MEET the NEW MEMBER
Julia Beckmann came to spend time at L’Arche in Sydney, expecting to give help – but she did not know that she would receive far more than she gave to the organisation that is Churches Housing’s newest member.
This 19-year-old student from Duisburg, western Germany, had heard of L’Arche through her leadership of the altar service group at her local Catholic church and she knew that people with disabilities were cared for by live-in and live-out assistants in their own homes.
‘What I wasn’t prepared for was to be so welcomed when I came to the L’Arche community,’ says Julia.
‘I was expecting something different. It has been positively surprising – and so beautiful. I didn’t know that people with disabilities could be so passionate about God, especially one core member Gabriele who prayed and said grace daily.
‘Sharing life in L’Arche has deepened my faith and that was so surprising, especially because I was not expecting this. Faith is such a personal thing.’
Arriving in mid-September 2017, Julia finishes her time in L’Arche in mid-March, and would like to stay for longer before she returns to Germany to take up university studies.
For Julia, her time living at Merrylands has changed her life. ‘At the first Spiritual Soup night, I was so moved that I almost cried. Everyone was singing, praying, remembering and celebrating’.
‘Recently, I had two days away and when I came back to what has become my home, I received the biggest hug from Andrew, who is one of the core members. Joseph always greets me with ‘when did you get home!’ I felt so happy to be at home with everyone again’.
Julia’s return to Germany is bittersweet. ‘Even when I’m studying. I also want to volunteer or do part-time work in the social field as L’Arche will always be part of my life from now on and the memories of my time within the community will always be with me. I also hope to visit the L’Arche community in Germany at some time in the future’.