Each Friday we collect donations to benefit a different community-based organization in Washington, DC. On Friday, March 3, the beneficiary will be L'Arche Greater Washington, DC.
Consider spending your early Friday evening with St. Matthew's family and friends - come for the 5:30pm Mass, 6pm Stations of the Cross, and end with a shared meal organized by the Social Justice and Community Service (SJCS) Committee, for this great opportunity of almsgiving.
from which the following is excerpted and summarized.
L’Arche is an international federation of 149 member communities in 37 countries, whose goal is to create communities that welcome people who have intellectual disabilities. L’Arche USA communities provide homes and workplaces where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers in inclusive communities of faith and friendship.
L'Arche (French for “the Ark”) – Founded by Jean Vanier in France in 1964
“Our community life is beautiful and intense, a source of life for everyone. People with a disability experience a real transformation and discover confidence in themselves; they discover their capacity to make choices, and also find a certain liberty and above all their dignity as human beings.” – Jean Vanier
L'Arche Identity and Mission Statement
We are people, with and without intellectual disabilities, sharing life in an international federation of communities. Mutual relationships and trust in God are the heart of our journey together. We celebrate every person’s unique value and recognize our need of one another.
Our mission is to reveal the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities through mutually transforming relationships; foster a community environment that responds to our members’ changing needs while faithful to our core values; and explore our diverse cultures working together toward a more human story.
L’Arche Greater Washington, DC (two communal homes each in Adams Morgan and Arlington)
In our L’Arche community, life focuses on the 16 members who have intellectual disabilities known as “core people.” St. Matthews is honored to have L’Arche community members as both parishioners and Social Justice volunteers.
Since 1983, L’Arche has provided safe housing, compassionate support services, and opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities to integrate into their neighborhoods. It was inspired by Jean Vanier’s vision – the best way to foster members’ gifts and abilities is to create a caring community in which core people and those assisting them can share their lives.
These mutual relationships meet the fundamental needs of the human heart by helping to create a home, enabling core people to do fulfilling work, and encouraging opportunities to learn, contribute, and have fun. The community core persons primarily are lower income area residents of different backgrounds, ages, and cultures.
About Us – L'Arche Greater Washington, DC – three elements comprise our mission:
L'Arche is inter-denominational Christian community that welcomes all. We encourage members to discover and deepen their spiritual lives according to their own faith and tradition. Those with no religious affiliation are welcomed and their freedom of conscience respected.
Though not medical professionals, L'Arche assistants are trained to administer medication and recognize potential medical conditions. Disability professionals in health care, law, government service, and advocacy, herald L'Arche as among the best community-based care providers for persons with intellectual disabilities.
People with intellectual disabilities generally have been ignored, left out, and spoken for. L'Arche aims to change that by advocating with persons having intellectual disabilities for the rights, dignity, and quality services they deserve by joining our voices to speak out.
L’Arche communities are faith communities, rooted in prayer and trust in God. Our spirituality presumes that each person is unique, has sacred value, and that we experience God’s love through mutual friendships where one’s gifts and weaknesses are recognized and accepted.
“The belief in the inner beauty of each and every human being is at the heart of L’Arche … and at the heart of being human …. We do not discover who we are, [or] reach true humanness, in a solitary state; we discover it through mutual dependency, in weakness, in learning through belonging.” – Jean Vanier