The only connection I have with this community is that I studied theology at Fribourg University in the early sixties, when Pere Philippe was teaching /Philosophy. I only saw him at a distance and obviously lost something, because he was obviously a very special person. All the writing and many of the photos in this post are taken from their website at http://www.stjean.com/ The rest are from Google Images; and the videos are from youtube.
The members of the Community of Saint John want to live the evangelical counsels rooted in the three covenants revealed in the Gospel of Saint John :
The Covenant with Jesus in the Eucharist, the source of unity between silent adoration and the liturgical office. This liturgy seeks to be as close as possible to the monastic liturgy, but its celebration is lightened because of the demands of the apostolic life and so that more time be given to silent prayer.
The Covenant with Mary, mother and guardian of the growth of faith, hope, and love, and, as such, the divine milieu of the contemplative life. This convenant with Mary - "the disciple took her into his home" (Jn. 19:27) - is the foundation of the unity of fraternal charity lived in communal life.
The Convenant with Peter in the person of the Holy Father; a covenant of filial obedience to the successor of Peter and to the Bishops, in order to live faithfully and profoundly by the Church's living Tradition.
Consecration to the Blessed Trinity can only be realized fully through the sacrifice of Christ, High Priest, who offers Himself as a holocaust victim of love of the Father. That is why each member of the Community wants to live from Christ's priesthood. This priesthood, which is the most precious gift given by Christ to His Church, is brought to completion (cf. Col. 1:24) in the royal priesthood of the faithful and in the ministerial priesthood. That is why each one desires, following Saint John's example and with him, to follow Jesus in a fully evangelical life, even to the Cross, where He accomplishes His sacerdotal work as Beloved Son. Living from this contemplative priesthood demands receiving everything in a loving attitude of prayer, in order, thereafter, to communicate this love to those who thirst for it. In and through this, the community glorifies the Father and helps today's humanity to rediscover a sense of adoration and brotherly love.
In order that their entire life be offered in the light of the "consecration in the truth" which Jesus asks the Father for his apostles (Jn. 17:17-19), in order to place their whole intelligence at the service of love like John, and in order to be faithful witnesses and completely at the service of the Church, each one is to receive a sufficiently deepened formation of the intelligence. This humble search for the truth - purifying the intelligence and the imagination - cooperates in the purification of the heart, which is the work of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. This purification is necessary so that love be more free, and so that the attraction of Jesus be stronger - "he who does what is true comes to the light" (Jn. 3:21).
In order to allow the "opening to the world" desired by the Second Vatican Council, this formation includes a philosophical search into what is man, his finality, and his aspirations. This formation does not neglect the major current problems with which the Christian is confronted in a world submitted to all sorts of ideologies - often atheistic - which disfigure God's image in man by preventing his intelligence from being at the service of love. This philosophical research is itself at the service of a theological formation nourished by knowledge of the Word of God according to the Church's Tradition, through the Fathers and Saint Thomas Aquinas, with a view to communicating the mystery of Christ-Savior in its fullness and actuality. In this way, each member of the Community seeks to respond to Christ's mission to "present the patrimony of the faith to men of our time... in an understandable and persuasive fashion" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 3).
In order to maintain always this demand of the deepening of the three wisdoms - philosophical, theological, and mystical - the Community has founded the School of Saint John, where this teaching, which is given to the brothers and sisters, is equally offered to all who desire to partake of it.
(taken from their website) please click words in italics.
THE ISLAND MONASTERY OF ST LERINS
The Abbey of Lerins is on the French Riviera.
There have been monks there since the 5th century.
The building of this monastery began in 1073. There is a
flourishing Cistercian community and has vinyards
and produces wine and liqueur. It is here that the first
brothers of the St John Community made their noviciate,
and the congregation began life as a community of oblates
of this monastery. Now, of coiurse, it is totally independent.
HISTORY - 1 -
How did the Community of Saint John come into being ?
It all began at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, where several French students were studying with a Dominican Father, Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, a professor of philosophy. Some of these students, wanting to totally consecrate their lives to Christ, had asked Fr. Philippe to be their spiritual director.
During the summer of 1975, five of these students decided to meet regularly together with a priest from the diocese of Versailles (France). He was one of Fr. Philippe's former students and had been authorized by his bishop to return to Fribourg to undertake studies toward a doctorate in theology. We then began to live a communal life with a rather extraordinary schedule for students: rising at 5:30 a.m., one hour of silent prayer in community, morning prayer, then Mass.... It was a good start to the day!
St. Nicolas Cathedral,
Did Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe reside with you ?
No, he continued living with his Dominican confreres. He was very busy with his teaching responsibilities and he only came to see us once a week for spiritual direction. He was also a bit hesitant to become associated with the "brothers". He did not consider himself to be mandated by the Church to take responsibility for a nascent religious community. His official duty was limited to teaching philosophy, which explains the care he had taken thus far in sending the young people who came to him back to their bishops or various religious congregations
Then why did he change his mind ?
The intervention of Marthe Robin was decisive. Fr. Philippe had known her since 1946 and had often preached retreats at Chateauneuf-de-Galaure. He presented his dilemma to her: some of his students wanted to form a little community and were seeking his help. Marthe replied quite simply that he couldn't refuse their request; he couldn't abandon them. Fr. Philippe accepted us, but there was no question as yet of founding a new religious community. Fr. Philippe initiated inquiries as to what religious order could accept us so that we might find a place in the Church. Thus began a year-long search. Fortunately, everything had been entrusted to God's Providence....
To make this desire for surrender concrete, we consecrated ourselves to Mary on December 8, 1975 at the end of a retreat preached by Fr. Philippe at the abbey of Lérins. This is the date of our birth, you might say.
The date and the place are important...
Yes, because the following year, the brothers were quite impressed to discover that Paul VI's apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, which corresponds so well to what they wanted to live (to the extent that they drew a short rule of life from it.
Pere Philippe celebrating Pentecost with the Community
Final vows in Paray=Le- Monial
In July, 2011, thirteen brothers of the community St Jean were ordained to the priesthood and seven to the diaconate
A Meeting of lay Oblates of the Community
What is the current number of Brothers in the Community of St. John?
On January 1, 2009, the Brothers were 546 in number; 385 (71%) were perpetually professed Brothers (of which 233 were priests) and about 40% were in formation. The Contemplative Sisters were 362, the Apostolic Sisters 147 and there were more than 2,500 secular Oblates.
What is the average age of the Brothers?
The average age is around 40.
Where do vocations come from?
Below are the geographical origins of the Brothers who come from more than 30 different countries:
- France: 58%
- Other European countries: 14%
- Africa: 10%
- America: 15%
- Asia: 3%
Priories of the Congregation
Abidjan (Ivory Coast)
Boulogne Billancourt (France)
Christchurch (New Zealand)
Finale Emilia (Italy)
La Chaise Dieu (France)
Saint Quentin sur Indrois (France)
Salvador de Bahia (Brazil)
American web site of the Congrégation
Eagle Eye Summer Institute
Korean web site of the Congregation
What are the main apostolates of the Brothers of St. John?
The Brothers' apostolic activities are quite varied in order to respond to the needs of the local Churches who call them. Here are a few examples of the Brothers’ apostolates:
- Teaching and preaching
- Retreat Centers and guest houses
- Chaplaincies of schools and universities
- Chaplaincies of hospitals and prisons
- Youth activities, especially “schools of life”
- St. John Festival (for young people, in the spirit of World Youth Days)