He could have had a successful career in the Navy or even in academia as a respected professor of philosophy. But after encountering people with developmental disabilities, his heart ached for more. He wanted to bring peace into the world by loving those on the margins of society and giving them a place where they could belong. He founded the first community of L’Arche in 1964. Vanier believed friendship and communion were forged in daily living with others. Today, there are 154 communities of L’Arche in 38 countries. He later started the Faith and Light community, with a similar goal of assisting people with disabilities and their families.
Jean Vanier was known as a man of joy and light, a man of relationship, and a follower of Jesus. He dedicated nearly 60 years of his life to serving people with physical and mental disabilities.