L’Arche Chicago opened as the 14th community in the United States. Having a L’Arche community in the Chicago area was a desire held by an ecumenical group of people since the 1980s. This group, initiated and inspired by individuals who had once lived in L’Arche, sponsored “Faith and Sharing” retreats, invited Jean Vanier and Henri Nouwen to give presentations, prayed together, and made friends with persons with intellectual disabilities.
L’Arche Chicago was officially born in June 2000, when Elbert was welcomed as the founding core member by Sr. Maria Zeimen, the founding Community Leader. Today there are ten core members and twelve assistants sharing life together in our community’s three homes on the west side of Chicago and in the Oak Park / River Forest area.