Christ The King Parish
Serving Parishioners of the Comox Valley

L’Arche Communities

L'Arche is ...

An International federation of faith-based communities creating homes and day programs with people who have developmental disabilities. L'Arche in Canada is a national organization linking 26 L'Arche communities across Canada. L'Arche communities are inspired by the beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12). At the heart of these communities are people with developmental disabilities and those who share life with them. The word "L'Arche" is French for "the ark", referring to Noah's ark, the biblical symbol of deliverance, a place of safety.

Click to see L’Arche Comox Valley Website ->

Vision ...

The vision of L'Arche is rooted in the following:

The recognition of the unique value of persons with developmental disabilities to reveal that human suffering and joy can lead to growth, healing and unity. When their gift is received, individual, social and ecclesial change occurs;

Life Sharing, where persons with developmental disabilities and those who assist them live, work and pray together, creating a home;

Relationship of mutuality in which people give and receive love;

Christian community based on the Gospel and dependent upon the Spirit of God where faithful relationships, forgiveness and celebration reveal God's personal presence and love.

Mission ...

• To create homes where faithful relationships based on forgiveness and celebration are nurtured;

• To reveal the unique value and vocation of each person

• To change society by choosing to live relationships in community as a sign of hope and love.

Background ...

In 1964, three men set up a house together in the small French village of Trosley-Breuil. Two of the men had developmental disabilities. The third was Canadian humanitarian, Jean Vanier.

Appalled by the conditions and isolation of the environment in which Raphael and Philippe had spent most of their lives, Vanier bought the small house that would come to represent a haven to hundreds of adults with developmental disabilities around the world. He named the house "L'Arche" (The Ark . after the scripture story of Jonah's refuge) and gradually welcomed not only those who had been shut out of life for so long, but many others who would come to live, work and share their lives with them.

From that small beginning, L'Arche has grown into an international federation of over 120 communities in about 30 countries on six continents. All these communities are part of the International Federation of L'Arche Communities, which has its head office in France.

Communities ...

L'Arche communities are communities of faith, rooted in prayer and trust in God. They seek to be guided by God and by their weakest members through whom God's presence is revealed.

Communities of L'Arche in Canada...

There are 26 L'Arche communities in Canada. Three in the Atlantic region; seven in Quebec; nine in Ontario; four in the Western Prairies and three in the Pacific region. This constitutes 107 homes and 36 supervised apartments. There are 433 people with disabilities living in L'Arche homes and 45 in apartments. This makes up for a total of 478 adults with disabilities or Core members. Clicking on the L'Arche logo on the left will link you to their national website.

Living With...

L'Arche communities are centres of family life for small groups of three to eight people. Life "in community" focuses on the activities of daily living, as well as the family experience of sharing good times and hard times, celebration, forgiveness and prayer. It is in the small demands of daily life that community becomes a reality: learning to listen to the needs of those around us, the discovery of our own gifts and the deepening of our relationships.

A community house will include "core people"... those with disabilities and "assistants" ... those who live, work and share their lives with them.


Assistants in L'Arche come from various walks of life. They are different ages, some having professional qualifications and others having no formal training. The choice to live in community with people with developmental disabilities comes from a desire to live out the values of the gospels, resulting in a deep personal and spiritual commitment.


Based on the The Beatitudes of Jesus who taught that those who are poor are also rich in some way. People with developmental disabilities, for instance, often have a real capacity to welcome and accept others, and to call people together around them. In L'Arche this reality is experienced through relationships lived out in daily life.

• Ecumenical, respectful and welcoming of people of faiths other than Christianity. (In L'Arche in Canada, Jewish and Muslin members are helped to live their faith and attend their own synagogues or mosques.)

• Encourages each member to grow in his/her own faithtradition.

• Also welcomes people with no religious affiliation.

Jean Vanier...

Now in his seventies, he continues his involvement with L'Arche by giving public talks, facilitating youth retreats and writing books. For more detail on Jean Vanier's visits to Canada, please consult the L'Arche Canada Website.

Solidarity with L'Arche Communities in Developing Countries...

We are sensitive to the needs of L'Arche in countries where no government funding exists. LArche Canada is twinned with communities in the southern hemisphere (Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Brazil) in order to foster mutual support and friendship Donations designed for the solidarity fund as well as for individual communities and/or L'Arche Canada are welcome and tax deductible.

L'Arche Comox Valley...

L'Arche Comox Valley established a home in the Comox Valley called Jubilee House in 2000. It is home to four "core people" and their "assistants" and is situated on 19th Street in Courtenay. If you would like more information about a friend or family member becoming a "core member" of L'Arche Comox Valley or if you are interested in volunteering or becoming an "assistant", please contact us at the phone/address below.


Further information can be obtained from:

L'Arche Comox Valley Office

1225C England Avenue

Courtenay, B.C.

V9N 2P1

Telephone: 250-334-8320 Fax: 250-334-8321

L’Arche Comox Valley Outreach Centre

1001B Fitzgerald Avenue

Courtenay, B. C.

V9N 8K8

Telephone: 250-871-6288

Date last updated: 28 Nov. 2014

Site maintained by Terry Penney