Who We Are
Our Identity & Mission
- Spiritual Life Statement
- Spirituality of L'Arche
- 10 Pillars of Spirituality
- L'Arche International
- Jean Vanier
- Henri Nouwen
- 50th Anniversary
- L'Arche USA
- Charter of L'Arche
L'Arche Portland transforms the lives of people with and without intellectual disabilities by working together to create home, share life, and build community. Those with intellectual disabilities form the heart of our community and invite others into relationship.
L’Arche Portland believes in the power of relationships to bring community, belonging and genuine love to people with and without intellectual disabilities who share a common experience of isolation and loneliness.
We have two homes in SE Portland serving people with and without intellectual disabilities. We also engage with people in the greater Portland area who do not live in our homes but participate as they can in the life of the community. Beyond the daily life circle, L'Arche Portland serves an extended community of friends, volunteers and supporters in Oregon and all over the country, even throughout the world. L'Arche Portland is part of an international federation of 149 communities and 20 projects in 35 countries around the world.
People with disabilities experience disproportionately high rates of discrimination, poverty, poor mental and physical health outcomes, and marginalization. Our society does not recognize one of the most important needs of all – the need to belong. Belonging is a need felt by all people, but it is often neglected for people with intellectual disabilities. L'Arche Portland addresses this common need for belonging and the isolation and loneliness that people with intellectual disabilities face through our intentional model of fostering mutual relationships.
Our vision of disability is based on the simple, powerful idea that love, relationships, and belonging are essential to all people and that every person has the ability and responsibility to contribute.
Founder Jean Vanier fused friendship into care by breaking down barriers between the “helper” and the “helped” and replacing that hierarchy with one of friendship and mutuality. Vanier himself became transformed as he entered into authentic relationships with his new housemates. In his words, he became “more fully human”. This experience is key to the international success of L’Arche communities.
Marilyn, one of our community members with a disability, may have summed it up best when she described L'Arche Portland as "a place where they want you." We are creating, day by day, a place of belonging, a place where people—with or without disabilities—feel welcomed, valued and loved.