Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Christmas Presence

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Christmas Presence

Article excerpt

Kathy Berken has lived in a L'Arche community in Clinton, Iowa since October 1999 and is currently the house coordinator for Arch III, where she and one other assistant live with five core members. The mother of two grown children, Berken worked for 11 years for the Diocese of Green Bay as the staff reporter and marketing manager for The Compass newspaper.

My first Christmas at L'Arche started out awful. It was the first Christmas ever that I was not spending with family, and I was lonely for Christmas pasts of special breakfasts of eggs, sausage, and homemade coffeecake. Here I was told to fend for myself as we were invited to another house for turkey dinner later. I faced the grim reality and I wasn't happy.

Just then, Roberta, a core member with Dawn's syndrome, stopped me. "Kathy, I want to show you something," she said. On the table were my favorite dishes: cottage cheese, toast, my favorite mug filled with water, orange juice, butter, a knife and spoon. Her face was glowing.

"I made you breakfast!" she said, sweeping her arm back as if to make a presentation, and added, "I did this all for you. …

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