A Practical-Theological Phenomenology of Joy: Learning from L’Arche

Armand Leon Van Ommen* (Corresponding Author), Julie Land

*Corresponding author for this work

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In recent years joy has received renewed attention as a central theological concept. However, voices from lived experience are largely lacking in this discussion. This article studies the question what joy looks like and what its essence is in one particular exemplar of joy, i.e. the L’Arche communities. Based on fieldwork, which included participant observation and interviews in four L’Arche communities, as well as an interview with the founder of L’Arche, Jean Vanier, this article proposes a practical-theological phenomenology of joy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-299
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Disability & Religion
Issue number3
Early online date10 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Joy
  • L’Arche
  • Jean Vanier
  • Henri Nouwen
  • Disability
  • Community


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