Love doesn't mean doing extraordinary or heroic things. It means knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness.

— Jean Vanier

The most fantastic Jean Vanier quotes that will activate your desire to change

Each person is sacred, no matter what his or her culture, religion, handicap, or fragility. Each person is created in God’s image; each one has a heart, a capacity to love and to be loved.


A society which discards those who are weak and non-productive risks exaggerating the development of reason, organisation, aggression and the desire to dominate. It becomes a society without a heart, without kindness - a rational and sad society, lacking celebration, divided within itself and given to competition, rivalry and, finally, violence.


To love someone is not first of all to do things for them,but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through our attitude: 'You are beautiful. You are important. I trust you. You can trust yourself.'


One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals.


Those we most often exclude from the normal life of society, people with disabilities, have profound lessons to teach us


One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.


Prayer is like a secret garden made up of silence and rest and inwardness.

But there are a thousand and one doors into this garden and we all have to find our own.


Life is a succession of crises and moments when we have to rediscover who we are and what we really want.


A community which refuses to welcome - whether through fear, weariness, insecurity, a desire to cling to comfort, or just because it is fed up with visitors - is dying spiritually.


Love is an act of endless forgiveness.


When we love and respect people, revealing to them their value, they can begin to come out from behind the walls that protect them.


It is only when we stand up, with all our failings and sufferings, and try to support others rather than withdraw into ourselves, that we can fully live the life of community.


About Jean Vanier

Quotes 89 sayings
Nationality Canadian
Profession Philosopher
Birthday October 16

[Happiness] comes when we choose to be who we are, to be ourselves, at this present moment in our lives.


We cannot grow spiritually if we ignore our humanness, just as we cannot become fully human if we ignore our spirituality.


It is difficult to make people understand that the ideal doesn't exist, that personal equilibrium and the harmony they dream of come only after years and years of struggle, and that even then they come only as flashes of grace and peace.


A Christian community should do as Jesus did: propose and not impose.

Its attraction must lie in the radiance cast by the love of brothers.


All of us have a secret desire to be seen as saints, heroes, martyrs.

We are afraid to be children, to be ourselves.


Each person with his or her history of being accepted or rejected, with his or her past history of inner pain and difficulties in relationships, is different. But in each one there is a yearning for communion and belonging, but at the same time a fear of it. Love is what we most want, yet it is what we fear the most.


Community means caring: caring for people.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: "He who loves community destroys community; he who loves the brethren builds community." A community is not an abstract ideal.


Our danger is to think that happiness will come from outside of us, from the things we possess or the power of our group, and not from within us, from the inner sanctuary of our being.


To be lonely is to feel unwanted and unloved, and therefor unloveable.

Loneliness is a taste of death. No wonder some people who are desperately lonely lose themselves in mental illness or violence to forget the inner pain.


Avoid the poison in your life that brings you turmoil.


Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don't need a lot of money to be happy--in fact, the opposite.


So many in our world today are suffering from isolation, war and oppression.

So much money is spent on the construction of armaments. Many, many young people are in despair because of the danger.


...Individualistic material progress and the desire to gain prestige by coming out on top have taken over from the sense of fellowship, compassion and community. Now people live more or less on their own in a small house, jealously guarding their goods and planning to acquire more, with a notice on the gate that says, 'Beware of the Dog.


'Going home' is a journey to the heart of who we are, a place where we can be ourselves and welcome the reality of our beauty and our pain. From this acceptance of ourselves, we can accept others as they are and we can see our common humanity.


If we are to grow in love, the prisons of our egoism must be unlocked.

This implies suffering, constant effort and repeated choices.


People may come to our communities because they want to serve the poor;

they will only stay once they have discovered that they themselves are poor.


Envy comes from people's ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.


I remember that throughout history the way of truth and love has always won.

There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it always...whenever you are in doubt that that is God's way - the way the world is meant to be. Think of that and then try to do His way.


But let us not put our sights too high.

We do not have to be saviours of the world! We are simply human beings, enfolded in weakness and in hope, called together to change our world one heart at a time. (163)


We all know well that we can do things for others and in the process crush them, making them feel that they are incapable of doing things by themselves. To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them.


Community begins in mystery and ends in administration.

Leaders move away from people and into paper.


We can be powerful political groups that promise more wealth and lower taxes. Those with power can use clever, psychological tricks and play upon our weaknesses and brokenness in order to attract us to their way of thinking. We can be manipulated into illusion.


When people love each other, they are content with very little.

When we have light and joy in our hearts, we don't need material wealth. The most loving communities are often the poorest.


Every act of violence is also a message that needs to be understood. (23-24)


I have discovered the value of psychology and psychiatry, that their teachings can undo knots in us and permit life to flow again and aid us in becoming more truly human.


We discover that we are at the same time very insignificant and very important, because each of our actions is preparing the humanity of tomorrow; it is a tiny contribution to the construction of the huge and glorious final humanity


Peace is the fruit of love, a love that is also justice.

But to grow in love requires work -- hard work. And it can bring pain because it implies loss -- loss of the certitudes, comforts, and hurts that shelter and define us.


In any case, community is not about perfect people.

It is about people who are bonded to each other, each of whom is a mixture of good and bad, darkness and light, love and hate.


When we judge, we are pushing people away;

we are creating a wall, a barrier. When we forgive we are destroying barriers, we come closer to others.


I believe every act of violence is also a message that needs to be understood.

Violence should not be answered just by greater violence but by real understanding. We must ask: 'Where is the violence coming from? What is its meaning?


Every human being is a mixture of light and darkness, trust and fear, love and hate.


At the heart of the celebration, there are the poor.

If [they] are excluded, it is not longer a celebration. [...] A celebration must always be a festival of the poor.


A growing community must integrate three elements: a life of silent prayer, a life of service and above all of listening to the poor, and a community life through which all its members can grow in their own gift.


[...] We have to realize that this wound [of loneliness] is inherent in the human condition and that what we have to do is walk with it instead of fleeing from it. We cannot accept it until we discover that we are loved by God just as we are, and that the Holy Spirit in a mysterious way is living at the centre of the wound.


He who is or has been deeply hurt has a RIGHT to be sure he is LOVED.


When children are loved, they live off trust;

their bides and hearts open up to those who respect and love them, who understand and listen to them.


If we love (the poor) people, we want to identify with them and share with them.