Give People their Place

As we celebrate the 50th of L’Arche in Canada, we’re amplifying the voices of persons with lived experience, sharing insights on creating belonging, diversity and inclusion in Canada.

We’re grateful to Celine for coming into the L’Arche Canada 50th Celebrate the Gift studio to share her thoughts on belonging, inclusion and diversity. We believe that her reflection will encourage conversations and contribute to social change.

By Céline Geneau

I really appreciate the people I live with. We have a lot of fun together. The home where I live is called “La Passerelle”, and they’re good people. They’re in a good mood, and it makes me very cheerful. And we sing a lot because I have a karaoke machine. I like to sing a lot.


What’s more important for people with disabilities is… we’re all made different… and it’s to give people a chance to participate in activities and meetings. I’m a member of the welcoming committee, and we meet once a month. We talk about things that are happening in the community, and we go around the table to find out how things are going in our homes. One Monday a month we have a coffee house, and people come to find out about L’Arche.

It’s like they say, “everyone is different.” Some people might have a temper, others don’t. You have to be patient. We’re all calm. If there’s an argument we don’t let it simmer, we settle it right away. That’s how we forgive each other.

What’s most important is to give people who want to come and live in L’Arche a chance, and especially, for people to have the right to take their place in… in humanity.

  • Céline has been a member of L’Arche Montreal for almost 30 years.
  • As she mentioned, she lives in “La Passerelle” home and is a member of the Welcoming People Committee.
  • She works at Bureau en gros (Staples). She plans to retire when she turns 65 next May.
  • Her main interests are singing, singing and singing again and also colouring mandalas of great precision.

Read more on the Celebrate the Gifts studio in “What belonging, diversity, and inclusion mean to me.”


A Hero Behind the Scenes

Beyond firefighters, medical staff, social workers and police officers, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that there are even more heroes among us. Truck drivers, grocery store clerks, cooks and couriers now rightfully hold an esteemed place in our collective consciousness as they put their health at risk to keep society functioning.

From Hyderabad to Lethbridge Who Would’ve Thought?

After Roop Chittineni finished high school in his hometown of Hyderabad, India he moved to Southern Ontario to pursue a degree in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. He liked exercising and thought that if he learned more about the human body he could use that knowledge to elevate everyone’s life experience.

Memory Box: Pinewood Floorboards

What does a set of 1940s floorboards have to teach us about COVID living?

Stepping Up

When Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer stated that non-medical masks limit the transmission of COVID-19, L’Arche Saskatoon’s artsy residents also got to work. Out came the fabrics, scissors, thread and needles. Brock wanted to contribute using two of his greatest assets: his feet.

A Light Ahead

The social distancing caused by the pandemic has been trying. Thankfully, aside from those who have donated their time, money and ingenuity to help L’Arche, there are the health care workers, grocery store clerks and all those on the front line who are helping the L’Arche community get through this crisis. With their help, it won’t be long until the Gathering Place opens again and the community starts making new memories.

Second Life

Kris first met Joanna in L’Arche London, Ontario. She encouraged Kris to join L’Arche, and he did. They lived and worked side-by-side for six years until Kris moved to Nova Scotia. Still, they managed to see each other a few times a year and occasionally called one another about matters of life and faith. But this call was different.

The Gift of Dance

Dance is a profound gift; it’s an artistic expression, a mood enhancer, a workout, a surefire way to impress a date and a form of magic. A dancer can transform into a flower, a lion or their favourite pop star. Above all, dance is an act of joy. (We dare you to wiggle around for a minute and not feel happier than you were before.) The gift of dance, and all it provides, has found its way into L’Arche.

Life’s Tough Obstacles

It was late June. A park in Edmonton had been reserved. Food was stacked on picnic tables. Local students of all ages were dressed in taekwondo uniforms, preparing for their annual Break-a-thon. The Break-a-thon is an innovative fundraiser where martial arts students showcase their skills by breaking boards. For each broken board, donations are pledged and raised for L’Arche.

Taking our place in the inclusion movement

It is an important time for the accessibility and inclusion movement in Canada and the world, and L’Arche Canada is developing our capacity to take our place.

Silent encounter with the “man who repairs women”

Denis Mukwege begs us empathetically to remain attentive, to listen deeply to what is inherent in our human condition: our sensitivity and vulnerability.