Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche wins award

The Catholic Herald reports

"This year the Templeton Prize, an annual $1.5 million award given to someone who has made “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension”, has been awarded to Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche. Previous recipients include Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Billy Graham…" The article goes on to look at the origins of L’Arche.

If you have never heard of L'Arche, look them up. It is a remarkable organisation with a network of houses/communities around the world. Their founder, Jean Vanier, is someone quite special and a true inspiration.


L’Arche founder, Jean Vanier.

The following is from the L'Arche UK website:

"Before I had no life. It was just sitting all day in a chair in one room. We weren’t allowed to go out or do anything. I was bored. When I came to L’Arche I was just so pleased to be there!" - Philippe Seux, a man with learning disabilities, who left an institution in Northern France in 1964 to become a founding member of L’Arche.

L’Arche was founded by philosopher Jean Vanier, the son of a former Governor General of Canada. Now aged 84, he served during World War II with the Royal Navy and then with the Royal Canadian Navy. He resigned in 1950 to study philosophy and theology and went on to teach, encouraged by his friend Pere Thomas Phillipe a dominican priest. In 1964, he became aware of the plight of thousands of people institutionalised with learning disabilities and, in that year, took the radical step of inviting Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux to leave the institution where they lived to share their lives with him. Together they began L’Arche in small house in Trosly-Breuil, France.

L'Arche is a worldwide federation of people with and without learning disabilities working together for a world where all belong."
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