missionaries’ novitiate in Pont-Viau where he remained but one year because although the missionary’s purpose was truly his, the spirit he was seeking was that of St. Francis of Assisi. So, he went knocking at the Franciscans’ door and was immediately welcomed in. There, he was given his patron saint’s name of Eusebe. He completed his theology studies and was ordained priest in the Fall 1941. He went on to further studies in sociology at the University of Montreal until 1943.
His oratorical talent prompted his superior to appoint him preacher at the Franciscans’ retreat house in Châteauguay, near Montreal where, during three years, he distinguished himself not only by his eloquence but also by the evangelic message he was passing on.
In 1945, Hector Durand, an important Montreal contractor and business man, after attending one of Father Menard’s retreat, offered him his financial support for a church organization, either already in existence or to be established. It was, for them, the beginning of an association that was to last over twenty-five years and would be difficult to match.
Their major project was the foundation of the Holy Apostles started in Canada and taken abroad later on by Father Eusebe. In 1972, Mr. Durand’s untimely death put an end to his apostolic work on earth, to which he had so generously devoted his fortune, his time and his life.
From 1962 until his death, Father Menard worked mostly in the United States and Latin America. With unfailing ardor, he continued to promote adult sacerdotal vocations and lay christian commitment.
While his Canadian foundation spread out as far as Africa, Father Menard established missions in United States, Peru, Columbia and Brazil.
Father Menard died in Montreal on 26th March 1987.