Jean Vanier at the House of Lords (19/1/15)

The panel listening to Jean Vanier

Together for the Common Good invited Jean Vanier to address a cross party gathering of MPs and Peers at the House of Lords on 19 January 2015. Hosted by T4CG and L'Arche UK, it took place in the River Room and was titled:

‘Living together for the common good: why do the strong need the weak?'

The common good is an ancient tradition and at the same time a new approach that transcends the old divisions, where each person is required to play a role and take some responsbility. The common good is not possible without everyone involved. This is well expressed in the real, lived experience of L’Arche communities. Jean Vanier has shown a practical way forward that has profound implications extending way beyond the disability sector.

In this, his first visit to the British Parliament (see link to film below) he spoke of how society is impoverished if it fails to embrace the gifts of the marginalised, and what the strong have to gain by living in community with the weak. His insights speak to the value of community living, not just for people with disabilities, but for all of us. 

Jean Vanier gave an address and then joined in conversation with Archbishop Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, chaired by Sarah Montague. Download briefing paper here.


  • Jean Vanier's interview with Sarah Montague for BBCR4's Today Programme was broadcast on Saturday 24 January Click here to Listen Again.

VIDEO: Jean Vanier's address to the politicians appears below. Please feel free to share the film and this page more widely.

PRESS reports on Jean Vanier's talk:

Jean Vanier: why do the strong need the weak?

This film was made by Intelligent Life and is shared here with their kind permission. The event took place in the River Room at the House of Lords, which has very traditional lighting.  We hope this does not affect your enjoyment.

For more information about the L'Arche organisation, click here.

For more about Together for the Common Good, click here.