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An Early Spring Break at Daybreak

Photo of Loyola Students Visiting Daybreak in 2017

In the middle of a Canadian arctic storm this January, nine students from a Social Justice and Inclusion class at Loyola University in Chicago experienced “a week in the life of Daybreak.” Claire Chickey, one of the students, wrote this guest post for our blog about experiencing love and welcome at L’Arche.

The moment I arrived I was welcomed into a celebration happening at the home as if I was a part of the community. Everyone showed me the kindness and open spirit that they show to everyone. I was immediately overjoyed and eager to get to know everyone.

As the week progressed, I began to form relationships with the core members (members with disabilities) and the assistants. I was able to see the love and compassion that made the house a home.

Claire with folks from the red house

Mike, Nancy and Amanda from the Red House hanging out with Claire.

When I met Amanda, one of the core members in the Red House, one of the first things she said to me was “I love you.” This statement made my heart swell. Amanda barely knew me, yet she already loved me for my presence and my existence.

Someone once said “love not in spite of, but because of.” The L’Arche community truly embodies this ideal.

The people I met are loved for exactly who they are. The assistants and the core members are loved purely because of their existence.

L’Arche shows how simple love is, with no strings or expectations. Love is simply there.

Reinhold Neibuhr, a theologian, once said “we are not here to change the world, the world is here to change us.” This is what a week at L’Arche reminded me of. Perhaps I did not change L’Arche or make a huge impact, but this simple experience made a profound impact on me and my perspective on love.

– Claire Chickey, University of Loyola, Chicago IL