L’Arche Saint John chooses a new Community Leader

L’Arche Saint John chooses a new Community Leader

Dave Stonehouse


I am so pleased to share with you that L’Arche Saint John has a new Community Leader.

Rachel Vander Vennen, who has served L’Arche Saint John as Community Development Co-ordinator since 2020, takes over the leadership role from Zoël Breau, a 45-year veteran of L’Arche who is leaving Saint John after five years for a position with L’Arche Montreal.

Rachel was chosen following a recruitment process that drew applications from around the world and involved a series of consultations within the L’Arche Saint John community. Her appointment was unanimously confirmed by our board of directors.

Rachel is a natural leader with exceptional talents, whose commitment to excellence and to L’Arche Saint John has significantly elevated our profile and our discipline in raising funds – both essential to our ambitions to grow to serve more individuals and families.

If you have had the chance to meet or to work with her, you know that Rachel is someone of warmth and deep care for others who believes wholeheartedly in our mission to make known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities.

Prior to joining L’Arche Saint John, she worked with L’Arche Chicago and with Romero House in Toronto supporting refugees.

Rachel believes L’Arche values of inclusion and belonging are more crucial than ever and is looking forward to deepening relationships within the L’Arche Saint John community and with people and organizations who can help further those values and our desire to grow.

“It is my great honour and privilege to step into the role of Community Leader at L’Arche Saint John,” Rachel says. 

“I am convinced that the L’Arche values of inclusion and belonging are more crucial than ever in our society,” she says. “I look forward to working with our amazing team, members and partner organizations to build a more inclusive society where adults with intellectual disabilities are celebrated for their contributions.”

Rachel takes over the leadership role immediately. Zoël will stay on for the month of April to assist with the transition. He feels a sense of comfort knowing that Rachel is the new leader.

“As a leader, it is a luxury to be able to leave knowing that your successor is a person of Rachel's calibre, knowing that she has a vision and a love for L'Arche Saint John that will allow for new growth in the community,” Zoël says. “I look forward to continuing to see L'Arche grow and shine in this province."

Well said, Zoël. I couldn't agree more. 

On behalf of the board of directors, I thank Zoël for his tremendous dedication to L’Arche Saint John over these past five years. His passion, vision and commitment to L’Arche life have served our community very well. We will miss him, but know he remains a friend to our community and we wish him all the very best in Montreal.

In gratitude,

Dave Stonehouse
President & Chair of the Board