Formation in Faith and Light, click "RESOURCES"

The History and Mission of Faith and Light

How We Began


Faith and Light began with the trials of a French couple and their two sons with developmental disabilities. Excluded from their church activities and public restaurants, they turned to Marie-Hélène Mathieu and Jean Vanier for help.

The story of Thaddée and Loïc

Co-Founder Marie-Hélène Mathieu


In 1968, the parents of Thaddée and Loïc came to Marie-Hélène in very poor spirits. They had been excluded from their church's pilgrimage to Lourdes, and barred from eating at a restaurant because of the disability of their children. Marie-Hélène shared their story with Jean Vanier, and from their concern was born the Faith and Light movement.

More of Marie-Hélène's Story

Co-Founder Jean Vanier


Vanier, co-founder of Faith and Light and founder of L'Arche Christian group homes, passed from this life May 7, 2019.  A humble man of great love for Jesus and individual souls, he consistently pointed to the Grace that flows in communities which include and honor people with developmental disabilities.

Jean Vanier

Faith and Light USA East

Father Jim O'Donnell


In 1969, Father Jim was asked to attend a retreat in Canada with Jean Vanier. Out of that meeting with Jean, Father Jim began to share the insights and spirituality of Jean Vanier. Father Jim was instrumental in starting the first communities of Faith and Light in the USA, and the first Faith and Sharing retreats. 

An interview with Father Jim is found with  the download at the bottom of this page.

Pearl Cahoon


Pearl was the first Provincial Coordinator of Faith and Light USA. In her 90s, she was still attending Faith and Light meetings. She was a gentle and wise leader and inspiration to our communities. 

Pearl gives her story in the download at the bottom of this page.

Loyola Retreat House


Since 1990, Loyola Retreat House, just south of Akron, Ohio, has held an annual retreat for Faith and Light members throughout northeast Ohio. Organized by Becki Haller, our Faith and Light Treasurer, this retreat has been a real help in spreading the Joyful message of Faith and Light. 

Pictures of Faith and Light retreats

More History, Faith and Light USA East

Brian Daw


Brian was the second National Coordinator of Faith and Light USA, succeeding Pearl Cahoon. Brian is still involved in Faith and Light and is instrumental in organizing an annual Faith and Light pilgrimage in Euclid, Ohio. 

An interview with Brian is found among the downloads at the bottom of the page.

Provincial Assembly


Every 4 years our USA East Province meets for an Assembly. We discern our leaders, worship together and have fellowship. On one such occasion gathered before the Lincoln Memorial.

Pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Snows, 2011


Over 150 members of Faith and Light traveled from all over the USA, Canada and even 3 members from France, to celebrate Faith and Light's 40th Anniversary. For four days, we prayed, sang, fellowshipped, and visited the Arch in nearby St Louis, Missouri.

Faith and Light downloads

The Spirituality of Faith and Light is very rich. We continue to live this spirituality with great joy in our communities. Learn more as you read our stories.