As many have said before me, I have been struck by his vision of relationship, of the world and of God. Reading Tears of Silence many years ago was my first encounter with Jean and his ideas. These called me deeply. Through his faithfulness to his mission in life, I have found mine. Thank you, Jean.
In an era that dehumanizes and demeans so many on the basis of arbitrary categories, Jean Vanier expands our understanding and refuses to ill-dignify any member of humanity. His life-long commitment to the 'small' among us,those who will never write books or lead nations, displays in full the groundwork of peacemaking--no one is outside the circle of concern and respect. As Vanier reminds us, when so many feel called to undertake monumental tasks, it is well to do 'small things lovingly' and to make peace daily in our communities and with those who are unlike us yet share our humanity".
I first became involved with L'Arche in 1999 when I was writing my first book "Treasured Legacies- Older & Still Great" Second Story Press, 2003. I was fortunate to be able to interview and photograph Jean Vanier and a core member Francis Maurice, thanks to Beth Porter. I have read most of what Jean has written and his ideas and values have helped shape my value system both in my social work practise and in my own life. I am thrilled to say that a photograph I took of Jean was used on the cover of the 10th Anniversary Edition of "Becoming Human"In a world where beauty, strength and intellect reign supreme Jean's message it so important. Jean has brought dignity, love, a home and a place of belonging to the frail and vulnerable. Jean is a true humanitarian.
In 1967, a friend of ours was going to begin work at Daybreak, Richmond Hill. She was full of enthusiasm, and led me to read more on this man Jean Vanier. He presented a vision of community, of relationships, that was just fascinating. Our friend told of the need for more people at Daybreak, I was so tempted, but with three children and a stay-at-home wife, and a good paying job as a teacher, there was just no way.Then in 1972, I was invited to a gathering of Metro teachers whose guest speaker was Jean. I went and was so pleased to sit down with him for a short time. Over the years following I was so pleased to read about the growth of L'Arche across the world.We returned home in 1980 to live in London, Ontario and continued to devour any news of L'Arche and Jean Vanier. Twenty years later I heard of the founding of L'Arche London, and soon started reading their newsletter, and sending small amounts of money to help them.In 2005, I was invited to sit on the London board, and to really get to know the people of L'Arche London. They have brought so much joy into my life. It is such a privilege share in theirs.
"Do you believe in love and compassion?" Jean asked me with tenderness when i had lots of questions about my spiritual journey. Since then i feel so much inner freedom and i often come back to the answer, "Yes, i believe in love and compassion" .