Who are the founders of Faith and Light ?

Marie-Hélène Mathieu and Jean Vanier. Marie-Hélène Mathieu was born on July 4, 1929 in Tournus (Saône et Loire, France). All her work is dedicated to the persons with disabilities whose lives are sacred and the unique vocation to their family and entourage. She founded the OCH in 1963 to support families, provide answers to their distress, bring them new hope, in particular by setting up a permanent reception and financial assistance to Christian associations and institutions. In 1968 to answer the call of the parents of Thaddée and Loïc, two children with intellectual disabilities, Jean Vanier and Marie-Hélène Mathieu organized with them a pilgrimage to Lourdes… It gathered, at Easter 1971, 12 000 people from 15 countries, including 4,000 with intellectual disabilities. From this extraordinary event will emerge the international movement of Faith and Light present today, with more than 1,400 communities, in 86 countries around the world. To find out more


Jean Vanier was born on September 10, 1928. In 1950, he left the Royal Canadian Navy to study philosophy. After receiving a PhD in philosophy, he taught at the University of Toronto. He founded L’Arche in 1964, hosting two adults with intellectual disabilities in a small home in Trosly-Breuil, Oise. In 1971, Jean Vanier founded the Faith and Light movement with Marie-Hélène Mathieu. Having lived more than 50 years with people with disabilities, Jean Vanier has become a strong advocate for the most vulnerable and marginalized in our society. He invites us to recognize the gifts and valuable teachings these persons bring when they are welcomed and loved. Jean Vanier passed away on May 7, 2019. He is buried in the cemetery of Trosly with his friends from l’Arche. Learn more