Discover L'Arche


  • People with an intellectual disability

    Kasia has been living in the Wroc?aw community in Poland since the summer of 2005. She shares her life with Wiola, Artur, Aneta, Kasia, Jacek,...

  • Assistants

    Acrobatics at the Cirque du Soleil of L’Arche Today I went to see a Cirque du Soleil show. It was as if I had entered another world. The...

  • Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche

    Jean Vanier was born on September 10, 1928, in Geneva, Switzerland, where his father, General Georges Vanier, was on a diplomatic mission. Most of...

  • Father Thomas Philippe, Mentor of Jean Vanier

    Father Thomas Philippe was born on 18 March 1905 near Lille in France. He grew up in a family of 12 children of whom seven became members of a...

  • Raphaël Simi, Co-founder of L’Arche

    Raphaël, son of a grocer, was born in 1928, in Marseille. Three years later, his family moved to the south of Paris where he grew up with his...

Philippe Seux, Co-founder of L’Arche

Philippe was born in Casablanca, in Morocco, in 1941.  At the age of two, he caught encephalitis followed by whooping cough, which both had serious after-effects on his health.  Following his brother’s death when Philippe was six years old, he lived alone with his mother.  When Philippe was 20 years old, the two of them came to France so that his mother could receive medical care.  Two years later she was hospitalised and died in 1963.

Philippe was sent to various Parisian hospitals, but he was unhappy.  A year later, he met Jean Vanier and remembers: “I saw him at the Chapel, and then he gave out the soup.  First, I was impressed.  I thought that the table was so small as he was so tall.”

“Before, life wasn’t worth it: sitting all day in a big room.  We couldn’t do anything, we didn’t go out, we were bored.  No amusement, nothing.  I even cried.  When I arrived in L’Arche, there wasn’t any electricity, nothing!  We had candles, that was funny!  There were no sanitaries, no showers.  But I exploded like a bomb.  I did “oufs” just because I was so happy.”

Philippe moved to L’Arche on 4 August 1964 together with Raphaël Simi.  Philippe later worked in various workshops of the Trosly community.  However, it must be said that he was not a highly motivated worker!  In 1975 he left to live in the L’Arche community in Compiègne, which was a calmer place for him to live with the advantages of a small city.

It was only in 1987 that he was welcomed into the occupational therapy workshop in Compiègne. Philippe is still living in his L’Arche home: “l’Isba”.  His handicap has worsened and his dependence on others is increasing, but he continues to be full of tenderness and humour!

A citizen in ones own right

The situation of people with an intellectual disability varies from one context to another. Only if we are able to name the gift, value and place of people with an intellectual disability in various religious and cultural traditions will the international community be able to encourage them to fully assume their role in community and society.


L'Arche Internationale
25 rue Rosenwald
75015 Paris France
Tel. : +33 (0)1 53 68 08 00
Fax. : +33 (0)1 53 68 08 00