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We Say Goodbye to Our Beloved Ronnie Spring 2010

In January 2009 Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Cuculich decided that she would like to join our L’Arche-Chicago community. We agreed and welcomed Ronnie into our lives in August 2009. Ronnie had a loving gift for relationships that impacted everyone she met. Her broad smile and easy laughter were contagious. Ronnie loved music, movies and her new L’Arche community of friends. Ronnie was also a creative visual artist and a founding member of Arts of Life, an organization where people with and without disabilities come together to create and grow.

Goodbye Ronnie............................ 1 Volunteers wanted ...................... 2 L’Arche goes south ..................... 2 Jean & Steve in Paris .................. 3 Director’s Desk ............................ 4 10th Anniversary .......... .............. 4

We are grateful for the people who have gathered here today to grieve, mourn, celebrate and give thanks. We ask that you wrap your loving arms around each of us as we grieve.

The Love She Freely Gave

“she remains in our hearts” We were saddened to say goodbye to her on January 1, 2010, when she returned home to God after a brief illness. Since then we remember how deeply Ronnie touched our lives. We still miss her each and every day. Although she was with our community for a short time, she remains in our hearts always. We wish peace and God’s love to you, Ronnie. L’Arche has since celebrated her gift of life in several ways. The following prayer by Rebekah Flores was written in memory of Ronnie. It was shared at her Mass as well as her Celebration of Life:

O creator of love, and giver of peace, We have gathered together to ask the Lord’s blessing. As we gather we grieve and mourn. We celebrate and give thanks for an amazing woman. Ronnie has touched our lives in many ways.

Help us to not only feel your presence, but help us to know that, though we miss her dearly, Ronnie is always present our hearts. We have gathered together to ask the Lord’s blessing for Ronnie and the people gathered here. With thanksgiving in our hearts we celebrate Ronnie In your peaceful, loving and compassionate name, AMEN

We grieve and mourn the loss of her smile, her spirit and the love she freely gave. We celebrate and give thanks for her smile, her spirit and the love she freely gave. Help us to find ways to turn our grief into love and share that love as Ronnie would. Help us to continue to celebrate and give thanks for Ronnie and the gift she was to us.

We thank Denise Fisher for introducing Ronnie to our community and supporting Ronnie, as well as L’Arche! We thank Ronnie for the multiple ways she touched our hearts and enriched our lives.


Volunteers Wanted!! Jean Vanier counsels us at L’Arche to seek the assistance of competent professionals. Here are some ways that you, or someone you know with the appropriate skills, could be of great service to our community. Please contact Steve Nazaran, Community Coordinator, at 574-876-9350, or email him at snazaran@gmail.com if you are interested in helping with any of the following requests. Interior decorator: We have a house and apartment and a tight budget. It’s important that our surroundings reflect the care & respect we’d like to have for each other. We’d like to hear from someone who would commit to occasionally “walking through” our house and

helping us identify areas that could be “brightened up”. Landscaper/ landscape architect/ gardener: We have a small front and back yard. We’d like to hear from someone with landscaping experience who would commit to helping us plan, execute, and maintain a vision for our grounds. Contractor (especially electrical): We currently own an old two-flat. We’d like to hear from an experienced and knowledgeable person who would commit to occasional visits to help us determine what parts of the house are due for repair; we’d also like to hear from someone nearby with basic handyman skills for minor fix-it jobs; we’d LOVE to hear from people with appropriate skills and/or licenses who would be able to do the work for us.

Music teachers: Several of our core members demonstrate a strong interest in music and are in a band at Arts of Life; some have even had music lessons in the past. We’d like to hear from a person who would be interested in working on music with one or several core members on a regular, at least weekly, basis. Computer expert/technician/IT geek: We have two PC work-stations in our office, a desktop PC at Angel House, as well as wireless routers in both the house and apartment, and the personal laptops used by assistants for workpurposes. We’d like to have someone “on call” who could help us evaluate our tech needs, advise us on improvement, as well as fix problems, crashes, etc. as they arise.

L’Arche Chicago goes south again!! Steve continued onwards, finishing the marathon in a new personal best time of 3:42:12. Steve set up a special challenge to raise money for the Solidarity fund for L’Arche USA, which helps facilitate solidarity with communities of L’Arche in Latin America. Over $800 was collected.

Raising Funds and Running for L’Arche Solidarity, L’Arche Chicago made its third annual visit to L’Arche Mobile for the First Light Marathon in Alabama. The Banktrust First Light Marathon, held in midJanuary, benefited L’Arche Mobile. City services were donated by the Police and Fire departments. Core members from Mobile’s workshop hand-made the medals given to marathon finishers. Once again, representatives from L’Arche communities of the Central Region of the United States formed a relay team. The team included our Regional Coordinator Jo Anne Horstman, founding community leader of L’Arche St. Louis Janet Ryan, and assistants and core members from

We also visited several houses in the L’Arche Mobile The team. Chris on the left. Tall Steve in the back community, renewing old friendships and forming new ones. other L’Arches. Steve Nazaran of L’Arche Chicago ran the first leg, On the way back home, L’Arche and handed the baton off to Chris Chicago visited L’Arche Heartland Abri and Jo Anne. Our cheering near Kansas City, KS. Heartland & transportation crew was headed extended warm hospitality towards by Mobile veterans Rebekah Chicago. We stayed in their Flores and Christianne Msall, houses, joined them for community accompanied by first-timer Mike prayer night, and toured their day Marino. program. After handing off the relay baton,

~ Lisa Sinnott & Steve Nazaran


Having a L'Arche connection gets you places...like Paris Jean and Steve got to travel the world a little this past October. L’Arche International hosted a meeting exploring core member inclusion in meetings and decisionmaking processes. Jean did a great job making decisions and working with Steve to navigate the beautiful sights of Paris, France. Notre Dame and the Louvre were major highlights of the night time fun. Taíze prayer night at L’Arche Paris and French food were some well remembered special treats from the trip.

and Steve stayed in the city as a guest of L’Arche International. Jean and Steve overcame fears of heights and ate in the Eiffel Tower, they attended Mass at Notre Dame and rode the funicular to the top of Montmartre in the evening for a memorable view of the city. They also took time to sample Parisian delicacies.

The meeting involved several core members and assistants from around the world. Canada, France, Belgium and Slovenia were also represented at the five-day meeting.

Jean in front of the Eiffel Tower

Their community practiced their English with Jean and Steve over supper and relaxed together.

Steve & Jean with Jean Vanier

Jean with Anne Chabert showing off our L’Arche Chicago brochure.

Anne Chabert d’Hieres of L’Arche International and Christine McGrievy, Vice International Coordinator, also came to the gathering. The meeting was featured in the spring 2010 Letters of L’Arche, a magazine published by L’Arche International and distributed across the world. After the short week in Paris, Jean

For their last day in France, Jean and Steve visited L’Arche’s first community in Trosly-Breuil. L’ Hermitage, a house in the community, hosted them for lunch. A tour and visit of the community workshops were underway when they met new core members and assistants, one being from the U.S. The community had Mass in their chapel that evening and Jean and Steve met Jean Vanier who walked them personally to Val Fleury, where Vanier dined with them.

The next time you visit L’Arche Chicago, be sure to ask Jean to see the album that she and Steve made to remember their trip! ~ Lisa Sinnott & Steve Nazaran

Christine McGrievy with Jean in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame on the river Seine.


Director’s Desk relaciones, transformación, señal relations, transformation, signe relationships, transformation, sign

although we can pick out things we need to improve. Our context, though, is largely our own community, beginning with the core members and assistants that live in our homes and then extending out to me as the community leader, the board members and close friends and long-time supports. And this is a good place to start.

definitely Not L’Arche in any way?

Last February, the Illinois Department of Human Services, which for ten years has not been Regardless of what language you use able to wrap its collective head to access the L’Arche international around the L’Arche way, decided to website, these are the first words you look at L’Arche again. The see. Really, it’s a synopsis of our director of our fiscal agent mission statement. facilitated. People from DHS At L’Arche Chicago, we have been leadership visited our homes and focusing on our formation program. talked with the core members. We We have talked about relationships all ate lunch together. We found relationships, transformation, sign out how tall some of them were, and what it means for them to be mutual. We have looked at who liked what kind of car and circumstances and examples from What about our mission outwards? who had kids. our own relationships. Overall, we What does it mean to create A month or so later, on a much think we're doing fairly well, relationships with Others who are more business-like conference call, the department agreed that they We invite you to the could fit L’Arche Chicago’s model of core members and assistants Tenth Anniversary Celebration of L’Arche Chicago living together into their group Honoring Martha & Dale Cooper and Carol & Donn Raabe home paradigm and that they could contract with us directly as a Sunday, July 11, 2010 Medicaid Waiver service provider. Concordia University Chicago Given the go-ahead, we began 7400 Augusta St., River Forest, IL 60305 working through the official paperwork in earnest. In the 12:00 Silent Auction, Entertainment and Wine Reception process, we have learned the names 1:00 Dinner followed by awards of some of the people at DHS. We call them or email them and they $55 for adults and $25 for children respond. Sometimes, they call us Please R.S.V.P. by July 1, 2010 (312) 226-1273 first.

Our Identity We are people with and without developmental disabilities sharing life in communities of faith. Mutual relationships and trust in God are at the heart of our life together. We seek to build a world that recognizes the unique value of every person and our need for one another.

For more information contact:

Office: 312.226.1273 Alexandra Conroy 2010 W. Carroll Ave. www.larchechicago.org larchechicago@sbcglobal.net Chicago, IL 60612

Layout & Design: Gen Connor genconnor@sbcglobal.net Editing: John Dylong

Despite the untiring efforts of selfadvocates to reform it, the State of Illinois still ranks last or nearly last in the nation for supporting people with intellectual disabilities in a way that acknowledges their value. These relationships that are beginning to develop between L’Arche Chicago and DHS what kind of transformation might they bring about? And what kind of sign can we be? ~Alex Conroy


Spring 2010 Two By Two Newsletter