L’Arche International Family Day

Photo above: Musa, featured in an “As I Am” video

By John Guido with a message by Zoel Breau

Since I was a boy belonging to The World Explorer’s Club, I dreamed of visiting Africa, a continent of vibrant community, rich traditions, dynamic people, and abundant, colourful life. Two years ago, my dream finally came true when I had the chance to visit East Africa for a month. I traveled with a friend, a Holy Cross priest, visiting his communities and spending a week each in L’Arche Uganda and L’Arche Kenya.

Africa was everything I dreamt of and more. To be honest, it was overwhelming. At times, I did not know what was going on – the way food was cooked and what was eaten, the way the house and clothes were cleaned, the music, the traditions, and many other ways were so different than what I know at home. The communities were quite different in many ways too.

Yet from the moment I entered the L’Arche communities, I felt at home and welcomed as if I was family despite my culture and the colour of my skin. Undeterred by my inability to speak their languages, members with intellectual disabilities found ways to communicate and invite me to get to know them. The assistants, most of whom spoke English, shared their joys and struggles in ways that sounded familiar despite the many differences between us. And when we prayed, the language difference disappeared through familiar L’Arche rituals and in singing, drumming, and dancing rooted in their beautiful traditions.

Zoel Breau in Lithuania

On the first Saturday of October, the communities of L’Arche around the world celebrate L’Arche family day. We celebrate both the richness of diversity in our human family and our common humanity, our unique gifts and our need of one another. We stand in solidarity with persons with intellectual disabilities and their families around the world, especially in places where people are at risk, or not included as full citizens, because of their vulnerability.

Photo on left: Zoel Breau (second from left) visiting L’Arche in Lithuania

For the past 6 years, Zoel Breau has been the L’Arche International Delegate to L’Arche communities that are isolated – mostly in the developing world where one or two communities in a country have no national support structure and receive little to no government funding. Now, as he leaves this role to become the Community Leader of Saint John, New Brunswick, Zoel shares his thoughts on the gift of the communities he visited. His dream is for all of who are able to visit these communities and learn from them what community really means.

View Zoel’s video message here.

You can celebrate L’Arche Family day with us!

View L’Arche International’s presentation on Family Day:

To see the Global L’Arche Solidarity Album, visit the International website:

Read about an appeal to help L’Arche Lithuania flourish:

To discover L’Arche powerful stories from around the world visit:

Community arts create a world where everyone is valued and belongs

The community arts movement and organizations like Art Hives build stronger communities and a more human society. L’Arche celebrates the unique gifts of artists and the community creative spaces where they thrive.

Celebrate the Gift

In October 2019, we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of L’Arche Daybreak and of L’Arche In Canada. We will take time in the next 12 months to share our stories in many creative ways. L’Arche Canada will put a spotlight on the ways our vision and values respond to our world today, celebrating the gifts of belonging, diversity, and inclusion.

L’Arche Tova Café promotes Belonging and Inclusion in Winnipeg

Social purpose businesses or enterprises focused on food and hospitality are vibrant and innovative ways to promote belonging and inclusion. For over 6 years, L’Arche Tova Café has led the way not only for the city of Winnipeg, but also for L’Arche in Canada.

Storytelling “with”

L’Arche storytelling puts belonging, diversity, and inclusion at the centre to help us “imagine the world differently.”

Where is happiness, where is it…?

Happiness is a trendy topic. There are as many definitions of happiness as there are individuals, yet never has a civilization developed such precise models and ideas of what happiness should be.

Institutional life – a bit of context

Raphael Amato offers some background on the role of institutions in the 20th century

Listening to and amplifying the voices of marginalized people

Each message pays tribute first to a person’s story, highlighting and sharing the richness and diversity of these heartfelt testimonies.

L’Arche International Family Day

The first Saturday of October is L’Arche International Family Day. Discover the gift of L’Arche around the world and celebrate our solidarity with one another.

Setting our course for the next 50 years

Looking forward to an era where L’Arche people with and without disabilities join with others of like spirit to advocate and change society – making it more inclusive for everyone.

L’Arche London’s Gathering Place

One example of the increased impact L’Arche communities are having across Canada