Honors and awards

Joseph Kennedy Foundation Award, with Mother Teresa, Washington D.C., United States, 1971

Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada, 1972

Prize of the Institut de la Vie, France, 1973

Companion of the Order of Canada, 1989

The Maclean’s Honor Roll, Canada, 1990

Royal Bank of Canada Prize, 1991

Grand Officier de lOrdre national du Québec, Canada, 1992

Humanitarian Award, University of Notre Dame, United States, 1993

Conferences and presentations

Major Superiors of Religious Orders, Toronto, Canada, 1969

Empire Club of Canada, Toronto, Canada, 1971

Conference with Mother Teresa, Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada, 1971

Colloque sur lenfance inadaptée, Alger, Algeria, 1973

Colloque Réinsertion sociale La croisée des chemins, University of Ottawa, Canada,1974

General meeting of the International Conference on Social Welfare, Nairobi, Kenya, 1974


Books by Jean Vanier

Life’s Great Questions, Franciscan Media, 2015

The Gospel of John, the Gospel of Relationship, Franciscan Media, 2015

Signs: Seven Words of Hope, Paulist Press, 2014 (In the UK as Signs of the Times: Seven Paths of Hope for a Troubled World, Darton, Longman & Todd, 2013)

Tears of Silence, House of Anansi Press, 2014 (original edition 1974)

Mental Health: The Inclusive Church Resource, with John Swinton, Darton, Longman & Todd, 2014

Templeton Prize 2015

On May 8, 2015, in London, Jean Vanier was awarded the Templeton Prize. The John Templeton Foundation yearly honors a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.

Vanier’s five decades of living with deeply vulnerable people have led him to an understanding of weakness and common humanity.


Childhood and Spiritual Search

Jean Vanier was born a Canadian citizen in 1928, the fourth of five children. His father, Georges Vanier, Governor General of Canada from 1959 to 1967, had a diplomatic career that took the family to France and England where Jean spent his childhood.


Jean Vanier is a well-known philosopher, writer, religious and moral leader and the founder of two international organizations dedicated to people with intellectual disabilities: L’Arche and Faith and Light.

Jean Vanier speaks regularly in public forums, inviting us to recognize the gifts and valuable teachings that people with intellectual disabilities bring to society when they are welcomed and loved. Having spent more than fives decades living with these people, Jean Vanier has become a forceful advocate for the weak and the marginalized.

The desire to belong

Instead one discovers a gentle presence that speaks in stories, and aphorisms which offer nuggets of wisdom about the beauty of disabled lives, the meaning of human relationships in community and the love of a God who values vulnerability and weakness.