Maison Emmanuel is a community of people living together, some of whom have special needs. Situated an hour north of Montreal, in the beautiful Laurentian mountains, our community of 45 people is nestled in a valley on old farmland, in the midst of the forest.
Maison Emmanuel is a member of the North American Council for Anthroposophic Curative Education and Social Therapy, inspired by the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, and modeled on the worldwide Camphill movement. For us at Maison Emmanuel, community means living and working side by side, regardless of our background or "ability", in a healthy social environment. We are conscious of the uniqueness of each individual, and the fundamental importance of building supportive relationships that can allow each of us to fulfill our potential.
Those in need of special care live together with their co-workers in an extended family setting, sharing responsibility for the day to day running of the home. The day is structured round communal mealtimes, domestic chores, work in our craft workshops and caring for our land and gardens. All are involved in building a supportive community environment where everyone learns to care and provide for the needs of the others. Festivals, plays, concerts and a weekly ecumenical Sunday gathering, celebrations and outings all form part of a rich social life in which meaningful and supportive relationships can develop.
Maison Emmanuel aims not only to provide an alternative model of residential care for adults with developmental disabilities: it aims to provide an alternative way of living together in a society where how people are valued often depends on their productivity and earning ability.
Maison Emmanuel´s philosophy is fundamentally rooted in the idea that a healthy social order can only be found when each person works for the welfare of the other, and that through this colleagueship my needs (financial, material, emotional) will be met by those around me, as I strive to meet their needs. In such a relationship, ability and productivity no longer become the basis for what I receive: each gives what he or she can for the good of the other, and the needs of each one are met by the community as a whole. In this way, we can break away from the pattern of carer/caregiver relationships, and meet each other as equals in our differences.