“We show our love by giving more than the basic necessities. Little Brothers is absolutely uncompromising on this.”
— Armand Marquiset, founder
Les petits frères des Pauvres was founded in France by Armand Marquiset in 1946 and has been operating in Quebec since 1962. Raised in a wealthy family, Marquiset first became aware of the devastating repercussions of poverty in his twenties through his grandmother, Madame de Laumont. After her only son was killed in World War I, she founded a charity for parents who were left destitute when they lost their own sons in battle. Her death in 1930 had a profound impact on him, prompting him to dedicate his life to helping those in need. As a result, he quit his musical studies and turned his formidable organizational skills to creating Les petits frères des Pauvres. His life-affirming legacy lives on today, with Little Brothers organizations operating in ten countries, connected through an international federation.
Little Brothers has been a pioneer in championing the cause of the elderly in a youth-focused society, taking an innovative approach to restoring dignity and joy to older members of the community, who are all too often alone and forgotten.
We celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2012 with the adoption of a new identity: Little Brothers – The Extended Family for Lonely Elders.
Little Brothers first came to the public’s attention in the 1960s, thanks in large part to the efforts of beloved Quebec film and television star Juliette Huot. Actor Jean Besré followed in her footsteps in the 1990s, generously lending his time and talents to raising the organization’s profile.
Today, we are proud to enjoy the support of theatre and screen veteran Béatrice Picard, our devoted provincial patron, and Marie-Thérèse Fortin, our provincial spokesperson. Our regional spokespersons, Louis Garneau, Pierre Guillemettte and Henri Chassé, play an equally instrumental role in bringing attention to what we do.
Ending senior isolation across Quebec
The Little Brothers story in Quebec all started in Montreal in an old rooming house on Bleury Street in 1962. The following year, Hubert de Ravinel stepped in to manage the organization, drawing on his experience in France with Armand Marquiset. De Ravinel remained at the head of the organization until 1977. Little Brothers moved to 4624 Garnier Street in 1968, where the head office is still located today.
The various chapters across the province have been set up in the years since, starting with Sherbrooke in 1986 and Quebec City in 1987. These were followed by Saguenay (1998), Lac-Mégantic (2000), Trois-Rivières (2002), Rimouski (2006), Thetford Mines (2006), Laval (2012), Longueuil (2013), Lévis (2014), Terrebonne (2014), Montreal/Pointe-de-l‘Île (2014), Saint-Eustache (2015), Montreal/West Island (2015) and Montreal/Sud-Ouest (2017).
Flowers before bread
”Bread nourishes the body. It contains the nutrients a person needs to stay alive. Having enough to eat, access to basic care and a decent place to live is essential to survival.
But flowers nourish the heart. Sharing love and compassion, feeling important to someone else, continuing to dream, getting away for a vacation, experiencing a sense of fulfillment – these are vital to feeling truly alive until the very end.”
— Armand Marquiset, founder of Les petits frères des Pauvres (Little Brothers of the Poor)