Compassionate Story of the Month: Twice Orphan – An Introduction to L’Arche | Community-News

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No one remembers him now …

As a child he was cast,

housed in an orphanage

with a thrift store price tag

pinned to his sleeve.

Child, he left the village

through the locked door

towards the open fields beyond,

where he could be heard

chatting with the crows.

Or maybe sitting, for hours,

with pasture sheep

while waiting to be brought home.

Sometimes he could be found

sitting on the steps of the church,

hugging his knees and

rocking back and forth.

No one remembers the day the

the bullies of the playground invited him

join their game of hide and seek.

They tricked him into getting in the trunk

of a dilapidated car,

then left him.

Her 18th birthday came and went,

then a gift:

an older, childless couple

took him home.

They loved him,

every part of it.

There were lots of good dishes,

new clothes that fit you and

his own bed

in his own room.

His new mother taught him to bake bread,

knead the dough, just enough,

then let it increase, just so.

His new father taught him to add and subtract, and

how to make the change,

using real coins.

The young man found a job at the village bakery,

getting up every day at 3 a.m. to start

bake bread;

then from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., by selling it.

He felt proud.

One night her mother went to bed,

soft and warm.

The next morning,

it was stiff and cold.

Her father died soon after

with a heart that would not heal.

Sometimes city dwellers think that the

the twice orphaned man is lost;

but it can be found, at rest,

curled up between the tombstones

of his mother and father.

– Barbara Lee

If the twice orphaned man, in the poem above, had lived in the small village of Trosly-Breuil, perhaps the L’Arche community would have embraced him. The first L’Arche community was created in this French hamlet in 1964. Today, L’Arche is a global network of more than 150 communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together and value unique gifts. of each person. The first members of the community were Roman Catholics, but today communities welcome people with a kaleidoscope of spiritual and cultural backgrounds.

Reverend Duncan Hilton, formerly of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Brattleboro, spent a summer in L’Arche, Erie (Pa.). Like so many others, he was deeply moved by the joy and the sense of belonging that such a community nurtured. Two years ago, he initiated the initiative to explore the creation of an L’Arche community in southern Vermont. Today, a dedicated group of local people, working with L’Arche USA, continue this exciting journey. At the heart of this mission is the belief that our society could become more humane and more compassionate if the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities could be revealed through mutually transforming relationships and genuine friendships. A distinctive feature of an L’Arche community is a rebalancing of habitual relationships of care and power. All are called to serve one another and to grow together. In addition, L’Arche communities wholeheartedly engage in local life and can be a unifying sign of hope that we can, indeed, transform our lives together when we see the inner beauty and goodness of l. ‘other.

If you would like to learn more about L’Arche’s local effort, you are welcome to contact: Barbara Lee at [email protected]

PS And on Saturday, October 30 from 11 am to 1 am, the Friends of L’Arche of Southern Vermont are having a “Fall Party” on Brattleboro Common – lunch and music included. Join us and invite your friends. Halloween costumes welcome! Bring chairs or a blanket to sit on.

With Brattleboro overwhelmingly voting to be part of the International Charter of Compassion, The Reformer and The Commons agreed to publish a “Compassion Story of the Month.” This is the 52nd. Submissions, from residents of the Brattleboro area, for future publication, not exceeding 650 words, should be emailed to: [email protected] or mailed to: Compassion Story of the Month, PO Box 50 , Marlboro, VT 05344. Please include your name, address, phone number and email address. Stories submitted earlier will automatically be considered in subsequent months.


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