Our story


L’Arche was founded in France in 1964 by Jean Vanier and two men with an intellectual disability, Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux. Together they named their home “L’Arche” (meaning the Ark) as a place of belonging and new beginnings.

Today L’Arche is a world-wide federation of 151 communities in 37 countries.

L’Arche in Australia began near Canberra in 1978.  Our Community L’Arche Genesaret was the first community in Australia. Today there are L’Arche communities in Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Brisbane and Melbourne, with groups forming in Newcastle, Perth, Adelaide, Bendigo and Alice Springs.

L’Arche Genesaret had its beginnings in the early 1970s and in April 1978 welcomed its first member at a former convent at Bungendore, a village 20 kilometres east of Canberra. To offer better work and recreation opportunities, the Community relocated to Yarralumla, in Canberra, in 1980.

L’Arche Genesaret bought its own home in 1982. We now operate four homes in the Woden Valley of Canberra and also support people living in unit-style accommodation.

L’Arche Genesaret currently supports 16 adults living with an intellectual disability.

(Last updated: March 2017)


What is Community?

Community means sharing life together, in a spirit of mutuality and shared purpose.

Community means eating together, praying together, celebrating, sharing the activities of daily life.

Community means making decisions together as well as respecting individual choices and autonomy.

Community means supporting each other in our sorrows and joys.

Community means actively contributing to the wider community around us.

Our regular gatherings

Part of being a Community and sharing life together is getting together to get to know each other and journey with each

Open Prayer – 4th Monday of every month, St Alban’s Anglican Church, Lyons, 7pm

A time of prayer and reflection. Everyone is welcome.

Desert Mornings – 1st Tuesday of every month, 38-40 Colbee Court, Phillip, 9:50 for 10am start until 11am

A time of prayer and reflection.  Everyone is welcome.

Click here to check out other gatherings on our news and events page


For more information about L’Arche Australia, L’Arche International and Jean Vanier, please use the following links: