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Jean Vanier with John Smeltzer, a member of L'Arche Daybreak
September 10, 1928 |
|Known for||Founder of L'Arche|
|Relatives||Georges Vanier, father
Pauline Vanier, mother
|Awards||Order of Canada
National Order of Quebec
Legion of Honour
Humanitarian Award 2001
French Legion of Honour
Jean Vanier, CC GOQ (born September 10, 1928) is a Canadian Catholic philosopher turned theologian, humanitarian, and the founder of L'Arche, an international federation of group homes for people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them.
Vanier is the son of the 19th Governor General of Canada, Major-General Georges Vanier and was born in Geneva, while his father was on diplomatic service in Switzerland. In his youth, he received a broad education in English and French first in Canada, and then England and France. During World War II, Vanier and his family fled Paris just before the Nazi occupation. He spent much of the War at an English naval academy, preparing for a career as a naval officer.
In early 1945, Vanier was visiting Paris where his father was Canadian Ambassador; there he went with his mother, Pauline Vanier to assist concentration camp survivor survivors. The emaciated victims, their faces twisted with fear and anguish, were a profoundly moving encounter with a wounded humanity, an encounter he has never forgotten. Shortly thereafter, at age seventeen, with World War II still raging, he served with the Royal Navy and then with the Royal Canadian Navy. As a midshipman, Vanier accompanied the Royal Family on their tour of South Africa aboard HMS Vanguard in 1947.
From 1950, feeling a strong inner spiritual calling to do “something else,” he resigned his naval commission. Vanier travelled to Paris, France to study as an undergraduate. He eventually went on to complete a PhD in philosophy from the Institut Catholique de Paris, with a doctoral thesis on Aristotle. He subsequently taught philosophy at the University of Toronto. Vanier left academia in 1964 to continue to be true to his inner, spiritual quest.
Foundation of L'Arche
In 1964, through Vanier's friendship with a priest named Father Thomas Philippe, he became aware of the plight of thousands of people institutionalised with developmental disabilities. Jean Vanier invited two men, Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux, to leave the institutions where they resided and live with him in Trosly-Breuil, France.He also helped in institution schools.
In 1968, Jean Vanier gave the first Faith and Sharing retreat, a worldwide movement of the retreats where people from many walks of life are welcome. In 1971, he co-founded Faith and Light with Marie Helene Mathieu, an international movement of forums for people with developmental disabilities, their family and friends. Today there are over 1,800 Faith and Light communities in 80 countries around the world.
Until the late 1990s, Jean Vanier carried the responsibility for L'Arche in Trosly-Breuil in France and for the International Federation of L'Arche. He stepped down from these responsibilities to spend more time counseling, encouraging and accompanying people who come to live in L'Arche as assistants to those with disabilities. Vanier still makes his home in the original L'Arche community of Trosly-Breuil, France. He also travels widely, visiting other L'Arche communities, encouraging projects for new communities, and giving lectures and retreats.
- In Weakness, Strength
- Tears of Silence
- Eruption to hope
- Followers of Jesus
- Be Not Afraid
- Community and Growth
- The Challenge of L'Arche (anthology)
- I walk with Jesus
- Man and Woman He made them
- The Broken Body: Journey to Wholeness
- I meet Jesus
- Images of Love: Words of Hope
- A Network of Friends: letters of Jean Vanier to the Friends
- and Communities of l'Arche
- From Brokenness to Community
- Jesus, The Gift of Love
- An Ark for the Poor: The Story of L'Arche
- The Heart of L'Arche
- Our Journey Home
- The Scandal of Service
- Becoming Human
- Door of Hope
- Seeing Beyond Depression
- Made for Happiness, Discovering the Meaning of Life with Aristotle
- Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John
- Finding Peace
- Befriending the Stranger
- From Brokenness to Wholeness
- Welcoming “the Other”
- Living Gently in a Violent World, coauthored with Stanley Hauerwas
Awards and honours
In recognition of his contributions and humanness to the marginalized, Jean Vanier has received numerous distinctions and awards including the Companion of the Order of Canada, the Legion of Honour (France) and many awards from faith groups, among them the Paul VI International Prize, the Community of Christ International Peace Award, the Rabbi Gunther Plaut Humanitarian Award and the Gaudium et Spes Award. There are high Schools named after him in Whitehorse, Yukon; London, Ontario; Scarborough, Ontario; Collingwood, Ontario; Richmond Hill, Ontario; Welland, Ontario and a to be constructed school in Milton, Ontario. In November 2004, a CBC poll placed him number 12 in a list of Greatest Canadians.
- L'Arche Page
- "Top 100 Greatest Canadians". Archived from the original on 2010-07-22. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- "Awards to Canadians". Canada Gazette. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
- The citation and more information are found by entering this number or name in the JPL Small-Body Database.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jean Vanier|
- Vanier, Jean. "The Wit Lectures: Harvard University the Divinity School." From Brokenness to Community. Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1992.
- Vanier's official website
- Website on Vanier for researchers and the media
- L'Arche International
- L'Arche Canada
- L'Arche Atlantic Region (Canada)
- L'Arche Daybreak - Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
- L'Arche in Latinamerica /El Arca en Latinoamerica
- L'Arche Zimbabwe
- L'Arche Kent
- L'Arche Mexico
- Pensamientos de Jean Vanier en Español