Simple professions in Mexico

Publié le 14 May 2019

‘Young man, I say to you, arise!’ Luke 7:14

Brother François-Xavier, Prior General, the Brothers of St John in Monterrey and the families of the brothers are delighted to announce the simple profession of brothers

Gabriel Prieto Prieto and José Luis Hernández Hernández.

They invite you to take part in, or to be united in prayer with, the Mass of profession which will be celebrated on the Solemnity of Pentecost, Sunday 9th June at midday at the San José monastery.

After Mass, you are warmly invited to a meal of thanksgiving.

Convento San José

Brasil 100 col. Rincón de la Sierra, Guadalupe, N.L.

Tel. (81) 8361-2153

info@sanjuanmty.org.mx

www.sanjuanmty.org.mx

Brother Gabriel

Brother José Luis

Press release

Publié le 12 May 2019

On Friday 10 May, 2019, the first session of the General Chapter of the Brothers of St John drew to a close. Over the course of the Chapter, the brothers elected a new Prior General, in addition to the Master of Studies and the counsel to the Prior General.

Given how important this particular time is for the Community, the Chapter had an especially solemn character. It was marked by deep fraternity, which facilitated constructive and authentic dialogue.

Strong unity emerged regarding the desire to carry out reforms, which will allow the Community to express more fully its charism in the Church, at the service of all.

We recall that the painful realisation of the need for rectification and reform took place in stages, supported and approved by the authorities of the Church. In 2013, the work of reform reached a crucial moment, when the Prior General revealed details of sexual abuse committed by Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe. Among the multiple actions taken following this revelation, an internal Commission was established in 2015 to listen to all testimonies regarding the misconduct of brothers and to determine subsequent courses of action. This Commission has, since 2016, included two lay members: a psychologist and a lawyer.

As a member of the Commission until this year’s Chapter, the newly-elected Prior General, Brother François-Xavier, was profoundly marked by the accounts of the victims he heard, and has taken to heart the observations and recommendations given in the Commission’s report on its proceedings.

The report, completed upon the request of the outgoing Prior General, Brother Thomas, was presented during the General Chapter. It outlines and quantifies the instances of abuse dealt with by the Commission since its creation. As a result of its precision and analysis, the report gives deep insight into the causes of abuse, the impact had on victims and details of steps needed in order to fully implement the planned reforms.

The new Prior-General stated1: ‘This report, prepared for the General Chapter, demonstrates both the devastating evil which has impacted our Community and the sign of our determination to work tirelessly for purification. As newly-elected Prior General, and therefore representative of the Community, I would like to ask forgiveness from all those hurt by our founder or by a brother.’ He went on to affirm: ‘we must clearly acknowledge our founder’s errors. We must acknowledge that the grave confusion in which he lived, conveyed through certain areas of his teaching, led to and/or permitted the abuses which have punctuated his history and that of the Community. I am determined to carry out the work already begun to rectify and purify what is necessary. We must notably continue the efforts of recent years in initial formation for spiritual accompaniment and to make ongoing formation in this area a priority.

During the General Chapter, I remarked that despite the gravity of our exchanges, there remained a deep joy amongst the brothers which was rooted in Christ and in our unity in St John, the model of our charism. This was made evident during the final exchanges of the Chapter. I witnessed the brothers giving of themselves in prayer and in fraternal life. I am therefore aware of the work ahead of us, confident for the future and filled with thanksgiving for the work of the Holy Spirit in our Community.’

The Commission’s report will be sent to every brother and in its final message the General Chapter requested ‘that the government of the Community provides special support to the brothers’ in their reception of this document, to facilitate a greater collective awareness of the situation and Community reform.’ The second session of the General Chapter, to be held from 22 October – 1 November, 2019, is expected to revisit the content of the report in light of several key questions.  

Since the Prior General made information about sexual abuse committed by Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe public in 2013, several courses of action have been taken. These have centred around discernment, the brothers’ initial and ongoing formation on issues surrounding affectivity and sexuality, the prevention of pedophilia, spiritual accompaniment, procedures following accusations made against a brother and most notably the creation of a Commission on these matters.

On 18 February, 2019, the Vatican addressed a letter2 to the Prior General, which stated: ‘acknowledging the work undertaken, [the Dicastery] wants to encourage the Brothers and Sisters of St John to continue along this path, humbly and with courage, confidence and determination.’

The Community of the Brothers of St John comprises around 500 brothers (of which 270 are priests) from 34 countries, spread across 50 priories on 5 continents.

1 Available from: Message from the general chapter

2 Download the Letter from Dicastery

Press contact:
Brother Jean-Yves
contact.presse@stjean.com

Frères de Saint-Jean
Notre Dame de Rimont, 3 rue de l’ancien séminaire, 71390 Fley, FRANCE
03 85 98 18 98

 

Message from the General Chapter

Publié le 12 May 2019

First Session, 30 April — 10 May, 2019

The first session of the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Brothers of Saint John was held from 30 April to 10 May, 2019, in Saint-Jodard, France. The Chapter was convened with a view to the elections of the Prior General, the Master of Studies and the counselors to the Prior General. It brought together 51 participants from all over the world: Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific.

The General Chapter opened on a serious note, owing to the difficult moment the Community is experiencing. It was marked by genuine fraternity, which enabled constructive and authentic dialogue to be undertaken in a prayerful atmosphere throughout the many days spent together.

The first two days of the Chapter were led by two laypeople. So as to allow the Holy Spirit to bring about an openness of heart and mind among the participating brothers, each brother was able to express and share his observations, fears and expectations. A strong unity emerged in the brothers’ will to continue the work of reform and enable the Community to fully express its charism in the Church, at the service of all.

***

We recall that the painful realisation of the need for rectification and reform took place in stages, supported and approved by the authorities of the Church. In 2013, the work of reform reached a crucial moment, when the Prior General revealed details of sexual abuse committed by Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe.

At the request of Brother Thomas, Prior General from 2010 to 2019, the Commission SOS Abuse, which was created in 2015, submitted and presented the first report of its proceedings. The report outlines and quantifies the grave evil of abuse committed and indicates the areas that must be addressed during the second session of the General Chapter if we are to continue along the path of purification. Given the challenge at hand, the General Chapter voted in favour of disseminating the report. The Chapter requests that the government of the Community provides special support to the brothers’ in their reception of this document, to facilitate a greater collective awareness of the situation and Community reform.

The entire General Chapter unambiguously condemns the acts of sexual abuse committed by Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe and certain brothers of the Community.

We are dismayed by this part of our history. For several years now we have been engaged in a work of truth concerning these issues, which has primarily centered on our founder and his teachings. The Chapter understands that it must also take into account the channels of influence that may have favored manipulation and abuse in our Community. It must also consider the fact that sexual abuse was often accompanied or preceded by abuses of conscience and power.

The testimonies given by victims that the Commission SOS Abuse has heard have helped us to understand the extent of the victims’ suffering and the gravity of the acts committed. Thanks to the persistence of the victims, we have come to realize that at times we have inadequately dealt with their complaints and that this has added to the harm done to them. We thank them for their courage and perseverance.

Aware of the irremediable harm inflicted by abuse, the General Chapter asks forgiveness from the brothers, sisters and lay people who have been victims of abuse committed by brothers of the Community and by Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe. We also ask forgiveness for the times when, through lack of understanding, we did not listen properly to the victims or receive their testimonies in the way we should have. Lastly, we want to extend this request for forgiveness to all those who are close to our communities, especially the oblates of the community and our families, who feel hurt or betrayed by these revelations.

We are very much aware that asking for forgiveness will not make amends for the evil committed. Beyond the actions the Commission has already undertaken, the General Chapter wishes to further its reflection on how best to accompany victims and bring about reparation, and to do so in accordance with what is being done by the episcopal conferences, in accordance with the instructions of the Holy See and in conformity with civil law. The Chapter is likewise aware that one of the best ways to render justice to victims is to make every effort to combat abuse and the factors that enable it to take place. The General Chapter is fully and determinedly engaged in this effort, in accordance with the motu proprio of Pope Francis, Vos estis lux mundi, published 9 May, 2019.

***

The report given by the outgoing Prior General left a deep impression on the Chapter, enabling us to proceed with particular lucidity to the election of our new Prior General, Br François-Xavier. The first words he spoke at the end of Mass expressed his desire “to place himself at the service of the Community in a moment in which it has particular need to renew its faith in the mercy of God towards it.” It is in this way that the Community will be able “to bring the truth of the past to light and to courageously and boldly bring about justice.” Mgr. Rivière, who in his capacity as ordinary bishop presided over the election, also spoke words of great significance, encouraging us in our work for truth and reform, highlighting the good we are doing and encouraging us to welcome vocations with confidence.

Following this was the re-election of Br François-Frédéric as Master of Studies. His desire to place a strong accent on human formation and to continue to discern the doctrinal content of the formation given within the Community, with the help of external aids, was very favorably received.

The first session of the Chapter finished with the election of the counselors to the Prior General: Br Benedict (UK), Br Geoffroy-Marie (France), Br Ignaz-Maria (Austria), Br Jean-Philippe D. (Senegal), Be John Michael Paul (USA), Br Justin (Hong Kong, China), Br Luc (France and Germany), Br Marie-Elie (France) and Br Renaud-Marie (France). The Prior General nominated Br Honorat (France) as the tenth counselor.

***

We are now preparing the second session of the General Chapter, which shall take place from Tuesday 22 October to Friday 1 November 2019. The participating brothers have chosen the principal themes they will address during the second session to be as follows: abuse, the relationship of the Community to Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe, the decentralization of Community governance, the Community’s charism and formation.

***

We give thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit, who was a source of mutual and benevolent listening and who enveloped the work of our General Chapter. Despite having to face the abuse committed in our Community, we maintain hope. By God’s grace may the evil be uprooted and the good increase, and may the work we are to undertake bear abundant fruit for our religious family at the service of evangelization.

Press release

Publié le 7 May 2019

Logo Brothers of Saint John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Tuesday, 7th May 2019, in St Jodard in the presence of Mgr Rivière, Bishop of Autun and Ordinary of the Brothers of St John, the General Chapter of the Brothers of St John elected Brother François Xavier Cazali as Prior General, with a majority of two-thirds of the vote, for a mandate of six years, according to the Constitutions of the Congregation.

Brother François-Xavier, aged 45 from France, spent many years in Lithuania, where he was superior. Since 2016 he was Vicar General of the Community and member of the Commission treating cases of abuse, in which he showed determination to tackle abuse.

The General Chapter, made up of about fifty delegates, will continue the process of elections until 10th May. It will elect a Master of Studies and Councillors of the Prior General.

The election of the new Prior General was preceded by several days of work during which the Brothers looked together at the truth of the history of the Community, its relationship to the founder and the report given by the Commission treating cases of abuse.

In this context and in a united, fraternal climate, each brother expressed what he identified as the challenges and priorities of the Community for the years ahead.

These questions will nourish the second session of the General Chapter, which will take place from 22nd to 30th October 2019. The brothers at the chapter will need to give orientations for the years ahead, so that the Community will always put its charism at the service of humanity and of the Church and continue the reforms already begun.

The Community of the Brothers of St John includes around 500 brothers (of which 270 are priests), who come from 34 countries and who are spread out in about fifty priories on five continents.

Contact brother for the media: Brother Jean-Yves, contact.presse@stjean.com

Four brothers receive the habit at St Jodard

Publié le 31 March 2019

The chapel of St Jean-Louis Bonnard in St Jodard was full on Laetare Sunday, as the friends and families of the novice brothers gathered to celebrate their clothing. The brothers also received new names during the ceremony.  Thus it was that Br Baudouin-Marie, Br Raphaël, Br Jean-Baptiste of the Lamb and Br Pacifique said goodbye to the melotte and received the habit of the brothers of St John.

Following the ceremony, the community assembled to give thanks during the Laetare Sunday Mass. Fr Thomas spoke in his homily about the mystery of the logic of gift.

A celebratory meal brought the day to a joyful close.

Simple Professions of brother Jeremiah and brother John Gabriel

Publié le 31 March 2019

We give thanks for the vocations of brothers Jeremiah and John-Gabriel who made their simple professions on Laetare Sunday, 31st March, in the chapel of brothers’ priory, Our Lady of the Presentation in Banawa, Cebu City, Philippines. May the Lord keep them faithful to their ‘yes’ to Him!

After a spiritual conference and the midday office, Mass was celebrated, followed by a joyful lunch with the families and friends of the newly professed brothers.

Regina Caeli Hermitage in Denver Colorado

Publié le 19 March 2019

Regina Caeli Hermitage of the Brothers of Saint John: prayer cabins for individual retreats

The Regina Caeli Hermitage has some exciting news to share! We want you to know that we are opening two of our prayer cabins for individual retreats. The cabins are named “Patience” and “Faithfulness” and each cabin has a special area designated as a prayer room.

These prayer cabins are for tough and brave people because there is no electricity, running water, sewage, or kitchen stove in them! However, there is a heating wood stove that runs on pellets. The cabins are equipped with some rechargeable lanterns for lighting, and showers and restrooms are accessible at the Dome House where you can also access your water supply, unless you bring your own. You will need to bring food that is already prepared and ready to eat as there is no kitchen in these cabins. However, hot meals in thermoses can be provided by Gigi if you desire. In this simplistic and rustic environment you will experience the presence of the Lord in the silence and solitude, and this is “worth the price” – sólo Dios basta! (God alone suffices)! Please go to the “Individual Retreats” menu of our website to find the online booking for a retreat in one of these cabins and if you desire to have meals provided then check the appropriate box when making your reservation. We also have one other cabin named “Peace” that is still undergoing some updates and when they are completed it will also be available for a solitary wilderness retreat.Other news concerning the RCH is that this summer there unfortunately will not be any novices residing at the RCH. Usually summertime is when the men in formation (to become a Brother of St. John) come to the RCH for two months to pray and spend time in discernment. This news saddens us so please join us in our prayer for vocations to our Community! Meanwhile, the RCH will remain available for group and individual retreats throughout the summer so check the website for available dates to book your retreat.

Lastly, please put these dates on your calendar:
Saturday, June 22, for the Annual Potluck Picnic
Saturday, August 24, to celebrate the Regina Caeli – Queen of Heaven Feast Day (this is the weekend nearest to the feast of Our Lady Queen of Heaven which is liturgically celebrated on August 22nd). This year we will have a Hog Roast Fundraiser event instead of our traditional Potluck, which may become an annual gathering of all the friends of the RCH, if it turns out to be a hit.

We will also have a Spring Volunteer Work Day, but the date of this event will be determined later on, depending on the snow-melt at the end of spring. We have been blessed with over 2 feet of snowfall in just January alone so our Spring workday might be closer to Summer! We’ll keep you posted!

Please feel free to come and visit the Regina Caeli Hermitage, Tom and Gigi will be happy to welcome you and show you around!

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Press release

Publié le 5 March 2019

Logo Brothers of Saint John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5/03/2019

Following the distressing testimony given by a victim of Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe that has been broadcast over the past few days, the Brothers of Saint John first would like to ask forgiveness once again of all of the victims of Fr Phillipe.

The Brothers of Saint John condemn every occasion of sexual abuse and abuse of power, and reaffirm their commitment, in communion with Pope Francis, to fight against abuse. They are aware that their community’s 45 year history is sadly marked by the sexual abuse committed by their founder – which the Prior General made public on his own initiative in 2013 – and that of other brothers in the community, as well as by errors in dealing with cases of sexual abuse in the past, notably through insufficient acknowledgment of the victims’ suffering, insufficient formation for the brothers and insufficient procedures to deal with such situations.

There is no possibility that the mismanagement of the past could take place today, and this has been the case for a number of years now. Every case of abuse that is raised with us is treated in conformity with civil and ecclesiastical law.

We understand that the victims may continue to be angry with our community. In a letter addressed to all the brothers on 20 February, 20191 , to update them on the sad issue of abuse, the Prior General wrote: “I would like to take this opportunity to ask forgiveness of the victims who feel they were not sufficiently listened to and / or accompanied (…). I want to apologise to the victims of our founder and to the victims of our brothers.

Important work has been undertaken with courage and determination for several years now by the government of the Brothers of Saint John, to ensure that the errors and faults of the past are not repeated. On 18 February, 2019, the Vatican addressed a letter1 to the Prior General: “acknowledging the work that has been undertaken, [the Dicastery] wants to encourage the Brothers and Sisters of Saint John to continue along this path, humbly and with courage, confidence and determination.

In his letter to the brothers on 20 February, 2019, the Prior General said: “To combat multiple cases of abuse, and the internal culture that made them more easily possible, we have had to work on at least four domains: 1) formation of the brothers; 2) making sure victims are listened to immediately; 3) treating reported cases seriously and quickly; 4) accompanying victims of abuse and truly helping them.” Indeed, for several years now a number of measures have been put in place with respect to discernment of new members of the community, the brothers’ initial and continued formation in issues relating to affectivity and sexuality, the prevention of paedophilia, spiritual accompaniment and procedures to be taken if accusations are made against a brother. Most notably, in 2015 a commission was created that includes two laypeople (one of whom is a psychologist) and that works in full collaboration with Rome and with the civil authorities. For all of these measures we call in competent persons from outside the community.

We reiterate that any person can contact the SOS commission on abuse directly by email at the following address: sos.abus@stjean.com; or the helpline of the Conference of the Bishops of France: paroledevictimes@cer.fr.

Our efforts to correct what needs to be corrected is also motivated by the desire that the good done by the 50 or so priories of the Brothers of Saint John over 5 continents will not be completely eclipsed. It is indeed our hope that the life of the majority of the brothers, who dedicate their lives to God and their fellow man, continues to be a sign of hope in the world.

The Prior General concluded his letter to the brothers on 20 February by saying: “Given the strength of the Johannine charism we have received, the fraternity that has continued to surprise me during our recent Vicariate Chapters, all the trials we have been through together and all the work accomplished, I am convinced that Cardinal Braz des Aviz [Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life at the Vatican], in his letter of June 2016, had good reason to say: “The prospect of young people being called to religious life in your Family of Saint John is a good both for them and for the Church.” The work we have begun together will certainly bear fruit for our community in the foreseeable future, even if it is in tears that we must sow.

1 Letters are available on the website: https://brothers-saint-john.org/who-we-are/our-history/key-moments/
Press contact:
 Brother Jean-Yves
 contact.presse@stjean.com
Frères de Saint-Jean
Notre Dame de Rimont, 3 rue de l’ancien séminaire, 71390 Fley, France
+33(
0)3 85 98 18 98