How To Do Ordinary Things, Part 1

"Love doesn't mean doing extraordinary or heroic things. It means knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness." In 1964, Jean Vanier bought a little house in northern France and invited two mentally disabled men to come and live with him. It was a radical approach to thinking about people on the fringe of society -- to live with them,...
Jean Vanier. Photograph courtesy of L'Arche Canada.
Listen to the full episode53:58

"Love doesn't mean doing extraordinary or heroic things. It means knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness." In 1964, Jean Vanier bought a little house in northern France and invited two mentally disabled men to come and live with him. It was a radical approach to thinking about people on the fringe of society -- to live with them, and most importantly, learn from them, to look for their gifts. On the 50th anniversary ofL'Arche, the now-international organization Jean Vanier started, a celebration of a Canadian humanitarian and visionary. Part 2 airs Tuesday, September 9.


Participants in the program:

Jean Vanier - founder of L'Arche in 1964

Jerome Gallois - supervisor of the workshops in L'Arche, Trosly

George Durner - now retired, was a regional coordinator for L'Arche in France

Gary Webb - workshop supervisor in L'Arche, Trosly

Caroisa Kilcommons - Community Leader of L'Arche Chambèry in Savoie, France


Related books & websites:

  • Signs of the Times: Seven Paths of Hope for a Troubled World by Jean Vanier, published by Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd, 2013.

  • Becoming Human by Jean Vanier (The 1998 CBC Massey Lectures) published by House of Anansi Press, 10th anniversary edition, 2009.
     

  • Finding Peace by Jean Vanier, published by House of Anansi Press, 2003.
     
  • Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness (25th Anniversary Edition) by Robert K. Greenleaf, published by Paulist Press, 2013
     

Photographs ofJean Vanier & L'Arche

Images courtesy of L'Arche Canada. To view more images of Jean Vanier & L'Arche visit the Jean Vanier website.


The first L'Arche building in Trosly-Breuil, 1964.


Jean Vanier with the first group to live at L'Arche in Trosly-Breuil.


Jean Vanier with Mother Teresa, 1974.


Jean Vanier with Raphael Simi and Philippe Sieux, the original founders of L'Arche.


 

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