Fr. Marie Dominique Philippe, Founder of the Community

Fr. Marie Dominique Philippe was born at Cysoing in Northern France on September 8, 1912. He entered the Order of Saint Dominic in November 1930 at Amiens and was ordained a priest on July 14, 1936.

An untiring preacher and professor, he taught Philosophy and Theology at the Saulchoir at Etioles (the Dominican House of Studies for the Paris Province) and then Philosophy at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland from 1945 to 1982. He preached and gave numerous retreats and conferences to diverse audiences (monasteries, « Foyers de Charité » (Houses of Charity), youth groups).

He ordered his search for the truth by the « Three Wisdoms »: Philosophical Wisdom, Theological Wisdom, and Mystical Wisdom.

In 1975 in Fribourg, at the request of a group of his French students, he founded the Congregation of the Brothers of Saint John, all the while remaining a Dominican himself. A few years later he founded the Congregation of the Contemplative Sisters of Saint John and then the Apostolic Sisters of Saint John. Numerous lay faithful joined the religious as Oblates of Saint John. All together they form a new spiritual family in the Church: the Family of Saint John.

He dies on August 26th, surrounded by many brothers and sisters of the Community of St John among other people.

“A few months following the death of Father Philippe in 2006, several testimonies were reported to the ecclesial authorities about certain deviances in his affective and sexual life, regarding serious behaviors begun and repeated over time with young women under his authority.” Letter of 22nd June 2016 from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life.

The credibility of these testimonies was carefully verified by the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life. The latter invites the members of the Family of St John to integrate this fact in their history with humility and trust, while acknowledging the religious dynamism that went through Father Marie Dominique Philippe, and keeping an authentic gratitude for the charismatic intuition which the Lord instilled in him, as well as the generous passion with which he sought to develop it and share it.