Canadian philanthropist, philosopher and theologian
Born in 1928 in Switzerland, Jean Vanier studied philosophy (Aristotle) and theology. In 1964, he decided to invite two disabled people to live with him in a modest house in Trosly-Breuil, France.
He didn’t want to create another institution, only to share the life of these two men. This idea of personal involvement was to prove extraordinarily fruitful, since it is still at the heart of L'Arche’s vision.
The following year, other communities were started. Since that time L'Arche communities have been established in countries around the world.
In 1971, Vanier co-founded Faith and Light with Marie Hélène Mathieu, an international movement of forums for people with developmental disabilities, their family and friends.
This prayer reveals a deep source of Jean Vanier’s inspiration
O Mary, give us attentive,
humble and gentle hearts
to welcome with tenderness and compassion
all the poor you send to us.
Give us hearts full of mercy
to love them, to serve them,
to extinguish all discord
and to see in our suffering and broken brothers
the presence of the living Jesus.
Lord, bless us with the hands of your poor.
Lord, smile at us in the eyes of your poor.
Lord, you receive us one day
in the happy company of your poor. Amen!