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."
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