Jean François Antoine Vanier was born in Geneva, Italy on September 10, 1928. He studied at the Royal Naval College and spent time with both the British Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. In 1945, after the liberation of Paris, he spent part of a military leave at the Gare d'Orsay in Paris helping the Canadian Red Cross receive survivors of concentration camps. He resigned his commission in 1950. He spent several years living in a contemplative community near Paris. He received a doctorate from the Catholic University of Paris in 1962. He taught philosophy for a time at the University of Toronto. He founded two worldwide organizations for people with developmental disabilities called L'Arche and Faith and Light. He wrote more than 30 books including An Ark for the Poor and Becoming Human. He received the Paul VI prize in 1997 and the Templeton Prize in 2015. He died from thyroid cancer on May 7, 2019 at the age of 90.
Dorothy Day's reflections-written on the fly over five hectic years-reveal not only the beginnings of the Catholic Worker Movement, but the mind of a heroic woman as she responds to the demands of faith.
Now back in print after seventy-five years, House of Hospitality is packed with stories of sacrifice and kindness, strikes and protests, hunger and soup lines, the rough reality of tenement life, and the foul odor of poverty. "I do penance through my nose continually," Dorothy wrote.
And yet, as she said, "Our lives are made up of little miracles day by day." Dorothy Day and her fellow workers were "poor for the poor," as Pope Francis has exhorted, and the early years of this Gospel-driven moment have much to teach us about how we can live, today, with a heart for others. "Love and ever more love," Dorothy said, "is the only solution to every problem that comes up."