Making Out Jean Vanier

Authors

  • Carolyn Whitney-Brown St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo; Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/rst.19829

Keywords:

Jean Vanier, Kathryn Bond Stockton, L’Arche, de-metaphoring, community, patriarchy

Abstract

In early 2020, news broke of Jean Vanier’s manipulative sexual practices. Just months earlier, I had published two books about how people in Canada and around the world took up the vision of Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, an international network of communities of people with and without intellectual disabilities. Throughout this past year, I could not stop thinking about the whole situation, trying to make out Jean Vanier even while I want to de-center him. I find unexpected inspiration in queer theorist Kathryn Bond Stockton’s evocative book, Making Out. This reflection ends with no conclusions, only an invitation to think together about Jean Vanier and seemingly benign patriarchy.

References

Barter, Jane. “I once thought Catholic humanist Jean Vanier a hero. Now I’m wrestling with his coercive legacy.” April 30, 2020. https://theconversation.com/i-once-thought-catholic-humanist-jean-vanier-a-hero-now-im-wrestling-with-his-coercive-legacy-135794

Burghardt, Madeline. “Jean Vanier was revered, but revelations of abuse and manipulation should not come as a surprise.” The Globe and Mail, February 27, 2020. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-jean-vanier-was-revered-but-revelations-of-abuse-and-manipulation/

Girard, Jocelyn. “Les communautés de L’Arche après le scandale de leur fondateur” 21 January 2021. http://presence-info.ca/article/les-communautes-de-l-arche-apres-le-scandale-de-leur-fondateur

L’Arche International, “Letter from International Leaders, Feb 22 2020.”

https://www.larche.org/documents/10181/2539004/Letter-Federation_International-Leaders_2020-02-22_EN.pdf/20d33d55-72e0-4c51-8703-8ab6f0adb9b5

-- -- “Summary Report, 22 Feb 2020.” https://www.larche.org/documents/10181/2539004/Inquiry-Summary_Report-Final-2020_02_22-EN.pdf/6f25e92c-35fe-44e8-a80b-dd79ede4746b

-- -- “Rapport de synthèse, 22 Feb 2020.” https://www.larche.org/documents/10181/2539004/Enquete-Rapport+de+synthese-2020_02_22-FR.pdf/09ef3b54-905e-427c-9ca9-2c781a85699b

Mackie, Carolyn, “Sin, Grief, and Jean Vanier” 24 Feb 2020. https://womenintheology.org/2020/02/24/sin-grief-and-jean-vanier/

McDonald, Michael. “Stop Ableism- L'Arche Kenya.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OijK1d4f4kE

-- --- “As I Am” series for L’Arche International. https://www.larche.org/as-i-am

--- --- “The World’s First International Lip Syncing Competition Hosted by People With Disabilities.” https://www.larche.ca/en/news?article=the-world-s-first-international-lip-syncing-competition-hosted-by-people-with-disabilities-&id=1767524

Marlow, Tanya. “But his books are still good, right? – 5 things Christians must stop saying about sexual abusers.” 16 February, 2021. https://tanyamarlow.com/5-stupid-things-christians-say-sexual-abusers/

Ondaatje, Michael. "Pacific Letter". The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems, 1st Canadian Edition. McClelland and Stewart, 1992.

Stockton, Kathryn Bond. Making Out (Avidly Reads series). New York: New York University Press, 2019.

-- -- “Message from the Dean.” https://transform.utah.edu/about

Vanier, Jean. Becoming Human. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 1998.

-- -- and Carolyn Whitney-Brown, Jean Vanier: Essential Writings. Maryknoll, NY:Orbis 2008, Montreal: Novalis 2008, London: Darton Longman and Todd, 2008 and 2019.

Whitney-Brown, Carolyn. “Too Chicken to Cross the Road? Jean Vanier and Getting to the Other Side,” Critical Theology 1:4 (Summer 2019).

-- -- Sharing Life: Stories of L’Arche Founders. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2019.

-- -- Tender to the World: Jean Vanier, L’Arche and the United Church of Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.

-- -- “‘What We Lose in Certainty’: Re-grieving Jean Vanier” Critical Theology, 2:3 (Spring 2020), 7-8.

-- -- “‘It's a slow process becoming a bridge’: Jean Vanier, L'Arche and the United Church of Canada,” forthcoming in Historical Papers: Canadian Society of Church History, 2020.

White, Allon, Carnival, Hysteria, Writing: Collected Essays and Autobiography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.

Published

2021-05-14

How to Cite

Whitney-Brown, C. (2021). Making Out Jean Vanier. Religious Studies and Theology, 40(1), 122–130. https://doi.org/10.1558/rst.19829

Issue

Section

Reflections from the Field