Jean Vanier was called a “living saint” for starting L’Arche, a global network of communities promoting the dignity of people with intellectual disabilities. But nine months after his death, a different story emerged. Host Jenna Barnett follows past and present L’Arche members, scholars, theologians, and activists trying to understand: When trusted leaders commit sexual and spiritual abuse, how do our communities move forward? And if an abusive person shapes our faith, how does that distort our understanding of God? A podcast from Sojourners magazine.
The Second Death of Jean Vanier
Jean Vanier died in May 2019, a spiritual leader celebrated for his work with people with intellectual disabilities. But in February 2020, he died again — shaking the network of communities he founded.
When Jean Vanier was alive, his saintly reputation stole the spotlight. Now, it’s his dark shadow that eclipses the other stories of L’Arche.
The Camouflage of Charisma
The guru effect. Magnetism. A “living saint.” Jean Vanier’s powerful presence made people feel seen, even transformed. But what role does charismatic leadership play in abuse?
'This Isn't Some Holy Moment'
Three women who were sexually and spiritually abused at L’Arche by Jean Vanier and Thomas Philippe tell their stories.
The Letter That Changed Everything
When prominent spiritual leaders are abusive, their victims are at the epicenter of the earthquake. But when the truth comes out, the rest of us still feel the aftershocks.
Introducing: Lead Us Not
When trusted faith leaders commit sexual and spiritual abuse, how do our communities move forward? Sojourners magazine presents: Lead Us Not, a new miniseries hosted by Jenna Barnett.
What do we learn from fallen idols?
This sensitively reported series uses the case of recent revelations about L’Arche founder Jean Vanier to raise the larger questions about charismatic faith leaders and the spiritual and physical dangers they pose. Why do we turn people into “living saints”? Why are we so reluctant to listen to their victims? How can the often good work with which they are associated survive the evil they have done? I look forward to the next episodes.
Wow! When I heard about Vanier’s perfidy, I was stunned. This series sets in context the multiple consequences L’Arche faces in their own voices.
Lead Us Not
Incredible podcast! A living road to recovery in keeping the faith!