This week, 46 members of L’Arche USA are in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the L’Arche Federation Assembly. Usually, L’Arche is an experience of relationship that unfolds its transformative gift in the ordinary everyday life of our communities. Yet, every five years for one week, the ordinary turns into a powerful display of humanity’s diverse colors: 37 countries, 17 languages, all faiths and none united to celebrate! In L’Arche, we literally cross borders. And we reach across boundaries of faith, ability, nationality, age and gender to welcome our differences and celebrate one another’s distinctiveness.
People with intellectual disabilities are at the core of this. In 17 communities in the U.S., and counting, those who are too often marginalized and sometimes still humiliated in our societies become teachers for people who live without disabilities.
L’Arche is often considered a school of life, and while our community in Spokane, Washington might look very different than L’Arche in Kolkata, India, members around the world experience a similar formation in character, spirituality and sometimes profession. Ensuring the vocational development of our members with and without intellectual disabilities is one of L’Arche USA’s main responsibilities. A second area of focus is L’Arche’s invitation to our society to bridge the divides and value each other. We are currently developing new public policy and public awareness programs. Stay tuned for more!
The needs of people who live with an intellectual disability in the U.S are great. The needs of this society to witness unity, joy and hope are striking. L’Arche in the U.S. has a calling to grow. I invite you to partner with us in this mission. You can help with a gift online or by mail to: L’Arche USA, 1130 SW Morrison St., Suite 230, Portland, OR 97205.