Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier, spiritual leader, worker with the handicapped (b at Geneva, Switz 28 Sept 1928). The son of Georges VANIER, governor general of Canada, and Pauline Vanier (née Archer), he served in the British and Canadian navies 1945-50.

Vanier, Jean

Jean Vanier, spiritual leader, worker with the handicapped (b at Geneva, Switz 28 Sept 1928). The son of Georges VANIER, governor general of Canada, and Pauline Vanier (née Archer), he served in the British and Canadian navies 1945-50. He studied and taught philosophy and theology in France, and then in 1964 established a home for handicapped men living with him in Trosly-Breuil, France. Called L'Arche (the ark), it was the first of many; by 1999 there were 23 in Canada and over 100 around the world. Vanier is widely esteemed for his leadership of spiritual retreats and for several books, including Tears of Silence (1970), Eruption to Hope (1971), Followers of Jesus (1976), Community and Growth (1979), The Broken Body (1988) and Becoming Human (1998). His writings and way of life challenge people to share life with the disadvantaged, in the belief that each person has a unique value as a human being. He was named a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1987.