by Theodore Sagezza, special correspondent
I would like to share an experience related to the Canadian priest, abbot, self-proclaimed prophet, and exorcist, Fr. Michel Rodrigue. It is time people know a bit of the crude reality of things as they are and not as they hope or imagine them to be. If souls are misled, they are lost.
This personal testimony is concerning how, providentially, I wound up visiting one of several so-called places of “refuge” founded by and under the watch of Fr. Michel Rodrigue. This location is in Southern California. I will share some of the impressions with everyone, for their own good, that they may not set their hopes on delusional or imaginative expectations, and do not run into any surprises (like some of us did). I share this experience for the sanity and wellbeing of their families, especially of their children and youth.
I will purposely avoid specifics like names or identities, as to not put any individuals in jeopardy. Please know that the group of people whom I visited this property with were once supporters and promoters of Fr. Michel’s messages, but today, because of how “scandalized” and “traumatized” they were, after our experience, they have understandably distanced themselves from Fr. Michel and his messages. Our doubts were cleared, and I really hope this experience helps others in the same way.
The interesting story behind Fr. Michel’s refuge, as it was told to the person that led to the place, and was told to him or her by the same woman in the story, whom over a decade ago, hosted Fr. Michel who visited, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, Fr. Michel said to the woman “Come, I will show you a refuge”. So, he convinced her to get in her car with Fr. Michel and drive off to the place where supposedly St. Michael the Archangel himself would lead them to. What better GPS than St. Michael eh? So, as the story goes, St. Michael the Archangel gave Fr. Michel the directions and indications of where they would find this property which had been pre-destined to become the place of refuge for his followers to come. As they drove, St. Michael told Fr. Michel where and when to turn left or right, continue straight, etc., until they arrived at the promised land. According to the account, St. Michael also gave Fr. Michel the name for this special refuge which was to be named “The Refuge of the Saints”.
The purpose of the refuge would be to provide sustenance for a select number of devout, fortunate, faithful during a time of upheaval in the world. These chosen souls would be guided to the refuge by their own guardian angels, and there they would dwell and be sustained in community -happily ever after. The theme of “refuges” in general is a strong theme in Fr. Michel’s messages, so this story should not come as a surprise to those who follow Fr. Michel.
I’ll make a parenthesis here to say that this is one of the main problematic ideas that Fr. Michel Rodrigue’s messages contain, and that is, that the refuges in themselves contain some sort of special spiritual protection from things like catastrophes, demonic attacks, etc. As if geographical locations in and of themselves can be privileged by God with some sort of immanent presence of God within them. This would almost seem to dabble into the heresy of pantheism which says that God has no limits in nature and his being is contained in nature itself. While Fr. Michel’s idea would not exactly be a heresy, it should be clarified as it can cause more problems in the spiritual life of his blind followers.
The reason why such an idea can be problematic is because it confuses the “supernatural” with the “preternatural” and the “natural”. For instance, in the natural realm, people gather to buy an estate, so they build, conserve, grow and cultivate plants, raise cattle and work in common for their sustenance. Supernaturally, they would have the place blessed by the monks or priests, and they would live by supernatural faith knowing that God would protect them from harm, so they pray, evangelize, worship, always trusting in the Lord, and they hope to be sanctified until their moment of death. This is much different than to say that the geographical location where they live has a sort of spiritual coating which allows the geographical location (itself) to repel demons or to attract angels or saints, this is simply not correct. Not to mention, something like a catastrophe pertains to the natural realm, and so, even if a geographical location had some sort of special spiritual protection, it would not affect it in any way because the damage a catastrophe can cause, would be measured in the natural realm. That is not to say that there isn’t any relation to the spiritual at all. Yet, angels and demons in relation to a geographical location pertain to the preternatural, so everyone knows that any sort of land, property, or inanimate geographical location, no matter how special, cannot influence or change the state of preternatural events (in and of itself). The preternatural is, however, involved insofar as the life of Grace and spirituality of the people that dwell in that place. And yes, there are demons and angels that would play a role in the lives of these people, and yes, but yes, occasionally, they may experience drought, catastrophes, odd weather, crime, evil (so long as there is sin, sinners and live in this world ie. valley of tears), but again, a geographical place in and of itself (like a refuge) cannot have any sort of supernatural or preternatural value.
Now, if someone like Fr. Michel can convince thousands of people around the world that he has “Refuges” which St Michael the Archangel himself has founded, but which he oversees the finances for (smart man), and that such refuges will provide certain spiritual guarantees for those who donate and plan to move in at some point ahead of time, then it would be an excellent sales pitch, but very misleading. And unfortunately, most followers would fall for a trap like that because they have! And who wouldn’t want to invest in such an exclusive and privileged estate? So, it is very confusing, misleading, unfair, and simply not reality.
Before I move onto some of the impressions of the place, I would like to repeat that I will purposely conceal certain details about whom I was with, how, or when we visited the refuge in order to not put anyone in jeopardy.
The impressions of the place
Fr. Michel’s refuge, which I can refer to as a compound, is in a hidden but renowned forest in Southern California. It is not to be found on satellite map. There are no road signs or indicators of how to arrive there unless you have specific instructions. For instance, there are a few hidden unpaved roads that lead up to the compound.
One thing right-off-the-bat that stood out about the place was that the property was not totally isolated. There were other private properties adjacent to Fr, Michel’s refuge, close enough to confuse them from one another, even though all of those properties were also “off the grid” in that same zone. A few questions that came to mind about that were: who would have ever decided to build so many compounds in such a hidden zone? And what was their purpose? What about the other properties next to Fr. Michel’s refuge? Are they also included in the same destiny and promises of Fr. Michel’s messages concerning his refuge? Or will they all be obliterated when the big storm comes?
About a half mile before we arrived at the compound, we were blocked by a locked gate. Without a phone signal to call anyone for help, we thought we may have to turn back and miss out on the opportunity of seeing the compound, but thanks be to God, a neighbor who happened to see us parked in front of the gate, approached us, asked who we were, who we were looking for, and why we were seeking entry into that road? After deliberating with the neighbor, she thought we were okay, and kindly opened the gate for us. We drove right through observing more properties and ranches as we headed toward our destination until, finally, we arrived. Please know that the reason why I am providing such unnecessary and boring details is just in case anyone attempts to discredit the testimony because in mentioning such details, they would know that I was truly there and these details would be salient to them.
We were happy to know that we had arrived in the refuge because we noticed a large faded statue of St. Michael the Archangel standing front and center, just as we drove in. The immediate part of the property was all dirt, some trees and shrub on the outer parts and the mountain/hill area. It is probably the size of a small ranch. There were cabins all around the sides. We could not help but notice how old and run down the cabins/mobile homes were. Over to the left, we noticed a very nice and modest outdoor chapel made from wood with a very neat wooden altar, with nice tall candles, and wooden decorum. There was nobody to be seen anywhere. As we waited and observed the place, trying to get a feel for what could possibly be the future home for some of us (as some of the people present truly believed), we all agreed instantly that it did not seem like there was really anything holy, special, unique, or even inviting about the place The main impression that everyone sort of agreed on was that it was eerie, creepy, depressing, almost looked like the place had been abandoned. As much as we did not want to think in such way, we could not help but express those sentiments to one another as we waited for someone to come out and greet us.
Finally, a young man approached us (will not say his name even though I know his name). He had the aspect of a construction worker or a handy man, seemed a bit exhausted, as if he had been working hard all day. I cannot say he was welcoming at first. He really was not. He was very bothered and concerned about our visit since he was taken by surprise. He immediately began asking questions about who we were, how in the world we had heard about the place, how we had been able to enter through the locked gate, how we knew about Fr. Michel, and who had been our connection to Fr. Michel or his group for us to have found the compound. We answered his questions to the best of our knowledge, but the gentleman, inevitably, became very nervous. On the one hand. we were excited to have arrived at the place, expecting it to be a very Godly and privileged, but on the other hand, the gentleman’s shock made the flow of the conversation very awkward. Understandably, he had a right to feel the way he did as he was not informed by anyone of our surprise visit.
As we stood there talking with him, he pulled out a pen and paper, and began to write down things as we spoke. He screened each of us, asking question after question, gathering names, where each of us was from, how we had heard of Fr. Michel Rodrigue, and kept eyeing our license plates.
We immediately let him know who had given us the information about the place and how that person (who happened to be one of the closest confidants to Fr. Michel Rodrigue in Southern California and a very influential member of his click). Anyway, once the young man understood, he felt a lot more comfortable, and began to introduce the place, explain things a bit more, and this is where things really started to get interesting.
He asked us to please turn off our phones to avoid recording or taking any pictures, that we please not say anything to anyone about the place as to not put him in a bad light. So, we simply agreed. He also asked that next time, if we decided to visit again, that we please notify the same person who had given us instructions, (Fr. Michel’s confidant), just so he’d known to expect us and keep that gate unlocked.
As we nodded yes and agreed, the gentleman proceeded to express his true thoughts and feelings about the place. First, he apologized for the strong stench of rotten beans that was coming from a warehouse cabin where they had stored dry foods like beans, rice, grains, nuts, which they had purchased only a few months ago, and explained that, unfortunately, this has been the case for the last ten years. Ever since they began working on the refuge, because none of the prophecies of Fr. Michel ever come to pass, they’ve had to throw out so much food which rots time and time again, either because of the weather or because rodents and bugs make their way into the warehouse stockpile.
He began venting a bit, seemingly frustrated, that they have also had to tear down most of the cabins and rebuild them because of corrosion, water damage and throw out such expensive materials i.e. wood, sheet metal, carpet (because they rot or corrode over time). The gentleman said this was all because Fr. Michel’s prophesies and especially the dates that he forewarns about regarding when events are supposed to come down, never come to fruition. So, in the meantime, money, materials and goods keep coming, but time and effort from volunteers really gets wasted. The workers (like him) are simply told to keep working because the next set of warnings and dates are on the horizon.
He actually sighed and lowered his head as he said that he was somewhat overwhelmed that Fr. Michel just had a habit of simply pushing the dates down further every time. He said Fr. Michel will scrap the past prophecies and never go back to them, never gets questioned, so he thrives on updating and coming up with new versions every time. What that does is get new people attracted into the movement, get them excited, and keeps the pipeline coming.
He gave us examples of how Fr, Michel had prophesied some events that would come upon the world in December of 2019 which never came and prophesied something for June 2020 (which we now know also never came). Unfortunately, he did not specify what those precise prophecies were, but we were so struck by what he was saying, that we none of us had the nerve to ask. We really felt for the man and could relate to him as we were pretty discouraged ourselves. You can see how even me sharing this experience does a favor for the poor gentleman.
He explained so much of the work they had done to install a water system for the compound, electricity, gutting, plumbing, but unfortunately, as time went by, equipment wore out, materials rotted, food spoiled, pipes broke, and so on. One interesting detail is that there was an old playground system for children with lots of old toys that had been sitting there for years. We asked if those toys were because anyone lived here and had children who played with the toys, or if they were simply put there in case someone could use them in the future? He said there were people actually living there now, and that many who had moved in–in the past, had left discouraged (since the prophecies never came) and ended up leaving their toys and belongings there as well. Can you imagine!? And where are these people now!? Anyway, finally, he welcomed us to stay there for a few more minutes, perhaps pray inside the chapel, and check out the hill above where a second indoor chapel had been built, and so we did.
As we knelt at the outdoor chapel, praying in silence, asking Jesus to give us grace, light, discernment, understanding, while also feeling a sense of consolation that perhaps this place was not in His Will that we pursue after all (because of so many anomalies and also some stories such as how the police raided the compound recently). As we’re praying, all of a sudden (and the sudden of all sudden), we were interrupted by a tall slender man who walked out of what was clearly his cabin which was right next to the benches of the chapel where we were knelt in prayer. The man was clearly someone from the other band (if you know what I mean). He must have been in his late 50’s, looked like an Asian immigrant (you could see it in his factions and hear it his strong accent), he wore shorts, sandals, female earrings on both ears, lipstick, looked very effeminate, with a tight cut t-shirt, was carrying a cigar while holding his cell phone with the other hand. He looked at us looking at him and said “hello!”
Then, as if neither we or the chapel were there, he began scanning his cell phone’s radio app which was very loud and disturbing, until he reached a very inappropriate song that he liked, and from what we gathered later on our own research, the song was “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. As we’re knelt in prayer, the man begins playing the song out loud, and you could imagine, we are in total shock, but as if that was not enough, the man begins dancing like a woman, and singing along very loudly with his broken Asian accent. We were absolutely shocked that in such a place like a chapel, that belonged to the “refuge of the saints”, founded by St. Michael the Archangel, overseen by Fr. Michel Rodrigue, the saintly prophet, priest, abbot and exorcist who is making the rounds, here we were knelt in prayer, and a man like this is able to get away just like that! Question: would you like your wife and children to have to live in a refuge with crazies like him? How safe or in God’s presence would you feel if you had to share a kitchen with that man?
Realizing that there was obviously something very wrong with the man, that he could have been under the influence of some kind of substance, we immediately sped walked to the car, and one woman was so terrified and scandalized (like we were), but she began saying, “Please. We need to get out of here. Please, we need to get out of here”. I calmed her down, and told her “Yes, we will leave, don’t worry, but since we’re already here, we should probably check out what is up on the hill. We will make sure to not go back near the outdoor chapel. I thought since we were there, we should take advantage of the time to really see what the place was all about. So, they all agreed.
We walked up through a Via Crucis pathway which led up to the indoor chapel that was up on the hill. We noticed that there were a few old and faded statues of more saints which were probably handmade, so they were not the nicest looking statues. One of the women pointed out the bamboo curtains that hung down in front of each of the niches that covered each of the statues and said they were very similar to how pagan oriental deities are kept in their home altars. The bamboo curtains, she said, were also a very common symbol used in new age groups to represent divinity. The reason the woman brought that up was because the gentleman that had greeted us had said that the main donor to this project was an Chinese woman.
Lastly, having reached the indoor chapel at the top of the hill, although it was closed, we were able to look inside and noticed the nice decoration, benches, altar, saint statues, frames, Tabernacle, but what really stood out to everyone was that there was a big framed portrait of Fr. Michel Rodrigue on the wall inside the chapel. That was also very strange. I had never seen a large portrait of a priest inside a chapel where that priest presides.
Anyway, I do not think I should say any more. You could imagine our ride back home. We did not know whether to laugh or cry, I guess we had both. We concluded the following things:
– There is absolutely nothing holy about the refuge founded by Fr. Michel
– Fr. Michel may come down in history as a false prophet
– Fr. Michel might be part of the other band (morally perverse if you know what I mean) for all we know since he had someone like that guarding the chapel of his compound which is supposed to be a holy, Godly, place of refuge, not run by crazies.
More reason to believe why Fr. Michel might be part of the other band:
– He exonerates Bergoglio who is a staunch promoter of that type of clergy. Fr. Michel defends Bergoglio as the true holy father (Pope) and says that we must not criticize him because he will die as a martyr of the Church. This is absolutely insane!
– Fr. Michel sings a song to God the Father which you can watch here, which contains the melody of a notorious British film of the 80’s that was lauded by men of the other morally perverse side (if you know what I mean). The film is titled “Chariots of Fire”.
I hate to infer these things about Fr. Rodrigue, but after what we experienced (which has no name), on top of serious error contained in the prelates messages, no further time or attention can be wasted in such a man.