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L’Arche announces the death of founder Jean Vanier

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Photo credit: Elodie Perriot. Courtesy of L'Arche

Press Release -For Immediate Release
May 7, 2018


Contact:  Louis Pilotte, National Leader and Executive Director of L’Arche Canada

Montreal, Quebec, Canada: We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jean Vanier. Jean passed away peacefully today, Tuesday, May 7, at 2:10 am in Paris surrounded by some relatives. In recent days, while remaining very present, he had quickly declined. He was 90 years old.
“Jean leaves a long life and legacy of exceptional achievement, ” said L’Arche International Leader Stephan Posner. “His community of Trosly, the communities of L’Arche, Faith and Light, many other movements, and countless thousands of people have cherished his words and benefitted from his vision.”
Vanier founded L'Arche in 1964 in response to the treatment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in institutions. L'Arche grew quickly across France and the world and continues to welcome people of many faiths and cultures. Today, L’Arche includes more than 150 communities in 38 countries including 29 communities and two projects in 9 provinces across Canada. More than 10,000 members welcome and celebrate people with intellectual disabilities, fostering growth and allowing everyone to share their talents and abilities.
Companion of the Order of Canada, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and Templeton Prize recipient, Jean Vanier received many honours and awards for his groundbreaking work and inspiring vision of a more human society where each person - regardless of their age, abilities, or background - has a place and contributes their gifts. He shared this vision through 40 books, countless public talks, and interviews. Yet to us in L’Arche, he was simply Jean, our founder, guide, and companion in the journey.
When Jean welcomed Raphael, Philippe, and the others to begin L’Arche in 1964, he wore a suit and had the erect bearing of a former naval officer and professor of philosophy born into a family of deep faith and commitment to public service. Over the years, as he aged and let go of leadership roles, Jean’s tall frame, wrapped in his blue windbreaker, bent down to listen to us, especially his many friends with intellectual disabilities.
To learn more about the life and legacy of Jean Vanier please read the public-background or visit
Photo credit: Elodie Perriot. Courtesy of L'Arche

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