In 1964, through [the founder's] friendship with a priest ..., he became aware of the plight of thousands of people institutionalized with developmental disabilities. [He] invited two men . . . to leave the institutions where they resided and live with him in Trosly-Breuil, France. Their time together led to the establishment of L'Arche at Trosly-Breuil, a community where people with disabilities live with those who care for them. Since that time a network of 150 L'Arche communities have been established in 38 countries
From the famous Christian community he developed in Trosly-Breuil, France, the Catholic theologian and leader perpetuated a hidden “mystical-sexual” sect. Over a nearly 70-year period, [he] violated at least 25 women—all of them adults without disabilities—during prayer and spiritual devotion....While the ministry brought dignity and fellowship to the vulnerable over the decades, the report suggests that [he] founded L’Arche as a cover to reunite a group who practiced contemplation and spiritual direction with nudity and sexual touch....Despite the founders using L’Arche as a cover for their mystical and sexual practices, the researchers concluded that “L’Arche as a project and as an organization has nothing to do with a sect” and that the beliefs of L’Eau vive hadn’t spread to L’Arche leaders elsewhere....They called it “astonishing” that the sectarian practices hadn’t proliferated more widely
Contacted by CNA, [the] chaplain of L’Arche in France for 16 years until 2020, expressed his deep pain and dismay at reading the new report and the details of the abuses committed [by the founder].
“This warns us against the all-too-common temptation to canonize people during their lifetime by putting them on a pedestal”
“It would be a great shame if people who need to be welcomed by L’Arche were to suffer the double punishment of being rejected by society in principle, and now rejected a second time because of this case which concerns its founder only