Thérèse Vanier established the first L’Arche community in the UK, in Canterbury, in 1974. In the 1960s she became the first female consultant at St Thomas’ hospital in London. She was a pioneer in palliative care, working with Cicely Saunders at St Christopher’s Hospital in London. Colleagues agree that it was Thérèse who did more than anyone else to bring the principles and practice of palliative medicine to a wider francophone world.

A committed Roman Catholic, Thérèse was deeply pained by the divisions between the Churches and between them and people of other faiths and none, and she worked tirelessly towards greater understanding and unity.

She is remembered for her determination and drive to affect change in the world, her humour, and her great love of people; especially people with learning disabilities and in the last stages of life.

Thérèse lived a life committed to those who are too often marginalised by society. Her work with people with learning disabilities, in palliative care and in bringing people of different denominations and faiths together, still resonates in the lives and communities of those she touched.

Thérèse Vanier: Pioneer of L’Arche, Palliative Care and Spiritual Unity, by Ann Shearer.