Friday, May 26, 2006


Following is a brief outline of one of the stories Religion & Ethics Newsweekly will be covering this week. The show airs on WMHT at 6:00 a.m. on Sundays.
Jean Vanier is the founder of L'Arche, an international organization that creates communities for people with developmental disabilities -- people who were in institutions, on the streets, or in families who couldn't care for them or didn't want them. The son of a French-Canadian diplomat, Vanier served in the British Royal Navy during World War II, then he taught philosophy in France.

While never marrying, he considered the priesthood. But in 1964, he found his calling, opening the first L’Arche home in a small village south of Paris. Judy Valente visits L'Arche in Chicago and talks with Vanier about how the members of this establishment have transformed Vanier by allowing him into their world and watching their self-esteem grow as they give back the love that they have received.

Vanier says, "My life is to live with them -- to be with those who are fragile, vulnerable and weak. I’m not sure that we can really understand the message of Jesus if we haven’t listened to the weak...we can love people who have been pushed aside, humiliated, seen as having no value. And then we see that they are changed. And at the same time, we discover that we too are broken, that we have our handicaps. And our handicaps are around about elitism, about power, around feeling that value is just to have power."

If you had to complete the sentence, "My life is to ________," what would you say?