A visit to L'Arche in Bethlehem



At a public talk in Bethlehem, before 400 people, of whom the majority were Muslim, I announced the message of peace, of friendship and of the welcome of difference, that is being lived out at Ma’anlil-Hayat

I was so happy to visit it, to meet each person with a disability and each assistant. It is a community where Christians and Muslims work, celebrate life and share meals together and meet each other at a deep level. They do not live together in a home, for each person lives in their own family, but it is a true community of work, born in relationships of friendship, of communion and of work. I saw their joy in being together and I can witness to the beauty of this community and the quality of their work. They make cribs and other objects from the wool of the sheep in Bethlehem

At a public talk in Bethlehem, before 400 people, of whom the majority were Muslim, I announced the message of peace, of friendship and of the welcome of difference, that is being lived out at Ma’anlil-Hayat (the name of the community). Before my talk, there was a little “theatre-sketch”, involving all the community members. If you would have seen the joy of their parents at the loud applause given their children! The peace and the tenderness lived in this monastery and in our little L’Arche community radiate hope. There is so much violence in our world. Jesus came to transform violence into tenderness. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to transform our aggression into the tenderness of listening and of presence.

From the letter of Jean Vanier to his friends, April 2012


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