When Mother Teresa died in 1997, a common sentiment among her admirers was, “At least Jean Vanier is still on the planet.” Vanier, a Canadian and Catholic theologian, founded L’Arche in 1964 to provide people with disabilities dignified household communities. Vanier’s idea was not to treat such people as the objects of charity, but rather as friends and even teachers, founding communities in which they lived alongside people without disabilities in a spirit of mutual respect and care.
L’Arche communites are now in over 37 countries. Jean Vanier, who died in 2019, has been regarded as a saint.
That is, until leaders of L’Arche International exposed that Vanier had engaged in “manipulative and emotionally abusive” sexual relationships with six women in France, between 1970 and 2005. Sexual relations were instigated by Vanier, usually in the context of giving spiritual guidance.(more…)