You have understood that this man has played and still plays a major role in my life. But who is he? People often called the man "Mister Philippe de Lyon", "the father of the poor", "Man of God", "wonder worker", but the most often "Master". We will sketch the broad outlines of his life in a few dozen lignes. We refer the reader to Vie et Paroles (Life and Words) by Alfred Haehl, one of his disciples who followed him and to the book, Les Réponses de Maître Philippe (Answers from Master Philippe), collection of quotations and facts written notably by his brother August Philippe and collected by Philip Colin.
We quote a passage from Vie et Paroles (Life and Words) on page 19.
Mr. Philippe was born to Rubathier, Loisieux Sainte Croix in Savoy on Wednesday, April, 25th, 1849 at 3:00 am. Anthelme Nizier was his first name.
When his mother was pregnant, she visited the Curé d'Ars who revealed to her that her son would be a very advanced being.
When the birth came, she started to sing with a laurel branch in her hand. There was a dreadful storm, then we saw a large and very shining star.
We saw the star the day of his baptism which took place at Loisieux's church, and the priest was struck by it.
His father, Joseph, born in 1819 died in February 1898. His mother Mary Vachod, born in 1823, passed away in December 1899.
They had five children. At the age of 14, Mr. Philippe came to Lyon to oncle Vachod's home, a butcher at 22 rue d'Austerlitz at Croix-Rousse.
His uncle was a non-believer. Mr. Philippe came to see him on his deathbed and, putting a finger on his forehead, said to him, 'you have not believed, see now.'
In the years 1874-1875, he was enrolled five times at Ecole de Médecine et Pharmacie de Lyon as a medical officer. He often cured the sick and the doctors heard that he was a healer. He was banned from attending lectures "owing to his practicing occult medicine and to his being a real quack." He was forced to write to the minister to get his paper and his exeat back. Following that, he regularly had trouble with justice because of the medical association. In 1877, Mr. Philippe married Joan Julie Landar whose mother had brought to the sessions to be cured. The Landar family was rich and respected.
On November 11th, 1878, his daughter Joan Victoire was born at l'Arbresle. His son, named Albert, was born on February 11th, 1881 and died at the age of 3 months from smallpox.
Mr. Philippe regularly held sessions at Lyon which were open to the public. All social classes were present. There were no privileged classes. At the sessions, many people crowded. He performed wonder healings, explained the Gospels and gave teachings. People took notes which were gathered afterwards. From these notes, we can study the teachings that the Master gave during his life.
The greats of that world asked for him for the care and the advice that he lavished. He was notably sent for by the Bey of Tunis (he was appointed Nicham Iftikar officer on February 22th, 1881), by the great Dukes, by Tzar Nicholas II of Russia several times and by the Prince of Montenegro. His C.V. is very impressive. (See Vie et Paroles (Life and Words) by Alfred Heahl.))
In 1894, Master Philippe introduced John Chapas, his beloved disciple, to the sick at the session which took place at 35 rue Tête d'Or and said to them, 'now Mr. Chapas is in charge of doing what I did in the past... We came as fishermen to fish out those who would like to escape.'
In 1895, he announced to them that 'today, great powers are given to Mr. Chapas.' And so it was. John started to cure, to heal miraculously and to give teaching in the continuity of the Master.
In August 1904, his daughter Victoire got seriously sick. While his family circle begged him to obtain from him the healing of his daughter, Mr. Philippe declared,
'she is to leave;
Heaven wants it; however, to prove you Heaven can do anything she is going to be better
for two days but on the third day she shall be back as she is now.'
So was it, as the Master foretold. She passed away on August 29th, 1904. Alfred Haehl attested, 'he said that he had sacrificed his daughter, that he had taken the right to heal her away from himself and that she had left to make straight the path.' 'That death,' the Master said, 'has crucified me alive.'
At the end of his life, Mr. Philippe suffered from breathlessnesses and from acute heart pains. He passed away on Wednesday, August 2nd, 1905. His body lies in the Loyasse Cemetery in Lyon, into the family sepulchre. John Chapas passed away on September 2nd, 1932 and his body also lies in the Loyasse Cemetery not far from the Master's.