It takes a lot to get me to leave my comfort zone. It takes even more to get me to move to the opposite side of the planet but the attraction of Fr Philippe’s life and teaching drew me over 18,000 kilometres from New Zealand to France and held me there for the last two years of his life (2004-2006).
For several years I had looked for somewhere that I could go to be taught how to seek the truth because a wise man once said that it would set me free. Every place I looked at only offered schools of conclusions that you were expected to memorise, synthesise and repeat what has already been said rather than rediscovering all of reality as a dynamic source of truth. Fr Marie-Dominique Philippe was the only teacher that I could find who offered a school centred, not on himself, but on reality and how best to seek the truth at the feet of the world around us and at the feet of Christ, the one true teacher.
His teaching was the first time I had come across a way of approaching both life and the Word of God without reducing them to my own limited understanding. In other words it was the first teaching that I had received that was a teaching of wisdom and not just opinion. Before receiving a formation from Fr Philippe I had no way of discerning the difference between opinion and truth and so I had little hope of loving truly those around me.
Ultimately the life that Fr Philippe gave over to the search for truth and love, and as a faithful servant of the Church, has enabled me to go further in my quest to be both a more loving Christian, and a better man. My hope is that others will also be able to benefit from his sacrifice.
33 years old, currently studying Medicine in Auckland New Zealand.