Draft:Thomas Philippe

Thomas Philippe

Pere Thomas Philippe.jpg
Thomas Philippe in 1986
Jean Marie Joseph Philippe

(1905-03-18)March 18, 1905
DiedFebruary 4, 1993(1993-02-04) (aged 87)
Other namesThomas Marie Philippe
Known forCo-founder of L'Arche
Parent(s)Henri Ignace Louis Joseph Philippe (1875-1959) and Élisabeth Marie Joseph Dehau (1878-1968)
RelativesMarie-Dominique Philippe, Marthe Robin, and Marie Philippe
ReligionRoman Catholic
OrdainedJuly 25, 1929 at Le Saulchoir, Kain, Belgium

Thomas Marie Philippe (birth name Jean Marie Joseph Philippe[1]), born on March 18, 1905 in Cysoing (Nord department in northern France) and died on February 4, 1993 in Saint-Jodard (Loire department in central France), was a French Dominican priest.

He is the co-founder with Jean Vanier of the communities of L'Arche, which welcomes people with mental disabilities.

He taught theology and philosophy, and conducted preaching, retreats, and gave spiritual direction.[2]


Philippe was the third of twelve children born to Henri Ignace Louis Joseph PHILIPPE (1875-1959) and Élisabeth Marie Joseph DEHAU (1878-1968).[3]

He taught theology at Le Saulchoir and at the Angelicum (the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome), then animated different religious communities, including l'Eau Vive (living water). It was by joining the l'Eau Vive community that Jean Vanier got to know him in 1950 and supported him in the foundation in 1964 of the l'Arche community, which welcomes people suffering from a mental handicap. Vanier called Philippe his 'spiritual father'.[4] In 1963, Thomas was the chaplain for Val Fleuri (flowered valley), a community of mentally handicapped men in Trosly-Breuil.[5] Val Fleuri was later integrated into l'Arche.

Thomas Philippe is one of Marthe Robin's relatives. His conversations with fr:Tim Guénard are at the origin of his conversion to Catholicism.

Philippe died on February 4, 1993 at the priory of Saint-Jodard, where the Brothers of Saint John looked after him in his old age. It was his brother, Marie-Dominique Philippe, who discovered him dead and then celebrated his funeral in Trosly-Breuil. He was buried near the chapel at the Ferme de Trosly-Breuil, where he had inspired Jean Vanier in the founding of the communities of l'Arche.

Strife at Le SaulchoirEdit

Paul Weindling, in his 2010 book, said:[6]

Thomas Philippe ... inspired vibrant spirituality and social activism, standing in the Dominican tradition of saving souls through preaching while looking to the very earliest Christian communities.
Père Thomas clashed with the philosophically innovative Père Marie-Dominique Chenu, who was Régent of Studies at the Studium Generale of Le Saulchoir from 1932 until debunked in 1942. ... In 1937 Chenu's tract Une école de théologie: Le Saulchoir[7] was condemned for challenging papal authority and split the ranks of the Thomists at the Saulchoir. ... The Angelicum in Rome ordered young Père Thomas "to put things right" by debunking Père Chenu. ... Thomas Philippe ousted Chenu as Régent at Le Saulchoir in June 1942. ... Chenu's condemnation meant his fellow Dominicans resented Père Thomas, who tried to bring about a fusion of the metaphysical and the mystical, but he realized that he could not change the rank and file at Le Saulchoir, who were loyal to Chenu.

Sexual abuse of nunsEdit

Thomas Philippe and his brother, Marie-Dominique Philippe also a priest, were accused of having sexual relations with several nuns for more than 20 years.[8]

In 1956, following a canonical investigation, Rome forbade Philippe to exercise any priestly ministry and in particular spiritual guidance,[9] but Dominican archives show that he ignored that prohibition.[10]

In 2015, a second canonical instruction validated by M gr fr:Pierre d'Ornellas, Archbishop of Rennes, said that Philippe was guilty of sexual abuse in the context of spiritual guidance on adult women. According to this document, fourteen people (witnesses and a dozen victims) were heard and the conclusions confirmed the facts which took place from the 1970s until 1991. “Fr. Thomas committed sexual acts against adult women, by which he said to seek and communicate a mystical experience”, one can read in the document." They attest to a psychological and spiritual hold on these women to whom he asked for silence because, according to him, this corresponded to" special graces "that no one could understand". The canonical investigation confirmed that these testimonies were trustworthy.[11]

At the beginning of 2016, the association fr:Aid to Victims of deviant Religious movements in Europe and their Families (AVREF)[12] published the testimony of a former Carmelite nun: a document in which she tells, in a detailed manner, the story of her sexual relationships with Philippe.[13] The publication of this first testimony prompted two other women to testify in turn a few weeks later with AVREF: they very explicitly confirm that Philippe had sexual relations with them.[14][15][16]

The L'Arche community recognized the truth of the facts and communicated on the L'Arche international website.[17] Several nuns victims of the sexual abuse of this priest and his brother (Marie-Dominique Philippe, also a priest) testified in a documentary broadcast on Arte and on Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS).[18]

In February 2020, L'Arche International issued its Summary Report,[19] being a summary of the full report by GCPS and the historical work by Antoine Mourges, concerning alleged or proven sexual abuse of women by Thomas Philippe and Jean Vanier.[20]

A defense of Thomas Philippe and Marie-Dominique Philippe has been published online by their niece Marie Philippe.[21]


In EnglishEdit

  • Philippe, Thomas; Shaw, Russell (1979). Church & state: a novel of politics and power. Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 9780879736491. 384 pages.
  • The Fire of Contemplation: A Guide for Interior Souls, translated and edited by sister Verda Clare Doran, CSC. New York, Alba House, 1981.
  • Philippe, Thomas (2009-08-10) [1990]. O'Connor, Edward Dennis (ed.). The Contemplative Life. Translated by Buonaiuto, Carmine (2nd ed.). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781448658435. Forewords by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Jean Vanier. 144 pages.
  • Philippe, Thomas (1995) [1993]. Mystical Rose: Mary, Paradigm of the Religious Life. Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 9780879736491. OCLC 32859232. 175 pages.

In FrenchEdit

  • Prayer, 1974.
  • The Heart of God, the Heart of Man, Trosly-Breuil, Les Chemins de l'Arche-la Ferme, 1987, 204 p.
  • The wheat is already white for the harvest: the Lion of Judah at the heart of a new community, Paris, Le Sarment / Fayard / Éditions du Lion de Juda, 1987, 207 p.
  • Fidelity to the Holy Spirit, Nouan-le-Fuzelier, Éditions du Lion de Juda, 1988, 281 p.
  • Crumbs for all: advice for the interior life and prayer of the heart, Paris, Éditions Saint-Paul, 1994, 219 p.
  • The quarter of an hour of prayer, Paris, Éditions Saint-Paul, 1994, 31 p.
  • Philippe, Thomas (2008) [1994]. Une nouvelle maturité chez nos aînés [A new maturity for our seniors] (in French). Paris: Saint-Paul éditions religieuses. ISBN 9782351170373. 31 pages.
  • Paths of light in children, Paris, Éditions Saint-Paul, 1994, 31 p.
  • The awakening to the love of the little one, Paris, Éditions Saint-Paul, 1994, 31 p.

In PolishEdit

  • Wytrwała modlitwa, 1992.
  • Wierność Duchowi Świętemu, 1994.
  • Drogi światła u dziecka, 1998.
  • Nowa dojrzałość u najstarszych, 1998.
  • Czas żywotnych sił u nastolatka, 1998.
  • Mądrość różańca, 2002.
  • Obieram Cię dzisiaj, Maryjo, 2002.
  • Okruchy: rady dotyczące życia wewnetrznego i modlitwy serca, 2002.


  1. ^ "Acte de naissance de Jean Marie Joseph Philippe" [Birth certificate of Jean Marie Joseph Philippe]. fr:Archives départementales du Nord, view 209 (État-civil numérisé de la ville de Cysoing [digital vital statistics of the town of Cysoing]) (in French).
  2. ^ Karickal, P. Jose Thomas (2006-10-20). From Professional Functioning to Personal Confession: Henri J.M. Nouwen’s contribution to the contemporary spirituality of pastoral care (PDF) (ThD dissertation). Germany: Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg. p. 18. Pere Thomas Philippe, O.P. (1905-1993) was a teacher of philosophy and theology besides carrying on the apostolate of preaching, giving recollections, retreats and spiritual direction.
  3. ^ Delcourt, Gérard-Jean. "Jean Marie Joseph PHILIPPE: Family tree". Geneanet. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  4. ^ "Catholic charity founder sexually abused women, says report". The Guardian. Associated Press. 2020-02-22. Retrieved 2020-02-24. The report noted similarities with the pattern of abuse of the Rev Thomas Philippe, a Catholic priest Vanier called his 'spiritual father'. Philippe, who died in 1993, has been accused of sexual abuse by several women. A statement from L'Arche International said analysis of archives shows that Vanier 'adopted some of Father Thomas Philippe's deviant theories and practices'. Philippe was banned from exercising any public or private ministry in a trial led by the Catholic church in 1956 for his theories and the sexual practices that stemmed from them.
  5. ^ Mathieu, Marie-Hélène; Vanier, Jean (2014-09-25). Never Again Alone!: The Adventure of Faith and Light from 1971 Until Today. WestBow Press. p. 10. ISBN 9781490846064. In 1963, Father Thomas was living in Trosly-Breuil, a village ten kilometers from Compiegne. He was the chaplain for Val Fleuri, an institution that welcomed about thirty men with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  6. ^ Weindling, Paul (2010). John W. Thompson: Psychiatrist in the Shadow of the Holocaust. University of Rochester Press. pp. 211–212. ISBN 9781580462891. 440 pages
  7. ^ Chenu, Marie-Dominique (1937). Une école de théologie: le saulchoir. Etiolles: Le Saulchoir. OCLC 491085255. 128 pages
  8. ^ Auvillain, Elisabeth (2019-04-16). "French Catholics raise voices, demand measures to prevent further clergy sex abuse". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 2020-02-24. [Marie-Dominique Philippe] and his brother, Thomas Philippe, also a priest, are accused of having sexual relations with several nuns for more than 20 years.
  9. ^ "L'Arche Internationale publie les résultats de l'enquête sur son fondateur" [L’Arche International announces findings of Independent Inquiry]. L'Arche (in French). 22 February 2020. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  10. ^ Heneghan, Tom (2019-11-11). "Brothers of Saint John denounce sexually abusive founder". The Tablet. Retrieved 2020-02-24. Dominican archives show that Fr Thomas was suspended from public ministry by Rome but he ignored this.
  11. ^ Céline Hoyeau (2015-10-15). "L'Arche fait la lumière sur la face cachée du P. Thomas Philippe" [L'Arche sheds light on the hidden side of Fr. Thomas Philippe]. La Croix (in French). Retrieved 2020-02-22.
  12. ^ "Aide aux Victimes des dérives de mouvements Religieux en Europe et à leurs Familles (AVREF)" [Aid to Victims of deviant Religious movements in Europe and their Families (AVREF)]. fr:AVREF website (in French). Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  13. ^ "Témoignage de Anne-Claire Fournier" [Testimony of Anne-Claire Fournier] (pdf). fr:AVREF (in French). 2016-06-17. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Testimonial of Mary Donnelly Regarding Sex Abuse by Thomas Philippe, O.P." fr:AVREF. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  15. ^ "Témoignage de Cynthia Howard" [Testimony of Cynthia Howard]. fr:AVREF (longer version) (in French). Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Cynthia Howard's Testimonial". fr:AVREF (shorter version). Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  17. ^ "A propos du Père Thomas Philippe" [About Father Thomas Philippe]. L'Arche (in French). Retrieved 22 April 2019..
  18. ^ "Religieuses abusées, l'autre scandale de l'Église" [Abused nuns, the other scandal of the Church]. Arte (in French). 2019-02-16. Retrieved 22 April 2019..
  19. ^ "Summary Report". L'Arche International. 2020-02-22. Retrieved 2020-02-24. L’Arche International wishes to make the findings of the recent investigation public and at the same time protect the confidentiality of the women who testified, so we have created the following summary from the full report by GCPS and the historical work by Antoine Mourges.
  20. ^ Mbengue, Eva (2020-02-23). "Founder of French Charity Is Accused of Pattern of Abuse". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-02-24. The inquiry was commissioned in 2019 by the nonprofit charity after suspicions were raised as far back as 2014 by 'two women denouncing serious sexual misconduct' committed by Thomas Philippe, a Catholic priest and scholar whom Mr. Vanier considered a spiritual father.
  21. ^ Marie Philippe (ed.). "Pere Marie Dominique Philippe: Les pères Thomas et Marie-Dominique PHILIPPE sont-ils des criminels ?" [Father Marie Dominique Philippe: Are Fathers Thomas and Marie-Dominique PHILIPPE criminals?] (in French). Retrieved 2020-02-24.

External linksEdit

Category: 1905 births Category: People from Nord (French department) Category: 1993 deaths Category: French Dominicans Category: Religion and sexuality Category: Rape