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Relationships That Bind – Mary R.

That’s how Mary Rath describes her love for L’Arche Jacksonville and Claire McGrath, Community Life Coordinator.

In January of this year WJCT, the local PBS station, interviewed both Mary and Claire for the podcast “What It’s Like” to discuss their recent experience with StoryCorps®, the Peabody Award-winning oral history project featured on the NPR series, Morning Edition. Conversations recorded by StoryCorps® are archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. During the interview, Mary and Claire discussed how they first met, what they’ve experienced together in shared life, and the love and friendship that has developed between them.

Mary shared that, while she has lived in other “homes,” it wasn’t until she came to L’Arche Jacksonville that she truly felt safe and loved. She said that people with intellectual disabilities have the same feelings as people without disabilities: The same fears, hopes, desires, wants, and needs. Mary went on to say that her faith is important to her. She prays a lot; she feels comfortable praying with her community at L’Arche Jacksonville. She especially likes Fr. Boddie, pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church, who visited her when she was in the hospital for treatment and almost died. She recovered and “thanked Jesus for bringing me back to life.”

One of Mary’s favorite pastimes is going for coffee with Claire and other members of Greatfull House. Her favorite coffee is Hazelnut with cream and sugar and she values her “coffee time” with friends. She values everyone at L’Arche Jacksonville and wants everyone to know how wonderful L’Arche Jacksonville has been to her. Mary’s story and words of encouragement, love, and friendship are forever stored in the Library of Congress and in our hearts.

Listen to their interview: 

In Loving Memory of Mary Rath (February 8, 1956 – November 1, 2019)