Identity and the Challenge of Disability
A dialogue with Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, Timothy Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, and Jean Vanier (on telecast), founder of L'Arche communities, on their discovery of human identity in their life long experience with people with disabilities.
The condition of people with disabilities cannot be forgotten in any serious reflection on what is our true “I.” Rather, it deeply challenges the ideal of self-sufficiency typical of our age and may shed a truer light on the real essence of being human.
Barbara Gagliotti's review of Timothy Shriver's new book, Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most*, can be found at Humanum: Lessons in the Backyard.
An excerpt from the review:
“The book takes us on a very personal and fascinating journey to the discovery of what matters most in life. Shriver says he learned very early on that power and celebrity were not enough to satisfy, and his own “hunger to find out how to fit into the world” would eventually lead him home, to his own “backyard.” Tim’s own involvement with special needs children began while he himself was just a child at Camp Shriver, a summer camp his mother started in their country home in Maryland to find out “what they could do, not what they could not do.” In Tim’s quest for meaning, his teachers, he says, were St. Bernard, St. Francis, Jesuit Bernard Lonergan, Dorothy Day, leading Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim teachers, Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche communities, Loretta, Marty, Rosario and scores of other Special Olympics athletes who embody “grit” and “joy” enough to move spectators and perhaps, most importantly Rosemary, from whom he first “learned that everyone has a gift.”
— Barbara Gagliotti, Lessons in the Backyard
*Shriver, Timothy, Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most (New York: Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014).