Archive - Dec 2009 - Oct 2016

Friday, 2 November 2018

Colleagues List, November 4th, 2018

Vol. XIV No. 17


Wayne A. Holst, Editor
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Dear Friends,

I am pleased to introduce the latest book by Jean Vanier, entitled  "A Cry is Heard - My Path to Peace." This title has recently been published in the UK and is available in Canada. Please read "My Thoughts" on the book below. Thanks to colleague Stephen Newroth of Bracebridge, ON for letting me know about this. Read more about Steve as well in my book notice, below. 

May God guide the people of the United States of America as they vote in their mid-term elections next week.

Please find other interesting items in this week's issue of Colleagues List. Many other important things are going on in the world, of course.




Book Notice -

My Path to Peace
A Memoir, A Spiritual Autobiography
and a Call to Unity, by Jean Vanier

Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd.  London.
2018. 144 pages. $15.00 CAD (with shipping).

Publisher's Promo:

This book was born from a sense of urgency.
Faced with the sad divisions, fears, wars and
inequalities of our world, and the depression
and despair of so many young people, I have
dared to share with you a way of hope. In the
course of my life, it is people with an intellectual
handicap who have little by little transformed me
and freed me from my own fears, revealing my
own humanity to myself. A path towards unity,
fraternity and peace is possible. The future
depends on each one of us.'

This is the closest Jean Vanier has come to
writing a spiritual autobiography. Through the
stories of his childhood, the foundation of L'Arche,
and his relationship with significant figures such
as Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis, Mother
Teresa and Dorothy Day, Vanier teaches us
the lessons of his life, his own psychological
barriers and struggles, and a profound
message of hope for the future.


Author's Words:

(some of these words are repeated for emphasis)

This book grew out of a sense of urgency.

In the face of the sad spectacle of divisions, fears,
wars and inequalities that pervade our world, in
the face of the depression and despair of so many
young people, I dare to share with you a path of
hope that was opened to me

During my life, it has been people with an intellectual
disability who gradually transformed me, freeing me
from my fears, revealing to me my own humanity...

(At the same time) I have learned that encountering
difference and working constantly to build bridges
and not walls, this is the path of peace...

I am also thinking of people who are homosexual,
who, in a way, often live their difference as
marginalization in a world that has trouble accepting

I am now 89 years old and my strength is waning.
But I dare to cry: Let us set ourselves free!  Free of
our fears that build walls between groups and people...

These words go against the spirit of competition that
tends to rule our modern societies... I am witness that
true happiness can be found in living this hectic race
in reverse. The people I live with taught me the path
of joyful wisdom. With them, I slowly learned to
relinquish myself, to lower myself, to accept myself
with my weaknesses, even though I have a long way
to go to become like them...

In the twilight of my life, I wanted to try to trace a
few stages of this inner liberation...

... I had this desire for a life of community with the
poor, rooted in the Gospel. The spark was ignited
more than fifty years ago, when our societies were
open to all kinds of new things...

L'Arche grew, so wonderfully, through the gentle
hand of God. If I was the engine behind it, no one
was more surprized than I. We were simply
responding to an urgent need.

Although inspired by Christianity, L'Arche gradually
began to welcome Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists.
Today, it includes 140 communities in around 40
countries on five continents. Together, we started
to discover unity on a human level.

Little by little, I was transformed as I discovered
a new vision for our society... Transformed by the
weakest, we discover that together we can work
for a transformation of our societies.

The fragile open us up to hope.

In their own quiet way, they inspired my journey
and have given me insight over the years.

- from the first chapter -"Praise for the Gift of Encounter"

Author's Bio:

Jean Vanier is the son of former governor general
Georges Vanier, and founder of L'Arche, an international

network of communities for people with developmental
disabilities. He has written a number of books, including
Becoming Human (the 1999 CBC Massey Lectures),
Finding Peace, Made for Happiness, Encountering the Other,
and Befriending the Stranger.

Jean lives in Trosly-Breuil, France.

His Wikipedia Bio:


My Thoughts:

It is now more than fifty years since I first met Jean Vanier while a graduate student in ecumenical studies at Bossey, near Geneva, in Switzerland. Two of my associates at the time were Steve and Anne Newroth, who had recently spent a year at the fledgling community north of Paris called L'Arche. They went on to found the first L'Arche community in Canada, located north of Toronto in Richmond Hill ON.

Steve is a member of Colleagues List and he put me on to the
publication of "A Cry is Heard". Several weeks ago he informed
me from Bracebridge, ON that he and Anne had visited Jean,
that he was aging, but still sharp, and still most hospitable to
visitors in his home in Troisly-Breuil. Marlene, my partner and

I last visited Jean ten years ago in his living room and he seemed   much the same as the Newroths found him this autumn!
I have two prized pictures near me as I write. The first is a
picture of Jean, speaking years ago in Toronto. The second
is a picture of Jean when he visited four Canadian graduate
students at Bossey, during December of 1967. (Jean, Steve,
Wayne, Richard and Larry.) These pictures connect me with

friends from more than a half century ago. Once I had studied
in Bossey and met people from L'Arche, I returned to Canada
a changed person.


 I hope you don't mind this preface to my comments about Jean's latest (of many) and perhaps last book. I apologize for providing only a British publisher, but hopefully the volume in question will soon be published in North America.

Because of Jean's nature, he was not inclined to write a personal biography or spirituality. His focus has always been on learnings from the community of L'Arche, in France or beyond France. If I had not learned the following from Steve, I would have never known that Jean was recently visited by the wife of the president of France. He would simply not mention it.

I find many new insights, experiences and events tucked away in these short 46 vignettes making up the book. (A sad example is the fact that, after he died, Pere Thomas, a key mentor of Vanier's and of L'Arche, was reported to have abused a number of trusting women who had been close to him. I honour Jean for reporting this in the book because it surely hurts him deeply.)

This book is written much like Jean would speak. It contains the memories of a old man who is still a keen communicator; but time does take its toll.

If you want to read the closest you will ever get to a Vanier autobiography, this is it. Other books may tell it better, but you will never get a more authentic first-hand report.

Thanks, colleague Steve Newroth, for letting me know.


Buy the book from



Mark Whittall,
Ottawa, ON

Sermons and Blog,
October 26th, 2018



Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Site
October 31st, 2018

"The Comfort of Familiar Ways"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
October 29th, 2018

"A Right Way of Dying"



A Sign of Something More Ominous

Religion News Service,
October 28th, 2018


Is This the Path for the USA Also?

Israel Today,
November 2nd, 2018


Pittsburgh Synagogue Part of a Pattern

October 27th, 2018


8,000+ Persons Attending this Global Assembly

Religion News Service,
November 1st, 2018


Scholars Worry About More False Texts

October 29th, 2018


He Appealed to a Broad Spectrum of Christians

The Christian Century,
October 29th, 2018
"Remembering Eugene Peterson the Pastor"

The Christian Century,
October 23rd, 2018


They Tend to be Opposed to Their Parents' Politics

New York Times,
November 1st, 2018


Sardar Patel Prepared Nation for Gandhi and Nehru
But is this Just a Political Gimmick?

India Today,
October 29th, 2018


Supreme Court Throws Out Blasphemy Case

UCA News
November 1st, 2018


But Many Other Countries Still Have One

Christianity Today,
October 29th, 2018



From Sojourners and the Bruderhof online:

We want to go to God for answers, but sometimes
what we get is God's presence.

- Nadia Bolz-Weber


But where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with
fresh courage and makes us strong again.

- Anne Frank


There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing
else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate
when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show
us the way to live.

- Bishop Michael Curry


Flee for a while from your tasks, hide yourself for a little
space from the turmoil of your thoughts. Come, cast aside
your burdensome cares, and put aside your laborious
pursuits. For a little while give your time to God, and rest
in him for a little while. Enter into the inner chamber of
your mind, shut out all things save God and whatever
may aid you in seeking God; and having barred the door
of your chamber, seek him.

- St. Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033–1109)


Gratitude is not a simple emotion or an obvious attitude.
It is a difficult discipline to constantly reclaim my whole
past as the concrete way in which God has led me to this
moment and is sending me into the future. It is hard
precisely because it challenges me to face the painful
moments – experiences of rejection and abandonment,
feelings of loss and failure – and gradually to discover
in them the pruning hands of God purifying my heart for
deeper love, stronger hope, and broader faith.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen


I will never forget the night I was driven out of my home.
I slept outdoors under a tree, and the weather was cold.
I had never experienced such a thing. I thought to myself:
“Yesterday I lived in comfort. Now I am shivering, and I
am hungry and thirsty. Yesterday I had everything I needed
and more; today I have no shelter, no warm clothes, no food.”
Outwardly the night was difficult, but I possessed a wonderful
joy and peace in my heart. I was following in the footsteps
my new master – of Jesus, who had nowhere to lay his head,
but was despised and rejected. In the luxuries and comforts
of home I had not found peace. But the presence of the Master
changed my suffering into peace, and this peace has never
left me.

- Sadhu Sundar Singh



Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into
places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion,
and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with
those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to
weep with those in tears.



For those interested:


A Ten Week Series September 17th - November 26th, 2018
Monday Evenings, TM Room 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

  Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

Authors: Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

Registration/Hospitality and Book: $60.00.
Book only: $25.00
Registration and Book Sale began Sunday, August 26th
45 copies of the book were available for sale.
All are now sold. Total on-site registrations: 42
(plus 3 on-line participants). Grand Total: 45

Hardcover edition -
Background information on the study book will be
provided here during the weeks of the course.

Some annual stats:

During the 2017-2018 fall/winter two term series -
Total class registrations: 70
Total books sold: 84

Our best year ever, since we started in 1998!


East Europe and Russia were chosen as our destinations!

This will be our fifth Spiritual Travelers Tour, with a
group emerging from St. David's but very open to others.
The Tour is entitled: "From Vienna to Moscow"

We plan a twenty-day tour that combines a focus
on spirituality, culture and the relationship between
religion and politics. The tour will run from April 26th
through May 16th, 2019.

A beautiful brochure with trip cost, itinerary, and
many helpful travel hints has been published.

Our trip sale has just reached an important milestone
as 37 persons have registered, helping us to surpass our
optimal goal of 28 passengers (all have earned early bird
registration benefits). A waiting list has been set up to
continue receiving applicants to replace any drop-outs 
and with special $300. savings to November 15th.
Our Canadian tour company is Rostad Tours, Calgary.
Contact Rostad Tours:

Phone 1-800-361-8687 or 403-238-4090.

Follow these notices for weekly updates.


Our theme this autumn: Hebrew Wisdom Literature -
"A Study of Proverbs and the Song of Solomon" -
Ten Sessions - September 20th-November 22nd, 2018

Gathering at 9:30 AM in the St. David's TM Room
and meeting 10:00 - 11:00 AM.

No charge

Study resource -

"The DK Complete Bible Handbook"
  Edited by John Bowker



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