About Jean Vanier...
- "In 1964, Jean Vanier came [to] the end of a long personal search,
after a career in the navy, a doctorate in philosophy, and a college
teaching career. He invited two men with mental handicaps, Raphael and
Phillippe, to set up a home with him in Trosly-Breuil, a small village
in France. He called the home L'Arche (the Ark, a symbol of life, hope,
and covenant with God and Man). In setting up this home, Jean chose
to look at handicapped people in a radical way, one inspired by the
life of Jesus and the Beatitudes. In a society that values production
and competition, those with a mental handicap teach us the value of
sharing, acceptance, and joy. The foundation stone of L'Arche is the
idea of "living with" and not just "doing for" those with mental handicaps.
In the years since the beginning, The Federation of L'Arche has grown
to over 100 communities in 18 countries; in Europe, North America, South
and Central America, the Carribean, Africa, Asia and Australia." --
Homefires, a L'Arche Community
By Jean Vanier...
is a difficult and sometimes tedious art. It is so much easier to tell
people what to do. But to capture their desires, with an open and free
heart, requires a real conversion, a "metanoia", a change of attitude.
To listen to someone means to become open and vulnerable to him/her
and to allow them to disturb us, to change our habits and our ways of
thinking and seeing things." -- Letters of L'Arche
has a transforming power. It is first and foremost a revelation of a
person's essential, fundamental beauty and value. If nobody reveals
to children their innate beauty and value, they will never know the
importance and the meaning of their life. They will hide behind sulking,
depression, violence, aggressive attitudes or will try to prove their
brilliance. When they are listened to and loved they begin to discover
what it means to be human. Little by little they become more trusting
and want to live more fully. They realise they do not have to defend
or prove themselves or always be at the centre of the stage; they have
a place, they belong." -- Letters of L'Arche
- "I call you during these three days to sit under a tree and to be
quiet and to learn that it’s okay to be the way you are." -- Faith
and Sharing youth retreat
- "The cry for love and communion and for recognition that rises from
the hearts of people in need reveals the fountain of love in us and
our capacity to give life." -- L'Arche Noah Sealth
- "I think we're terribly frightened of weakness and that comes back
to the child in me that if I was manipulated and hurt and used because
I was weak, if I had an over-protective mother, ah holding on to me
and frightened that I might grow and - well then we're frightened of
our weakness because then you're going to conquer me, you're going to
hurt me, you're going to manipulate me, you're going to reject me and
so on. But if I can discover something else, that ah that I'm loved
as I am. And what am I? I am a mixtur of strength and weakness. I'm
strong, I'm a human being and I have life inside of me but I'm weak
because I can go outside and be hit by a car and die. So I'm confronted
by death. Death is in front of me and life is in front of me. So to
discover that I am weak, that I am fragile, that there are flaws inside
of me, that there is a world of darkness in my unconscious, that I can
also manipulate people and want glory and power, all this broken part
of me, to accept that that is part of me, but also I can grow. I can
grow in love so our societies push down weakness because we're in a
competitive society. And so we're not allowing people to be themselves.
You only have to develop the strong part, only have to develop the mind,
only have to develop the power inside of you because if you have power
you'll have money, you'll have prestige, you'll have all that but then
we're denying something inside of ourselves, we're killing a part of
our being. The child inside of us, the child which is called to trust,
to sing, to dance, to look at other people without fear and without
wanting to control them. To discover the child which is incredib-- who
is incredibly beautiful inside of us, but we're frightened of the child.
So it's true our society is killing children." -- David Cherniack Films
Transcripts - Jean Vanier
This is only a brief excerpt of an interview with Jean Vanier. The whole transcript is well worth reading.
- One page of my website is dedicated to Jean
Vanier and L'Arche.
- One page of my website is dedicated to Jean Vanier and L'Arche.