Marie-Dominique Philippe

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Marie-Dominique Philippe
Marie-Dominique Philippe.jpg
Henri Philippe

8 September 1912
Cysoing, France
Died26 August 2006
Saint-Jodard, France

Marie-Dominique Philippe (September 8, 1912 in Nord (French department) – August 26, 2006 in Loire) was a Dominican philosopher and theologian. He was ordained in 1936. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Fribourg from 1945 to 1982. While remaining a Dominican friar he founded the "Community of St. John" in 1975.


Marie-Dominique Philippe was born on September 8, 1912 at Cysoing, France, the eighth of twelve children. From the age of six, Philippe read for his uncle, Dominican Father Peter Thomas Dehau, who was going blind.[1] After having completed his secondary education with the Jesuits at Lille, he entered the Order of Saint Dominic in November, 1930, at Amiens. He pronounced his religious vows in November, 1931, and pursued his studies in philosophy and theology at the Saulchoir in Kain (Belgium) from 1931 to 1938. He was ordained priest in July, 1936. Having first graduated in philosophy ("Wisdom in Aristotle" being the subject of his lectorat dissertation) he went on to complete a doctorate in theology.[2]

After obtaining an additional diploma of Higher Studies, he taught philosophy and theology at the Saulchoir at Etiolles (the Dominican House of Studies of the Paris Province) from 1939 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1962, and philosophy at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) from 1945 to 1982.[2] From 1982 until two months before his death on August 26, 2006, he continued teaching philosophy and theology at the houses of studies of the Congregation of Saint John in France.

Congregation of St John[edit]

During the summer of 1975, five students began to live a communal life. Father Philippe would visit once a week to provide "spiritual direction". The students asked Philippe for assistance in forming a religious community. The brothers initially lived at the monastery of Lerins, where they drew inspiration from Pope Paul VI's "Evangelii Nuntiandi". In 1978 they took the name "Community of Saint John". Fr. Philippe drafted a rule of life based in part on the prayer of Christ in Chapter 17 of Saint John's Gospel.[1]

Two branches of nuns were also established, the contemplative in 1982, and the apostolic in 1984.[1]

Father Philippe, o.p., died peacefully on Saturday morning August 26, 2006, at the priory of Saint Jodard (France).[3] He was being taken care of there since his stroke on July 20. He would have been 94 years old on September 8.

Sexual abuse allegations[edit]

The Community of St. Jean admitted in 2013 that Philippe had behaved "in ways that went against chastity" with several adult women.

In June 2016, Father Philippe was accused of ongoing sexual abuse by a former Carmelite nun who received spiritual direction from him.[4] These accusations came out as part of an investigation into similar allegations against Father Philippe's brother, Father Thomas Philippe. In February 2019, Pope Francis spoke about a women's religious community which Pope Benedict dissolved, saying that "a certain slavery of women had crept in, slavery to the point of sexual slavery on the part of clergy or the founder."[5] It was further clarified by the Holy See Press Office, that the Pope did not mean "sexual slavery" but rather "manipulation."[6] Following the numerous reactions, the Community has published an official statement on its website, accompanied by a chronology of the events from 2009 to 2014, in relationship with the contemplative sisters of Saint John.[7]


  • Mystères de Misericorde (Mary, Mystery of Mercy), 1958
  • The Mystery of Joseph
  • Retracing Reality, 2001
  • L'être
  • De L'être à Dieu
  • De l'amour
  • Suivre l'Agneau
  • Un seul Dieu tu adoreras
  • Les trois sagesses
  • J'ai soif


  1. ^ a b c ""The Founder", Community of St. John". Archived from the original on 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  2. ^ a b ""Biography of Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, o.p."". Archived from the original on 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  3. ^ ""Padre Marie-Dominique Philippe", Santi e Beati". 2010-08-15. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  4. ^ Fournier, Anne-Claire. "Temoinage de Anne-Claire Fournier" (PDF). AVREF (Aide aux Victimes Derives dans les Mouvements Religieux en Europe et À Leurs Familles). Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  5. ^ "Full text of Pope Francis In flight interview on February 5, 2019". Catholic News Agency. 5 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019. Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a women’s congregation that had a certain level because this slavery of women had entered, even sexual slavery, by clerics or by the founder.
  6. ^ "Pope meant 'manipulation' when he spoke of 'sexual slavery' of women religious, Vatican says". Catholic Herald. 2019-02-07. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  7. ^ Winfield, Nicole (5 February 2019). "Pope publicly acknowledges clergy sexual abuse of nuns". Associated Press. Retrieved 5 February 2019. Francis said the sisters had been reduced to "sexual slavery" at the hands of the Rev. Marie-Dominique Philippe and other priests.

Further reading[edit]

  • Peltereau-Villeneuve,Benoît-Emmanuel, Schwizgebel,Ariane, Le père Marie-Dominique Philippe, ouvrier de la sagesse, Philippe-Marie Mossu (Preface), Les Plans (Switzerland): Parole et Silence Editions, 2012, ISBN 2889180700
  • Marie-Dominique Philippe : au coeur de l'église du XXe siècle, ecrit par Marie-Christine Lafon, Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 2015, ISBN 978-2-220-06630-1.

External links[edit]