At the time that I had the privilege to meet Fr Marie Dominique Philippe, I was a regional superior in the Missionaries of Charity in the Region of Our Lady of Jasna Gora an area which comprised Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. It was in Romania that I met Father.
I had had the opportunity to meet Fr Philippe’s teaching through some of his brothers whom I had invited to give seminars and retreats to the sisters of the region, as well as in his books. In fact, so impressed was I by the deep insights I saw that his teaching gave to the life and charism that we had received from our Foundress : Blessed Mother Teresa, that I had arranged to be present in Romania at the time when Fr Philippe would come; as well as for the sisters from the five different houses in Romania, to come and meet him and thus receive his teaching in person. (This was a” big operation” since in three of the houses we had physically and mentally handicapped children, and to ensure that all the sisters could come for part of his visit meant a lot of arrangements….but I thought that this was very important since some sisters had never met Mother Teresa and I had the sense that Father Philippe had something that we knew in Mother Teresa).
Fr Mathieu allowed me to speak with Father with another sister who was French….I thanked Father for sharing his brothers with us to help us receive his teaching…. and I also told him that he was “our father”, as Mother was “our Mother” since as Mother gave us a “life”, through her example and the life she handed on to us among the poorest of the poor; so he gave us a teaching which was an explanation of Mother’s life.
He took both my hands in his, while I was speaking, and his gaze, so serious while I was speaking, became radiant as the sister translated, and he understood my words….. The “meeting” was very short, I only wanted to tell him my gratitude and to tell him what his teaching was for us Missionaries of Charity.
In those few moments in Father Marie Dominique’s presence, I found myself with the same experience as when I was in front of Bl. Mother Teresa: i.e. in front of someone who was truly present to me….who was full of love and wanted to receive what it was that I had to say…..
I was told afterwards by a brother that Fr Philippe turned to him on leaving the room and said ,”It seems that I am also their father too…”
I am sorry that this is so short, but it is the only time that I indeed did meet Fr Philippe, it was a short meeting that gave me the impression of meeting a saint, of one who knew deeply the human person I was and who saw me with the eyes of Jesus.
A sister missionary of Hope