Jean Vanier
Jean Vanier, born on the 10th of September 1928, was a Canadian Catholic philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian. In 1964, he founded “L’Arche”, an international federation of communities spread over 37 countries, for people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them. Subsequently, in 1971, he co-founded “Faith and Light” with Marie-Hélène Mathieu, which also works for people with developmental disabilities, their families, and friends in over 80 countries. He continued to live as a member of the original L’Arche community in Trosly-Breuil, France. Over the years, he wrote 30 books on religion, disability, normality, success, and tolerance. He died on the 7th of May 2019.
“All of us have a secret desire to be seen as saints, heroes, martyrs. We are afraid to be children, to be ourselves.”
“I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.”
“We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”
“Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don’t talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.”
“Love doesn’t mean doing extraordinary or heroic things. It means knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness.”
“To love someone is to show to them their beauty, their worth and their importance.”
“A growing community must integrate three elements: a life of silent prayer, a life of service and above all of listening to the poor, and a community life through which all its members can grow in their own gift.”
“Every human activity can be put at the service of the divine and of love. We should all exercise our gift to build community.”
“Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness”
“If we are to grow in love, the prisons of our egoism must be unlocked. This implies suffering, constant effort and repeated choices.”
“When we love and respect people, revealing to them their value, they can begin to come out from behind the walls that protect them.”
“When people love each other, they are content with very little. When we have light and joy in our hearts, we don’t need material wealth. The most loving communities are often the poorest. If our own life is luxurious and wasteful, we can’t approach poor people. If we love people, we want to identify with them and share with them.”
Marise Akouri
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