Robert Vachons journey expresses an inclusive approach to life, never succumbing to absolutes regarding God, truth, civilization and technology. Nourished within the Roman Catholic philosophical and theological milieu of the Americas and Europe, immersed in the ashrams of India, he articulated a vision of God as non-discriminatory. Roberts life is characterized by an unconditional acceptance of all cultures and religions. He initiated interreligious and intercultural dialogue as co-founder of the Intercultural Institute of Montreal. Vigorously engaged with Aboriginal peoples, he helped the Mohawks cultivate their ancestral culture. His conviction: harmony and understanding are possible not despite differences, but in and because of them. A paradigm for the survival of humankind!
''One cannot remain complacent, since the author, Joseph Baxer, immediately draws the reader into a completely engrossing, provocative model for global understanding, especially amongst those whom we regard as different from us! Rarely does one encounter a scholarly work that at once challenges the intellect yet also presents a pragmatic approach for realizing global peace. Through the enticing and compelling story of Robert Vachon, one may understand the historical perspective by examining its roots and wondering: How did we get here? how clarify contemporary issues? And how honestly face into the questions salient for all of us: Where are we going?
Joseph Baxer has diligently and creatively presented the life of Robert who has dared repeatedly to ask himself this question: Where am I going? Through joyful synchronicity, agonizing indecision, and moments tormented by aloneness, this man has used his extraordinary intellect to reach deeply into his heart to search for a way to unite, honor, respect, embrace all of humanity [i.e., people from diverse cultures, ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, faith traditions including, yes, atheists and agnostics!] It is an immense tribute to the author to have woven a tale of intrigue and also simplified complex, philosophical teachings gleaned from the work of scholars most significant for Roberts evolution.
After reading this biography, potentially, the reader is now able to identify and understand concepts that keep him/her from engaging with the foreigner, the immigrant, the terrorist who lives in an unknown country, far away. The challenge of consistent personal reflection and the responsibility to persevere in developing an all-encompassing conscience belongs to each of us. Transformation is a daily pursuit! The paradox intrinsic to Roberts journey: Entering deeply into confusion and despair becomes a catalyst for remaining engaged, surely leading to enlightenment, paths devoted to peace. If one applies the learning and sustains a centered life, this process is effective and possible. Or we perish.
As Robert is a dear friend and colleague, Joseph may have refrained from exploring the shadow in Roberts personality that could have compromised his research and the work of the Intercultural Institute of Montreal. The reader will not suffer from this lack of analysis, yet must be aware of it.''
-Barbara A. Bacewicz-
July 20, 2007