On Saturday we woke up to troubling news about the founder of L’Arche, the late Jean Vanier. Results of an independent inquiry commissioned by L’Arche International reveal that Jean Vanier was involved in a series of relationships with adult women, without disabilities, over the course of three decades. According to the findings from the inquiry, these sexual relationships involved an abuse of power and influence on the part of Jean Vanier. Our prayers are with the women who were victims of this abuse.
This news is especially upsetting to us since one of our schools bears the namesake of Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche Foundation.
Below I share excerpts from L’Arche London and L’Arche International addressing the findings of the inquiry.
“We at London L’Arche are both shocked and saddened by the findings because this behavior, as revealed in the report, betrays the fundamental values of our organization. We honour the courage of the victims who came forward and stand in solidarity with them and with all victims of abuse.” L’Arche London
“We are shocked by these discoveries and unreservedly condemn these actions, which are in total contradiction with the values Jean Vanier claimed and are incompatible with the basic rules of respect and integrity of persons, and contrary to the fundamental principles on which L’Arche is based.” L'Arche International
We pray for the L’Arche community as they address the findings of the inquiry. We are blessed here in London to have a vibrant L’Arche Community. “. . . a community within the London community working with others to build a world where everyone belongs.”
The L’Arche Identity and Mission Statement (below) remind all of us of those ‘fundamental principles’ on which L’Arche is based.
“We are people, with and without intellectual disabilities, sharing life in communities belonging to an International Federation. Mutual relationships and trust in God are at the heart of our journey together. We celebrate the unique value of every person and recognize our need of one another.”
L’Arche Identity Statement
Our Mission is to...
- Make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities, revealed through mutually transforming relationships.
- Foster an environment in community that responds to the changing needs of our members, while being faithful to the core values of our founding story.
- Engage in our diverse cultures, working together towards a more human society.
L’Arche is truly a gift to our community. We pray for them at this difficult time as they continue to “work with others to build a world where everyone belongs.”