Jean Vanier visits Derry

Choosing Your Future -  A conference for young people with Jean Vanier

21st October 2009, The Millennium Forum, Derry

The Catechetical Centre will host a conference with Jean Vanier for young people on the theme of 'Choosing Your Future'.  Jean will share his wisdom with the students and interact with them to explore topics such as 'belonging' 'acceptance' and 'finding direction in their lives'.  He tells students "we each have different gifts.  I have gifts which you don't have.  You have gifts that I don't have; so together we can do something beautiful."  Vanier adds "The big thing in our society is to help each person discover what is beautiful in them so that together we create a society where we love each other."

This conference will be a unique opportunity for the young people of the diocese and beyond to hear the wisdom of this modern day prophet.  It is an opportunity not to be missed.  The conference will be held in the Millennium Forum, Derry on Wednesday 21st October from 10.00am to 1.30pm.  For more details or for tickets contact: ddcc@derrydiocese.org or call 028 71264087.    A limited number of tickets will be available for adults costing £15.

 "My dream for you is that you would dream! You can do something beautiful with your lives...and give birth to hope..."

J Vanier Youth Forum 2007




Acclaimed as a 'Canadian who inspires the world' (Maclean's Magazine) and 'Nation Builder of the Year' (The Globe and Mail, 2008), Jean Vanier is the founder of the international movement of L'Arche communities, where people who have developmental disabilities and the friends who assist them create homes and share life together.

Born in 1928 in Geneva Switzerland, educated in England and Canada he grew up speaking both French and English.  He served in the Navy in England and Canada, completed a doctorate in Philosophy in Paris and taught in St Michael's College, University of Toronto.  Distressed by the plight of people with developmental disabilities, and following his sense of God's call, in 1964 he welcomed two men from an institution to live with him in a little home he called 'L'Arche,' after Noah's ark, in the French village of Trosly-Breuil. 

L'Arche grew quickly as this new way of sharing life together in community with people who would otherwise be shut away in institutions attracted many young people as assistants.  Today there are 135 L'Arche communities in 34 countries on six continents.  In the 1970's, Jean also co-founded the international movement of family support groups called 'Faith and Light.'

Jean Vanier has become a leader in consciousness-raising about the suffering of all who are marginalised.  He is internationally recognised for his compelling vision of what it means to live a fully human life and for his social and spiritual leadership in building a compassionate society.  He has written a number of best selling books.  He resides in the original L'Arche community in France, when he is not travelling and speaking.

A spokesperson for all who are marginalised, Jean Vanier has received many humanitarian awards.