Father M.-D. Philippe
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 HISTORY - 3 -

Why did the Community leave Fribourg ?

When Fr. Philippe reached retirement age (70) for university teaching in 1982, the Community decided to settle in France. Most of the brothers were French and living conditions in Fribourg were becoming impractical : the Community was scattered among four houses, none of which was large enough to accommodate 80 brothers.

Notre-Dame de Rimont

The difficulty lay in finding a place in France.

An order of contemplative Benedictine sisters (whose foundress and prioress was Fr. Philippe's sister) suggested the former minor seminary of Rimont in Burgundy, near Chalon-sur-Sa˘ne

And the bishop of Autun generously gave his consent to our establishment in his diocese. Then we still had to be able to move in. The building that the brothers discovered at Rimont required a lot of repairs, and everyone had to get down to work. Little by little, we were able to establish a true communal life which brought all the brothers of the Community together for the first time. However, in May of 1983, we had to open a new house due to the large number of admissions. With the permission of the Archbishop of Lyon, part of the Community took up residence at Saint-Jodard--in the department of the Loire, near Roanne--where there was a former minor seminary (this was becoming a habit...). Since the beginning of the century, it had been owned by the goverment and had served, after various allocations, as a juvenile detention center.... The Community novitiate thus opened its doors in October, 1983. The shortest route from Rimont to Saint-Jodard passes....through the heart of Christ: the city of the Sacred Heart, Paray-le-Monial, is actually halfway between the two houses.

When he discovered this, Fr. Philippe remembered what Marthe Robin had told him: "I don't know why Paray remains etched in my heart ; Father, never abandon Paray-le-Monial".