Changing the world, one heart at a time.

What is L’Arche

In 1964, Canadian Jean Vanier invited two men with developmental disabilities to live with him in an old home in the French village of Trosley-Breuil. He named the house L’Arche (French for ark) after Noah’s ark and gradually welcomed not only more men and women with developmental disabilities but also the assistants who would live and work with them. Since then L’Arche has grown into an international federation of more than 140 communities in close to 40 countries around the world.

Each community is unique, yet we all share a common vision of the basic dignity of each human person. We seek to create homes and provide meaningful work for all our community members in an attempt to create a world where everyone, regardless of ability or disability, is recognized as being of equal value. Situated in the small university town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, L’Arche Antigonish has been operating since 1979. Today, our community is home to 22 people with intellectual disabilities, living in 5 homes and 1 supervised apartment.

L’Arche is built on the recognition of the ability of individuals with intellectual disabilities to welcome and accept others as they are. We believe that this gift has an important and transformative effect, helping each one of us to become more fully human and thus helping to humanize our entire society and transform culture.

Jean Vanier

We seek to be communities where people whatever their race, religion, culture, abilities or disabilities can find a place and reveal their gifts to the world.

As an interfaith, ecumenical community, we welcome people of all religious backgrounds and those with no religious traditions. Our focus is centered on the gifts and needs of women and men who live with an intellectual disability. Our community of L’Arche invites each of us through daily living and relationships, to grow in a greater appreciation of ourselves and one another. 

Located in the picturesque town of Antigonish, located in the eastern part of Nova Scotia, we are neighbours not only with the ocean but with St. Francis Xavier University. This well-known school offers an excellent academic environment for learners and its founding roots and values are based in social service and outreach to the local citizenry.

Student volunteers are a unique and integral aspect of L’Arche Antigonish. Their friendship with L’Arche has allowed us to experience a greater sense of belonging through participation in the various cultural and recreational activities in the area. If you are interested in volunteering, please call our office.

As a non-profit organization, L’Arche Antigonish is managed by a local Board of Directors and works collaboratively with the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services in developing programs for persons with intellectual disabilities.

The L’Arche Antigonish Foundation was incorporated as a non-profit society to respond to the funding needs not covered by the Department of Community Services.  These “Friends of L’Arche” help the local L’Arche community participate in the regional, National and federation activities of L’Arche and to share the story and mission through various fundraising initiatives.