Celebrate Jean Vanier: Humanitarian and Founder of the Shared Living Philosophy

“Every child, every person needs to know that they are a source of joy; every child, every person, needs to be celebrated. Only when all of our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative, broken self-images be transformed.” -Jean Vanier, Becoming Human

Have you ever wondered where Nonotuck’s philosophy of shared living comes from? Jean Vanier, an extraordinary philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian, paved the way for much of the work that we do. Jean Vanier passed away on May 7, 2019, at age 90.

Vanier’s work for people with disabilities began in 1963, when he visited an institution for men living with mental disabilities. Based on this experience, he was inspired to invite some of the men to live with him in his own home. This became the foundation for his shared living philosophy, which advocates for the authentic sharing of lives in a respectful relationship of mutual dependence

Vanier believed that we are better and our communities are more full when we share our weaknesses and strengths together. His shared living philosophy served as his motivation to start an international federation of communities called L’Arche. Countless more organizations and communities have been influenced by his work, including Nonotuck. Nonotuck transitioned to a shared living model of care for people with disabilities in 1984, after George Fleischner visited shared living communities founded by Vanier.

Vanier was also a widely respected author and wrote over 30 books covering diverse topics such as success, disability, and religion.

Learn more about Nonotuck's philosophy of care today! 

“(Through shared living) people with a disability experience a real transformation and discover confidence in themselves; they discover their capacity to make choices, and also find a certain liberty and above all their dignity as human beings.”

—Jean Vanier

Caregiving with Love:
Guide for Shared Living Providers

Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.

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