Brother and sister, children of famous parents, their father being the first French-Canadian Governor General, Jean and Thérèse Vanier led extraordinary lives of prayer and service to those most in need. Many good people pray and offer assistance to the most vulnerable in our societies. But some recognize a calling to live and learn together.
Jean Vanier founded L’Arche (The Ark) in France in 1964. “In the communities of L’Arche we live and journey together, men and women with disabilities and those who feel called to share their lives with them. We are all learning the pain and joy of community life, where the weakest members open hearts to compassion and lead us into deep union with Jesus.” (Jean Vanier, Befriending the Stranger (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2010 p. vii). L’Arche now has 150 communities in 38 countries.
Dr. Thérèse Vanier first served as a physician in St. Thomas Hospital in London. During this time she supported the work of Cicely Saunders, the founder of the Hospice movement in England. In 1973 Thérèse opened the first L’Arche community in England and later coordinated the work of L’Arche in northern Europe. She shared a prayer that gives a profound sense of reciprocity needed to face the world’s inequities in a way that promises healing to our fragmented and broken world. See http://passionists-uk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Therese-Vanier.pdf