Community of St. John

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The Congregation of Saint John
Small Greys
Marie-Dominique Philippe.jpg
Marie-Dominique Philippe
Formationc. AD 1975; 44 years ago (1975)
FounderMarie-Dominique Philippe
TypeCatholic religious order
Priory and novitiate of philosophical studies in Saint-Jodard

The Community of St. John is a religious institute founded by Dominican Father Marie-Dominique Philippe in 1975. Their habit is composed of a grey tunic and a scapular similar to the black habit of Benedictine), with a rosary to the waist. Contemplative sisters wear an additional white veil and apostolic sisters, a gray veil.

Since 1986, the Community of the Brothers of St. John has been a religious institute of diocesan right depending on the bishop of Autun, under the authority of the Catholic Church.


In 1975, a group of five students of the University of Freiburg asked Marie-Dominique Philippe to be their spiritual father. On Marthe Robin's advice, he accompanied them in their desire for monastic life. In 1978, this group was ad experimentum linked to the Cistercian monastery Lérins Abbey and was then named Community of St. John. In 1982, the first monastery was founded in Rimont (Burgundy), and the novitiate was opened in 1983 in Saint-Jodard (diocese of Lyon). Until 1996, the community was expanded with many foundations in France and other countries.

From 1996 to 2004, the community had a number of difficulties, marked by departures and the obligation to restructure. In 2000, the Collège Stanislas de Paris was no longer under the direction of the congregation, after a decision by Cardinal Lustiger. In 2001, Father Marie-Dominique Philippe left the direction of the community to Father Jean-Pierre-Marie ; he also stopped teaching in 2003 after a request of the hierarchy.[1] In 2004, Monseigneur Joseph Madec became the religious community's assistant. On 26 August 2006, Marie-Dominique Philippe died in Saint-Jodard (Loire) and Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to him.[2]


The community is composed of three parts : Brothers, Apostolic sisters and Contemplative sisters. The community organizes numerous sessions for young people, for families, and many other spiritual retreats based on various themes. In February 2006, the community made a pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate its 30 years of birth. Marie-Dominique Philippe participated in the pilgrimage and preached, and the pilgrims met Pope Benedict XVI.


In 2005, the community was composed of 930 brothers, contemplative and apostolic sisters, and over 3,000 oblates in 21 countries and 91 priories, 48 of them located in France. After a seven-year novitiate and training period, the Brothers live in these small communities named priories. Members of the community are under religious vows. In recent years, vocations in all three branches of the community have sharply declined due to knowledge of the sex scandals surrounding many members of the congregation, including the founder (Father Philippe), and cult-like tendencies in the formation program. Officials in the Congregation for Religious in Time have had to formally step in and correct many of these abuses.


Since 1996, the community has been criticized in France by several anti-cult associations, including AVREF (Association Vie Religieuse et Familles), UNADFI and CCMM. They accused the community of proselytizing among young adults, forcing them to cut all ties with their families, exerting psychological pressure, abandoning medical treatments and using training methods for newcomers too similar to those of cults.[3][4][5]

For their part, the Prior General of the community, then Monsigneurs Madec and Poulain reject these criticisms.[6][7]

Contemplative sisters[edit]

Contemplative sisters in Troussures (France).

The Community of Contemplative Sisters of St. John was founded in December 1982. In March 1994 the Archbishop of Lyon established it as a Diocesan Congregation of Right. The motherhouse is at St. Jodard.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (in French) "Petits Gris, plus en odeur de sainteté", Témoignage Chrétien n°3077, 2003-10-09 Archived 2009-10-12 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 June 2009
  2. ^ (in French) "Benoît XVI rend hommage au P. Philippe", Eucharistie Miséricorde Retrieved 24 June 2009
  3. ^ (in French) "Communauté Saint Jean — Les Petits Gris (Source : Communiqué de l'AVREF - Bulles n°81, 1er trimestre 2004)", Prevensectes, 26 May 2004 communiqué Retrieved 24 June 2009
  4. ^ (in French) Description of the community[permanent dead link] Retrieved 24 June 2009
  5. ^ (in French) Article about Marie-Dominique Philippe's death, CCMM Retrieved 24 June 2009
  6. ^ (in French) "Lettre de frère Jean-Pierre Marie, Prieur général des Frères de Saint-Jean", St Jean Archived 2010-03-31 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 June 2009
  7. ^ (in French) "Communiqué de Monseigneur Madec et Monseigneur Poulain", St Jean Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 June 2009

External links[edit]