Arche Deutschland und Österreich e.V.
Contact person: Steffen Müller, Claus Michel
- Commune, community project
- Social policy/disabled persons
- Spiritual organization
- Volunteers are welcome.
L’Arche International has its roots in the foundation of the first L’Arche community in 1964 in Trosly-Breuil, a village north of Paris. Following the suggestion of his mentor Father Thomas Philippe, a Dominican priest, Jean Vanier, son of a former Governor General of Canada, decided to invite Raphaël Simi and Philippe Seux to live with him in a small house which he named L’Arche, the French word for the Ark.
In the 1960s, the rapidly growing community in Trosly attracted young people from all over the world who were keen to share their everyday life with a growing number of people with an intellectual disability. Although not planned or foreseen by Jean Vanier, it was only a matter of time before one or the other decided to draw on the vision of L’Arche and to create a L’Arche community in his hometown or country. Communities in France (La Merci), Canada (Daybreak) and India (Bangalore) were founded by 1970. In 1975, the number of communities had already risen to 30 with new foundations in view in Africa and Haiti.
In only a few years, L’Arche opened up to other cultures, languages and socio-economic backgrounds. Initially of Roman Catholic denomination, L’Arche quickly became ecumenical and interfaith. And yet, despite this emerging diversity, all the communities remain united around the knowledge that the humanising contribution of people with an intellectual disability to our societies becomes apparent in mutual relationships.
A L'Arche community is...
… mutual relationships: At the heart of L’Arche communities are relationships between people with and without intellectual disabilities. A respectful relationship between people who treat each other as of equal value provides security, allowing for growth, personal development and freedom to become more fully the people we want to be. Most importantly, mutual relationships foster the acceptance of each person as a unique and valuable individual, whatever his or her abilities or disabilities.
… spirituality: From its first community, founded in France in the Roman Catholic tradition, many other communities have been established in various cultural and religious traditions. Today, faith life continues to be an essential element of all L’Arche communities, which may be rooted in a particular faith tradition or have an ecumenical or an inter-faith character. Communities are respectful of the particular faith traditions of people who come to the community and seek to support members to deepen in their own faith experience and values, whether they situate themselves within or outside a religious affiliation.
… know-how: About 50 years of experience and cooperative work with doctors, psychologists, social workers and other professionals have enabled L’Arche communities to develop strong competencies and a high standard of quality in the field of care-giving. In several countries, L’Arche is called upon by governments for advice on policy formation.
… community life: Living with others emphasises what a person can accomplish, give and learn. Just as in a family, all members of the community are responsible for the group’s well-being, be it at home, in a workshop or a day programme, through cooking or washing up, through a helping hand, a smile or a joke.
We offer up-to-date specialist information and contacts with regard to the subjects: handicaps, community life and spirituality.