Philip was born in Grove Park, London, on 26th December 1954. After primary school he was educated at St John’s, Beaumont, and later at Stonyhurst. Between 1974 and 1977 he studied for a BA in English at Merton College in Oxford, and then joined the novitiate at Manresa House, Birmingham. After First Vows he took an MA in philosophy at Heythrop in London, followed by a year’s social ministry regency in Mexico City. For his theological studies he returned to Heythrop between 1981 and 1984, and then did a fourth year at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was ordained on 6th July 1985 at the Holy Name church in Manchester by Bishop Patrick Kelly, staying on there for 18 months as chaplain in the Manchester Royal Infirmary. After a few months’ study break in the USA and Germany, he moved to Campion Hall in Oxford for a DPhil, his thesis later being published as Karl Rahner and Ignatian Spirituality (2001). In 1991/92 he made his tertianship in Berlin under Piet van Breemen.
In 1982 Philip rejoined the Campion Hall community, teaching theology in Oxford and at Heythrop. He was appointed editor of The Way in 1994, a position he held for two years initially, and then returned to the position between 2001 and 2007, this time overseeing a major re-design and re-launch of the journal. Also, in 1994 he took his Final Vows in Sunderland, and the next year moved to London where he became Superior of the Harlesden formation community, while continuing to teach theology and spirituality at Heythrop. In early 2001 he enjoyed a sabbatical at the House of Writers in Rome, and then once again returned to Oxford. In the following years he was at different times Campion Hall’s tutor for graduates and dean of degrees, as well as continuing to teach theology in the University. He was also a visiting professor at Boston College during this time. Finally in 2013 he moved to Paris, where he became a professor of theology at the Jesuits’ Centre Sèvres, and Director of the Second Cycle Masters’ programmes. During the COVID pandemic he was diagnosed with cancer but continued to live and work at Centre Sèvres until this summer, moving to the healthcare facility at Vanves a few weeks before his death.
A Requiem Mass for Fr Philip will be held at Église Saint-Ignace in Paris on Tuesday 26th September at 1.00pm (UK time). You can watch a livestream of the Mass here.
May he rest in peace.
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