The Charter of L’Arche

The aim of L’Arche is to create communities, which welcome people with an intellectual disability. By this means, L’Arche seeks to respond to the distress of those who are too often rejected, and to give them a valid place in society.

AIMS

  1. The aim of L’Arche is to create communities, which welcome people with an intellectual disability. By this means, L’Arche seeks to respond to the distress of those who are too often rejected, and to give them a valid place in society.
  2. L’Arche seeks to reveal the particular gifts of people with an intellectual disability who belong at the very heart of their communities and who call others to share their lives.
  3. L’Arche knows that it cannot welcome everyone who has an intellectual disability. It seeks to offer not a solution but a sign, a sign that a society, to be truly human, must be founded on welcome and respect for the weak and the downtrodden.
  4. In a divided world, L’Arche wants to be a sign of hope. Its communities, founded on covenant relationships between people of differing intellectual capacity, social origin, religion and culture, seek to be signs of unity, faithfulness and reconciliation.

FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES

  1. Whatever their gifts of their limitations, people are all bound together in a common humanity. Everyone is of unique and sacred value, and everyone has the same dignity and the same rights. The fundamental rights of each person include the right to life, to care, to a home, to education and to work. 
 Also, since the deepest need of a human being is to love and to be loved; each person has a right to friendship, to communion and to a spiritual life.
  2. If human beings are to develop their abilities and talents to the full, realising all their potential as individuals, they need an environment that fosters personal growth. They need to form relationships with others within families and communities. They need to live in an atmosphere of trust, security and mutual affection. They need to be valued, accepted and supported in real and warm relationships.
  3. People with an intellectual disability often possess qualities of welcome, wonderment, spontaneity, and directness. They are able to touch hearts and to call others to unity through their simplicity and vulnerability. In this way they are a living reminder to the wider world of the essential values of the heart without which knowledge, power and action lose their meaning and purpose.
  4. Weakness and vulnerability in a person, far from being an obstacle to union with God, can foster it. It is often through weakness, recognised and accepted, that the liberating love of God is revealed.
  5. In order to develop the inner freedom to which all people are called, and to grow in union with God, each person needs to have the opportunity of being rooted and nourished in a religious tradition.