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Frères de Saint-Jean Province de France
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Our history

Key moments in our history

In the early 1970s, in the context of the post-conciliar years, a group of young French men felt called to give themselves to God and were seeking a way in which they could respond to His call. They turned to Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P., whose classes they had been following at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland).

Famille saint-Jean

History of the Family of Saint John

As the community of brothers was emerging and starting to take shape, some female students asked Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe whether a branch for women could be founded. After some initial hesitation, he gave his consent in 1982 for several young women to live together in Rimont…

Community of the Brothers of Saint John

Key moments

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. They are distinct from one another both juridically and financially.

The brothers and sisters work together on some of their missions: youth camps, parish work and family weeks, among others. Together they run some of the bigger events such as youth festivals and festivals for families. Although they usually have distinct offices, they have the same breviary. Three times a year the Council of the Family of St John brings together the three Priors General and those responsible for studies in each of the congregations.

The Contemplative Sisters today

The 62 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.

Since this difficult time, the sisters have engaged in a process of reconstruction (cf. history of the Family of Saint John). To support this important and necessary process, they have for a number of years sought the help of people from outside the community, in particular female and male religious from other congregations.

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.

Oblates make a commitment to pray, to listen to the Word of God and to engage in fraternal charity. They offer an apostolic witness in the context of their respective families, parishes, and social and political responsibilities.

How do I become an oblate?

Whether married or single, young or old, anyone who wants to live by the spirituality of the Family of Saint John is able to become an oblate.

Oblates live out and bear witness to their baptism in the manner of St John, whilst living in the world. Before becoming an oblate, a candidate undergoes a period of preparation lasting from one to three years. This allows them to discern their aspirations and to deepen their understanding of the charism of the Family of Saint John. In order to achieve this, the candidate lives according to the rule of the oblates, participates in oblate meetings in their respective priory and follows at least two retreats preached by the Brothers or Sisters. Preparation for oblature is carried out under the supervision of the prior of the candidate’s nearest priory. At the end of the period of preparation, the decision belongs to the prior, following consultation with the members of the priory, as to whether the person can become an oblate. If you would like more information, please contact your nearest priory. If you are interested in becoming an oblate, please contact the prior or prioress of your nearest priory. You can then get more information and discern whether this path is for you.