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Father Nicholas Gruner
266 Elmwood Avenue Suite 281
Buffalo, New York 14222
April 27, 1997
"Eternal rest give to them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them."
Dear Friend of Our Lady,
I regret that I have not been able to send you this sad news before now, but I have only just returned home from Rome (and will soon be leaving yet again).
On Easter Sunday, my longtime friend, counselor and confessor, Father Marcel Nault died after a year-long and very brave struggle with cancer.
As you probably know, Father had been working full-time with Our Lady's Apostolate since 1992 as a priest-counselor, French translator and volunteer coordinator.
Speaking both personally and for the Apostolate, this is a very sad and even devastating loss for us.
Father Nault was one of the finest and most pious priests I have ever known. Even during his last few months, when he was so ill he could barely stand or eat, he insisted on saying Mass daily for Our Lady's workers and faithfully reciting his Rosary.
I originally met him in 1979 at St. Stephen's parish in Dowling, Ontario. Like myself, he was a native of Montreal. It was Father who insisted that I always wear Our Lady's Miraculous Medal outside my cassock as a public sign of my love for Her (and which I have done since 1982).
While he loved Montreal, he decided to dedicate the last years of his life to working for Our Lady and took up residence at the Fatima Center. A few days before he died, he told many people that he believed we "are doing the most important work on earth."
Father participated and spoke at all three of our International Conferences, including the last one in Rome where, despite his illness, he delivered three powerful speeches urging obedience to Our Lady and the immediate consecration of Russia.
Father very much wanted to write to you and other special friends before he died. He began a letter, but his illness overcame him before he had the chance to write more than a few lines.
Sister Francis Theresa, who (with others) kept a nearly 24-hour vigil near his bedside, has told me that his wish was to say goodbye to you and to explain again why the work we are doing is so critical to the Church and the whole world.
Sister also said he wanted to declare publicly how grateful he was to God for preserving him in the true Catholic Faith despite all the scandals and troubles within the Church today.
Before he died, Father Nault told me that it was a great grace to suffer before death. And indeed, he suffered greviously, his vigorous healthy body being reduced to almost a skeleton.
Characteristically, he offered his sufferings and prayers at the end of his life for another, praying constantly for a soul who had fallen away from the Church for the Jehovah's Witnesses. Before he died, he received word that this person has left that group.
Yet Father Nault was both a man of prayer and action. His last act was to leave half of his modest estate to this Apostolate for the propagation of the Fatima Message.
Like Francisco of Fatima, Father longed with all of his heart to go to Heaven and asked all of us to pray for him. His faith and hope, particularly at the end, were utterly edifying.
Father Nault loved life. He loved God and Our Lady. He loved this Apostolate and you and me. We have indeed lost a great and good friend. May his life and death inspire and strengthen us in Jesus and Mary. Please remember Father in all your prayers.
Yours in Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Father Nicholas Gruner
P.S. Father Nault's death leaves a great void for me personally and for this Apostolate. In his memory, Sister Frances Theresa has set up a special fund whose purpose is to continue Father's work of spreading Our Lady's Message, especially to French-speaking people and other priests, seminarians and religious.
The names of all donors to this special fund will be placed on a permanent plaque in the vestibule of the Fatima Center and their intentions remembered at a regular monthly Mass offered for the repose of his soul. If you are interested in contributing to this fund, please write or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org