The University of Notre Dame has revoked the Notre Dame Award that was conferred upon Jean Vanier in 1994 after the L’Arche organisation he established found credible allegations that Vanier sexually exploited six women.
Vanier was the recipient of the third Notre Dame Award for worldwide humanitarian service. The university established the award in 1992 in conjunction with its 150th anniversary to honour ‘citizens of every nation whose religious faith has quickened learning, whose learning has engendered deeds, and whose deeds give witness to God’s kingdom among us’.
‘The L’Arche report was thorough, rigorous and fair’, prompting Notre Dame’s president, Holy Cross Fr John I. Jenkins, ‘to revoke the award’, said a news release issued by the university.
Similarly, the release said, the 2014 Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity given to Vanier by the university’s Kellogg Institute ‘was revoked today by the institute’.
An internal investigative report made public on 22nd February concluded that Vanier, founder of the ecumenical L’Arche communities that provide group homes and spiritual support for people with intellectual disabilities, used his status to have ‘manipulative’ sexual relationships with at least six women.
Picture: Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche communities, is pictured in a 3rd March 2011 photo. (CNS photo/courtesy Jean Vanier Association).