Edward Stoller laughs easily and makes friends quickly.
He has many friends at his parish, Curè of Ars in Shrewsbury, where he is an altar server and recently joined the Knights of Columbus.
Edward, who is unable to live on his own, will soon move in to St. James House of L’Arche St. Louis. L’Arche, an international organization, has three houses in St. Louis where people with disabilities, known as core members after the French word coeur (heart), live with assistants. A L’Arche community also includes other assistants, volunteeers, friends and board members. Though interfaith, it was founded by a Canadian Catholic and many of the people involved are Catholics.
Susan and Tony Favazza, members of St. Ambrose Parish in St. Louis, met Edward and his elderly, widowed mom, Helen, and aunt, Jean Crake, at Cure of Ars Parish. The Favazzas became friends with the family and accompanied Edward to baseball games and other outings.
Helen’s health deteriorated, and, in her will, she designated Susan as legal guardian and representative for Edward, who lived with his Aunt Jean after his mom died last year. Jean died five months later. Edward then moved into Favazza’s home. Familiar with L’Arche, they began taking part in its community nights and eventually decided it would be a good fit for Edward to live at St. James House, which is a short distance from Cure of Ars.
“It’s a loving, caring Catholic environment,” Susan said of L’Arche.
Curé of Ars Parish conducted a St. Louis Cardinals-themed trivia night fundraiser for Edward in the spring when Edward’s mom and aunt died. They netted almost $7,000 for Edward’s dental care and other needs.
People at all three L’Arche houses are praying for him daily at dinnertime until he becomes a resident after he attends several more L’Arche programs.
“I just like everything here,” said Edward, 56, who works at a grocery store, Dierbergs in Shrewsbury, is a Dallas Cowboys football, St. Louis Cardinals baseball and St. Louis Billikens basketball fan and enjoys helping others. “Everybody’s helping me out.”
Susan called L’Arche “a dream fit” for Edward and said that “sometimes prayers are answered.”