Monday, October 3, 2016

Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier is a Canadian theologian and humanitarian who founded L'Arche — an international Christian organization dedicated to providing for people with intellectual disabilities. It began in 1964, when he invited two men with disabilities into his home in Trosley-Breuil, France. Today, there are 147 L'Arche communities in 35 countries.

Jean Vanier has written more than 30 books, including the poetry collection Tears of Silence which was first published in 1991, and re-issued in an edition, featuring photographs by Jonathan Boulet-Groulx, to mark the 50th anniversary of L'Arche (2014, House of Anansi).

He is a companion of the Order of Canada, has been named to France's Legion of Honour, and has received many honours including the £1.1 million Templeton Prize in 2015.

From Tears of Silence

i fear
----------the mysterious power of compassion
---------------do not
---------------believe in it
because that implies having found myself
---------------that I no longer play
-------------------play a game
-------------------put on a mask — a personage
-------------------pretending to be
---------------but that i become myself
-------------------accepting my poverty
-------------------letting the Spirit breathe
--------------------------------------in me
opening my being
--------------------(no fear)
to the delicate touch
of His hand that opens me
---------------but i fear
-------------------and wear my mask

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.