Jean Vanier is a philosopher, writer, religious and moral leader and the founder of two major international community-based organizations, LíArche, and Faith & Light, that exist for people with intellectual disabilities. The 147 LíArche communities in 35 countries and 1,500 Faith & Light communities in 82 countries are living laboratories of human transformation. In and outside of these organizations, he has spent more than four decades as a deeply radical advocate for the poor and the weak in our society.
Jean Vanierís leadership, writing and practical works cross religious and cultural boundaries. He is a theologian and philosopher who is fully engaged with the ordinariness of everyday life and from whom people from all cultures sense a deep and honest empathy for how hard it is to be, and to do, good in a complicated world. As a practitioner he is a witness to the transforming qualities of love, vulnerability, forgiveness and simplicity: spiritual qualities that are seldom heralded today.
Where modernity calls us to privilege personal mastery, progress and doing big things, Vanierís experience of living with people with profound impairment and his spiritual reflection on this experience, lead him to focus on being with and for others, especially disadvantaged others: to cultivating sincere presence to othersí desires, being attentive to the beauty in all of our ordinariness, and being of meaningful service to others. The growth of LíArche and Faith & Light show how powerful these insights are when executed well.