Our Life Together. A Memoir in Letters

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2007

Our Life Together gathers significant letters from four decades of Vanier's correspondence, beginning in 1964, the year he founded the first L'Arche community. In a meditative style, Vanier reflects on world events, his travels, his own journey through his faith and his deep desire for interfaith dialogue and peace. These letters reveal a man of tremendous insight and compassion, a leader whose example can inspire us all to do great things.
Life within a L’Arche community offers a valuable alternative to the world outside, because it has a way of enriching, strengthening and giving direction to the lives of community members. Whether in L’Arche for a short or long time, those witnessing community life first hand feel that their lives have taken a different direction – perhaps a deeper understanding of what it is to be human and experience belonging. In this book, the journey of L’Arche answers an important question about what gives L’Arche its particular quality. The very identity of L’Arche is based on relationship and how people with different gifts live together. The first element in relationship, writes Vanier, is that relationship at L’Arche centers on the body – eating meals together, dressing, bathing, touching – just physically caring for people and being attentive to the body, to medical care, revealing to one another in concrete ways that there is love, home and family. Personally and collectively a ‘communion of heart’ is lived out, where the body is offered, broken, blest and shared.