Fr. Jacques Philippe gives St. Thérèse Lecture Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash   
Thursday, Mar. 29, 2018 -- 12:00 AM
fr. jacques Philippe
Fr. Jacques Philippe, right, with the help of his translator, Sr. Clare Lyons, gives the St. Thérèse Lecture at Holy Name Heights in Madison on March 20. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- For the people of the Diocese of Madison who have read the books Searching For and Maintaining Peace, Interior Freedom, and Time for God, the night of March 20 was something they had been waiting for.

The author of those works, their spiritual guide while making their way through the pages, spoke to them, personally.

Fr. Jacques Philippe spoke at Holy Name Heights in Madison on that night as part of the ongoing St. Thérèse of Lisieux Lecture Series in the Diocese of Madison.

Father Jacques, originally from Lorraine, France, is a member of the Community of the Beatitudes.

After serving many roles in the Order, in recent years, he has devoted himself primarily to spiritual direction and preaching retreats.

More than 500,000 copies of his books have been sold in almost 20 languages.

His following in the Madison area was evident, as seating became “standing room only” in the chapel.

Reflections on peace

With the help of his translator, Sr. Clare Lyons, Father Jacques, in French, welcomed everyone for coming.

The theme of his talk was “Interior Peace: How to Find and Communicate Peace.”

“I have been asked to speak about peace, peace of heart,” Father Jacques said.

“I think this is perhaps a good preparation for the feast of Easter.”

Reflecting on Easter, Father Jacques mentioned how the risen Christ told his disciples, “Peace be with you.”

“This is not simply a greeting, but it is truly the gift of peace that the risen Christ wants to give to his people,” he said.

“This is one of the most beautiful gifts he can give to us and that we should desire and ask for.”

He added he would offer some reflections on peace to “prepare our hearts . . . to ask Christ for this grace . . . Christ who is living and among us.”

Father Jacques reflected on St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, in chapter three, where he said, “May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is to this that you have been called to form one body in Christ.”

He said, “He desires the peace of Christ to reign in our hearts, but he sees it also as a call from God.

“This is true today more than ever,” he added, “The Lord is inviting us with power to receive this gift of peace, that is to reign in our hearts [and] share it around us.”

Using the seventh Beatitude as a guide, Father Jacques said, “We can welcome the peace of Christ and share it around us” as the Beatitude said, “Happy are the peacemakers, because they shall be called children of God.”

Looking at ourselves

With the “beautiful calling” of being a peacemaker, Father Jacques said we are called to ask ourselves the questions: “What is it that I am transmitting around me? . . . in my being? . . . in my attitudes and my words? . . . what is it that I am communicating? . . . am I communicating peace? . . . trust? . . . or are we transmitting the wrong things?”

He emphasized the importance of “communicating peace” to everyone.

“We can rely on the word of God and the faithfulness of Christ,” he said.

“What God is asking us, he gives us the grace to live it out,” Father Jacques said.

He said it is important to live that out for many reasons, the “main” one being “if the peace of Christ lives in our hearts, when we come up against difficult situations, complex situations, then we will find good responses.”

He added if we do not have the peace of Christ in our hearts, “We run the risk that when we are faced with difficult situations, we will have reactions that will not be so positive” and may try to escape those realities because we are afraid.

“We don’t dare to look at things as they are,” Father Jacques said. “We become self-focusing, and we protect ourselves, or we become aggressive.”

An evening of prayer

Prior to the lecture, the evening began with hymns and prayers.

Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison led the prayers and also introduced Father Jacques, who, he said, “needs no introduction.”

“The presence of so many of you is in itself a strong affirmation of who he is, what he does, and how the Lord is at work in him.”

Bishop Morlino also acknowledged Arlene Junck, who was in attendance at the lecture.

She and her late husband, Marlen, who died earlier this year, helped to support the St. Thérèse of Lisieux Lecture Series since its start in 2000.

“Thank you so much for honoring us with your presence this evening,” Bishop Morlino said.

Following the lecture, there was a reception where those in attendance got a chance to meet Father Jacques and have books signed by him.

For more information on Fr. Jacques Philippe and his ministry, go to

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