Francis Reddy and Jean-Marie Lapointe | Blessed are the well-meaning

This summer, Context invites readers to thought-provoking one-on-one conversations. Each week, one of our columnists leads a discussion between two personalities about the founding moments of their lives. This week, Mario Girard explores benevolence with Jean-Marie Lapointe and Francis Reddy, two artists who have long incorporated it into their lives.

Posted at 5:00 am

Mario Girard

Mario Girard
The press

When I was asked to explore the defining moments of life with two guests, I immediately thought of Francis Reddy and Jean-Marie Lapointe. What these two men have in common is that they cultivate a sense of goodwill. And that fascinates me.

I listen to the first on the radio and watch the second’s documentary series while receiving similar accusations of kindness, tolerance and generosity. But as a good journalist, I still wanted to know whether these positive auras were true or exaggerated.

Did I face what is called “false intentions” in the art world? The people around me confirmed it: Francis and Jean-Marie are in life exactly what they reflect in the media prism.

To understand what influenced their journey, I brought them together on a café terrace. Once the trio was formed, the sun would revolve around itself. Taken in isolation, these two guys move the air. Imagine you have both in front of you.

After a minute, I realized that my idea of ​​bringing them together wasn’t far-fetched, as Francis and Jean-Marie are longtime friends. It goes back to the Alex group (which the under 20 can’t know). This group from the early 1980s brought together Jean-Marie Lapointe and Frédéric Reddy, Francis’ brother.

“Because we were finalists in the Empire of Future Stars competition, we had a record deal with Isba,” says Jean-Marie. They had just signed with Mitsou. I can tell you we passed in the butter. Later there was the hugely popular show rooms in town which has contributed to making these two actors known to a broad public.

It was at this time that Jean-Marie met Francis’ father and his legendary kindness. It was enough for us to wonder about the origins of benevolence. Do we carry this in us from birth? Do we become so through experience? Do we get this as an inheritance?

“My father was so benevolent that he had trouble accepting it,” says Francis Reddy. Of course I have something of that. »

He vividly remembers a conversation he had with his father one evening.

He sold packaging and he was a bad salesman. When he came home late from work, he ate alone. Once I asked him if he had a contract. I have a close look. He said to me, “It doesn’t matter. The main thing is that I met a nice guy. “It came to confront me. Then I looked at my father differently. When my friends tell me about him, they tell me that they felt important in his company.

Franz Reddy

Jean-Marie Lapointe fully agrees. “He was so cute. He took me to his garden to eat his pickles and we talked. Through such gestures he created encounters. »

Jean Lapointe’s son also believes that goodwill can come first from parents. “My father and mother drank. They are not alcoholics in their true nature. They are loving and caring people who have had a disability or an addiction. »

Through the gestures his father led him to make for La Maison Jean Lapointe, the young Jean-Marie discovered the benefits of giving of himself. “There was also my aunt Cécile, who was a nun. She was a real Mother Teresa. »

cultivate goodwill

Of course there are the parents and the environment in which we grow up. But Francis Reddy and Jean-Marie Lapointe remain convinced that it is life’s experiences that produce the benevolence that lies at the heart of every human being. “I sincerely believe that everyone carries that,” Francis said. It cannot be that you go out of life without this goodness and that it will never be born. »

Jean-Marie adds by recounting the time when, as a young boarder, the teacher asked him to share his lunch with a friend who had nothing to eat. “My first instinct was to say no because I was hungry. A sentence followed. Then there was one Switch. I shared my sandwich with this boy. The joy I felt at that moment is indescribable. »

And here it is, beginning with a fascinating explanation of the physiological effects of benevolence. “With such a gesture, the happiness hormone serotonin is released. We are all three on this terrace. Let’s imagine there is a begging homeless person. A guy comes over and gives her a muffin or some money. This guy will get one shot of serotonin. And we who see this scene too. »

live in the moment

Jean-Marie Lapointe’s addictions and eating disorders are now at the service of the causes he defends. “My ability to feel the suffering of others is also my own ability to feel myself, to make sense of my suffering, my ordeal. You don’t heal voluntarily. For this purpose it should not be done. It happens all by itself. I am not the suffering of the other, but I can feel it. »

Accustomed to often being late, Francis Reddy insists on the importance of enjoying the present moment. “Benevolence makes me feel like I’m really with the other person. When I’m with someone, I’m really with that person. Arriving in front of a lake, the hyperactivity that I am disappears. I bite at this moment. »

Jean-Marie Lapointe, who has contributed to several documentaries dealing with social issues, is also a spokesperson for various causes, including Défi sportif AlterGo for people with disabilities or limitations. And as if that wasn’t enough, he regularly volunteers with the Welcome Hall Mission and the Maison du Père.

As for Francis Reddy, for many years he was one of the pillars of the Opération Enfant Soleil telethon with Marie-Soleil Tougas, then with Patricia Paquin.

These universes sometimes make them see difficult things.

“I was a young boy in poor health,” says Jean-Marie.

I was often in the hospital. I remember the pitying look my parents gave me and I hated it because I felt like I was upsetting them. When I first started supporting palliative care, I decided I wasn’t going to look like this. You don’t accompany death, you accompany life. Your job is to bring the lives of these people to light.

Jean Marie Lapointe

Francis Reddy once made the decision to quit telethon because it was taking up so much of his life at the expense of his family members. “There have been times when I’ve been scrutinizing pediatric budgets in hospitals. When you realize that 39% of a pediatric budget comes from the telethon, you think that’s pathetic. The famous “Quebec is madly in love with her kids” is a piece of shit. You must make a telethon to offer a jaundice blanket to a child at a hospital in La Tuque. »

During his years hosting the telethon, Francis Reddy met countless sick youth. He had to learn to protect himself. “I kept telling myself this isn’t going to happen to me. I preferred to save my energy to listen. »

benevolence and spirituality

Does benevolence necessarily involve some form of spirituality? The question affects Jean-Marie Lapointe and Francis Reddy greatly. “It’s not necessary,” replies the first. Except that when we begin to analyze benevolence, we realize that in it we find kindness, generosity, and other values ​​that embody spirituality. »

A few years ago, Jean-Marie Lapointe turned to Buddhism, a religion that perfectly matches his values. “I think you have to be humble,” he says. I don’t have to wear a robe or shields. I have nothing to sell. This approach is unique to me. However, if you listen carefully to my words, you will discover the Buddhist in me. Did it hurt me to say that? Maybe, but that’s secondary to me. »

Francis Reddy finds it difficult to believe that some people are currently engaging with religion. “I remember telling a Muslim financial adviser at Desjardins that sometimes people’s judgment is harsh. She had tears in her eyes. She explained to me that she has been trying to find her place in the workplace for 15 years and that all of a sudden it could all go away. What matters is that everyone can be comfortable with who they are. »

The actor and presenter emphasizes an aspect of life that has always been important to him: rituals.

I love those moments of coming together or those events that mark time. I’m sorry to drop that.

Franz Reddy

I couldn’t leave them without asking if they were sometimes tired of being perceived as eternally benevolent. “What can be difficult is the derogatory sense of kindness,” says Francis. Sometimes I get tired of people saying I’m nice because I feel like that’s all I am. I can also be angry and have all kinds of feelings. »

Jean-Marie then uses this phrase from a man he loved dearly, Guy Corneau: “When we put evil into words, said evils become spoken words and cease to be cursed. »

I left those two guys and walked the streets of Montreal for a long time. This discussion has done me a lot of good. Ah! and then I’ll tell you too: I wanted to meet Francis Reddy and Jean-Marie Lapointe for myself first. But while I’m trying to cultivate kindness, I’ve done it for you too.

The Seasons of Francisback in the fall on Ici Musique

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