Jesus asks us to reorient our priorities. In embracing what the world sometimes values little, we find what has the greatest value.
In the early 1960s, former naval officer and theology professor, Jean Vanier, decided to do something personally about the conditions he saw in institutions for the developmentally disabled. He made a home with two men who had disabilities. Naming their house “L’Arche,” after Noah’s Ark, he and the others lived as a family, sharing daily tasks and relaxing together. Since then, L’Arche communities have spread throughout the world. They ask people of different abilities and disabilities to live in community with one another. “Daybreak”, the L’Arche community in Toronto, attracted the priest and writer Fr. Henri Nouwen. Recovering from depression, Nouwen became Daybreak’s pastor and began helping Adam Arnett, a man with a severe disability. Nouwen called Adam his friend, teacher, and guide. Whenever he traveled or lectured, Fr. Nouwen invited a person with a disability to accompany him as a cofacilitator.
In honor of these visionaries, and in observance of October’s National Disability Employment Month, the St. Joseph’s Parish Outreach Committee, on behalf the parish community, has donated $500 to New England Disabled Sports at Loon Mountain. There, boundaries are broken and nearly 600 athletes living with disabilities are able to enjoy adaptive sports. It’s always a pleasure to see these athletes and their families at St. Joseph’s when they’re in town!