From one small home that opened in 1964, L’Arche has become a worldwide movement that now has 147 different communities in 35 countries. Each community reflects the culture of its country while holding true to the value of seeing each person as fully human.
The International Federation of L’Arche Communities is incorporated in France, with main offices in Paris and in Montreal, Canada. The Federation is governed by an international board of directors and a General Assembly composed of representatives from its 147 member communities, each of which is incorporated, governed, and operated independently.
The General Assembly meets once every three years, in different cities around the world. L’Arche Greater Washington, D.C. sent representatives to the most recent Federation meeting in Atlanta in 2012.
Patrick Fontaine and Eileen Glass, respectively the International Leader and Vice International Leader pilot the Federation of L’Arche, guiding its mission in an ever-changing world in accordance with the International Charter and Identity & Mission statements. Backed by the support of the International Stewardship Board, they foster unity across L’Arche, and lead the implementation of the five-year Mandate entrusted to them by the Federation Assembly at Atlanta, 2012.
Experience in L’Arche: Patrick joined L’Arche La Merci, Cognac, France, in 1979, with his wife, Monique and their family, eventually spending ten years as community leader. He has worked with L’Arche International since 1998, first as Coordinator of the Zone of Southern Europe and the Middle East. For a year and a half before June 2012, he was responsible for the Delegate Coordinators, i.e. the people who supported L’Arche in countries where there were just one or two pioneer communities.
Professional Experience: Patrick is a Doctor of Medicine, and has worked both as a General Practitioner and specialist in acupuncture.
Experience in L’Arche: Eileen first joined L’Arche Winnipeg, Canada, in 1974, as a house assistant, and later was invited to become house coordinator. On returning to her native Australia, she was instrumental in founding L’Arche, as well as Faith and Light. Her roles have included community leadership (Canberra), Regional Coordinator for Australia, and Zone Coordinator for Asia West Pacific, as well as Formation and Publicity for L’Arche in Australia.
Professional Experience: Eileen holds a BA and a Diploma in Education, and Associate Diploma in Speech and Drama. She spent several years teaching in Melbourne, Australia. Following her formation in Spiritual Direction, Eileen has led many retreats within and beyond L’Arche. Between 2002 and 2012, she supervised students at the Australian Catholic University who were training to be spiritual directors.