L’Arche Clinton hosting 40th year celebration


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

CLINTON – With the theme of “transforming lives one heart at a time,” L’Arche Clinton is celebrating its 40th anniversary June 5-8.

The celebration is open to the community, and will be “focused on celebrating God’s faithfulness and how he has been with us each step of this journey,” said Pamela Hoogheem, community leader and executive director of L’Arche Clinton. “We (also) just want people to come have fun.”

Their anniversary celebration will begin Thursday, June 5, with a prayer walk and worship at St. Paul Lutheran Church from 6 to 7 p.m.

L’Arche Clinton Core Member Harlan and Assistant Marcus pose for a photo. L’Arche’s mission is for individuals with and without disabilities to share life in a community setting.

On Friday, June 6, a dinner and dance will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Lodge, Eagle Point Park, 4101 N. 3rd St. Local band The Tailfins will perform ‘50s and ‘60s-style music. Hoogheem said one of the band members is the parent of a core member (core members are individuals with developmental disabilities).

Several events will take place Saturday, June 7, including a picnic, talent show and office open house, at St. Paul Lutheran Church. The lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; the talent show will run 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., and dessert will be served at each home following the show.

The celebration will conclude Sun-day, June 8, with a sharing of prayers and blessings at the Canticle, the home of the Sisters of St. Francis, 841 13th Ave. N., from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Attendees will have an opportunity to support L’Arche Clinton through free will donation, but a donation is not required.

L’Arche Clinton, known as The Arch, was founded in 1974 by Sister Marjorie Wisor, OSF, a Clinton Franciscan. It is home to about 18 core members and 26 assistants, and is the second-largest L’Arche community in the United States.

Internationally, L’Arche began in France in 1964 when Pacem in Terris recipient Jean Vanier and Father Thomas Phillipe, in response to a call from God, invited two individuals with mental handicaps to come and share their life in the spirit of the Gospel and of the Beatitudes.

The Arch provides an opportunity for people with and without developmental disabilities to share life in a community setting. Their mission is to create homes of welcome, to appreciate the unique gifts of each person, and to respond to each one’s needs.

“The heart of L’Arche is being in relationship, spending time with each other and sharing life. It isn’t just the core members that give so much, but also (we share our life) with them. It’s genuine,” Hoogheem said.

To RSVP for any of the listed events, email larcheclinton@gmail.com or call (563) 243-9035.

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