World

Templeton Prize awarded to Jean Vanier, visionary leader of L'Arche communities

  • Jean Vanier, the founder of L'ARCHE, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together, gestures as he talks during a news conference, in central London, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Vanier has been awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize. Valued at 1.1 million British pounds (some 1.7 million US dollars, some 1.5 million Euro), the Templeton Prize has been one of the world's largest annual monetary awards given to an individual for over 40 years, according to the organization. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Jean Vanier, the founder of L'ARCHE, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together, gestures as he talks during a news conference, in central London, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Vanier has been awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize. Valued at 1.1 million British pounds (some 1.7 million US dollars, some 1.5 million Euro), the Templeton Prize has been one of the world's largest annual monetary awards given to an individual for over 40 years, according to the organization. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jean Vanier, the founder of L'ARCHE, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together, gathers his thoughts during a news conference, in central London, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Vanier has been awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize. Valued at 1.1 million British pounds (some 1.7 million US dollars, some 1.5 million Euro), the Templeton Prize has been one of the world's largest annual monetary awards given to an individual for over 40 years, according to the organization. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Jean Vanier, the founder of L'ARCHE, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together, gathers his thoughts during a news conference, in central London, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Vanier has been awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize. Valued at 1.1 million British pounds (some 1.7 million US dollars, some 1.5 million Euro), the Templeton Prize has been one of the world's largest annual monetary awards given to an individual for over 40 years, according to the organization. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Jean Vanier, left, the founder of L'ARCHE, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together, shares a joke with Templeton Foundation's Jennifer Simpson, right, during a news conference, in central London, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Vanier has been awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize. Valued at 1.1 million British pounds (some 1.7 million US dollars, some 1.5 million Euro), the Templeton Prize has been one of the world's largest annual monetary awards given to an individual for over 40 years, according to the organization. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    Jean Vanier, left, the founder of L'ARCHE, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together, shares a joke with Templeton Foundation's Jennifer Simpson, right, during a news conference, in central London, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Vanier has been awarded the 2015 Templeton Prize. Valued at 1.1 million British pounds (some 1.7 million US dollars, some 1.5 million Euro), the Templeton Prize has been one of the world's largest annual monetary awards given to an individual for over 40 years, according to the organization. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

The Templeton Prize for affirming "life's spiritual dimension" has been awarded to Jean Vanier, the visionary founder of a network of communities in which people with disabilities live in solidarity and community with non-disabled people.

The 86-year-old Vanier started his work by welcoming two intellectually disabled men into his home in France in 1964.

Working on the premise that the weak enable the strong to see their own vulnerabilities, Vanier expanded the concept into 147 residential communities in 35 countries.

Vanier said Wednesday his goal was creating places "where those caught up in the world of success and normality and those who are in need ... come together."

The prize is valued at 1.1 million pounds ($1.7 million).