Get to know the people behind Intercordia Canada


Dr. Katie MacDonald, Co-Executive Director
Edmonton, AB

I was brought to Intercordia from my interest in international development, education and learning in community. I have found Intercordia to be an incredible space to explore the intersections of these three things, and to do so in community and with others. I am honored to be a part of this journey with young Canadians, our host partners and the families who welcome our participants into their home. When I'm not working with Intercordia, I am working on social housing. I love feminism, animals and the sunshine.

Dr. Jessica Vorstermans, Co-Executive Director
Toronto, ON

My Intercordia journey started in 2005 when I was a participant and lived with a host family in Ecuador. I was then  a mentor in the Dominican Republic for a number of years and am now in the role of Co-ED. Katie and I work collaboratively together and are intentional about the ways we nurture relationships with our host partners in the Global South. It is hard and joyful work! Intercordia is about relationships - between two hearts - and both hearts need to be held and supported. Relationships across difference take work and intentionality to grow and must be grounded in the desire for mutuality. Doing the work of supporting Intercordians to live that mutuality is a call that I am drawn to, one that we are constantly seeking to do better in a complex and difficult world. I want to end with a quote from liberation theologist Gustavo Gutierrez that speaks to the work of Intercordia and is achingly beautiful in its simplicity and call to action: "So you say you love the poor. Name them." 

Hannah Deloughery, Programs Coordinator
Toronto, ON

Through Intercordia I have been invited to learn about myself by living, working and being with others. For me, this is the beauty of Intercordia. Intercordia provides opportunities for young people to become more thoughtful and critically aware of themselves, others and the world through the building of meaningful connections with marginalized people. It is in these relationships that we are challenged to recognize our own limits and the gift of simply being with people in places of struggle and suffering as well as joy and community.

Clara Fraschetti, Campus Representative
Newmarket, ON

Intercordia is a unique program that enables students to ground their commitment to social change in relationships not just ideals. This grounding makes it possible for students to hold together the beauty experienced in the people and places they encounter on their placements with the pain of social inequity they witness directly. Students discover that it is possible, in the midst of suffering, for something redemptive to surface while at the same time discover that it is crucial not to romanticize the ugliness of poverty and injustice. It’s been a privilege to witness students working through feelings of paralysis and becoming agents of change in their personal lives and the wider community because of the groundedness given by their experience with Intercordia.

Krista Loewen, Campus Representative
Rosthern, SK

I currently live in Rosthern, SK along with my husband David and puppy Lucy! I love travelling, yoga, mentorship, and cooking for my family and friends. When I'm not doing those things, I pastor at Wildwood Mennonite Church, serve at the Station Arts Tea Room, and coordinate L'Arche Saskatoon's Collective Kitchen. I graduated from Canadian Mennonite University with Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies and Biblical and Theological Studies. I feel my best when I am engaged and supported by intentional communities and am excited to foster this ethos within the Intercordia program.


Lauren McCarthy Nagler
Toronto, ON

Intercordia provides opportunities for young people to deepen their awareness of themselves, their culture, and the immense diversities which exist in the world. As my own travels have greatly impacted me, my relationships, and how I live my life, I feel privileged to be a part of an organization which invites young people to engage in such life-changing experiences. Intercordia is wise in its conviction that simply being with people and giving of oneself is the greatest gift with the most lasting impact and honest in its recognition that there is both joy and struggle along the way. Individuals who choose to walk an unknown path such as this one are brave and inspiring, and I am grateful to be able to share the journey with them.

Nathan Ball
St. Louis, Missouri

Nathan Ball is currently the Executive Director of the L’Arche Canada Foundation. For the past 20 years he has been a member of L’Arche. From 1990 – 2001 he was the Executive Director and Community Leader of the L’Arche community in metropolitan Toronto, Canada. He has extensive experience in creating and sustaining faith-based community in which people of differing abilities, religious, and cultural backgrounds live together. Nathan is committed to the broad dissemination of knowledge that has been generated within L’Arche over the past 40 years and is convinced that Intercordia has a role to play in fostering the deeply felt need for relationship, community, and compassion in our world. Nathan is married to Paula and has four young children.

Joseph Vorstermans
Toronto, Ontario

Joe is married to Stephanie and they have four adult children and four grandchildren. Stephanie, Joe and family were members of L'Arche for 25+ years after which Joe was the founding Director of Intercordia for the first ten years (2004-2014). He presently lives in Toronto and does handyman work and small renovations.

Tammy Marche
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Jean Vanier

A humanist, philosopher, theologian, and man of letters. He is described by his companions as a man of heart and compassion. Learn more about Jean and his work with Intercordia here.


Partners and Hosts


Intercordia has collaborated with our host communities to research host family perspectives on hosting students from the Global North in order to better understand how we and our participants can improve our relationship. 

Learn more about our study.