Meeting Jean & Annick Allemand, members of Teams of Our Lady. Gérard & Marie-Christine de Roberty’s Testimony
“Dear Jean and Annick,
I have just read your collection of the main documents which have marked the route of Teams of Our Lady for the past forty years from cover to cover. You have managed to find and choose the documents and highlight their living soul: congratulations for this painstaking work!
The merit of this collection is to very clearly identity the raison d’être of Teams of Our Lady: I mean the goal it proposes to couples and the means to achieve it. [….]
On this fortieth anniversary of the Teams’ charter, is it not necessary that Teams of Our Lady, having rediscovered the charisma of their origins, now reaffirm unreservedly their adherence to the unanimous teachings of the five last Popes on the Christian conception of marriage? And that they bear witness to true marital love…
Rest assured, Jean and Annick, of my warm and faithful friendship.
This strong and enlightening forward opens the book Les Équipes Notre-Dame – Essor et mission des couples chrétiens that Jean and Annick wrote in 1988.
It was during the Chantilly Gathering in May 1987, a reference point in the history of the Teams Movement, that we got to know Jean and Annick better. Up until then, and especially during the Pilgrimage to Rome in 1982, we only saw them as discreet couple, who belonged to the Movement’s International Leading Team. Then followed the preparation and unfolding of the Lourdes Gathering of 1988 where we ourselves were much more involved and became particularly close to Jean … We got to know both of them before working with them and we remained in close contact with them after Jean’s retirement.
Since we were so close to them, we were able to measure how their commitment and this part of their lives that was given over to Teams of Our Lady was rooted in a past fully devoted to the Church, and after their marriage, to the service of Father Caffarel and the Teams Movement.
Jean Allemand, who turned 91 this year in 2020, and Annick, who returned to the Lord in 2014, got married in 1966 and they had 3 children.
They joined Teams of Our Lady in 1968, and were members of the International Leading Team with Louis and Marie d’Amonville.
Jean graduated in theology (Rome) and in philosophy (Sorbonne), and worked with Father Henri Caffarel as the secretary and editor for the Lettre mensuelle des Équipes Notre-Dame and for Cahiers sur l'Oraison.
After Father Caffarel’s departure, Jean stayed on as a permanent employee of the Teams of Our Lady Movement. He wrote several books with the help of Annick: Les Équipes Notre-Dame – Essor et Mission des couples chrétiens (END 1988), Henri Caffarel Un homme saisi par Dieu (END 1997) et de Prier 15 jours avec Henri Caffarel (Nouvelle Cité, 2002) and numerous articles in Teams of Our Lady publications.
Jean and Annick were great witnesses to Father Caffarel’s work and Jean was always very happy to speak about the founder’s work at Teams gatherings, in particular at the International Colloquia at the Collège des Bernardins, Paris, as well as at the most recent international Gatherings in Lourdes and Fatima.
Jean Allemand’s return to the Lord, after that of his wife Annick’s, marks an important turning point in the Teams of Our Lady Movement. Jean and Annick lived and were filled with Hope, enthusiasm and faith. For us, they were and will remain witnesses and examples of humble and missionary commitment within the Church.
We know, because we experienced it at their sides, that they were animated by a strong, demanding and faithful spiritual life, where they allowed the living Christ to assume his place in them and at the very heart of their private prayer. In this sense, and following the example of Troussures, they animated schools of prayer in Nantes and elsewhere.
Together, they were fully aware, through the sacrament of marriage, of having been called on a journey of close proximity to Christ.
Alongside their commitment to the Teams Movement, they were hands-on parents and accompanied their children along a path of life that is not always so easy for young people.
Their spiritual life underpinned their work together and this was embodied in their full commitment to the life of Teams of Our Lady. Jean and Annick together highlighted, as Father Caffarel noticed, the living soul and the raison d’être of our Movement and its mission in a world where all landmarks are being eroded. Their work enabled numerous past and present people in service to the Movement, as well as ourselves and many other Team members to move forward in their particular service with boldness and confidence.
Jean and Annick, working alongside Father Caffarel, were keen to make the latter known to a wider public. And they accomplished this in their work that was grounded in faith, benevolence, discretion and probably a selflessness that characterized them. In this sense, Jean always, always responded favourably to all requests that we, or anyone else, made of him.
Given their role with all Team members and their friends, Jean and Annick leave us a beautiful testimony of a marriage where they made room completely for the other’s otherness and the charisma of each person.
“We judge a tree by its fruit.” We recognise that Jean and Annick’s fruits are abundant; we benefitted from them and we give thanks for them.
Thank you Jean and Annick for the fruit of your life. Yes, your life with the Lord will be even more fruitful by continuing to be the intercessors for the men and women of this world and for couples, especially those in difficulty, so that they may grow in faith and life with Christ.
Father Caffarel might have said, as he said to so many others, “Those who have left you, they too are alive and if they are alive, they know you and they love you and your families. They pray for you. They protect you, they help you.”
O You who are at home at the heart of my heart
Let me join you at the heart of my heart.
Gérard & Marie-Christine de Roberty