In 2015, is there a welcome for a L’Arche community within Simcoe County?

December 19, 2015

Is hope nurtured when we invite the other to our table?

20151219 Vanier

Jean Vanier visits the residents in one of the L’Arche homes in Trosly, France.

Today’s Globe and Mail and Ian Brown bring to light, Jean Vanier’s comfort and joy: ‘What we have to do is find the places of hope’:

There’s a beautiful text of Jesus, where he says, when you give a meal, don’t invite the members of your family, don’t invite your rich neighbours. When you give a really good meal, invite the poor, the lame, the disabled and the blind. And you will be blessed.

Building a community…

At L’Arche [started in 1964], by fairly stunning contrast, people with intellectual disabilities (the residents) live and work side by side with the nondisabled (their assistants) as peers, in what L’Arche likes to call “mutually transformative relationships.” Because the disabled have an equal hand in setting the tone (often hilarious) and pace (unpredictable) of the homes they live in, they can fairly call these communities their own. They’re the residents, the co-bosses, not the guests. We, the able-bodied, are the ones who have to be integrated into their world, not the other way around. They are honoured as people in their own right, with a contribution to make, no matter how subtle that contribution may be.

“Vanier discovered,” the Templeton Prize citation declares, “that those people who society typically considers the weakest enable the strong to recognize and welcome their own vulnerability.”

L’Arche Canada locations

Simcoe Sojourners

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Forgiveness

February 23, 2009

jeanvanierTo look forward, to want life, means we have to be willing to look backwards and become more conscious of all those who have hurt us, all that is broken in us and that has brought us inner deaths, hurts that we may have hidden and stifled.

It means that we acknowledge the story of our origins, of our own lives, see and accept our brokenness and the times we also have hurt others.

When we have accepted who we are and what we need in order to grow in compassion and peacemaking, we can move forward to give life. To forgive is a gift of God that permits us to let go of our past hurts.

Jean Vanier, Finding Peace, page 47-48


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