Martin Bashir at the BBC:
He studied theology and philosophy, completing his doctoral studies on happiness in the ethics of Aristotle. He became a teaching professor at St Michael’s College in Toronto.
During the Christmas holidays of 1964, he visited a friend who was working as a chaplain for men with learning difficulties just outside Paris. Disturbed by conditions in which 80 men did nothing but walk around in circles, he bought a small house nearby and invited two men from the institution to join him.
L’Arche – the Ark – was born.
Vanier said that living with the disabled helped him to appreciate two truths: first, that people with learning difficulties have a great deal to contribute; second, by living in a community with people – with and without learning disabilities – we open ourselves up to be challenged and to grow.