Coronavirus health restrictions created profound obstacles for the communal relationships and interplay of everyday life at L’Arche communities. “It’s been rough,” said Eileen Schofield, a “core member” at Ontario House, one of the four homes of L’Arche Greater Washington, D.C. “I can’t go see my friends and all that.”
Family life at L’Arche is close and personal. Before the pandemic, this meant holding hands for prayer, eating dinner around the table every night, frequent visits from family and friends. With new restrictions, though, they have had to adapt to a life that now includes six feet of distance between community members (except when core members require direct support from assistants), personal protective equipment even in the home and the cancellation of day programs and work.