L'Arche Genesaret Jubilee DinnerShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
L’Arche Genesaret, translated means the ‘ark of faith and healing’ and was established in France 50 years ago by Jean Vanier who opened his home to three other men with disabilities creating a tiny community that was destined to grow beyond the French village of Trosly-Breuil to become a benchmark for care on an international level. It was about a shared life, an inclusive life and the resultant healing power this attitude engendered. That is today evident with all who are part of the L’Arche community who celebrated their Jubilee Dinner together.
For one Australian women it would have an impact beyond her imaginings and an epic truck trip from Kathmandu to France in 1974 was the beginning of a lifelong journey just as confronting and exciting for Eileen Glass as it has been for so many who’ve been part of the L’Arche story.
In France she went to visit a friend volunteering at L’Arche Genesaret where the founder Jean Vanier had established his first ‘community’, then the heart of an international network of little communities caring for the intellectually handicapped. And she was inculcated into this unique idea that would change many perceptions of caring for the mentally disabled.
From France she went to Canada as a volunteer spending two years in Winnipeg, coming back to Australia and starting the first L’Arche Genesaret community in Bungendore and then transferring it to Canberra. Her experiences and what she’s achieved have been honoured with an order of Australia but it’s the L’Arche community that demonstrates the unique and successful “healing power of a shared life” at the heart of this organisation where in combination with the ACT Government, business, volunteers and family combine to make this basic human need of justice, dignity and belonging for those with a disability a beacon for all communities.
And at the L’Arche Genesaret Jubilee Dinner celebrating the international 50th birthday Eileen Glass AM, now the Vice-International Leader, reflected on the organisation in a world conflicted on many fronts, where the true nature of our country is reflected in how we value people at the margins. Her speech was inspiring, thoughtful and a reminder of the commitment and care of so many to this large international collection of little communities who found a way to make a difference and a better way in the lives of those most vulnerable but so loved and loving.