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L'Arche community founder named for Pacem in Terris peace prize

July 18, 2013

Jean Vanier, who founded the L’Arche community to care for people with mental disabilities, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award.

The Pacem in Terris award, named to honor the landmark 1963 encyclical by Pope John XXIII, is presented to people noteworthy for their “achievements in peace and justice, not only in their country but in the world.”

Established in 1964, the award has been given by the American donors to President John F. Kennedy, Rev. Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Saul Alinsky, Mother Teresa, Cesar Chavez, and Lech Walesa, among others.

The son of a Canadian diplomat, Vanier was a Canadian naval officer when he felt a calling to do something else. After studies in philosophy and a brief teaching career he founded L’Arche in France in 1964, to provide care for people with mental disabilities and for their families. He was director of the community for years, and still, at the age of 84, continues to lecture and teach on loving care for the disabled.


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