Friends from our sister community in Querétaro, Mexico
"The same sense of communion unites the various communities throughout the world. Bound together by solidarity and mutual commitment, they form a worldwide family" --from the Charter of the Communities of L'Arche
L'Arche Portland is one of 137 L'Arche communities in 40 countries around the world. The very first community was founded in 1964 in a small village north of Paris, France called Trosly-Breuil. There a man named Jean Vanier, moved by the conditions he had witnessed in asylums for people with developmental disabilities, invited two men to live with him. He didn't know at the time that he was starting a movement, but L'Arche had begun. Today there are L’Arche homes in all parts of the world—from Portland to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from Zimbabwe to India, all united in the mission to build relationships among people with and without developmental disabilities. L'Arche International is a global leader in engaging, honoring, and celebrating people with developmental disabilities.
The first U.S. community was founded in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1972. Today there are 17 communities throughout the U.S. in three regions. L'Arche Portland is part of the Western Region along with communities in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Orange County, CA. The communities work and play together throughout the year, with Regional Council meetings for Community Leaders, trainings for Boards of Directors, assistant retreats, and an annual Regional Gathering where core members, assistants, and leaders from all five communities come together for a weekend. L'Arche USA, the national organization, strengthens local communities, engages in advocacy work on behalf of those on the margins, and announces the gifts of people with developmental disabilities.
Solidarity extends not just to our region or country, but also to L'Arche communities in developing countries. L'Arche Portland is paired with a sister community in Queretaro, Mexico, with whom we exchange letters and photos every year in an effort to build relationships of mutuality.
Charter of the Communities of L’Arche