Jean Vanier, a French man who founded L'Arche — unique communities in which people with intellectual disabilities live with those who don't — died Tuesday in France. He was 90.
Clinton is home to a L'Arche community founded in 1974 that is one of the oldest of 17 in the United States.
"We in Clinton are mourning the death of Jean Vanier," Jean A. Bormann, director of development and communications for the Clinton location, wrote in an email.
"Many in our community had the pleasure of meeting him on one of his two visits to our community," she wrote.
The L’Arche community in Clinton was founded by Sister Marjorie Wisor, a Clinton Franciscan, and was called “The Arch,” to symbolize a bridge between two worlds.
In 2013, the Catholic Diocese of Davenport presented its Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award to Vanier, the first time the award was presented overseas.
Bishop Martin Amos delivered the award in person in Trosly-Breuil, and a celebration was held later at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, involving L'Arche residents from around the United States.
Other winners of the Pacem in Terris award are Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa, Cesar Chavez and the Dali Lama.
In 2016, L’Arche Clinton received the 12th annual Clinton Human Rights Commission Award from the Clinton Human Rights Commission.
The award is an “acknowledgement of persons/groups who embody the spirit of human rights."
L’Arche Clinton currently serves 15 individuals with intellectual disabilities in three homes and three apartments. Some of these individuals have been part of the community since the 1970s and early 1980s.
"Mutual relationships and trust in God are at the heart of our journey together," Bormann wrote. "We celebrate the unique value of every person and recognize our need of one another."
Vanier founded L'Arche in 1964 in response to the treatment that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities faced in institutions.
L’Arche now includes more than 150 communities in 38 countries around the globe. Its more than 10,000 members welcome and celebrate people with intellectual disabilities, fostering growth and allowing everyone to share their talents and abilities.
The first L’Arche community in the United States was founded in 1972 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Today, L’Arche USA includes 17 communities and five projects in states across the country.
L’Arche communities in the United States provide homes and workplaces where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers; create inclusive communities of faith and friendship; and transform society through relationships that span social boundaries.
L'Arche organization wins this year's Pacem in Terris Award from St. Ambrose
The L'Arche organization from Clinton has won this year's Pacem in Terris Award from St. Ambrose University/Diocese of Davenport. The program is different because people with and without disabilities live together in a community.