Jean Vanier

Slide Show


A Presentation of Jean's life and contributions in pictures.

Jean's Funeral Mass Video


 Jean’s funeral was broadcast live on KTO TV on Thursday May 16, 2019. An English translation is available. 

Prayer Vigil Ideas


 Want to celebrate the life of Jean Vanier, our founder? Take time for prayer and thanksgiving in your community with these suggestions. 


May 7, 2019


Dear Friends,

Our hearts are deeply saddened to share with you that Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche and co-founder of Faith and Light, passed away.

Jean passed away today at 2.10am in Paris surrounded by those closest to him.

Jean had a life of immense fruitfulness. He has marked the history of L'Arche and Faith and Light, as well as the personal history of so many of us. We want to give thanks for all this. Jean sent us out on a mission, we will do our best to meet his deep desire that the good news may be announced to the poor.

It was in his community of Trosly that Jean wanted the funeral ceremony to take place.

This ceremony will be held in the privacy of his community, his family and some representatives of the Federation of L’Arche and Faith and Light. All will receive a personal invitation. For each of you to be able to participate with his heart and prayers, the celebration will be recorded and broadcasted live.

A second message will be sent out to you soon giving more details about the events. You will also find them on the website where you can share a message or a testimony.

In communion with each one of you, in sorrow and hope that Jean already rest in the arms of the Lord and “in the joyful company of his poor”.

Marie-Hélène Mathieu, Co-founder of Faith and Light 

Hoda Elturk, President of the Board of Directors of Faith and Light 

Raul Izquierdo Garcia, International Coordinator of Faith and Light 

Corinne Chatain, General Secretary of Faith and Light 

April 30, 2019

Message from Christine and Jean:

Over the Easter period a small delegation from the Community were able to see Jean. Christine Mc Grievy, Patrick and Anicette, two members with a disability from the Val Fleuri, Jean’s house for many years, as well as Alain and Nadine, two first generation assistants ; a visit that was good for everyone.

Jean’s health remains fragile and yet he is very present, as always kind and generous with the staff who care for him and those who accompany him”, says Christine. “When we celebrated his 90th birthday last September Jean talked about having found his home in L’Arche and I see how much all the cards and messages from the communities mean to him although too frail to reply. This last visit Jean wanted to send his own message:

“I give you my latest news that I'm dictating to Christine.

I am happy in a good hospital in France. I have been welcomed with love. I have a beautiful room and wonderful doctors and nurses. Odile is here to support me. I am happy.

My body is weak, I can't stand up and so I spend all my time in bed and do exercises for my legs. I still have difficulty speaking, but that may be resolved.

I am deeply peaceful and trustful. I'm not sure what the future will be but God is good and whatever happens it will be the best.

Thank you all for your wonderful letters, I read them all in thanksgiving.

I send to every one of you my deepest love. We are a wonderful family, we love each other so much and God is watching over us. So, thank you, every one of you.

My love to each one of you and thank you for your love and your prayers.

I am happy and give thanks for everything.

My deepest love to each one of you."


March 19, 2019

Dear friends, Jean finished his radiotherapy sessions, which he endured quite well. After several weeks in hospital, he left the hospital and is taking some rest in Paris in order to stay close to the medical services that follow him. He remains fragile (some days are better than others) but his morale is good. He is supported by Odile and several other people who assist him. When I saw him last week, he told me that he was living all this in trust ("day by day"). All our cards, wishes and prayers do him a lot of good. He is sorry that his great fatigue means that he cannot answer individually, he wanted to thank us all for it Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers. 


February 13, 2019

My dears, I need to share with you troubling news. Jean is not doing well. He is in the hospital in Paris. He has cancer of the thyroid gland. Because of the cancer, he is not able to swallow. Doctors are giving food through the stomach. But his body is hardly accepting this way. We all need to gather and pray. He needs to get food, and get stronger to be able to get the irradiation for cancer. The radiation will make cancer smaller and he will be able to breath normally. 

Lets pray for Jean. Lets give our support through prayers so he doesn't feel alone in the hospital. He needs us, our prayers very much. All Faith and Light needs to be united now for Jean.

Ann Emmott, England

January 4, 2019

My dear brothers and sisters of L'Arche and Faith and Light, and all those with whom I am united by spirit and heart, I first wanted to say thank you for having accompanied me by prayer and your friendship in this intervention which has just taken place and which has gone well. It was during this operation that they took some of my thyroid and found that there was hidden cancer. I was strongly advised to do radiation therapy to prevent the cancer from growing further.

The doctors prescribed me about fifteen sessions. They explained to me all the side effects in the hope that I could find my life as before.  I am aware that these side effects can be a little painful and I count on you to continue to accompany me in the descent towards fragility. I know that this is where I would discover our God of humility and meekness.

During all this period which could last two months I will stay in Paris in the apartment that l'Arche in France and a friend generously rented for me and I will be accompanied during this time always by Odile, Annick come from Belgium to help, and by Christine. During this time of weakening I will have very few visits but I know that you visit me by the prayer and your support. I especially wanted to say thank you for this accompaniment by the heart and the spirit. I will surely need your help during the most difficult times, but I feel happy to work as best I can so that the kingdom of God, the kingdom of love, can grow on the earth with my offering.

I embrace you and remain in communion with you.




Yesterday, I went to Paris to visit Jean when he left the hospital. He was tired but happy not to be in the hospital anymore.  If he was happy to leave, the people at the hospital were rather sad because he made connections with many people and did them good.  His recovery will take time and for the moment, Jean remains in Paris supported by Odile and Annick.  When I asked Jean if he had anything to tell us he asked that we pray for the people who are in the hospital because there is a lot of suffering on many levels in places.  I go back to see him at the end of the week and it will be nice to be able to bring him drawings, cards that you have prepared for him.



Jean's operation went well. It takes more than a week to confirm the results. Jean is always very tired. Please keep praying, it is important for jean that we are together in prayer. Thank you for your patience. 

Christine, community manager, Ark, Trosly