Brief Chronology

September 10,Jean Vanier born in Geneva, Switzerland, the fourth of five children of Canadian parents, Major-General Georges Vanier (1881-1967) and Madame Pauline Archer Vanier (1898-1991)



1928September 10,Jean Vanier born in Geneva, Switzerland, the fourth of five children of Canadian parents, Major-General Georges Vanier (1881-1967) and Madame Pauline Archer Vanier (1898-1991)

1942 Joined the Royal Navy at the Dartmouth Naval College in England at age 13.

1949Transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and was appointed to the carrier "Magnificent".

1950Felt called to leave the navy and joined a center in Paris for training of lay people in spirituality and theology.  This center, with international membership, was directed by Father Thomas Philippe, a Dominican who would.

1962He earning a doctor of philosophy degree 'cum maxima laude' at the Institut Catholique. His thesis was on 'Happiness as Principle and End of Aristotelian Ethics'.

1964Taught philosophy at the University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto.

1964 August 4-5th Founded L'Arche with Fr. Thomas Philippe in Trosly, France. He rented a small home and welcomed Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux, two men with a developmental disability who had been living in an institution to live with him. Today there are over 151 L'Arche communities in 37 countries, including 29 in Canada.

1968Gave the first "Faith and Sharing" retreat at Marylake in King, Ontario, bringing together lay people, religious and people with a disability. Since then there have been hundreds of Faith and Sharing retreats given across North America by various people.

1970'sBegan traveling extensively throughout the world to give talks, lectures, retreats, and to establish and support L'Arche and Faith and Light communities. This continues to this day, with a special interest in speaking with young people.

1971Organized and led the first Faith and Light pilgrimage to Lourdes for 12,000 people, including 4,000 people with a disability. Every ten years since then there has been a major pilgrimage to Lourdes or Rome.

1971Founded, with Marie Helene Mathieu, Faith and Light: an organization which brings together on a monthly basis people with a developmental disability, their family and friends. Today there are 1,800 Faith and Light groups in 80 countries.

1981Stepped down from the day-to-day responsibility for the original L'Arche community in Trosly, France, and for the International Federation of L'Arche, allowing others to take over.

1983Delivered the major address to the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver.

1987At the invitation of Pope John Paul II, participated in the Synod of the Laity in Rome.

1998Addressed the Central Committee of the World Council or Churches in Geneva; was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to address all the bishops of the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference; delivered the Massey Lecture in Convocation Hall in Toronto. The complete Massey Lectures were subsequently broadcast across Canada on CBC radio. The lecture series entitled "Becoming Human" was also published and was a national best seller for many weeks.

2015Jean continues to live in one of the homes in Trosly but is called to give talks, lectures and retreats. Jean speaks to thousands of people each year.


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