by Jill Ragar Esfeld
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Little Brothers of the Community of the Lamb do not fundraise in the traditional way.
The mendicant order — whose charism is to live out the Gospel and the example of Jesus in small community life — doesn’t plan big gala events or solicit donations for auctions.
But it does have big dreams.
The community of Brothers is currently trying to raise the final funds needed to build its new monastery in Kansas City, Kansas, to be called Light of Mary — Mother of God.
“We give thanks already for how much we have received,” said Little Brother Clement.
But more is needed.
Until construction actually begins, the total amount to build the monastery is uncertain, but the community estimates they are eighty to eighty-five percent funded.
“We still have a great need of about $200,000,” said Little Brother Joachim.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann invited the Little Brothers to establish their community in the archdiocese in 2013, joining the Little Sisters of the same order, whose monastery Lumen Christi is in the heart of Kansas City, Kansas.
The Brothers currently share the former St. Joseph Church rectory in All Saints Parish, but a monastery will allow them to more fully live their life of contemplative prayer and outreach to the poor.
In order to garner support for this final push, the Brothers are visiting parishes throughout the archdiocese where they will attend Mass, sing for the congregation and get to know parishioners — and encourage parishioners to get to know them.
“It’s beautiful,” said Little Brother Christophe after a recent visit to Prince of Peace Parish, Olathe. “We build a lot of friendships and we are a little bit more known.
“People learn about the purpose of our community, and that is very great.”
However, an even more immediate challenge has made it difficult for the Brothers to continue even this effort.
“Our car broke down,” said Little Brother Christophe in his accented English.
“A friend of ours took the car to a garage,” he said, “and they said, ‘It’s better to put the car on a cliff and just let it go. It is too dangerous to ride in.’”
This Community of the Lamb, which has its roots in France, is the first in the United States — and it’s the first time community members have felt such a need for private transportation.
Usually the Little Brothers, who live in poverty, are content to walk on their missions, hitchhiking to cover greater distances.
“In France, normally we have no cars,” explained Little Brother Christophe. “But here in the United States, traveling great distances without a car is hard.
Little Brother Joachim agreed.
“If you have an appointment in the morning,” he said, “it can be complicated to hitchhike.”
“Like coming to a parish at 7:30 in the morning, or if we have to go back late at night,” agreed Little Brother Clement.
“That’s why we are looking for a car now,” said Little Brother Christophe.
And so, as the Brothers continue to visit parishes and raise funds for their monastery, they’re also praying for the donation of a car.
“A simple sedan with four doors,” said Little Brother Clement.
And they ask for the prayers of the entire archdiocese for the success of their effort. They also encourage anyone who would like to visit them in their community to do so.
“People are always welcome to come and visit us,” said Little Brother Clement. “That’s one of the aspects of us coming to all these different parishes.
“It lets people know they can come into our neighborhood and get to see what’s going on there.”
How you can help
For more information on the Little Brothers, visit the website at: www.communautedelagneau.org, and click on USA: Kansas City, KS; write to The Little Brothers of the Lamb, 801 Vermont Ave., Kansas City, KS 66101; or call (913) 998-6644.