We read a lot at QC Family Tree, and so we have decided to start sharing what we're reading with you! This month, the interns have been studying Community and Growth by Jean Vanier. The book highlights Vanier's community, L'Arche, which is a group that began in France but is now international that lives in community with folks who have disabilities. Some of the foundations of community that this book discusses have served as inspiration for QC Family Tree, and reading it with the interns has shed light on the aspects of community life that are challenging and the things that are the most rewarding. Vanier reveals that our greatest obstacle to community life is not the differences and foibles within the people that we choose to do life with, but our own hesitation to accept our shadows and embrace ourselves fully. It's in community that we are able to be seen and truly see another, and that requires everything of us. It's a challenging read, and a necessary reminder of what we're doing and why we're here.
It was after we began this book that six women have come forward to accuse Jean Vanier of sexual assault. While these accusations have come post-mortem, this calls into question the integrity of his words and his community. We can't shy away from these questions, of Jean Vanier and also of ourselves. How can we better hold our leaders accountable? How do we, as community members, respond when the people we are learning from commit heinous acts? How do their deficiencies highlight and force us to confront our own?