Jean Vanier

Canadian humanitarian and social visionary, Jean Vanier, founded L’Arche in 1964 in a small rural village in France. Distressed by the institutionalization and the isolation and loneliness of people with intellectual disabilities, Jean Vanier invited two men from an institution to live with him in a small house. He called the house ”L’Arche,” a French word for ”the ark”. L’Arche grew quickly and spread around the world, attracting many young people who wanted to help and opening new homes and workshops. 50 Years later, L’Arche is now an International Federation of 152 L’Arche communities in over 40 countries around the world.


The essence of our communities is this ‘living with.’ We are called, certainly, to serve with all our ability and to help those who are weaker to develop, but the foundation of this helping is found in friendship and the communion of hearts, which allows us all to grow.
Jean Vanier, L’Arche founder