L'Arche (rhymes with "marsh") - A global community of faith that celebrates the gifts of persons with intellectual disability - gifts of welcome, wonderment, spirituality, and friendship. In the USA, L'Arche provides family-like homes where where persons with and without intellectual disability live together as peers, create inclusive communities of faith and friendship, and transform society through relationships that cross social boundaries. At the heart of L'Arche are adults with intellectual disability, core members, and the relationships that arise from a shared life.
France 1964 - L'Arche Founder, Jean Vanier, invited two men with intellectual disability to leave the institution where they lived and share life a home. They called their home,L'Arche, French for "The Ark" (from the Bible story of Noah and the Ark) - a place of safety and refuge. Vanier's hope "to do for" grew to a sacred commitment "to be with and befriend."
Today hundreds of L'Arche communities flourish around the world, 20 in the USA (including L'Arche Metro Richmond). L'Arche honors the dignity of every human being - core members are companions, friends, and teachers; not clients, patients, or service recipients.
Assistants come from around the world to live in L'Arche. They accompany (not supervise) and share lives of love and respect with core members. Beyond the home, a community of friends shares in celebration and prayer.