In 1964 Jean Vanier, a philospher and former naval officer, moved into a dilappidated house with two companions and started the first L'Arche community. In time this grew into an international network of communities in which people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them share their lives together. Though Vanier's roots are Roman Catholic, the movement is deeply ecumenical, and his message of compassion, community, and his stress on the dignity and value of human life, has struck a universal chord. This collection of his essential writings, published to mark Vanier's 80th birthday, reflect the great discovery of his life: "that we are healed by the poor and the weak, that we are transformed by them if we enter into relationship with them, that the weak and the vulnerable have a gift to give to our world. . . they call us together, in unity and peace, to build community."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very inspiring and spiritually uplifting. This highly educated man left a life of materialistic success to live a life with the poorest and most rejected men. In their dependence on him, he searched his own soul and recognized his own inner demons as well as a depth of love for these poor neglected and abused creatures that could only come from his dependence on God. He saw the face of Jesus In everyone of these men. His letters and speeches confront the materialistic and complacent way of life of our society, both in religious and political circles. A very thought-provoking book and soul-searching book
"Jean Vanier: Essential Writings," Selected with an Introduction by Carolyn Whitney-Brown is a wonderful read. I never realized that Vanier had written so much, but this 176 paged tome condenses his thoughts from various works into one concise paperback that is worth the read. Being a peace activist I wasn't sure if I would appreciate the works of a guy who served in the British Navy, but I found a similar fellow who has worked with individuals who are intellectually challenged as I have done for 31 years, only he has done it longer and better than I have. I found this book to be a valuable source of material to ponder and revisit. I hope more folks discover the wisdom this Jean Vanier has to offer. Peace.
Jean Vanier has made his life among the mentally and physically challenged. Nobody is better - or less sentimental - than Vanier in conveying the truth that the disabled are a wonderful gift from God, that each and everyone of us is a valued, loved, unique child of God.
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