Jean Vanier: Revelation of True Beauty
It often has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If someone were to look up beauty in the dictionary, they would read this: beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction. In other words, beauty is anything that is pleasing to the eye. Today’s society teaches that the way to beauty is to become rich and successful, only worrying about oneself, but is that true beauty? Is true beauty not giving oneself up for another? True beauty comes when someone cares about others that cannot return that care. Jean Vanier embodies true beauty because he gave up a rich, easy lifestyle to invest himself into and live with people who could not offer him anything in return.
As a child, Jean Vanier knew he was called to do something bigger than himself, and he found beauty in every trial he faced. He was born September 13, 1928, in Geneva, Switzerland to Georges and Pauline Vanier, devout Catholics, who were known and loved for their social concerns (“Vanier, Jean” 1073). Vanier’s early life was touched by world events. In 1940, the family, then in Paris, fled the Nazis with other refugees and after numerous perils arrived back in Canada(“Vanier, Jean” 1074). This horrific experience made him want to help in ending the war. In 1942 at age thirteen, Vanier asked his father’s permission to make the dangerous trip back across the Atlantic and enter the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England (“Vanier, Jean” 1074). After eight years of serving in the navy, he decided to focus on a different sort of dicipline: academics (Higgins 2). Michael Higgins says, “After acquiring a doctorate in 1962 at the Institut Catholique in Paris...Vanier taught briefly at the University of St. Michael's College in Toronto” (2). After teaching for only one semester, Vanier returned to France to visit his spiritual mentor, “The Dominican friar...
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