Welcome to our Website

 What to think of a Community?

Be it a congregation, consecrated life in an institute, an isolated convent, a home, an NGO, the question remains: what to think of it?
It is not our role to make definite judgements, nor to create a system which includes negative points or stars going from ‘recommended’ or ‘to be avoided at all costs’ etc.



The AVREF telephone number has changed.
Please note it and make it note to your friends, it is now:

 + (33) 6 58 06 12 72



The Union of International Superiors General (UISG), whose memberships consists of 2000 Superior Generals of Congregations of Women Religious throughout the world, representing more than 500,000 sisters, expresses its deep sorrow and indignation over the pattern of abuse that is prevalent within the church and society today.

Abuse in all forms: sexual, verbal, emotional, or any inappropriate use of power within a relationship, diminishes the dignity and healthy development of the person who is victimized.

We stand by those courageous women and men who have reported abuse to the authorities. We condemn those who support the culture of silence and secrecy, often under the guise of “protection” of an institution’s reputation or naming it “part of one’s culture”.  We advocate for transparent civil and criminal reporting of abuse whether within religious congregations, at the parish or diocesan levels, or in any public arena.
We ask that any woman religious who has suffered abuse, report the abuse to the leader of her congregation, and to church and civic authorities as appropriate. If UISG receives a report of abuse, we will be a listening presence and help the person to have the courage to bring the complaint to the appropriate organizations.
We commit ourselves to work with the church and civil authorities to help those abused to heal the past through a process of accompaniment, of seeking justice, and investing in prevention of abuse through collaborative formation and education programs for children, and for women and men. We wish to weave solidarity in these situations that dehumanize and to contribute to a new creation around the world. http://www.internationalunionsuperiorsgeneral.org/

 Reveal your experience: Why? How?

A large part of AVREF's activity depends on the revelation of personal experiences which we receive. 
Three important reasons why you should reveal your experience:

  1. You are, or have been, a victim of individual abuse, be it spiritual, psychological, physical or financial.
  2. The victim is somebody you know, a friend or relation, and you wish to speak on    behalf of this person.
  3. You are aware of abuse or abusive situations which shocked you, and which you think should be revealed.


Some time ago we received the first remarkable testimony published here of a former victim of Marie-Dominique PHILIPPE, founder of the Fraternity of Saint John, of his brother, Fr. Thomas PHILIPPE, co-founder of l’ARCHE, and of the community run by their sister.
We noted, that for this important testimony l’ARCHE, as such, was spared any ecclesial investigations, a fact that has been denounced by our witness, in spite of the fact that it would appear that the founder, Jean VANIER, gave no credit to the Church’s condemnation of the abuse committed by Fr. Thomas PHILIPPE. More here...

 They said

Interview with Cardinal 23 in the "Parisian" of 27 March 2016
"The victims who come to us are always heard. I invite them to make statements so that the facts are established. "
"What counts is the guarantee that victims are heard. Nothing prevents them from speaking, from writing. "

On March 15, on the radio, Monsignor PONTIER, President of the Bishops' Conference, expressed himself "to make the truth for the victims a priority", and he declared to the bishops of France gathered in Lourdes:
"I want to repeat here, in our name all, that the bishops of France have a will: to make the truth for the victims. It is this priority that must guide all our actions. "
And also: "Our commitment is clear and shared by all of us: privilege the reception of the victims and their families, incite them to file a complaint".

am a victim.  How should I make a complaint?


You are the victim of a community, movement, or of somebody who has authority over you:

  1. You made a vow of chastity: you were isolated, and you contact with those close to you was broken;
  2. You took a vow of poverty: 
  3. You took a vow of obedience:  you have been made submit, you have been harassed, you have been the victim of abusive power.

React now. It is never too late.

  • If you are still in that situation: flee and do not look back.  Take back your freedom.
  • If you have already left, you have taken the toughest step, You can re-build  life. You must do so.
  • AVREF will receive you, and assist you.  Make yourself known to us. You will be assisted confidentially by former members of communities or their families.
  • Feel free to write to us in your language.

 Close family or friends

Your son or daughter or somebody close to you has joined a religious order or cult of which you do not approve.  Your reasons / reservations are justified by the fact that the family bond or friendship which you shared has been weakened, and that these changes have become apparent in the behaviour or personality of the individual.
React.  It is never too late.
Keep contact with this person.
Do not isolate yourself in this situation. 
AVREF is happy to meet you and/or to advise you.  Do contact us!
Families and former members of communities are happy to offer you support and confidentiality.



May 6
New AVREF phone:
Tel:  + (33) 6 58 06 12 72
April 1
Arche and st John
March 25
Website creation