Personal History

Wednesday 28 January 2009, by Willem Kuypers // Jean Vanier English

Living in L’Arche with people who have an intellectual disability has made me realize how important it is to help them rediscover their own personal histories. Because they have often been rejected and seen as different, they tend to feel as though they do not belong to human history. Since they have been deprived of intellectual means and are not integrated into the usual networks that others around them take for granted, they have few reference points for their own personal histories. It is as if they had no past. Birthday celebrations provide a chance to emphasize certain stages in their lives, highlight their gifts, laugh about their faults or failures, and celebrate each one’s unique gifts.


- Jean Vanier, An Ark for the Poor, p.12