I’ve first met father Philippe in the year 2005. July 04,2005- the first day when I arrived in St. Jodard. It was after a conference he gave to the brothers and sisters of St. John. I saw him alone walking in the park behind our convent, as I am about to enter in our gate. ( I’ve heard he did it very often, if he find little time after the conference.) And I saw father alone absorb in silence, but I did not hesitate any single minute to approached him. I rushed quickly in front of him, though he was in deep silence, and I can feel that he is praying. Simultaneously, I grab his hand and put it in my forehead to ask for a blessing. ( As it is our custom in the Philippines, when you met someone older than you, you greet him with this gesture and ask for a blessing.) He was smiling at me and took me by his hand since I was kneeling in front of him, and helped me to get up. And I was struck by his simplicity and his purity of heart. He even did not hesitate for a second to give me his blessing. And I received much more I expected it was his fatherly affection and presence. Then, with my poor french, I introduced myself to him. And he was so happy to learned that I just arrived from the Philippines. Then he told me that he already came to the Philippines . And so, I was all the more filled with joy, to know that he visited my country. Then, our conversation was cut because a brother came to tell him that its time for the next conference. I was overwhelmed with so much joy that finally i met father personally, and even received his blessing.
The second time I encounter father Philippe, it was during confession. It was my first time to confess with him. I was very anxious on how am I going to start and to tell him my troubles in french as I just started to learn french. At that time I was really sad and felt alone as it was too difficult for me to deal with some sisters and after four months in France I started to miss my family and my country. And when I was in front of father Philippe to confess my sins I started to cry, and to cry very hard that I could not uttered any words to begin my confession. But father was there very present and he told me « You are not alone in this struggle » these words marks me because as if he knows, what I am carrying deep in my heart. I know that at that time I felt very alone, and he knows it before I expressed myself. And he continued to console me saying » Don’t worry with your sisters, though they are tall and that can hurt you, you are a little child of Virgin Mary » ( Father make this joke, just to make me laugh, as I am small in height). And immediately I felt comforted. And I found myself laughing together with him, because its true I was the smallest among all the sisters. And he continued to encourage me saying » Be a little child of Virgin Mary, very simple and very little, because the Virgin Mary loves the little one. » And these words gave me such wings to fly again. I went out from the confession with a heart full of joy and strength, keeping in my heart what father told me. I then realized how much father is the child of the Virgin Mary.
I am very grateful to have the chance to met father personally and especially during his last years he spent among us.