History of Notre Dame de Vie Institute
To learn more how Notre Dame de Vie Institute began in France, please visit www.notredamedevie.org.
The Philippine Foundation
In 1954, at the death of the General of the Order, Fr. Marie-Eugene, who had become first Definitor General, took over the responsibility of the Carmelite Order. He continued to make the canonical visits to convents of the Carmelite Fathers in different countries, a work that he had started in 1939. Thus, during a visit to the Philippines, he was able to officiate at the first foundation of his Institute outside of France, on Christmas 1954. It was to respond to the persistent call for help of the Carmelite bishop of Infanta, Quezon, Msgr. Patrick Shanley that the Founder decided to bring his Institute to the Philippines. He accepted to send members of Notre Dame de Vie to help Msgr. Shanley and the Carmelite Fathers in the difficult mission of evangelization in the Prelature of Infanta, which was a poor and isolated region and where, at that time, no religious group accepted to go. Both Fr. Marie-Eugene and Marie Pila were present at this first foundation of the Institute outside of its cradle in Venasque to support the two members who were assigned to start the work of the Institute in Asia: Marie-Louise Goux and Elizabeth Moulin. They were, after a short time, to be followed by others.
With his prophetic gaze, the Founder already foresaw that this new foundation in the Philippines would be the first incarnation of the Institute in the region and that it was to be followed by others. He called the Philippine foundation the “launching pad for Asia”.
After this first foundation, others were envisaged within France as well as in other countries. Everywhere, the teaching of the Carmelite masters was welcomed and adopted, notwithstanding the differences in culture. The Founder’s intuition regarding the universality of the Carmelite doctrine proved to be true and well founded, and the method of apostolate of a secular institute, timely.