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Jean Vanier


Jean Vanier was the son of a Canadian Governor General.  He studied philosophy and theology, served as an officer in the Royal Navy, taught at the University of Toronto, and, at the age of thirty-five realized he didn’t know what God’s purpose was for his life.

With the encouragement of a mentor, Jean visited an institution in France for men with intellectual disability.  Through his encounters in this institution, and his outrage by the conditions there, Jean made the decisive choice of inviting two men with intellectual disability to live with him. His life and our world changed forever.

Throughout the fifty years of L’Arche, Jean has continued to live in the original L’Arche community and has supported the growth of L’Arche communities around the world.

A philosopher, a writer, and an advocate, Jean has shared with the world what he has learned about the value of community, the gifts of all people and a hope for a more human society. He has written 23 books and led countless retreats.

His vision and leadership have earned much recognition for him and L’Arche including the Companion of the Order of Canada, the French Legion D'Honneur and the Templeton Prize.