Jean Vanier



A few quotations

About Jean Vanier...

  • Jean Vanier and Pope John-Paul II"In 1964, Jean Vanier came [to] the end of a long personal search, after a career in the navy, a doctorate in philosophy, and a college teaching career. He invited two men with mental handicaps, Raphael and Phillippe, to set up a home with him in Trosly-Breuil, a small village in France. He called the home L'Arche (the Ark, a symbol of life, hope, and covenant with God and Man). In setting up this home, Jean chose to look at handicapped people in a radical way, one inspired by the life of Jesus and the Beatitudes. In a society that values production and competition, those with a mental handicap teach us the value of sharing, acceptance, and joy. The foundation stone of L'Arche is the idea of "living with" and not just "doing for" those with mental handicaps. In the years since the beginning, The Federation of L'Arche has grown to over 100 communities in 18 countries; in Europe, North America, South and Central America, the Carribean, Africa, Asia and Australia." -- Homefires, a L'Arche Community

    By Jean Vanier...

  • quote by Jean Vanier"Listening is a difficult and sometimes tedious art. It is so much easier to tell people what to do. But to capture their desires, with an open and free heart, requires a real conversion, a "metanoia", a change of attitude. To listen to someone means to become open and vulnerable to him/her and to allow them to disturb us, to change our habits and our ways of thinking and seeing things." -- Letters of L'Arche
  • "Love has a transforming power. It is first and foremost a revelation of a person's essential, fundamental beauty and value. If nobody reveals to children their innate beauty and value, they will never know the importance and the meaning of their life. They will hide behind sulking, depression, violence, aggressive attitudes or will try to prove their brilliance. When they are listened to and loved they begin to discover what it means to be human. Little by little they become more trusting and want to live more fully. They realise they do not have to defend or prove themselves or always be at the centre of the stage; they have a place, they belong." -- Letters of L'Arche
  • "I call you during these three days to sit under a tree and to be quiet and to learn that it’s okay to be the way you are."  -- Faith and Sharing youth retreat
  • "The cry for love and communion and for recognition that rises from the hearts of people in need reveals the fountain of love in us and our capacity to give life." -- L'Arche Noah Sealth

  • "I think we're terribly frightened of weakness and that comes back to the child in me that if I was manipulated and hurt and used because I was weak, if I had an over-protective mother, ah holding on to me and frightened that I might grow and - well then we're frightened of our weakness because then you're going to conquer me, you're going to hurt me, you're going to manipulate me, you're going to reject me and so on. But if I can discover something else, that ah that I'm loved as I am. And what am I? I am a mixtur of strength and weakness. I'm strong, I'm a human being and I have life inside of me but I'm weak because I can go outside and be hit by a car and die. So I'm confronted by death. Death is in front of me and life is in front of me. So to discover that I am weak, that I am fragile, that there are flaws inside of me, that there is a world of darkness in my unconscious, that I can also manipulate people and want glory and power, all this broken part of me, to accept that that is part of me, but also I can grow. I can grow in love so our societies push down weakness because we're in a competitive society. And so we're not allowing people to be themselves. You only have to develop the strong part, only have to develop the mind, only have to develop the power inside of you because if you have power you'll have money, you'll have prestige, you'll have all that but then we're denying something inside of ourselves, we're killing a part of our being. The child inside of us, the child which is called to trust, to sing, to dance, to look at other people without fear and without wanting to control them. To discover the child which is incredib-- who is incredibly beautiful inside of us, but we're frightened of the child. So it's true our society is killing children." -- David Cherniack Films Transcripts - Jean Vanier
    This is only a brief excerpt of an interview with Jean Vanier. The whole transcript is well worth reading.

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