Jean Allemand +
Father Paul-Dominique Marcovits’ Testimony
In 1968, when he started out as Father Henri Caffarel’s secretary, Jean Allemand was 39 years old and Father Caffarel 65 years old. Jean Allemand was to work with him until 1973, when Father Caffarel left the Teams of Our Lady Movement to devote himself to the Weeks of Prayer in Troussures. Jean Allemand then became a permanent employee of the Teams Movement as well as a member of the International Leading Team. But he continued to see Father Caffarel and to work for him until his death in 1996, which adds up to 28 years of close proximity.
If Jean Allemand was Father Caffarel’s closest collaborator, he also was the right man. Father Caffarel had a strong personality. He was a perfectionist, demanding of himself and of others. Jean Allemand was a teacher of Literature, was very cultivated and possessed great analytical finesse. When Father Caffarel gave him a page to correct and asked him for three pages of corrections, we can admire Father Caffarel’s humility, but also Jean Allemand’s ability to understand the founder of Teams’ thoughts, his knowledge of couples too to whom the document was addressed. Many famous writers would not have been so brilliant if they had not had someone who understood them and who could help them and yet all the while respected their thinking. Jean understood Father Caffarel.
Jean Allemand worked with Father Caffarel on numerous projects: Lettre mensuelle des Équipes Notre-Dame, les Cahiers sur l’oraison, the preparation of a document for Pope Paul VI that would inform his speech to Teams of Our Lady on May 4, 1970, in Rome, the survey on sexuality carried out within the Teams Movement in 1969, the Cours d’oraison par correspondance and also the book entitled, Les Équipes Notre-Dame. Essor et mission des couples chrétiens (Teams of Our Lady. Development and Mission of Christian Couples).
Jean was not only an excellent secretary, he was a truly spiritual person himself. His talks and speeches on Teams and on Father Caffarel at the various national and international Gatherings demonstrated his own spiritual depth. If he spoke so well of Father Caffarel, it was because he himself was a man “seized by God,” an expression that he used as the title to his biography of Father Caffarel. Instinctively, when we met him, we paid special attention to him, he was Father Caffarel’s secretary and collaborator after all! But very quickly, it became very clear that he too was luminous and radiant. He was always smiling and affable with an attentive, luminous gaze that was often tinged with humour. Jean Allemand was much loved for what he was.
To get to know Jean Allemand, you just have to read the only biography that exists of Father Caffarel1. This is the authoritative book. But what is striking is the precision, accuracy, and sobriety of the story. As Editor of the Cause of Father Caffarel, I refer to his book three times a day, I compare with the testimonies. And I am still struck with the relevance of his words. We are all grateful to him and our admiration of him is great.
Now Jean is reunited with his wife, Annick, whom he loved so much and also with Father Cafferel. They are all together in heaven, where they can ceaselessly admire God’s infinite love for them! And there, they also continue to intercede for us.
Father Paul-Dominique Marcovits, o.p.
Editor of the Cause of Father Henri Caffarel
1 Jean ALLEMAND, Henri Caffarel Un homme saisi par Dieu, Équipes Notre-Dame, 49 rue de la Glacière, Paris 13, 1997