Jean Vanier Awarded Templeton Prize

On Wednesday, in honor of Jean Vanier's five decades of advocacy for people with disabilities, he is being named the 2015 recipient of the Templeton Prize.
The $1.7 million award is given annually by the Templeton Foundation to a person who “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.”

The foundation was established by the late billionaire investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton.John Templeton, a mutual fund pioneer from Tennessee who amassed a fortune before his death in 2008, always thought something was missing from the much-lauded Nobel Prizes for scientific research: spirituality. So he established his own prize in 1972 for those who contribute to “affirming life’s spiritual dimension” — with the stipulation that the cash award always be higher than the Nobels.

Today’s Templeton Prize, worth $1.7 million, is to be awarded to Jean Vanier, 86, the founder of L’Arche, a global network of communities for people with intellectual disabilities.

In a statement Wednesday, Vanier, 86, said he hoped that his receiving the prize would lead to more opportunities for people with and without developmental disabilities to meet and learn from each other:

Past recipients of the Templeton Prize include the late Mother Teresa (who received the first award in 1973), the Dalai Lama (2012) and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2013).

Jean Vanier,will formally receive the Templeton Prize during a ceremony at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in London on May 18, 2015

Jean Vanier's inspirational words: "What Does It Mean To Be Fully Human?"

Many media outlets have reported this wonderful recognition of the work of Jean Vanier.

For more information on the Templeton Foundation and the Templeton Prize:

 Jean Vanier, 2015 Templeton Prize Laureate and Jennifer Simpson, daughter of Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr., President and Chairman of the John Templeton Foundation, at the Templeton Prize press conference, British Academy, London, Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

Jean Vanier, 2015 Templeton Prize Laureate and Jennifer Simpson, daughter of Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr., President and Chairman of the John Templeton Foundation, at the Templeton Prize press conference, British Academy, London, Wednesday, March 11, 2015.


Jean Vanier and members of L'Arche meet with Pope Francis

On Friday, March 21, 2014, Pope Francis met with Jean Vanier and a small delegation from L'Arche, including Patrick Fontaine and Guenda Malvezzi. Here are the photos:


Jean Vanier receives the Pacem in Terris Award

On July 7, 2013, in the community of L’Arche Trosly, Jean Vanier received the Pacem in Terris Award from Bishop Martin Amos of the diocese of Davenport, Iowa, U.S.A. It was the first time in its history that this award traveled overseas. In the past, it has always been given in Davenport.

The award which honors Pope John XXIII and commemorates his 1963 encyclical letter Pacem in Terris, is given to men and women “to honor them for their achievements in peace and justice, not only in their own country but in the world.”

Among those who have previously received the award are:  President John F. Kennedy, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr., Dom Helder Camara, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa, Hildegard Goss-Mayr…

Bishop Amos said that encouragement of Jean’s nomination for the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award came from theologians, academics and others around the globe who appreciate his contribution to the betterment of the world through love, understanding and a desire to help people grow.

Members from the L’Arche communities in L’Oise filled the community hall, Hosanna, for the ceremony.  After an explanation by Bishop Amos, of the history of the Pacem in Terris award, L’Arche members entertained everyone with a sketch in which God had become sad because human beings were so preoccupied with their lives in the world that they had forgotten about Him.  His angels suggest several places that God might go in order to encounter human beings again.  In the end God decides to meet human beings by being present in their hearts.

When the sketch finished, all of the angels gave small wooden hearts to everyone as a souvenir of the ceremony.  Each heart had “Pacem in Terris” July 7, 2013 inscribed on it.

As Bishop Amos gave the award to Jean he said, "We believe that Jean Vanier is building a foundation for peace through his half-century commitment to fostering communities of love, understanding and growth that lead to human flourishing… we do not honor you, you honor us.”

Jean Vanier recalled that the vocation of L’Arche is to work for peace, to take down the barriers between human beings, reducing fears, working to create a more human society.

For many of us who were present, the peace award touched the deep sense of the mission of L’Arche.  Sometimes, we lose sight of why L’Arche, and what we live together each day, is so important to our society.  We become too busy with all that has to be done:  the meetings, the shopping, the meals, the laundry, the house work, relationships… and so on.

It does us good from time to time, for someone to come to us and say:  "What you are living is an inspiration for others, a sign of hope and peace for our world today.  Thank you!”