A Man Without Words is the inspiring story of how a deaf and languageless man came to discover language and connect with the larger human community. Told by Susan Schaller and featuring her remarkable former student, Ildefonso, this poignant story shows how language changes us, the profound sorrow at realizing what could have been, and the redemption found in service to a higher vision of one’s life.


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  • robert

    just touched by the beauty and depth of our human hearts, our spirit, our natural curiosity and deep deep need to connect. This is a wonderful story - sad and joyful.

  • Nancy

    This is beyond profound.It is the story of Anne Sullivan who taught Helen Keller how to connect/communicate. I cried so hard for my fear/shame of expressing my true self. This beautiful man trapped in oblivion - until someone cared- to see deeper into him! He wanted to share - after anger. Then went into peace- to make beautiful gardens. He saw his impact. He had value- created change! The caring of Susan, he learned to communicate with the excellence that is exuberance. He saw - he mattered - made a difference despite all - motivation to create beauty! He rose above his lack - made a difference! It took one person to care - Susan thank you so. Your caring healed me too. Story of Chauncey Gardener -Peter Sellers film: Being There. Our world shoots innocent/messengers/whistle blowers- many before Jesus hung/Buddha- poisoned - RFK JFK MLK Ghandi shot Imprisoned- Nelson Mandella for one- the many after. We do this - man's inhumanity to man...but here is this incredible man Ildefonso....who awoke to his beauty and went on to create it as we all must do. This is the Hero's Journey. Ildefonso made his sorrow count and may we all do this ....to heal the past and its pain.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    beautiful! the patience, compassion. Language changes us! <3 yes, to share to understand, to connect, which is the human condition! <3


    That we all want to communicate and share. Btw, the garden is beautiful :)

  • Carmelita Rocha

    Most of us in live in fear, doubt and worry and we do hear and speak a language, but this man has made me realize that even though he had no language or could not hear sound, he still made the world around him so beautiful and expressive. He gave us, the individuals who could hear and speak, a moment to live within the world of silence and hear, see and feel the beauty around them. and for a brief moment just forget the fear, doubt, and worry within us.

  • Charles

    That communication is the first way to the heart ...

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  • Find out more about Ildefonso and Susan Schaller in this Works & Conversations interview with Richard Whittaker 
  • The language you speak changes your view of the world. Can you imagine how being without a language, and then learning one could change you?
  • Ildefonso serves through creating beautiful gardens. How can you serve? Try your hand at making a visual poem.

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