December 18, 2019 at 11h48
Updated at 20h03
Application for authorization to institute a class action against the Family Marie-Jeunesse
A resident of Quebec application for authorization to institute a class action on behalf of all persons or estates of deceased persons, “who have been the victims of physical abuse, spiritual and psychological’ within Family Mary-Youth since 1982. This community called “the sect” by the claimant would have acted with the approval of the Archbishop of Sherbrooke most reverend Luc Cyr, and its predecessors, it is alleged in the petition filed Wednesday in the superior Court.
The proposed industrial action is more particularly to obtain justice for Pascal Perron and all the people who have been “manipulated, enslaved, injured, and destroyed” by the guru Réal Lavoie and his “sect”.
“The guru Lavoie and his sect Marie-Jeunesse have knowingly abused the applicant and of the members of the group […], their causing of serious injury”, as summarized in the document.
Described as “narcissistic, manipulative and thirsty for power”, Lavoie recruited his alleged victims while they were mostly aged between 17 and 19 years of age, “in a state of fragility of identity and in the quest to give meaning to their lives.”
“Lavoie promised to victims to help them to find meaning in their lives, that they would help the other, they would live an experience that would make them grow, and that they would discover God, all in the service of a supposed humanitarian work. In fact, the members of the group became purely and simply the slave of the guru and his sect,” write the lawyers of the applicant, Me Simon St-Gelais, and Jean-Daniel Quessy.
Cut off from the outside world, without any financial resources, the victims had to serve exclusively the interests of the community and its guru, “without criticism, without question, and, most importantly, always keeping the smile,” it is alleged.
“In addition to the needs narcissistic of Lavoie”, this interest was mainly “to collect large sums of money, in the form of donations to the families of the victims, religious communities and other grantees in order to increase the influence and the fame of the guru with the catholic Church, to the su, in view of and with the approval of the local Ordinary, the Archbishop of Sherbrooke most reverend Luc Cyr, as well as its predecessors,” one can still read in the paper.
Pascal Perron grew up in a family who practice the catholic religion. He joined the community Marie-Jeunesse in 1997, when he was 19 years old, and has been a member of it until 2014. According to him, the members of the group called Réal Lavoie, “Dad”, and he spoke to them, saying, “Child!” “He had almost a cult.”
The Archbishop of Sherbrooke most reverend Bishop Luc Cyr
Photo Archives, The Tribune
Founded in Quebec city in 1982
Family Mary-Youth would have been created in Québec in 1982 by Lavoie, who was then a member of the secular institute Voluntas Dei and who was studying at the Marist Fathers at Quebec in order to become a priest.
From 1984, Lavoie would have organized prayer meetings with young people aged 15 to 25 years. The community Marie-children and Youth will be established as a “new community” in 1986, “without recognition on the part of the diocese”.
During the following years, the community would have proceeded to the opening of several houses or hostels in Quebec city, Sherbrooke, Edmundston, New Brunswick, the Island of the Meeting and in Belgium. The applicant would have lived in these houses or hostels in Sherbrooke, Quebec and Île-de-la-Reunion between 1997 and 2014.
“[Dir] Lavoie promised to victims to help them to find meaning in their lives, that they would help the other, they would live an experience that would cause them to grow […] ”
Extract from the petition filed by Pascal Perron, on Wednesday, in the superior Court
Mary-Youth have been formally recognized in 1982 as a private association of the faithful by the Corporation episcopal “in spite of the fact that the evaluation committee formed for this purpose has reported on a number of major problems in demonstrating the characteristics of sectarian community and primarily within its management”.
Always depending on the query, Marie-Youth would have already counted more than 130 active members, but “a mass exodus of these took place in part because of the many problems affecting this community”, so that the community would be reduced today more than twenty members. All the houses or hostels have been closed down in 2018, the remaining members residing in the mother house of the Sherbrooke street of the Board.
“Given everything to Mary-Youth”
According to the applicant, the members of Mary-Youth could not possess any property. Upon his arrival, therefore, he would have “given everything to Mary and Youth : the proceeds from the sale of his car, his bank balance, and all refunds of taxes that he would receive throughout the duration of his stay in the sect”.
Pascal Perron would also have been forced into coming to”operate rupture of any relationship with his friends and his biological family”, he could visit only two times per year. “In addition, we asked him to close his personal email address to use now that of Marie-Jeunesse in order to better control all the communications that he could have been from outside,” says one.
“Initially, the claimant had to remain only one year at Marie-Jeunesse. He did, however, quickly understand that a serious commitment asked of him that he gives at least four years of his life, that it was the will of Mary, the Holy Virgin,” details-t-one yet.
For the applicant, the 17 following years of his life would be devoted to “make it fit in the mold of Mary-Youth, that is to say, to make him lose his identity, his freedom, his capacity to assert and desires to adopt those of the sect and its leaders”.
The applicant states that his working days were about 15 or 16 hours per day, that he could not be absent from work, except for a serious reason, and that his schedule was “loaded to the extreme”.
During a stay in the home of the Queen street in Sherbrooke, in 2011, the claimant would have found that an internal conflict existed between some community leaders and a number of “impressive” members were sick. “It was then that he began a reflection with a priest external with respect to his or her vocation within the community, which he left in 2014,” write its lawyers.
Because of the “abuse” and of the “sectarian drift” of which he was the victim, Pascal Perron “don’t know who he is and what he likes”, in addition to experiencing “great difficulties” to trust others and make decisions. “In sum, the applicant has become a maladaptive social […]. Still today, the applicant turns in circles at the professional level, not knowing which is its place. In addition, the plaintiff has suffered, and is suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, and he has had suicidal ideation”, list the attorneys of Pascal Perron, who would have started a psychological follow-up by 2018 “due to the great suffering that is lived.”
In addition to Family Mary-Youth and Réal Lavoie, the application for authorization to institute a class action aims at the Fondation Marie-Jeunesse inc., the Houses wct-r of the same Corporation as the archi-episcopal roman catholic Sherbrooke. The plaintiff accused the latter of having “failed to take reasonable measures to put an end to the abuses to which the members of the group have been victims, although she had been aware of these abuses.”
The Archdiocese of Sherbrooke has not wanted to comment on the petition filed by Pascal Perron, preferring to let the justice do its job.”
Illustration from the page Facebook of the Family Marie-Jeunesse