Our Mission & Identity


Make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities, revealed through mutually transforming relationships.
Foster an environment in community that responds to the changing needs of our members, while being faithful to the core values of our founding story.
Engage in our diverse cultures, working together toward a more human society.


We are people with and without intellectual disabilities, sharing life in communities belonging to an International Federation.
Mutual relationships and trust in God are at the heart of our journey together.
We celebrate the unique value of every person and recognize our need of one another.

Identity Statement as Interpreted by Core Members

I live with my friends in a L’Arche community.
We love and trust God.
We take care of each other.
We want to help make a better world.
That world will know that each person is special.
And it will know that people truly need each other.

L’Arche Changes the World

L’Arche as an organization has also been honored for showing that it is possible to break down the distinctions between people with and without intellectual disabilities. We are humbled that L’Arche is seen by individuals, faith communities, nonprofit organizations, and government as a living example that compassionate care and loving community can be brought together in service of those who are on the outside of society. In 2014, L’Arche International won the Notre Dame Award for International Human Development and Solidarity. The Center for Faith and Service and FAITH3 honored L’Arche USA in 2014 as a “Service Program that Changes the World.”


L’Arche is unique among residential service providers in that core members (adults with intellectual disabilities) and assistants (employees who support core members) choose to live life together like a family. We come together around the dinner table, for house meetings, and for weekly celebrations. Core members lead the community through their creativity and compassion. As core members’ needs change we respond by adapting our routines and our physical spaces.


Countless people have come through our doors, whether to join us for one dinner or many years. At L’Arche, they find friendship and a uniquely inclusive space, where each person is loved for who they are. By inviting people into our community and by going out to engage in our neighborhoods we are building a more inclusive society, one where we celebrate the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities. Whether we are speaking at a town hall or having coffee with a neighbor, we are modeling inclusion.

Our lives are based around welcome, prayer, celebration, and forgiveness as an interdenominational Christian community. Through these practices, each member is encouraged to discover and deepen his or her spiritual life and live it according to his or her particular faith and tradition. Those who have no religious or spiritual affiliation are also welcomed and respected in their humanity and freedom of conscience.