L’Arche Australia today announced the death of its founder Jean Vanier, who died yesterday, May 7th in the Maison Médicale Jeanne Garnier in Paris. He was 90 years old.
“Jean has left an extraordinary legacy,” said L’Arche International Leader Stephan Posner. “His Community of Trosly, the Communities of L’Arche, Faith and Light, many other movements, and countless thousands of people have cherished his words and benefited from his vision.”
Vanier founded L’Arche in 1964 in response to the treatment that people with learning disabilities faced in institutions. There are now more than 150 L’Arche communities in 38 countries around the world, where more than ten thousand people with and without learning disabilities create places of welcome and celebration, sharing in life together.
There are 5 L’Arche Communities and 3 groups in the process of forming in Australia. Dr. David Treanor, National Leader of L’Arche Australia, said: “Jean’s death is a great sadness. His vision was one of radical welcome, inclusion and joy, where marginalised people with learning disabilities are valued and celebrated.
“He will be greatly missed by people from all walks of life who have been influenced and changed by his teachings, which remain as relevant today as ever.”
In recent decades, after he retired from his role at L’Arche, Vanier focused on his work sharing a message of unity, dignity and diversity. Jean entrusted the organisation’s legacy to the people who define what L’Arche is today: its members and Communities.
In addition to his work with L’Arche, Vanier co-founded Faith and Light, and inspired the creation of many other organisations. He influenced thousands of people around the world and published some forty books on how people with learning disabilities make essential contributions to building a more humane society.
L’Arche Australia is currently hosting screenings of Summer in the Forest’ in different locations around the country. The film documents the experience of life in the community of L’Arche Trosly, which Jean founded.
To learn more about the life and legacy of Jean Vanier, visit: www.jean-vanier.org/en.
With thanks to L’Arche Australia.