L’Arche Antigonish

Historical Timeline


Call together of persons interested in the possibility of establishing L’Arche in Antigonish


Constitution adopted.  Official name: Friends of the Mentally Handicapped of Antigonish


  • Board approves the purchase of 69 St. Ninian St.
  • Allana Gillis becomes the first director
  • Dorothy comes to live at Yeshua House


  • Jane MacNeil becomes the first full-time assistant
  • Joe White comes to live at L’Arche
  • John O’Donnell becomes the first president of the Board of Directors
  • John Bennett comes to live


Bernice Delorey comes to live at L’Arche


“L’Arche Antigonish” officially adopted as the new name for the community


  • Margie Grace comes to live
  • Wallace Robinson & Nancy LaRose replace Alana Gillis as co-directors of L’Arche Antigonish


  • Denise Landry comes to live
  • Board approves appointment of Judy O’Donnell as director


Day Program opens with Dorothy MacLellan attending and Valerie Laurie as the coordinator.  It is located in the basement of Morrison Hall.


 The chapel opens at Yeshua House


  • House purchased at 99 Church St that will become the 2nd home for L’Arche Antigonish
  • Derek Simon replaces Judy O’Donnell as director
  • Nancy MacDonald becomes the new day program coordinator


Don MacIntosh comes to live at Yeshua House


  • Fr. Greg Campbell agrees to become an accompanying priest to the community
  •  Carroll Peters comes to live at Yeshua House
  •  Covenant House opens with Dorothy MacLellan and Sam Young as Core Members
  •  Carol Ann Boyle moves into Yeshua House
  • Margie MacDonald moves into Covenant House


Gus Leuschner replaces Derek Simon as director of L’Arche Antigonish


  • Bernice Delorey passes away
  • Heather MacKinnon moves into Yeshua House
  • Monique Robitaille comes to L’Arche


  • Debbie Leuschner becomes Regional Coordinator
  •  Florence Riley starts as the L’Arche bookkeeper
  •   Joan Gilfoy starts as a secretary
  •  Arne Martens & Christianne Haase ( 2 German assistants) move into L’Arche


  • Joe begins working full-time at the Braemore Co-op
  • Henri Nouwen was in Antigonish for a series of lectures
  • Dorothy was struck by a car and brought to the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax
  • Ian Bowman joins the day program for 1 day a week
  • Lunch and ceilidh at the John Paul Centre to celebrate Sam’s 75th birthday
  • Beth Wolters moves into Yeshua House


  •  Fr. Greg suffers 2 heart attacks
  •  Gerry Smith replaces Florence Riley as the bookkeeper
  •  Ian Bowman comes to Leap full-time
  •  First Community Council is formed
  • L’Arche “Reaching Out” begins


  • Day Program gets renamed “LEAP”
  • Gerry Smith becomes ill and unable to return to work.  She is replaced by Noreen Malcolm


  • Denise goes to live at Riverton
  •  Tom Gilfoy moves into Yeshua
  •  Anne Marie MacInnis starts as an assistant at LEAP
  •  Shane Greencorn starts at Leap full-time
  • L’Arche Antigonish purchases a wheelchair bus
  • LEAP relocates to Mt. St. Bernard
  • Eileen MacPherson starts as an assistant at LEAP
  •  Emilie O’Regan moves into Covenant House


  • Jocelyn Worster moves into Covenant House
  • Natalie Stevens and Beth Wood ( 2 Gap volunteers) come to L’Arche
  • First ‘Lunch With L’Arche” at St. Ninians Plac
  • Decision made to initiate a capital campaign for building a new home
  •  Kick-off social event at St. Ninians Place for the Capital Campaign
  • Rev Alex MacDonald passes away


  •  Angus MacGillivray comes to Yeshua House for respite care.
  •  Kim Gilfoy starts as an assistant at LEAP
  •  Emmaus House is opened.  Joe MacPherson, Donnie MacIntosh and Angus move in.
  • Nancy becomes house leader at Emmaus and is replaced as LEAP coordinator by Anne
  • Marie MacInnis
  • Tom Landry moves into Yeshua House
  • Sam suffers a heart attack
  • Mary Anne moves into the Mustard Seed
  • Purchase a 7 passenger silver van
  •  John O’Donnell is appointed as the new Regional Coordinator


  •  St. FX University informs us we have to vacate the Mount space by the end of June 2001
  • Wheelchair bus is sold
  •  An agreement is reached with the university that we will be able to lease Abelard House on West St.
  •  LEAP moves into St. Ninians Place until Abelard is ready
  •  Glen Mattie moves into Emmaus House
  •  Rob McBride moves into Yeshua House
  •  LEAP moves to Abelard
  •  The offices move into Abelard


  • Establishment of a L’Arche Foundation
  • Sam moves to Glen Haven Manor in New Glasgow
  • Michael Boddy moves into L’Arche
  • Mark Bowie starts at LEAP full-time
  • Eulah Thompson comes to L’Arche
  • Sam moves into the RK MacDonald
  • 12 passenger burgundy van purchase 

(2002-2020 timeline in the process)