Date of Submission
Anderson, C. M. (2016). Balm for the Wound? Narratives and Spiritual Practice from L'Arche (Thesis, Australian Catholic University). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5b0b87cac8774
Building on previous research on people living with an intellectual disability, this study mainly focuses on practices employed in L’Arche communities. In particular, it investigates the manner in which the community provides a ‘balm’ for the metaphorical ‘wound’ experienced by persons living with intellectual disability. The study employs a practical-narrative theological methodology in which pastoral theology, pastoral care and spirituality are considered central components. Together with this, Lee’s appropriation of Aristotle’s three ways of knowing is essential parts of the methodology: praxis represents an important aspect of L’Arche. Further, the author introduces an expression of praxis, technē as artwork, for this thesis.
Theology of disability is part of the methodology. However this is not of primary concern. Rather than concentrate on, for example, a history of disability, this author considers life experience and how persons living with a disability contribute to and enrich the lives of other persons. The Christian theme of death and new life flows through the thesis. This is a hallmark of L’Arche yet the author justifies how this crosses the boundaries of religions and cultures in L’Arche. A focal point considers the profound grief of a woman living with an intellectual disability and her journey from an institution to L’Arche Daybreak (Toronto).
Further, the reader is introduced to a seven-step Christopraxis welcome response by Daybreak L’Arche community to this grieving woman. A second major study in the thesis is the attention to the artwork of persons living with an intellectual disability, which thematically is in sharp contrast to the study of grief.
The research findings are: Christopraxis is a way of knowing or understanding the identity of L’Arche Daybreak. The artwork of persons living with an intellectual disability represents a way of knowing or understanding differently. This articulates with the ‘viewer’ of this art, who knows/understands differently through contemplating this art.
School of Theology
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
Faculty of Theology and Philosophy