January 18, 2021

In Memoriam: Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier. 1928-2019

Jean Vanier died this past week.

Many of us came to know of Jean Vanier through the work and writings of Henri Nouwen.

Damaris wrote recently that “the simplest, hardest, and most effective means of redeeming Christianity in our age [is] a humble life of service.”

Jean Vanier may be one of the greatest examples of that in my lifetime.

May light eternal rest upon him.


  1. anonymous says

    “Love not just those of your own tribe,
    your own class, family or people,

    but those who are different,
    those who are strangers,
    who are strange to your ways,

    who come from different cultural and religious traditions,
    who seem odd,
    those you do not understand.

    Love as the Samaritan loved the man he found
    beaten up by robbers,
    somewhere on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.”

    (Jean Vanier, ‘The Body Broken’)

  2. Robert F says

    Pray for us, brother Jean.

    • Christiane says


      I wouldn’t be surprised if soon there will be an acclamation for Jean directed towards the Vatican. 🙂

  3. So normal and kind. A space giver you might say. He made room for you.

  4. Christiane says

    Is a wonderful story about Jean Vanier’s L’Arche, that it became a refuge and a place of spiritual healing for the world-famous author and teacher Henri Neuwen who sought spiritual renewal away from ‘the world’. It was there, in his service to the handicapped, Neuwen was able to find healing and peace for his soul.

    “Why is L’Arche so special?
    L’Arche has its own unique tone. It’s not an institution. It’s not a group home. It’s a spiritual community where handicapped people are in the center. L’Arche exists not to help the mentally handicapped get “normal,” but to help them share their spiritual gifts with the world. The poor of spirit are given to us for our conversion. In their poverty, the mentally handicapped reveal God to us and hold us close to the Gospel. That’s a vision we have to nurture and deepen. I’m just beginning to discover it. I’m no expert on it. Nobody really is. But we live it very tenderly.”


  5. Dana Ames says

    Memory eternal. May God help us to have the same kind of love as Vanier had.


  6. More confirmation that power and faith don’t mix.

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