Date & Time
Feb 7, 2015
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Rollo Centre

“Changing the world, one heart at a time”

On Saturday, Feb. 7, the Gabriola Ecumenical Society will be sponsoring a presentation on L’Arche (the Ark), which is a community for people with disabilities who live with those who care for them. It is a vision inspired by Canadian and founder Jean Vanier, who started the first small community in the 1960s in France where he still lives today.

Vanier, the son of Georges Vanier, the 19th Governor General of Canada, is a Canadian Catholic philosopher turned theologian, humanitarian and social visionary.

In 1964, through Vanier’s friendship with a priest named Father Thomas Philippe, he became aware of the plight of thousands of people with developmental disabilities who were institutionalized.

Jean Vanier invited two men, Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux, to leave the institutions where they resided and live with him in Trosly-Breuil, France.

Vanier expanded his efforts and established L’Arche at Trosly-Breuil where he still makes his home in the original L’Arche community.

L’Arche is now an international federation dedicated to the creation and growth of homes, programs and support networks for people who have intellectual disabilities. Today, the federation operates in 147 communities in 35 countries and on all five continents, including locally in the Comox Valley.

Each L’Arche community normally comprises a number of homes and, in many cases, apartments and day programs as well. Vanier has authored several books about his personal experiences and his spiritual and human learning from what was originally an experiment.

L’Arche Canada recognizes that transforming lives transforms society.  To quote Jean Vanier: “The fundamental principle of peace is a belief that each person is important.”