STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 12/15/2009

ALUMNI NEWS: Living within a L’Arche Community

Heather Bixler '06

Following graduation I served L’Arche communities—homes for disabled and nondisabled to live and learn alongside each other—in Oregon and Washington, D.C. I was a founding assistant in the community’s newest home in Arlington and became the home life coordinator in 2007.

It was life-changing to share daily life with the disabled: to gain greater understanding of living in community in both meaningful and mundane aspects of life, befriending those who are marginalized, dehumanized and continually facing a myriad of challenges.

Enrolling in Duke Divinity School’s Master of Divinity program was hard knowing my disabled friends would never fit in. But I soon realized I was around folks ministering to all types of people—in hospices, with migrant workers and the homeless in Brazil, Guatemala and Kenya.

Since coming to Duke, I have been able to discern my vocational call—to advocate for vulnerable populations, particularly the developmentally disabled, who teach us about our own brokenness, loneliness, joy, patience and friendship. The Church can truly live out her call by welcoming “the least of these” in His name (Matthew 25:45).