To listen is to hear beyond words, beyond what the person says or does not say. It is leaving behind one’s your own preconceived ideas and entering into the sufferings and joys of another person, as if you were standing in their shoes. Listening to a person in their vulnerability also means hearing the call of our common humanity, the need to realize how wounding our ideals and collective behaviour can be to many people, people who can not compete in the race for social, emotional and personal "success" proposed by contemporary society. Below is a first testimony on this theme - listening to a person who lived great aspirations while struggling with the limitations of his disabilities.
A few years ago, I went with Mel Kirzner, a man with an intellectual disability who welcomed my to L’Arche in 1985, to visit the Maxwell and Ruth Leroy Holocaust Remembrance Garden at the Reena Community Residence in Vaughan.
AboutFace, an organization providing supports to individuals with facial differences and their families, as well as public awareness and education to increase understanding and acceptance, recently hosted the Toronto premiere of this powerful film that transforms attitudes about appearance and encourages students to accept themselves and others. It's about difference and belonging, judgment and inclusion.
L’Arche Canada is participating in a series of round tables on the theme of “Living Together” – sharing life with and including persons who are vulnerable and marginalized in the heart of our communities. It is a chance for individuals from organizations that are part of the cause of creating a more just, compassionate and inclusive world to come together to share experience, learn together and be inspired.
The Mission of L’Arche calls us “to engage in our diverse cultures, working together toward a more human society.” In August, we can live the mission by taking a role in the World Social Forum.