Back to “Quam Bonum”

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Father Jacques Faucher has a court date tomorrow morning (02 April 2013):

Tuesday, 02 April 2013:  08:30 am, courtroom #5, “to be spoken to,” Ottawa Ontario courthouse (161 Elgin St.)

Please, as always, keep the complainant in your prayers. And, please, as always, post a comment or send a link to any media coverage which may ensue regarding the outcome.

*****

I was going to make further comment on Father Alfred Sasso but just noticed that all of the information I had on him wasn’t posted.  I thought I had posted it, but for whatever reason it wasn’t there.  It’s there now :).

First, as is evident on the limited information which I have on hand on Father Sasso, this priest (from the Diocese of London Ontario) was charged and convicted in 1980.  Despite the fact Sasso molested three young people he was sentenced to only three months in jail (and two years probation)!

By the mid 80s Father Sasso had surfaced at/been recycled to St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Second, I don’t know how long Father Sasso was in Vancouver but by 1991 he was back in Windsor and at the Brentwood Recovery Home.

What took Sasso to the Brentwood Recover Home in the early 90s?  Did he get into trouble in Vancouver, BC?  Is that it?  Was he per chance ‘caught’ again – in BC this time? – and shuttled out of Vancouver and shipped off to Brentwood for ‘treatment’ of alcohol-related problems?  And then, after ‘treatment’ did he become part of the Brentwood staff?

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least!  After all, I can’t imagine why, if all was going well in Vancouver, Father Sasso would decide to pack his bags and head back to Windsor, and to Brentwood at that, can you?  Would that perhaps be the scenario if there was a victim in Vancouver ready to talk?

Or, in addition to his problems as a child molester, was he also an alcoholic? and did that ‘problem’ only come to light after Father Sasso landed in Vancouver?

Anyway, as you can see, Father Sasso ended up working at Brentwood.  Given that there was media coverage in 198o regarding Sasso’s conviction the Brentwood staff must have known they were hiring a clerical molester?

Note the reference in the two articles re Brentwood to the Charbonneau brothers, two local  priests.  Father Paul Charbonneau was the director and founder of Brentwood.  Father Paul’s brother Bob, also a priest, was first admitted to Brentwood for treatment and later became part of the staff.

By way of interest one of those Charbonneau brothers was once the co-owner of “Quam Bonum,” a property on Big Rideau Lake purchased in the late 60s by Charbonneau and several other Windsor priests.  One of those other priests was then Father Eugene Larocque, later Bishop of the scandal-plagued Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, Ontario. Another was one of the Charbonneau brothers.

“Quam Bonum,” approximately a 300 miles from London and a 45-minute-drive from Kingston, Ontario, was sold in 1998.

Oh my!  I am catching my breath right now….

I’m back.  Had to take a break to have a little read and think….

Look at this little piece of information on Quam Bonum which I put it together 12 years ago (2000) for Dick Nadeau.  I had forgotten forgotten about it completely.  I believe Dick published all or part of the following on his Project Truth website. Here it is:

Quam Bonum

In 1968 the then Father Eugene Larocque, along with a group of priests from the Diocese of London, Ontario, purchased a piece of land and farm house close to the scenic Westport, Ontario. The house burnt down and a large bungalow/cottage was built on the site.  The property itself is a beautiful and secluded spit of land which juts into Big Rideau Lake.  The location is probably  equidistant from Newboro and Portland and, in fact, the group used to go to the marina in Portland to purchase gas for their boats and, I think, for groceries.

As you go towards the property you are up high, looking down at the water and land quite a distance down.  There is a farm on that road owned by a D. Cheetham.  Several people have talked to him and he recalls nothing unusual but, in truth, his property is quite a distance back from the road and at most he would see cars travel by on their way down to the cottage area.  From his home he has no visual at all of the property.  The only way it can be seen is by going to the road, across the road and to the edge of the land to look down.

Also, one important exception to the seclusion +++ is a small cottage on an adjacent lot to Quam Bonum which is readily visible from the Larocque cottage and vice versa.  That cottage is owned by a fellow by the name of Seeward who owns a number of rental cottages on down the road but not at all visible from the Quam Bonum site.  He apparently rarely if ever occupies or uses that cottage now.  If he was there – and not involved himself! – he would have seen and heard a lot.

The group (Larocque et al) named the site/cottage “Quam Bonum” a Latin phrase familiar to priests as reference to the first lines of Psalm 132 which begins “Ecce quam bonum. . .” and translates:

Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethern to dwell together in unity;

Like the precious ointment on the beard, that ran down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron,

Which ran down to the skirt of his garment: as the dew of Hermon, which descendeth upon Mount Sion.

For there the Lord hath commanded blessing, and life for evermore.

The property was originally purchased in 1968 for $2,500.  It sold in the Fall of 1998 for $300,00.  A lawyer from Ottawa by the name of Guest purchased it.  The property had been on the market in the Spring and Summer of that year and then was taken off when the group decided not to sell.  Apparently the lawyer and his wife convinced the owners to change their mind.

The names that I can find as having had joint ownership in the cottage are:

Father G. H. (Gerry) Duscene (ordained 1953.  Deceased about three or four years ago),

Father Robert Albert Charbonneau (ordained 1953).  He has a brother Paul (also a priest ordained 1948) who founded a place called Brentwood Recovery for alcoholics but also, if I recall correctly, has branched out and, much like Southdown, deals with sexual problems.  Paul spent a number of years as a military chaplain and then, from 1981 on, became involved fulltime with Brentwood.  I don’t know if Paul was connected to Quam Bonum.  What is interesting is that Robert’s address for a few years (‘91-‘93) was the address for Brentwood.

Father Martin Johnston (a former school teacher. Ordained 1962 at age 34).  He is the one who has been looking after the “Boy Scout Association” in London for years.  He has also been very active in the charismatic renewal, the Cursillo movement, and COR (Christ in Others Retreat, weekend retreats for young people).  He travels to South America nearly every year.  Parishioners also recall him going on vacation every year “somewhere up in the islands in Kingston” and, on one occasion, saying he was taking ten days to go there to “fast and pray.”  Some thought and understood that he had a cottage “in Kingston.”  Some recall that the place he went to had once had a large house which burnt down and was replaced by a new cottage!

Father Johnston is a very close friend of Father Christopher Quinlan (ordained 1962).  They were ordained at the same time and apparently were together all the time.  Father Quinlan apparently used to go to the cottage with Johnston.  I have a vague recollection that Quinlan’s name is on the deed but not 100% certain and can’t find the little piece of paper with the names.  There was also a Father Linus Bastien (ordained 1951) who went to the cottage.

All of these priests were from London.  Quite a hike to take for a little vacation every year!

Note particularly that Father Linus Bastien used to go to Quam Bonum!  Back in 2000 the name Linus Bastien meant absolutely nothing to me.  Bastien is now facing charges.

I am wondering too if, after  Father Sasso began to work at Brentwood in or around the mid 80s, he ever holidayed with Father Paul Charbonneau at Quam Bonum?  It’s possible, is it not?  I suppose it’s even possible that he was there at the same time Father Linus Bastien was?  I truly don’t know who was there when, but, are not such things possible?

And, Brenda, look – there’s Father Chris Quinlan.

And all this because I decided to do a quick search on my computer on Quam Bonum!  A reminder that’s impossible to keep tabs on all the information over the years, and so good that, at Dick’s request,  I had put it down in black and white, and was therefore able to call it up on a search.

I need to think this all through …

Enough for now,

Sylvia

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7 Responses to Back to “Quam Bonum”

  1. Michel Bertrand says:

    Sylvia, I remember a priest in Sudbury who had connections with Brentwood. He was working in a treatment center in sudbury and was referring a lot of alkys to treatment in Brentwood. He also was a lecher and was hitting on all the gals in AA. He ended up back at brentwood after he had been caught being a boyfriend rather than a priest. I wish I could remember his name. Brentwood had a reputation of being tough on alcoholics..Fatyher Paul hasd a reputation for bullying andf violence. He would smack people and trow them out if he felt they were no compliant to his couselling.. Brentwood is set in an old hotel motel as far as I remember.

  2. Sylvia says:

    I checked the website Michel- I think you’re right that the facility was once upon a time a hotel/motel. I had never heard that.

    Look at the slideshow here on the Brentwood website: http://brentwoodrecovery.com/ecom.asp?

    I wonder where the money came from to purchase the facility? or was it perhaps one of those deals where the owners wanted rid of it and sold it for a few dollars? or, – did the province kick in big dollars? maybe the diocese reached into the ‘deep’ pockets of the faithful too?

    Whatever, – I can not help but wonder how in the name of goodness Father Charbonneau, a Roman Catholic priest with limited income, managed to get his hands on that facility?

  3. Brunelle Brenda says:

    I can provide you with Brentwood’s history.

    Brentwood was indeed a hotel before Brentwood took over. The last concert I attended at Brentwood was the Sonny and Cher Concert, then it closed. It was an old run down place that needed to be gutted as I recall.

    Most people will tell you that once enrolled on the 90 day program you became a servant to the Charbonneaus. You could not make any decisions on your own without checking with Father first. He had to approve your decision regardless of what it involved, purchasing a house, a car, leaving your family, returning to your wife, to brushing your teeth. Everything had to be approved first.

    I recall women crying that they could not take their baby off the bottle without father’s permission and in once case that I personally know, Father denied this, the child was 2 years old, perfectly capable of drinking from a cup but for whatever reason, she could not do this without permission first.

    I have been told, as I had family members go through the program, I at one time was the spouse of a man going through the program, that Alcoholics are selfish, and that they never think of or consider anyone outside of themselves. Fr. Paul’s cure for this was to manhandle these men and treat them like infants and enforce strict rules so strict that if you wanted to leave the table to wash your hands or use the bathroom you had to ask permission first… if you don’t follow the rules you are kicked out. Many people that have attended this treatment centre say it saves their lives… others feel it was abuse of power, and mind stripping.

    I have my own personal views on Brentwood, however they would be of no value to this particular story to share in this location of the blog.

    Some were wondering about the history of Brentwood, I found this on their website and read it. I do believe that it is written as accurately as possible, and of course many things were left out but the nuts and bolts of how the Elmwood became Brentwood is explained below.

    This is as close to the truth as I am aware of. I took this information off their website.

    Our History

    Father Paul Charbonneau moves a bit slowly these days. But at age 86, you can still see the firebrand in the man who was willing to use words and a well-placed fist if necessary to get the job done. The founder of Brentwood was himself affected by alcoholism – as a young boy; he grew up with a father who suffered from the disease. “My dad was a good man who started work when he was about 14 or 15. In those days, you lived hard lives. People drank.”

    Fr. Paul Charbonneau worked for his father in the summer, where his dad drank on the job. He had his own electrician business. “It wasn’t nice to be around him,” recalls the priest. “I took it personally, even though I shouldn’t have. I became angry.”

    He attended church every day and decided he wanted to become a priest, or a monk or a missionary. “People didn’t expect that of me,” he says, chuckling. “I was known as a bit mixed up. I battled between my anger and my desire to be closer to God. I guess I wanted an escape.” After Fr. Paul Charbonneau joined the priesthood, he began to teach religion in parish schools. He soon noticed the signs of the same disease that had plagued his father causing suffering in the children he taught. “You could see it in their eyes. You could see fear, sadness and a void.”

    The priest went to visit these children in their homes, where, invariably, their mothers answered the door with that same haunted look in their eyes. “They were afraid of what their husbands would say. ‘He’s liable to hurt you’, they’d warn me. But I wasn’t afraid.” Fr. Charbonneau began to meet members of Alcoholics Anonymous in London and Chatham. He would bring them to visit the families of those alcoholics he hoped to help.

    A stint in military after the War reinforced his desire to help. He worked with the servicemen and their commanders, who frequently spent their downtime at the canteen drinking. “One sergeant who ran a canteen told me I was costing him business,” Charbonneau says, laughing.

    After serving 6 years as a Chaplain, he returned to parish work in the Windsor and Essex County area and continued to help those afflicted by alcoholism. Jim and Kay Ryan moved to Emeryville where they met Fr. Paul who was still Pastor of St. William’s Parish. They got to know him and when he spoke of starting Charity House, they wanted to be part of this work. In 1964, a group of Fr. Paul, seven men, and $35.00 between them started Charity House in Windsor. “Charity meant ‘love’,” he explains. “We wanted to help the guys who were living on the street who needed love.”

    In order to do so, we rented a vacant restaurant at the corner of Wyandotte Street East and Chilver. “The people we were trying to help were suspicious,” he recalls. “They thought we were do-gooders who want to throw a net over them.” Instead, he explained the purpose and invited the homeless to leave their street corners, alleys and niches under the Peabody Bridge to stay warm and safe for the night. Local restaurants provided food and the AA alumni whom Fr. Paul knew chatted with the men about their problems. “At first we gave them just supper. Then, it became breakfast. We decided we needed a bigger place and bought a building behind the Peerless Ice Cream Parlour in Old Walkerville. Reaction from the neighbourhood was negative. “We had to go door-to-door and explain what we hoped to do. We won them over.”

    Fr. Charbonneau was joined by Jim and Kay Ryan. “They showed up to help with the renovation and stayed to help me run the place.” The Ryan’s eventually sold their home in Emeryville and took up residence in the upstairs of Charity House and along with Fr. Paul, were the co-founders of Brentwood. Jim Ryan was the first maintenance man of Brentwood and Kay Ryan was like their “Den Mother.” Her time in the army as a Corporal helped prepare her for working with the alcoholic as she was the only women amongst them. Able to sleep 50 and feed 100 to 150 people a day, the facility demanded much of Fr. Charbonneau’s time – and he still had the responsibilities of his parish to take care of. “The Ryan’s really ran it because I was so busy. We named two of Brentwood’s buildings after them: The Jim Ryan Pavilion, and the Kay Ryan Women’s Centre, in honour of all they did for us.”

    In 1964, a government task force determined that places like Windsor – where there was a high incidence of drinking-related crimes – should have a recovery home. “Father Ken Jaggs asked if I would run a recovery home and I agreed. I had no money but I’ve done a lot of things on faith and I figured that if God wants something to happen, he won’t let anything interfere.” His offer to buy the building with a $5,000 deposit was laughed at; it has a $150,000 asking price. But funds to buy the Sandwich Street home that would become Brentwood came from the perfectly timed intervention of a friend in Ottawa who knew of a group that allocated funds to just such community organizations. “It was just meant to be,” says Fr. Paul.

    After a lot of hard work, Sept.1, 1974, St. Joseph House of Studies, 3020 Sandwich Street was bought and renamed Brentwood, a recovery home for male alcoholics only, with a 20-30 bed capacity. The name Brentwood was decided upon by Fr. Paul from the many names that they had considered. The name Charity House would not attract alcoholics where the homeless had been fed and cared for so the name was changed to Brentwood and still stands today.

    In 1975, a Women’s Support meeting started. This disease of alcoholism had affected the women in these men’s lives also and they needed just as much help as the alcoholic.

    As the program grew, Fr. Paul leased St. Hubert’s School for $1.00 a year in South Windsor in the daytime to hold meetings and returned to Brentwood at night for the next two years. In 1983 a bus was donated by River Canard K of C to transport residence from the Sandwich home to St. Huberts.

    In 1977 the Youth Group started for children ages 9 to 18. Alcoholism is a family disease and it needed to be made available to the children of the alcoholic also.

    Over time, the priest developed more than 100 talks that he would give at Brentwood meetings. His brother, Fr. Bob Charbonneau, also a priest, began to document them. It was the beginning of the program’s core communications. Brentwood drew greater respect and really took off in the 1980s. Once again, demand placed too much pressure on the facility and another move was needed.

    In October 1983 the old Elmwood Casino, located at 2335 Dougall Avenue, became available for sale. It had been closed for years and was in great disrepair. The windows were smashed and all the electrical stripped. Entire walls were missing. It was a mess,” recalls Fr. Paul Charbonneau.

    Its owner gave Brentwood the deed with the provision it did not have to be paid for two years, which enabled the Board of Directors to secure $1.5 million to conduct the repairs which took one year. It could accommodate 150 to 175 people at any one time and began to draw people from across Canada.

    From November 1983 to July 17, 1984, many people worked, unpaid, remodeling before the opening of Brentwood, 2335 Dougall Avenue, Windsor, ON, which is still our home today. It was truly a labour of love.

    When Brentwood opened, it drew so many people. We had the 90-day program. Chrysler, Ford and GM would send us employees who needed help. We also got people from word-of-mouth. We received a lot of good publicity.

    In 1983 a Youth group started for children ages 7 to 15. In 1984, Father Paul was approached by the County School Boards for Brentwood people to go into the schools and talk to students in grades 7 and 8 about their experiences with alcohol and drugs. It was very successful and is still in place today.

    February 26, 1985, the first woman entered Brentwood and after consultation with Fr. Paul she was allowed to attend meetings accompanied by Kay Ryan. In the beginning the empty home on Sandwich Street was used for the women residence, starting with 20 beds. After a year, a decision was made to move the women to Dougall Avenue and placed them in the front rooms. Kay Ryan worked with the women for the first three years. Today the program women are located in the Kay Ryan Residence for Women, located at the front of the property. After 23 years Kay Ryan retired in April 1988 and the women’s program was put in to capable hands.

    The first Retreat in 1968 was held in Port Burwell, ON with 6 people in attendance. In 2005, a Retreat was held at Brentwood in Windsor, ON with over 350 people in attendance.

    Fr. Paul Charbonneau was finally given permission to work there full-time, and he has devoted himself fully ever since. “I’m getting ready for retirement now. It hasn’t always been smooth; but I never let opposition stop me. I never shied away from a physical or verbal confrontation. I had a reputation that stood me in good stead.”

    In 2005 Father Paul Charbonneau retired and passed on the position of Executive Director to Don Russell, MSW, RSW, CACII.
    :
    Source:
    June 2008 – Interview with Fr. Paul Charbonneau
    1964 – 1988 – 25th Anniversary Book by Kay Ryan and the Brentwood Yearbook Committee

  4. Michel Bertrand says:

    His history reflects the disdain he has for alcoholics, he never resolved his own issues with his father and made a career of finding alkys to abuse in the name of charity(love)
    I base my knowledge on Brentwood from films of father pauls morning talks and alkys I have met who were sober who felt that Brentwood’s approach was to harsh and to domineering. From his words it sounds good..however I suspect it hides another agenda.

    • Brunelle Brenda says:

      Michel, Fr. Paul certainly gave himself a position of great power when he became the founder of Brentwood. He also made certain that anyone walking through HIS doors respected his power or they were out.

      There are many different opinions on how Fr. Paul exercised the power he entrusted on to himself; abuse of power – or good use of power. all in the eye of the beholder for certain.

      One thing for certain is this, anyone that holds that kind of power and authority, certainly achieves an ego or a sense of being untouchable.

      Brentwood certainly to some has been a place of last resort, and provided to them, a life saving means to a second chance.

      For others, Brentwood has amputated their ability to think and make decisions; Brentwood has taken away the ability to trust in one self and were robbed of the courage to try to make a life for themselves without the drugs and alcohol and without Fr. Paul.

      There are two schools of thoughts on this recovery home.

  5. Sylvia says:

    Thank you Brenda and Michel for the info on both Brentwood and Father Paul Charbonneau. Every bit of information helps put the pieces of the puzzle together.

  6. Sue B says:

    Regarding comments about Fr.Paul Charbonneau, I would leave that to those who knew him personally. I myself had the pleasure and priviledge of knowing Father for over 24 years. Yes, he had defects, and shortcomings, all of which he owned and admitted and used for the better, to help others not to become that way. Ego – I’d say not, he was one of the most humble men I’ve ever known. He put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into Brentwood and the entire Windsor-Essex community. I have no doubt that we would be a true twin city to Detroit (in terms of crime, and murder) if it weren’t for Fr. Paul. Rough with the alchoholic, you betcha, when necessary. See – his fight wasn’t with the person, but the devil/disease within. I personaly witnessed him dealing with the alcoholic hundreds of times. The only time he was rough (say in words), was when he was trying to get through to the alcoholic to save their soul so to speak. It’s hard to understand unless you are alcoholic. I never saw him be physical with anyone. I believe there’s a lot of bull about that. It’s because of priests like Father Paul Charbonneau that you and I are able to get help now. He truly paved a path for us. He tried many years ago in many ways to convince the church that they needed to clean up their act so to speak – they wouldn’t listen. He could have helped so many in so many ways. So, I truly believe that’s partly why he went out on his own – to help the people the best way he knew how. In fact I’m sure I heard him say before that if the diocese hadn’t agreed to let him leave his parish to devote his life to the alcoholic, he would have left. The co-founder used to joke that Father wouldn’t stop a meeting for the Pope if he walked in during a meeting. He did not believe in pomp and circumstance. He believed in HELPING OTHERS. He brought abuses to the attention of church officials, and had many a people turn themselves in, and like the rest of us at the time, I truly believe he was shunned and shut up. (After all he’s only a person as you say). He was not liked by a lot of priests/clergy, because he didn’t put up with or become a part of the bull. He eventually chose to live another way – to serve God. He used to say – being with the priests and talking was like talking “apples and oranges”. They knew that he knew. They talked about helping people, he rolled up his sleeves and did the work. He was not judgemental either, just wanted to help anyone. A true worker of God. Father didn’t necessarily believe in the teachings of “the church”, but did believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ; he was also a big fan of the disciple Paul. Father didn’t only preach the word, he lived it, and saved countless lives in doing so. I would say that in the end one of Father’s regrets would be his anger and resentments, yet he used that anger as a passion to get to the root of the disease. He mellowed tremendously over the years – which showed that he too worked on himself.
    Consult with Father? – yes, the alcoholic needed to learn to do that. (Father, or other counsellors). He just happened to be the director at the time – it wasn’t about power or abuse of power, it was about trying to get the alcoholic to bend to someone else’s will. See the majority of alcoholics were abused themselves, and Father knew that. They – myself included were so closed up, they didn’t seek counsel from or trust in anyone from a young age including family, or friends. Father provided a place where direction was available and given for the greater good. Most eventually learned that they could seek direction (as normal people do in daily living), and not be hurt. If it was suggested to a woman to let her baby have the bottle even at 2 years old, (as mentionned above), there was probably a soft, gentle reason. I could easily see Father telling someone this say, if the woman was harsh, or distant, from her baby etc. He would be thinking of what would best comfort the baby. He always had the bigger picture. Those of us who followed his direction and learned to trust, came to believe and see that the direction wasn’t always about us, but those around us and it was based on love. Father never called anyone into Brentwood, so those who slam his offer of guidance, sought it out in the first place. The alcoholic is tarred and feathered with self-will, so anyone offering the contrary, would be seen as a threat, violent even. Yes, Father ruled with an iron-fist so to speak, but because of that we still have Brentwood today. He always said, the program doesn’t depend on me, its in the people. He also said the same thing about the church – it belongs to the people, not priests, and not to let bad priests take that away. Trust me – if Father had been a higher up in the church – it would have a very different face today!!! Father fell in love with Jesus, and worked to love people. Angry – maybe from driving 45 mins to work every day, after sleeping an average of 3 to 4 hours a night, arriving for many, many years by 6 a.m., and often not leaving until after 9 or 10 p.m. I was abused severley by family and by a priest, and I for one can say that Father Paul, in his last 40 years or so, for sure last 24 years, was a true example of Love. If I know Father he is reading this site and weeping for all who’ve been hurt by the church, wishing he could have done more to help more people. I’m not defending any actions or telling anyone not to feel hurt if indeed they were hurt by Father Paul, but I would say that one should be careful in who they judge. It could just be the person who is helping to bring so many things to light!!

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