The Grand déjeuner de la prière (Great Prayer Breakfast) was held on November 10. Close to one hundred participants took part in the event via Zoom, ‘praying together and listening to the Holy Spirit who breathes and makes all things new,’ as it was expressed in the introductory address given by Gaston Sauvé, President of the ‘À Dieu Va’ Foundation, which supports the event.

Instituted in 1976 by J. Robert Ouimet, the Grand déjeuner de la prière held in Montreal carries out its mission offering a space for spiritual renewal, prayer and reflection for the leaders of society, with the aim of ‘bringing their personal, family and professional lives into harmony.’ For some years, meetings were held twice yearly. The testimonial format is generally recommended for the event, in order to illustrate how men and women can be engaged in society and still seek inspiration in God and the spirit moving forward. In the midst of the current pandemic and the resulting prohibition on meeting in small groups, the Grand déjeuner de la prière went ahead virtually. Mass, celebrated at 7:30 a.m. by Archbishop Christian Lépine, set the meeting and the day in motion with the Lord’s blessing.

Beautiful roses with a few thorns

Coming forward to offer his testimony was ‘enthusiastic witness’ Jean Denis Lampron, entrepreneur who co-founded with his wife the flower business Rose Drummond in 1996. At 70-something, the grandfather several times over is also involved in the Canadian charitable organization Development and Peace, as well as being deacon for the diocese of Nicolet. The human being, the married father, the businessman and the man on his spiritual journey were the lines along which he presented his testimony. Jean-Denis and his wife Diane, to whom he has been married for 45 years, have eight daughters and three sons: ’11 kids is not easy, but it is amazing!’ he exclaims. He learned at a young age the importance of being involved, and that has ‘left its mark’ on his commitments to this day. His education set him on the path to become a florist. Around the same time, he became involved with the Scouts and, through that connection, met his wife.

They were married through their involvement in the Scouts and together became very much committed to that movement. Life was not always easy, but Mr. Lampron found in God the One he could lean on in the face of bankruptcy, sickness and suffering: ‘In 1996, from one day to the next I was out of a job, there was nothing. Diane was expecting our 11th child. That might have been the hardest time we ever faced as a couple.’ He cried out in distress, and Heaven never abandoned him. ‘Through all that, I was sure that God was there. That fall, when I lost everything, I realized I was not alone, I was being supported. And our marriage became stronger during that time, as well.’ One day, through the Cursillos movement, he learned how to let himself be loved, ‘which is not always easy…You see, when you give, you are in control,’ he explains, ‘When you receive, you lose the control.’ He became a deacon in 1998, after a seven-year journey, accompanied by his wife, with the mandate to ‘raise awareness in our diocese of what is happening in the world.’

That led him to accomplish numerous concrete projects and to become actively involved, for instance in Development and Peace. ‘I realized that the more I give, the more I receive,’ he says. ‘To me, life is so great, and my wish for you is that you will get involved, I hope that you will give…and give again, and then give some more! Because that - is life!’

Little shoots in the Church

Asked to share his outlook on our Christian communities and what to look forward to, Mr. Lampron responds with conviction: ’You know, I’m a horticulturist by trade. When a plant gets older, sometimes you have to take the little shoots and start a new plant. And sometimes the old plant throws out a new shoot from the root […] I believe there are some little shoots starting up in our Church.’ ‘We are instruments of God, and I don’t know what that will mean at the end of life. But I have a translator friend who said, ‘Let’s do what I could,’ he adds laughing at the peculiar grammar of the expression. The meeting concluded with a question period during which some participants shared their reflections, while others had questions for the guest speaker.

To enjoy the Grand déjeuner de la prière, please click here.