Dear Mr Jean Vanier,
I have been overly delighted of the news that the templeton prize was awarded to you. I must admit that you have been my source of inspiration all my life and will continue to be. I was in my twenty when I had the chance to read the torrent of silence,my heart vibrate to every word written in this book.I lived my life according to those principles,no matter how most of the people around me could think differently.I am actualy sure that Iwas in the right pathway. After forthy years you still popped into my mind when I réevaluate my life and seek for direction.I am thankful to God that in his precious care he nominated you.I am looking forwards reading all of your books and read your daily quotes.
With LOVE Bibiane.
Jean Vanier, What you are doing on a large scale is what I have attempted on a very small scale because I see the need for us to come along side of those less able. Please help me to implement a larger inclusion as the need is great in South Carolina. I look forward to hearing from you. Rosemary
I met Jean on a retreat in the 1980s. Part of the retreat was we could sign up for 20 min. alone with Jean. I signed up. I can't remember what I asked him but I do remember what his first words were to me. "What happened to your arm?" My arm was in a sling from surgery. I thought he was so real, asking me that question. The rest of our talk just flew by and I was just so comfortable. I thought I felt like the disciples did when they were with Jesus. I could sense Jesus in Jean. I also saw him several more times at L'Arche in Seattle, Wa. I was a volunteer there and on the Board of Directors. He was one of us all. I asked him if I could write to him. Of course he said yes. I did and each letter from him sounded like he knew me so well. I doubt he remembered meBut Jean knows people. Unfortunately, I lost his letters. Jean is a holy man.
I met Jean in a retreat of Faith and Light in Beirut in the 90s. His words were simply speaking to the heart. The best moment was the washing of the feet ceremony, which ends up being a washing of the heart.there were unforgettable moments including embarrassing ones. In one of his lectures in Beirut, I was asked to help with the translation. and that lecture had a lot of moments of silence because on many occasions, I was so much taken by what he was saying that.... I forgot to translate... he is simply so different .
I enjoyed very much listening to your interview on the BBC yesterday morning, so much so that I decided to have a browse through your site. I am originally from N. Ireland and so I was interested to see that you had a connection with the country through the Restoration Ministries under the direction of Dr Ruth Pattereson.I surfed on through her site to see that she had been involved in conflict resolution, as had my niece Dr Barbara McCabe, a university lecturer. I sent a mail to Dr Patterson informing her that she probably knew my niece who had been a sometime spokesperson for the women's movement in Ulster and had lectured on conflict resolution in many countries - but also that she was seriously ill with a brain tumour in hospital.In fact Barbara passed away at 8am this morning.I mentionned to my sister, Barbara's mother that I had had this contact with Dr Patterson (who was praying for us) and she, my sister, was able to tell me that Dr Patterson had been the minister at my late mother's church earlier in her career.It's a small world but it is thanks to you that this connection was made.Congratulations on your Templeton prize win. We have Templeton funded science and religion series of studies at our Church (www.acparis.org) and have had another Templeton prize winner speak: Holmes Rollston III. Like you, he gave away his prize but he said that it was nice to be a millionaire for 6 hours...!!
Bringing Jean to mind in this moment brings to mind walking together through the streets of Trosly or doing the dishes together in Le Val Fleuri or standing together in a church at the heart of West Belfast. Always a quality of presence and deep listening that allows people to know that they matter, remember who they are beyond their limiting stories and labels and 'BE' who they are truly called to be in a world that is often distracted by all the 'doing'. Remembering Jean and L'Arche always reminds me of Jesus and the disciples on the road to Emmaus. I see Jean as someone who has accompanied all of us, at one time or another on the journey of life and the call of L'Arche as one of faithful companionship and friendship - no matter what! These, days my journey has called me out beyond our community into the highways and byways of our fractured city to a people paralysed by hopelessness and their unmet longing for Love. I pray that I can be to them who Jean has been to me. That I may be a friend, accompanying them to places we would rather not go, listening deeply to their hearts and revealing that, no matter what, they matter and that their lives, exactly as they are, generate a love that transforms, my heart of stone to a heart of flesh day after day. I am deeply grateful for their companionship. Who would I be without them and without L'Arche for growing this upside down logic in me? From the highways and byways of Belfast and beyond - Thank you Jean and Thank you L'Arche for being a real school of the heart.