In honour of those from whose convictions and faithfulness we have much to learn, CMU has initiated the PAX Award. This award is a new extension of CMU’s Community Service Award which has been given over the past 5 years and is linked, interestingly, to a Peace Award that Concord College (one of CMU’s founding colleges) presented only once, in 1993, to Jimmy Carter for his work with Habitat for Humanity.
The inaugural CMU PAX Award honours – as is core to CMU’s mission – lives of service, leadership and reconciliation in church and society. In Jean Vanier’s life and work we see a model of invitational community; a living out of generous hospitality and; radical dialogue along with a commitment to embrace peace-justice and to learn through thinking and doing – each of these emblematic of CMU’s core commitments. At the heart of Vanier’s vision to share and live alongside persons with developmental disabilities, lies a deep longing that we all share for friendship. In reflecting on his initiative in the early 1960’s to live with two men with intellectual disabilities Vanier commented “They were not very interested in my knowledge or my ability to do things, but rather they needed my heart and my being.” As Vanier says, L’Arche is really a school for love and an adventure in learning to welcome and learn from those who are different, to become more fully human as God intended. Indeed, Vanier’s life, his writing, theological reflection and early initiative to live together with two men – have led to 147 L’Arche Communities born worldwide over the past 50 years – including those in Winnipeg. His vision and life’s work are worthy of our recognition and gratitude.