Dear Mr Vanier,
I am a doctor working with people with intellectual disability. By providence, I started volunteering with this very special population more than 10 years ago, first as a befriender, and then as a doctor. I am now working to advocate good quality and accessible healthcare for the intellectually disabled in Singapore. I have always shared with friends and family that working with the intellectually disabled brings me immense joy, but I could not quite explain why...until I read a book titled Adam: God's Beloved, written by Fr Henri Nouwen about the time he spent in the L'Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto.
As I read Fr Nouwen's description, it began to dawn on me that the deep joy and sensation of 'truth' I experience comes from the innate beauty of people with intellectual disability. In and despite their superficial imperfections, they radiate love, joy and life. I now refer to this as, 'The Hidden Light'. A light hidden to all who are yet to encounter them, but deeply experienced by those who take the step to venture close.I have been deeply blessed and touched by my encounters with people with intellectual disability all these years. You are so very right...they are gifts to the world, and have taught 'stronger' people like me, so much about life, and about what it means to be human.
Thank you so much for all you've done, for all you believe in, and for all you've been fighting for.
With best wishes,