The Beginnings of L’Arche: Recollections of the first years in Trosly, 1964-1968




In light this year of the 50th anniversary of the founding of L’Arche, the Association Jean Vanier has worked hard on the creation of an oral archive, realizing that there is a strong oral history involved in the story of the beginnings of L’Arche.  Jean Vanier himself is inseparable from these beginnings, as well as those others who committed themselves wholeheartedly to the adventure, starting with Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux.


In gathering the contextual historic, social and personal elements about the individual men and women who were there during the early years of L’Arche in Trosly, the Association Jean Vanier was led to Jean de la Selle.  This history buff had started, about 20 years earlier, to collect the personal stories of the pioneers of the founding of L’Arche.


From this meeting arose a desire : to make known and to share with others this archival treasure, which represent a communal legacy.  Thus the idea was born of creating a digital publication with extracts of different stories, illustrated with archival photos.  To this end, a benefactor financed the transcription of many of these stories, while photos from the early years were archived and  scanned by the Association Jean Vanier.


Recognizing the value of these stories and photos, largely unedited, L’Arche Canada teamed up with the Association Jean Vanier to publish the work online.  The originality of this storytelling in many voices, gives a personal and vibrant glimpse of the foundation of L’Arche.


As the holidays approach, and in the spirit of celebration of the 50th anniversary of L’Arche, this publication is offered to each of the members of the family of L’Arche to celebrate together a way of life, and the richness of the mutual relationships we find ourselves in.



* Please note that the PDF file accessed through this link is very large, and that it may, therefore, take several minutes to download."