Jean Vanier died this morning. L'Arche announced on their website:
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Jean Vanier, our founder. Jean died on the 7 May in the Maison Médicale Jeanne Garnier in Paris.
"Jean has left an extraordinary legacy," 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 benefited from his vision."
Vanier founded L'Arche in 1964 in response to the treatment that people with learning disabilities faced in institutions. There are now more than 150 L'Arche communities in 38 countries around the world, where more than ten thousand people with and without learning disabilities create places of welcome and celebration, sharing in life together.
There are 12 L'Arche Communities in the UK. John Sargent, National Leader of L'Arche UK, said: "Jean's death is a great sadness. His vision was one of radical welcome, inclusion and joy, where each person is valued and celebrated.
"He will be greatly missed by people from all walks of life who have been influenced and changed by the witness of his life and his teachings, which remain as relevant today as ever.
"We are committed to continue to live out his vision in our L'Arche and Faith & Light communities."
In recent decades, after he retired from his role at L'Arche, Vanier focused on his work sharing a message of unity, dignity and diversity. Jean entrusted the organisation's legacy to the people who define what L'Arche is today: its members and Communities.
In addition to his work with L'Arche, Vanier co-founded Faith and Light, and inspired the creation of many other organisations. He influenced thousands of people around the world and published some forty books on how people with learning disabilities make essential contributions to building a more humane society.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeted: "Jean Vanier lived the Gospel in such a beautiful way that few who met him could fail to be caught up in it. I join countless people around the world in deep sorrow at his death, and great gratitude for his life."
Cardinal Vincent Nichols president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, who is currently at the English College in Valladolid said in a statement: "At our gathering in Valladolid, we heard with deep emotion of the death of Jean Vanier. For over half a century he has inspired an entirely new appreciation of the gift of people with learning disabilities and revealed the most profound heart of human community. We pray for him and his beloved L'Arche communities at this moment of loss. May he rest in peace."
Belonging in an age of lonliness: www.larche.org.uk/interview-with-jean-vanier-belonging-in-an-age-of-loneliness
Jean Vanier was scheduled to speak at the Flame youth festival in March this year. He was unable to come in person but he gave this video interview which was seen by 10,000 young people: https://vimeo.com/325416156
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