L'Arche Metro Richmond
Life in L'Arche
L'Arche Metro Richmond is an emerging L'Arche community. We are building a dream towards one or more homes like those described below in the Richmond area of Virginia.
In L’Arche, core members and assistants share life with comfort, respect, celebration, and prayer. Beyond the actual L’Arche house, friends of L’Arche Metro Richmond share in celebrations, visits, meetings, and worship.
What Makes L’Arche Different?
L’Arche provides a quality of life rarely seen among persons with disabilities because L’Arche is a:
■ community of faith and spirituality,
■ not for profit mission, not a business,
■ global community with 50 years of experience, and
■ a sign of hope and love.
In addition, L’Arche:
■ celebrates the gifts of persons with disabilities,
■ provides family-like homes with a lifelong commitment to core members,
■ is immersed within the larger community,
■ makes good neighbors,
■ is all about sharing lives,
■ has assistants who accompany, feel a call, and live in the L’Arche home, and
■ focuses on worship, celebration, and welcoming everyone.
L’Arche has family-like homes.
Above are two L’Arche Blue Ridge Mountains homes in Lynchburg. They are next to each other and near a shopping center. Core members and assistants routinely help to keep the shopping center entrance tidy – L’Arche makes a good neighbor.
L’Arche homes may be townhouses, apartments, or houses.
This L’Arche home is in Arlington, Virginia.
Persons in a L’Arche Home
If you visit a L’Arche USA home, you may meet:
■ 3 to 5 core members
■ house manager
■ home life coordinator
■ program coordinator
■ assistants (some live in and some live out)
■ Community Leader
■ Friends of L’Arche and other frequent visitors
The assistant’s role is to accompany (not supervise) core members. Assistants may live in the L’Arche home with core members, or live outside of the home. Core members and assistants share strong respect and love. They are like family.
Jean Vanier describes L’Arche communities as “banquets of love” prepared especially for those that society often rejects. Assistants are the ultimate beneficiaries of this unique experience. They find that “weakness and vulnerability in a person, far from being an obstacle to union with God, can foster it.”
Assistants learn that persons with intellectual disabilities are needy and relentless. They fear wildly and love unconditionally. Core members are the principle teachers at L’Arche.
L’Arche provides initial and ongoing training for assistants.
L’Arche communities are rooted in faith, prayer, and worship. Communities pray together, host prayer nights, go on retreats, and attend worship services. In L’Arche, we experience God through friendships that recognize mutual gifts & weaknesses.
Founded in the Roman Catholic tradition, today L’Arche communities reflect faiths and traditions of local populations. While L’Arche members are often Christian, L’Arche communities span many religious beliefs. L’Arche supports the faith tradition of each person.
What People Do in L’Arche
Core members work or volunteer, and participate in various sports, hobbies, and crafts.
Each evening, an assistant & a core member prepare a family dinner. The community and guests gather for dining and fellowship. After dinner, they light a candle and join in silent or spoken prayer.
Core members also go on vacations and retreats and visit other L’Arche homes.
L’Arche life is filled with celebration. L’Arche takes advantage of every birthday, holiday, anniversary, or recognition and looks for every opportunity to celebrate.
All L’Arche communities are in solidarity with one another. Individuals from each L’Arche community are welcomed by all others around the world.
L’Arche recognizes the wonderful diversity and sad disparity in our world. Communities in Haiti, Mexico, and other countries receive no government funding. Therefore, L’Arche communities help each other as much as possible with funding, prayer, and fellowship.
Solidarity takes many forms, including:
■ visits between communities,
■ joint meetings, retreats, and gatherings,
■ assistant exchange programs,
■ community prayer for each other, and
■ financial support through community fundraising.
L’Arche is also in solidarity with local and worldwide organizations that promote social justice.