Impact is a theme in our community this year and who knows about the impact of L’Arche better than people who have been part of our community? So we reached out to current and former community members to hear about their stories and relationships, and how L’Arche GWDC has impacted them. This is the twelfth in a series of interviews with current and former community members of L’Arche GWDC titled: #LarcheImpact.
When were you at L’Arche GWDC and what were your role(s)?
Oct 2008-June2010 Highland accompanying Hazel.
June 2010-July 2011 Home Life Coordinator, also accompanying Fritz and Eric at various times.
February 2013-January 2015 Development Associate – basically hospitality
January 2015-July 2016 Outreach Coordinator – mostly event planning and volunteer management but also anything needed, including HR and basic accounting
What brought you to L’Arche?
Spring break 2005 with Loyola in Maryland. I fell in love with the guys at Euclid and thought that was where I wanted my home to be for a year or two after college. That was not where Dorothy Copps and Terrence Zecha put me when they welcomed me into Highland, which had been going through a lot of transitions in a short amount of time. But, really just love of the people I met. I wanted to spend more time with them.
What’s one of your favorite memories at L’Arche?
I tend to like the quiet moments. I used to wake up for morning routine on Sundays. Hazel would be awake watching tv most likely, and I’d join her, turning the channel to the Animal Planet and we would quietly laugh at the animals, while Linda started to wake up and get ready for her parents to pick her up for church and a day with them. The guys would usually be quiet upstairs for a while, but Fritz would often come down dressed in a suit for church. I would go with Hazel and Eric to Queen of Peace, and we met back up with Fritz at 6th Street for grilled cheese and tomato soup. It was always a quiet morning, and I enjoyed the leisure of it all. The routine and the naturalness of it. After lunch we would have to then decide what to do with the rest of the day, but the morning was pretty much set and it was just so cozy.
What encouragement/advice do you have for people who are considering L’Arche?
You will get a lot out of L’Arche if you decide to give in to following others in the ways they live their lives. You can be yourself at L’Arche, but don’t expect to be busy with doing things for other people. L’Arche is not really about doing service to others. It is more about committing to relationships and to seeing where those relationships lead you and the community as a whole. If you are able to do this, then you will see that L’Arche will grow with you being in it. I see it kind of like this – after you are settled into the routine of L’Arche and things aren’t so hectic and new, you get a sense of an exhale and emptying out of your expectations. From then on, you can breathe deeply in the fullness of the ways L’Arche leaks out into the world and you yourself will be a part of how L’Arche bursts (or nestles) into the lives of others.
How did you grow in your time at L’Arche?
I learned to slow down, to walk at someone else’s pace and to prioritize silence as a way to develop friendship and intimacy. I grew in responsibility. Being trusted to take on more, I felt entrusted to continue learning and growing.
How does your time at L’Arche impact you today?
Today I am working in financial planning. I decided to enter this field only after going to an Arc Policy Seminar. Hearing from families about financial worries and confusion of policy (some of them bad policies) made me want to be a compassionate ear to people like them who come for financial advice and I wanted to educate myself to be their voice. Without L’Arche, I would not be doing what I am doing today. I have long term goals based on the stories have learned in L’Arche. Plus Hazel keeps calling me…
Do you have a favorite picture of your time at L’Arche you could share with us?
We invite you to share your own responses to the “#LarcheImpact” questions. Your responses can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are actively seeking new live-in and live-out assistants. Apply today!