Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic World News

L'Arche founder Jean Vanier wins 2015 Templeton Prize

March 11, 2015

Jean Vanier, the founder of the L’Arche community that serves the mentally disabled, has been named the 2015 winner of the Templeton Prize.

The Templeton Foundation, which honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to spirituality, said that Vanier was being recognized for showing that compassion “has the potential to change the world for the better.” The annual award carries a $1.7 million stipend.

Inspired by his Cathoilc faith, Vanier, who is now 86, founded L’Arche in 1964, establishing a small home outside Paris to shelter two mentally disabled men. His example prompted others to imitate him, and today there are 147 L’Arche communities around the world. Vanier also established the Faith and Light network to support families caring for mentally disabled members; there are now 1,500 such groups.

Vanier told the Reuters news service that the people served by L’Arche are “beautiful people, people of the heart.” He remarked: “It’s great to be together. This is what L’Arche wants to be.”

Previous winners of the Templeton Prize have included Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Brother Roger of the Taize community, Chiara Lubich of Focolare, Billy Graham, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Chuck Colson, Michael Novak, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.


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