Thursday, March 12, 2015

Winnng the Prize

L'Arche communities founder Jean Vanier was awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize yesterday for his work in helping people with and without disabilities to live together as equals.

There are almost 150 L'Arche communities around the world. Typically, some folks with different kinds of cognitive or learning disabilities live with at least one or two people who do not have the same conditions. Henri Nouwen lived in the Canadian Daybreak L'Arche community until his death in 1996.

Sir John Templeton established the Templeton Foundation and the first prize was awarded in 1973. The winner has, according to the prize committee, "made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works." The first award went to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (then Mother Teresa), and over its history has gone to folks like Billy Graham, Taizé Community founder Frére Roger, Benedictine priest and astrophysicist Stanley Jaki, physicist Freeman Dyson and a number of other folks who work where science and the spirit of humanity intersect. Sir John Polkinghorne, a particle physicist who retired to become an Anglican priest and author, began his "third career" of exploring community between science and faith when he published his 2002 Templeton lectures as The Faith of a Physicist.

Of course, the coolest thing about the Templeton Prize is that it irritates Richard Dawkins, as many more things should.

(Edited: The Faith of a Physicist was, as I should remember, published in 1994 and consisted of Polkinghorne's Gifford lectures, not Templeton).


fillyjonk said...

several of my personal heroes are among the recipients of that prize. That makes me happy.

Friar said...

The variety is pretty impressive -- apparently Mr. Dawkins didn't read the whole list...