Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jean Vanier receives Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award

Copyright photos : Robert Laskowiecki / Arche International
Copyright photos : Robert Laskowiecki / Arche InternationalOn Sunday July 7 the village of Trosly-Breuil hosted an International event that saw its famed son, Jean Vanier receive the 2013 Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award.  See  report and images of the event here.

Jean Vanier, founded the  L'Arche Federation in the village in 1964, the same year the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award was created. . L'Arche is  an international community of people with and without disability sharing life across cultural religious and human diversity.

The award was presented to Vanier by Bishop Martin Amos of Davenport. This is the first time since its foundation  in 1964 that the award has been presented outside the United States. 

The Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award was created  by the Davenport Catholic Interracial Council.  An Award is presented by the Diocese in collaboration with other organization to honor a person for their achievements in peace and justice, not only in their country but in the world.

The web site of the Diocese of Davenport includes a page dedicated to the award. It lists previous recipients including names that have instant recognition such as John F. Kennedy 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, JR. 1965, Dorothy Day 1972,Archbishop Desmond Tutu 1987 and Sister Helen Prejeans 1998.

But other award  recipients,  may be names that readers are discovering for the first time. These could include: Cristal Lee Sutton 1980, Maria Julia Hernandez1991, Arthur Simon 2004 and the 2012 recipient Kim Bobo.

The International media coverage of the award to Vanier includes inspiring stories of those who have been challenged by their experience of living in L'Arche:
The Catholic Herald  (UK)
St Louis Review (USA)
The Catholic Messenger (USA)
The Quad City Times (USA)

The Australian connection with Jean Vanier goes back to a few years after the foundation of L'Arche. His visit in 1984 has been  documented online by Sr Mary Noonan, In 2004 Kate Mannix wrote of Vanier's  final visit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the foundation of L'Arche in Australia. In 2010 Jean Vanier recorded a telephone interview for ABC Encounter.

A 1984 photo with from left:  Fr Terry Yard, Phil Vincent, Lilian Sutton (whose photo this is), Jean Vanier in the centre, Robin Wilkinson, Eileen Glass, a National co-ordinator, and Ken Lowrie.  This group, here with Jean Vanier, formed the original L’Arche Team in Hobart

Jean Vanier is also a nominee for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2012 he co-authored Living Gently in a Violent World with Stanley Hauerwas, a book I carry around as essential reading.

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