At the beginning of every school year, a group of students at St. Ignatius High School meet to discuss plans with L’Arche Cleveland for the upcoming school year. This group, called Friends with L’Arche, has come to visit our community for over 15 years. Students bring dinner to our homes, join Core Members for a meal and lead a prayer and reflection afterwards. Many of our Core Members remember the first time the students came to visit, and now look forward to “The Guys” and their visit every month.
Because of COVID, our relationship with St. Ignatius has shifted to a virtual relationship now but is still an important part of our community. We are grateful for the letters and pictures that have kept us connected to the St. Ignatius students.
Earlier in the year, we asked some of the students if they would share some of their favorite memories of Friends with L’Arche. The paragraphs below were taken from letters and reflections sent to our community.
Letters to L’Arche
My first memory of L’Arche was shortly after Noah K. told me that I was going to the first L’Arche visit of the year last year. And I’m so glad that he did… L’Arche quickly became a place where I could relax, laugh with friends, and have a good time… No matter what was going on in my life, I always knew that I would be welcomed with big smiles from Ed and hilarious jokes from Jessie.
This is why I’m writing this now – because I miss my L’Arche family and can’t wait to see them again. I really hope that day is soon.
Hey friends with L’Arche! My first memory of L’arche was driving to Abbey house on a dark and chilly evening. Upon arriving, I was introduced to Dave, Adam, and Patrick. Their personalities immediately lightened the darkness of that cold night and I was immediately happy with my decision to attend. My night was brightened further when we sat down to eat our food and then engaged in a fierce game of uno. After this experience, I smiled about what I had been through all the way home. This left a desire for me to return next month. For me, L’Arche is about sharing in the joys of laughter, community, and competition (Uno)… I stay involved with this to maintain and grow the relationships I have begun to develop and because it’s simply a lot of fun for me and, more importantly, the L’Arche community.
In addition to this, Friends with L’Arche helps me to slow down and appreciate all the gifts God gives me… [L’Arche] is something that I know will continue to help me grow. In the future, I hope to continue to share in the joys of laughter, community, and competition with my L’Arche friends.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to go to L’Arche, and have this life changing experience. It really has been and will be one of my favorite service opportunities.
In L’Arche I have learned the true definition of what it is to be human, not to be a reasonable animal, or a civilized person. It means to be flawed, to be incomplete, and to be loving. Each member of this community is the perfect example of what being human is. We have our blemishes and our imperfections, but we accept that. After all God is ultimately what will complete us, and seeing God in L’Arche has helped complete me.
Thanks again, Michael C.
Even though we have been apart physically, the students and teachers at St. Ignatius have done so much to make sure we know they care for us, especially during the holidays. Last week, our friends at St. Ignatius came to each house and dropped off baskets full of all the fixings for a delicious holiday meal, along with a gift for everyone. Then, we were surprised with a holiday video wishing us a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, which we shared below. We are so grateful for everything St. Ignatius has done for us this year.
Feature image caption: Brenda gets ready to give a high five at our annual holiday party in 2018