Amy is an assistant in the L'Arche Community in Manchester. In the following passage Amy reveals what her relationship with Laura, a core member in the Community, has taught her about joy, wholeheartedness and accepting human fragility. 

 "We live in a society in which accomplishment and status are rewarded, vulnerability is rejected and the value of relationship is diminished.

Living with Laura, I now see life through her lens. Although she has limited speech, Laura can express herself richly and connects deeply with people.

During my first week at L’Arche, Laura signed for me to sit with her and watch the film "Sister Act". I was still used to a world where days were meant for doing rather than being. I remember feeling resistance to watching a film in the middle of the day when there was so much that I could do. It took me weeks to realise that she was inviting me to share in life with her.

Laura teaches me about joy and wholeheartedness. She is quick to forgive and equally quick to say sorry when she feels she has wronged a person. Witnessing this compels me to be more like her and knowing Laura has made my life richer.

Living in L’Arche is like holding a mirror and seeing the very best and sometimes the very worst of yourself reflected back.

I am learning from Laura to accept and love vulnerability and fragility, in myself and others, and to live the joyfulness that life offers. L’Arche can help us all do that"

In L’Arche we don’t just train we also form assistants, enabling them to reflect and grow. This is central to our unique culture. It underpins the quality of our support, enabling our assistants to fulfil L’Arche’s mission to help people with learning disabilities reveal their gifts to the world.

Find out more about becoming a L'Arche assistant yourself here.