Jean Vanier learning disabilities visionary died in 2019.

Jean Vanier,

founder of L’Arche, was born on September 10, 1928. He died of thyroid cancer on May 7, 2019, aged 90

When Jean Vanier visited an asylum for 80 men with in northern France in 1964, he found the residents walking around in circles and doing little else. Suddenly, one looked at Vanier with hopeful eyes and asked: “Will you be my friend?” In the mo-ment that it took him to smile and nod, Vanier’s life was changed. Convinced that disabled people could become the teachers of their carers, he bought a stone cottage with no plumbing in the village of Trosly-Breuil, 60 miles north of Paris, and invited two men from the asylum to live with him. “I thought we might have fun,” re-called Vanier, who founded 154 more communities that he named L’Arche (The Ark) to signify inviting people in pain to take refuge. In each, people with disabilities live in equality with their carers. There are 12 L’Arche communi-ties in Britain.

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