History of Homefires
L’Arche began in France in 1964, when Jean Vanier welcomed two men with developmental disabilities to live with him. Previously the men had lived with others in the institution in the town. Jean, Raphael and Philippe began to create home and share life together. The unique aspect of this decision was that Jean knew that his life would be changed by his relationship with the men. It was not just their life that would change, his would too. Through the growing relationship each would benefit and contribute to the others quality of life.
L’Arche Homefires began in Wolfville in 1981 when Jeff and Debbie Moore and their family, Keith Strong and John Mac Neil began to share life together.
Wolfville is a small University town located in the Annapolis Valley , one hour west of Halifax , Nova Scotia . The L’Arche community is well integrated into the town life. Our candle making business, Applewicks, is located just off the main street. In L’Arche, people with different abilities come together to create home, to work, to pray, to celebrate life. Usually there are 7 or 8 people sharing life together in our homes. Three or four of them are live in assistants.
Currently we have 5 homes in the Wolfville / Greenwich area, we also have a three different Day Programs; a) Applewicks where we produce candles and weaving, b) Cornerstone, a day program for people who require a higher level of support in their day, c) Discoveries, a retirement program.
We believe that building healthy, supportive relationships is fundamental to living together in a L’Arche community. We provide each person with support, guidance, and we receive a great deal from each other. We perform the daily tasks of living together, cooking, cleaning, shopping, meal preparation etc. We try to do things with people rather than for people.
Our community is an Ecumenical community and our spiritual life is important to us. We welcome people of different faiths and people who have no faith background. We ask that people come willing to enter into the life of our community and part of that life is praying together and sharing our thoughts and ideas. We have simple prayer times in our homes, around the supper table, at the start of our meetings, as well as monthly times when we have community prayer. Many people have joined us with no particular faith affiliation but have found that they can respectfully enter into this aspect of community life, and they do not feel any pressure around their own spiritual journey.
As a community we love to celebrate and enjoy gathering together for birthdays, anniversaries. We also enjoy the times when we visit the other L’Arche communities in our Region. Our life together is simple. We are called to live faithfully and to do all things with great love and care. We work hard but we also laugh a lot and we love to celebrate life.