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Jean Vanier Remembered

Posted : May-07-2019

​The Archdiocese of Toronto remembers Jean Vanier, the Canadian humanitarian, Catholic theologian and moral leader, who passed away on May 7, 2019 at the age of 90.

In 1963, Vanier saw that many people with intellectual disabilities lived lonely, isolated lives. He created communities where those with disabilities were respected and their gifts were shared, called L’Arche (the ark). North America’s first L’Arche community — Daybreak — opened in Richmond Hill, Ont., in 1969.

Today there are more than 150 L’Arche communities in 38 countries. Vanier left his mark on Canada: he wrote more than 30 books, was a Massey lecturer, a Nobel Prize nominee and was awarded the Order of Canada.

On Vanier’s passing, Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, said:

In his simple, humble and loving way, inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Jean Vanier taught us to value the dignity of every individual.

In a world that increasingly pushes us to gauge success and worth by what we own or who we know, he reminded us that authentic love, friendship and community are what we really need.

L'Arche communities, in Canada and in more than 35 countries throughout the world, will continue his legacy of unconditional love offered to every individual.

May his example of peace and gentle care live on through those he inspired for years to come. We give thanks to God for his life.