The memory of L’Arche founder Jean Vanier can best be served by deliberately working to honour our common humanity, the CEO of L’Arche Ireland has said.
Speaking to this newspaper following the death in Paris of Mr Vanier on Tuesday morning, Maireid Boland Brabazon said the founder of the L’Arche and Faith and Light movements had remained very active right up to his 90th birthday last September, but had been ill recently.
“So he lived that very well, with the kind of peace that he brought to a lot of his life,” Ms Brabazon said. “At the moment we’re very sad at his passing and yet very grateful that he has passed gently into the arms of God – who was no doubt looking forward to meeting him.”
Born in Canada, Mr Vanier founded L’Arche, a movement where people with and without intellectual disabilities live side-by-side, in 1964. There are now over 150 L’Arche communities in 38 countries around the world.
Ms Brabazon said Mr Vanier’s legacy would live on through the L’Arche and Faith and Light communities and through his many books.
“People would have known him, not personally, but through his writings and learned his understanding of the power of vulnerability, the power of diversity, how much we can learn from each other and the unique value of each human being, regardless of religion, regardless of abilities or otherwise – that huge unique value of every human being and how much we can offer to each other,” she said.
His legacy would live on, she said, through “honouring our common humanity – that we’re all born in the likeness of God”.