In 2015, is there a welcome for a L’Arche community within Simcoe County?

December 19, 2015

Is hope nurtured when we invite the other to our table?

20151219 Vanier

Jean Vanier visits the residents in one of the L’Arche homes in Trosly, France.

Today’s Globe and Mail and Ian Brown bring to light, Jean Vanier’s comfort and joy: ‘What we have to do is find the places of hope’:

There’s a beautiful text of Jesus, where he says, when you give a meal, don’t invite the members of your family, don’t invite your rich neighbours. When you give a really good meal, invite the poor, the lame, the disabled and the blind. And you will be blessed.

Building a community…

At L’Arche [started in 1964], by fairly stunning contrast, people with intellectual disabilities (the residents) live and work side by side with the nondisabled (their assistants) as peers, in what L’Arche likes to call “mutually transformative relationships.” Because the disabled have an equal hand in setting the tone (often hilarious) and pace (unpredictable) of the homes they live in, they can fairly call these communities their own. They’re the residents, the co-bosses, not the guests. We, the able-bodied, are the ones who have to be integrated into their world, not the other way around. They are honoured as people in their own right, with a contribution to make, no matter how subtle that contribution may be.

“Vanier discovered,” the Templeton Prize citation declares, “that those people who society typically considers the weakest enable the strong to recognize and welcome their own vulnerability.”

L’Arche Canada locations

Simcoe Sojourners

Is the Midhurst Secondary Plan just the early salvo in the WAR against traditional rural values?

February 26, 2014

I think so.

George well history

The values that built and sustain communities such as Minesing, Anten Mills, Midhurst, Grenfel, and Elmvale have to be totally destroyed by the speculators and their courtesans. There can be no alternative but a mindless repeat of a clear-cutting mentality.

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.  George Orwell 1903 – 1950

Posted on

Dignity and honesty were self-evident at Springwater Township last night.

February 26, 2014

The 2014 budget was passed by an unusual “5 for: 2 against”, recorded vote.

Michael J Fox

Budgets are usually just rubber-stamped.

My notes:

  • respect to those taxpayers who show up,
  • potential federal funding telephone calls left unanswered (x2),
  • make sure $10,000 for Springwater Park was safe (yes it is),
  • don’t like budget process,
  • proposed operating efficiencies (fewer services, lower expenses) were a “full insult”,
  • no attempt at surgical approach to public finances,
  • “my hands were slapped more than one time”,
  • people of Midhurst and Elmvale deserve better,
  • staff delivered exactly what they were instructed to deliver,
  • question whether people and communities are treated fairly and equitably, and
  • finally, “It’s the truth”.

Also: An email that was, but is not now, part of the democratic record?



Trickery succeeds sometimes, but it always commits suicide.

February 20, 2014

Kahlil Gibran

Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being.

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931

the Idle No More movement introduces themselves to backwater ON municipalities which have internet connection

December 20, 2012

What do you call closing down the 401 eastbound at London, Ontario and then up Wellington Street?

Idle no More1

A start.

A bell-weather article from the London Free Press Idle No More protest brings more than 1,000 to the street in London. Click here for an outstanding video of this action (then click through embedded video).

Significant Excerpt:

They halted traffic for 90 minutes on Canada’s busiest highway Wednesday, more than 1,000 protesters from area First Nations. They’re part of a grassroots movement — Idle No More — gaining momentum across Canada. Jennifer O’Brien explores the story behind the protest.

Q: What is Idle No More?

A: It’s a grassroots movement — fuelled by social media — to protest the lack of First Nations’ involvement in decisions made in Ottawa. Supporters say according to treaty rights enshrined in the constitution, aboriginal leaders must be consulted on decisions affecting Canada’s resources. Instead, Ottawa signs deals with foreign investors, including China this year, that directly impact the resources that should be shared by all who live on this land, natives say. The issue has been simmering for years, but the tipping point was this month’s quick passing of omnibus budget bill C-45 that contains many changes that directly affect First Nations communities, Idle No More organizers say.

Q: Some of the issues are decades old. Why is everybody so fired up now?

A: First Nations have a young population where the majority of the people are under 35, and those young people are more educated than the same demographic was a generation ago. Deep indigenous roots coupled with higher education has given the movement strength. Social media has helped exponentially.

Q: Who was behind London’s Idle No More rally.

A: Members of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation organized and planned the protest that included hundreds of school children, teens, families and elders from that community. Hundreds more turned out from other area First Nations. Most protesters were aboriginal, but there were also many non-aboriginals on the walk and at the rally.

Q: What is specifically threatening to First Nations communities?

A: Idle No More organizers say Bill C 45 contains changes to the Indian Act — which they say is already discriminatory and racist. “The native people in this country are the only race of people in the world that have a specific piece of legislation that governs their lives,” said Ray Deleary, a senior policy analyst at Chippewas of the Thames. Bill C45 changes the way land is managed on reservations and takes thousands of rivers and lakes off a protected list.

Q: What do organizers hope to achieve?

A: First Nations leadership represented equally in government and lawmaking.

A different national sovereignty.

Catholic social teaching

March 4, 2012

Catholic social teaching is a body of doctrine developed by the Catholic Church on matters of poverty and wealth, economics, social organization and the role of the state. Its foundations are widely considered to have been laid by Pope Leo XIII‘s 1891 encyclical letter Rerum Novarum, which advocated economic Distributism and condemned Socialism, although its roots can be traced to the writings of Catholic thinkers such as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine of Hippo, and is also derived from concepts present in the Bible.

According to Pope Benedict XVI, its purpose “is simply to help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just…. [The Church] has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice…cannot prevail and prosper”. According to Pope John Paul II, its foundation “rests on the threefold cornerstones of human dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity”. These concerns echo elements of Jewish law and the prophetic books of the Old Testament, and recall the teachings of Jesus Christ recorded in the New Testament, such as his declaration that “whatever you have done for one of these least brothers of Mine, you have done for Me.”

Catholic social teaching is distinctive in its consistent critiques of modern social and political ideologies both of the left and of the right: liberalism, communism, feminism, atheism, socialism, libertarianism, capitalism, fascism, and Nazism have all been condemned, at least in their pure forms, by several popes

Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

February 28, 2012

People who cannot make love make money.


People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.

Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.

Words like “freedom,” “justice,” “democracy” are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply.

Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it. This is irreducible. And it’s true of everybody. Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace.

James Baldwin 1924 – 1987

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