Key moments in our history
In the early 1970s, a group of young French men who were attending classes taught by Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P. at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, felt called to give themselves to God and were seeking a way in which they could respond to His call. They turned to Fr Philippe, in whom they saw someone who offered a solid formation in philosophy as well as in theology and from a spiritual point of view.
History of the Family of Saint John
As the community of brothers was emerging and starting to take shape, some female students asked Fr M.-D. Philippe to start a branch for women. After some initial hesitation, he gave his consent in 1982 for several young women to live together in Rimont, under the guidance of Alix Parmentier (+ 2016).
Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe
Fr Marie-Dominique (baptismal name Henri) Philippe was born in Cysoing in the North of France on 8th September 1912. He was the eigth of twelve children, three of whom became Dominicans and four of whom became contemplative nuns.
After finishing school at the Jesuit college (Highschool) in Lille, Henri Philippe entered the Order of Saint Dominic (the Order of Preachers) in Amiens in November 1930, making his profession in 1931.
1975 – Beginning of the community of the Brothers of Saint John in Fribourg, Switzerland
1981 – First lay oblatures
Delve a little deeper
How are the different religious communities in the Family of Saint John linked?
Even though all three religious communities are united in one family – the Family of Saint John – each community has its own government, history and way of life. In particular they are distinct both juridically and financially.
The Contemplative Sisters today
The 80 sisters that currently make up the community of the Contemplative Sisters of Saint John have made the choice to cooperate with the Church authorities and to put in place the reforms asked of them during the crisis their community went through from 2009-2014.
What is an oblate?
Oblates are laypeople who desire to live their baptismal vocation in the footsteps of Saint John and who feel called to live the same charism of the brothers and sisters in the world by committing to secular oblature.
Becoming an oblate?
Anyone married or single, young or old, who wants to live the spirituality of the Family of Saint John is able to become an oblate.