The Faith and Light movement was started during a Lourdes Pilgrimage. At the time of the movement establishment many families with children with a disability were refused participation in common pilgrimage groups.
There was a fear, that handicapped children could “upset” others. So, Jean Vanier and Marie Helen Mathieu helped such families organize a pilgrimages to Lourdes.
About 12000 people from all over the world took part in the first such pilgrimage in 1971. After the event the communities continued to meet and so Faith and Light was born.
Major pilgrimages organized by the Faith and Light movement to Lourdes took place in 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011. As of 2012, the movement has over 1640 communities in 78 countries around the world.