chapter  10
16 Pages

The Wisdom of L’Arche and the Practices of Care: Disability, Professional Wisdom and Encounter-in-community

WithJohn Swinton

I approach the issue of professional wisdom from a rather unusual professional background. I am currently professor in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen. However, my background is in nursing and hospital chaplaincy. I nursed for 16 years within the areas of mental health, and latterly intellectual disability. Later, I became a community mental health chaplain, working with people who were moving from long-term institutional care back into the community. Along the way, I became an ordained minister in the Church of Scotland before taking up my current post as an academic. So my life traverses three professions: nursing, ministry and divinity. Each of these professions has a slightly different perspective on what it means to be a professional, and each has a different mode of wisdom and encounter.