Jean Vanier – the Earth of Community

Imagine if we were drawn to each other not just because of our talents but also because of our darker thoughts, pettiness, secret vices and betrayals?  Would we realize how much we have in common?  Would we be as quick to judge?  Would we be better able to tolerate our own blemishes?  Would recognition that we are in the same leaky rowboat together lead to understanding, forgiveness, trust, hope, resurrection?

Like earthly soil, would the dead matter of our imperfections, sins and losses provide the compost for new life to blossom and seek light?

Jean Vanier believes it would.  In honour of Earth Day here’s an excerpt from his book. Community and Growth.

… community is not about perfect people.  It is about people who are bonded to each other, each of whom is a mixture of good and bad, darkness and light, love and hate.

And community is the only earth in which each can grow without fear toward the liberation of the forces of love which are hidden in them.  But there can be growth only if we recognize the potential, and this will never unfold if we prevent people from discovering and accepting themselves as they are, with their gifts and their wounds.  They have the right to be rotters, to have their own dark places, and corners of envy and even hatred in their hearts.  These jealousies and insecurities are part of our wounded nature.  That is our reality.


A number of Jean Vanier’s friends and admirers would like to increase awareness of this humble and wise man who has been nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.

Join our International network of support for Jean Vanier and his works, by sending an e-mail to

Visit the new website friends of Jean Vanier have created to bring his wisdom to a wider audience. Read the comments  of the many whose lives he has touched.


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  1. patrick o'neill

    Al, thanks for highlighting Jean Vanier and his work in the world. He continues to model an uncommon and difficult kind of leadership in the world; leadership that springs from gentleness, compassion, kindness and the recognition that every life matters. Reminds me of you.

  2. Isaias Gaston

    Isaias Gaston

    Great blog article.Thanks Again. Great.

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