Mr. Speaker, last week, the world lost a great Canadian, Jean Vanier.
Born to privilege, this erudite intellectual and social visionary pursued the simple idea that we are all made in the image of God, that we have “unique value”, especially those among us who have been discarded by society. He lived what he believed.
The origins of the worldwide l'Arche movement were in a modest home with two intellectually challenged adults. Now there are 147 communities around the world, 31 of which are in Canada.
Tens of thousands of Canadians have spent time in a l'Arche community, sometimes called “a university for the heart”, among those who society has treated as discards and have learned lessons that have influenced their life paths in profound ways.
Jean Vanier used his formidable gifts to follow the teachings of Jesus. His life was a road less travelled, his influence, both temporal and eternal. It was a life well lived.