The gift that Jean Vanier, Phillipe and Raphael gave to the world is as beautiful as it is simple: "You matter". From that humble origin of three men sharing life together, L'Arche has changed the world with a revolution of tenderness. In doing so, L’Arche has turned the world's values of money, power and beauty - as signs of success - on its head. L'Arche creates spaces where all are made to feel that we matter, that we are beautiful, that asking for help is ok, that our brokenness has something to teach us, but does not define us, and that we have things to learn from people who aren't like us.
I was sent to L'Arche Heartland as part of my Jesuit training a few years ago. The core members invited me, a complete stranger, into their house and lives with such ease that I immediately felt at home. Four years later, I still tell anyone who asks that L'Arche Heartland is the single greatest experience I have had as a Jesuit. "How can such a short experience be so powerful?” I am frequently asked. And I reply, "Because it is the most authentic experience of the Kingdom of God: all are welcome, all are celebrated, we share meals, tears, laughter and affection with such ease. Under the unassuming disguise of birthday cakes, kitchen dance parties and chicken nuggets we are living out God's dream for us."
-Matthew Wooters, SJ, Jesuit Intern 2013