This morning I woke up to two inspiring things. First, I learned that Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche communities, had passed away. He is a modern-day saint and a man of radical presence and hospitality. His example of faith, a life lived for Jesus, with the marginalized and vulnerable, displayed an authenticity many of us hope to aspire to.
Over the years, I have often returned to his writings as a source of spirituality and help. His simplicity is astounding and also profound. He was a man who engaged in the mystery of God made manifest in the person of Jesus, and also in the lives of those with learning and physical difficulties. His mission in life was to love, and he lived this way of life to the fullest.
As he so beautifully puts it…”To love someone is to show them their beauty, their worth and their importance.”
Second inspiring moment today was on a very early conference call with women from different countries in the world. We are coordinating sacred conversations in international groups on areas of spirituality and life – contemplating risk-taking, mutual listening, intentional living and how to live inter-culturally. What strikes me so strongly about these women is our desire to live lives of intentional love and contemplation, and to be leaders in this endeavor. As I listened to the evolution of our conversations, and the deepening friendships between us, I couldn’t help but think of another favorite quote of Jean Vanier…
…”Real peace implies something deeper than polite acceptance of those who are different. It means meeting and creating bonds of friendship with them.” Jean Vanier, Rest in Peace.
Thanks for reading!
Victoria L. Battell, RSM