Pres. Monson returns to land, people he loves

God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

MONTREAL, Quebec — When President Thomas S. Monson recites this verse from Canada's national anthem, he does so from the heart. For to him and his wife, Sister Frances Monson, coming to Canada is like coming home.

Visiting with the Church News between dedicatory sessions of the new Montreal Quebec Temple June 4, President Monson spoke with emotion of his feelings for this part of the world where he presided as mission president from 1959 to 1962. "Today, we have returned to Montreal to a land I love, to the people I cherish. Sister Monson is happy to be with me. What sweet memories we experienced in returning to Montreal."

President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, accompanied President Gordon B. Hinckley to this eastern Canadian city to dedicate this, the Church's 86th temple. During the day, he greeted old friends, many with a heartfelt hug and tears. It was President Monson who, as mission president, sent the first six French-speaking missionaries to Quebec to work with French-Canadians. (Those elders were Richard Jacobs, Lee Wilson, Richard Bennett, Kitchener Young, Dennis Mertz and Richard Bybee.)

Reminiscing, President Monson recalled: "Sister Monson and I together with two of our children arrived in Toronto in 1959 to commence our labors here. Our mission included all of Ontario and all of Quebec. While we were here, our third child was born to us. He is our Canadian. So we have a very fond memory of living in Canada among some of the finest people in all the world."

Sister Monson, sitting nearby, added to her husband's comments: "We had so many cherished experiences working with the people and missionaries here many years ago. They've been so wonderful and we're grateful they now have a temple nearby. We want to thank them for everything they did for us."

President Monson, continuing his remarks, explained: "It's been my distinct privilege to be able to return to Canada for the creation of stakes throughout Ontario and, likewise, preside at the creation of the first French-speaking stake in Montreal where Brother Gerard Pelchat became president."

During one of the dedicatory sessions, President Hinckley called upon Brother Pelchat, who was present, to bear his testimony.

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