A Tribute to Jean Vanier

A Tribute to Vanier

 

By George Fleischner, Nonotuck President & CEO

 

Written May 9, 2019

 

Thirty-nine years ago Jean Vanier found me. In 1980 I was working as a legal advocate with the law office that sued Massachusetts to close Northampton State Hospital.  It was my job to be on the wards of that institution every day to help people incarcerated with their legal issues.  I was so struck by the indignities and horrors of institutionalization that I was ripe for words of peace, humanity, and love.  It was at this point in my life, so disillusioned by being surrounded by pain and loss, that Jean Vanier found and spoke to me.

 

A year later, now working in the community as a Program Director overseeing group homes, I took time to spend in a community that was founded by Vanier, L’Arche.  My life was forever changed.

 

When hired to be the CEO of Nonotuck in 1987 I brought the vision and principals I learned from my stay in L” Arche and my Vanier readings and have applied them to our work at this great agency for 32 years.  The values, the morality, the vision and the love from all of us who work at Nonotuck has its foundation with Jean Vanier.  Sadly, Jean died this morning in Paris but his life work and his love of people will live on here at Nonotuck and around the world.

 

We love you, Jean Vanier.

“(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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