The History of L'Arche and L'Arche Mobile
Jean Vanier founder of L'Arche
Jean Vanier founder of L'Arche

L’Arche International began in 1964 in Trosly-Bruil, France, when Jean Vanier took two men with a handicap, Raphael and Phillipe, into his home. L’Arche is French for “the Ark,” meaning a place of refuge. Vanier sought to provide a permanent home and refuge for Raphael and Phillipe. From this beginning, L’Arche has grown to become an international organization with over 140 Communities in 36 countries.

L’Arche Mobile was established in 1974 when Janice Risse invited Debra to live with her. Debra was the "Founding Core Member of L'Arche Mobile. In September of 1974 Janice Risse Guillory invited Debra to live with her in house 161 as "Sisters in Christ".

Supported by a local Board of Directors, the community has grown to include 20 people with a handicap and 55 Team Members/Assistants (direct care, house coordinators, office, nurses and leadership team) who live and work together in four homes and an activity center. L’Arche also offers a place of retreat and prayer for community members. An activity center provides work opportunities for 17 people with developmental disabilities as well as Team Members/Assistants.