Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier, Ph.D. is a philosopher, writer, religious and moral leader and the founder of two major international community-based organizations, L’Arche, and Faith & Light, that exist for people with intellectual disabilities. The 145 L’Arche communities in 40 countries and 1,500 Faith & Light communities in 80 countries are living laboratories of human transformation. In and outside of these organizations, he has spent more than four decades as a deeply radical advocate for the poor and the weak in our society. 

While the progressive disability movement speaks mainly about tolerance, rights and normalization, Jean Vanier has shaped a distinct way of thinking that builds on those minimum standards of a civil society while inspiring us to transcend them. He invites us to recognize the profound gifts and lessons that people who have been rejected by society can offer when they are properly supported and included.

Jean Vanier’s leadership, writing and practical works cross religious and cultural boundaries. He is a theologian and philosopher who is fully engaged with the ordinariness of everyday life and from whom people from all cultures sense a deep and honest empathy for how hard it is to be, and to do, good in a complicated world. As a practitioner he is a witness to the transforming qualities of love, vulnerability, forgiveness and simplicity: spiritual qualities that are seldom heralded today.

Selected Awards
Kennedy Foundation Award, Washington D.C. USA
Companion, Order of Canada
Grand Officer, National Order of Quebec
La Legion d'Honneur, France
Prize of the Polish Senate
Beacon Humanitarian Prize, U.K.
Humanitarian Award, University of Notre Dame, USA
Pope Paul VI International Prize, 1997, given by Pope John Paul II
Rabbi Gunther Plaut Humanitarian Award, Canada
International Peace Prize, Community of Christ Church, USA
Gadium et Spes Award, International Knights of Columbus
Blessed are the Peacemakers Award, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, USA, 2006
Globe & Mail, 2008 Nation Builder Award, Canada
Pacem in Terris 2013, Davenport Catholic Council

Biography--Some Published Works
Signs of the Times (2013)
Jean Vanier: Essential Writings (2008)
Our Life Together (2007)
Befriending the Stranger (2006)
Encountering the Other (2005)
Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus Through the Gospel of John (2004)
Finding Peace (2003)
Made for Happiness: Discovering the Meaning of Life with Aristotle (2002)
An Ark for the Poor: The Story of L'Arche (1995)
From Brokenness to Community (1992)
Community and Growth (1989)