And gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jean Vanier and the Secret of L'Arche

The secret of L'Arche is relationship: meeting people, not through the filters of certitudes, ideologies, idealism or judgments, but heart to heart; listening to people with their pain, their joy, their hope, their history, listening to their heart beats. - Jean Vanier, L'Arche founder

Jean Vanier has travelled the world creating homes for people with developmental disabilities where they live with volunteers and a small staff in community. He helps teach the world that all are broken in some way. “You begin to discover a whole lot of things about yourself,” Vanier says of living in community with persons with disabilities. He learned that to “be human is to be bonded together, each with our own weaknesses and strengths, because we need each other.”

Jean Vanier is a blessing to all people, and to our world. He has committed his life to helping the marginalized, the lonely, the institutionalized, the forgotten, and the dispossessed. In 1964 he first became aware of the plight of people institutionalized with developmental disabilities, and felt led by God to invite two men to leave the institutions where they lived and reside with him in a real home. Jean Vanier named this home L'Arche, meaning "the ark", (referring to Noah's ark). It was from this original community in France, that more than 13o communities have come to existence internationally.

L'Arche communities reflect the ethnic and religious textures of the locales in which they exist, yet they all share a common philosophy and approach. The goal of L'Arche is to bring people with developmental disabilities together with those who assist them, creating homes and communities that recognize the value and gifts of every person.

L'Arche USA Becomes Member of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition

Recently, L'Arche USA was invited to join the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition with full board approval. IDAC is a diverse, nonpartisan coalition of religious and religiously-affiliated organizations whose core spiritual values affirm the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. The mission of IDAC, hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities’ Interfaith Initiative, is to mobilize the religious community to speak out and take action on disability policy issues with Congress, the President and Administration, and society.

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