Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche network, has won the Templeton Prize.
The French Canadian Catholic was present when the announcement was made this morning in London. The Templeton Prize, worth £1.1 million, is one of the world’s largest awards given to an individual.
As well as establishing L’Arche, a network of international communities where people with and without learning disabilities live and work side by side, Vanier, 86, has written more than 30 books. He leads retreats and lectures throughout the world.
Vanier established L’Arche some fifty years ago when he invited two mentally disabled men to live with him near Paris because he believed it would be better than the institutions they were kept in at the time. It has grown to include 147 communities in 35 countries.
The Templeton Prize is awarded to people whose achievements reflect their spirituality. Previous winners include the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Czech priest Tomáš Halík.
Read an exclusive interview with Jean Vanier and a profile of L’Arche’s work in the UK in this week’s Tablet