Welcome to L’Arche USA
L’Arche communities in the United States provide homes and workplaces where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers, create inclusive communities of faith and friendship, and transform society through relationships that cross social boundaries.
Identity and Mission
We are people, with and without intellectual disabilities, sharing life in communities belonging to an International Federation. Mutual relationships and trust in God are at the heart of our journey together. We celebrate the unique value of every person and recognize our need of one another.
Our Mission Is To:
- Make known the gifts of people who have intellectual disabilities, revealed through mutually transforming relationships;
- Foster an environment in community that responds to the changing needs of our members while being faithful to the core values of our founding story; and
- Engage in our diverse cultures, working together toward a more human society.
Charter of the Communities of L’Arche
The aim of L’Arche is to create communities which welcome people who have intellectual disabilities. By this means, L’Arche seeks to respond to the distress of those who are too often rejected, and to give them a valid place in society.
Communities of L’Arche USA
The first L’Arche community in the United States was founded in 1972 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Today, L’Arche USA includes 18 communities located in Iowa, Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Kansas, Alabama, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, New York, California, Washington D.C., Georgia, and Missouri. (See below for a list of emerging communities.)
Each community is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, and is governed by its own board of directors and managed by caring and professional staff. L’Arche communities are united through their membership in L’Arche USA and in the International Federation of L’Arche.
“The essence of our communities is this ‘living with.’ We are called, certainly, to serve with all our ability and to help those who are weaker to develop, but the foundation of this helping is found in friendship and the communion of hearts, which allows us all to grow.” —Jean Vanier, L’Arche founder
Emerging U.S. Communities
A number of groups are meeting across the United States to explore establishing a L’Arche community. Called “Friends of L’Arche,” the following groups are actively engaged in the process of emerging as new communities within L’Arche USA:
Fort Collins, Colorado
San Francisco Bay Area
L’Arche began in 1964 when Jean Vanier and Father Thomas Philippe, in response to a call from God, invited Raphaël Simi and Philippe Seux, two men with intellectual disabilities, to come and share their life in the spirit of the Gospel and the Beatitudes that Jesus preached.
From this first community, born in France and in the Roman Catholic tradition, many other communities have developed in various cultural and religious traditions.
These communities, called into being by God, are united by the same vision and the same spirit of welcome, of sharing and simplicity.