by Jill Ragar Esfeld
My favorite stories in The Leaven are those filled with miracles. I’m so privileged to work for a newspaper that allows me to see the hand of God working in the lives of those who trust in his will.
As this New Year approached, I revisited one of my favorite miracle stories — The Blue Door Project.
The story really begins more than 50 years ago at the Monastery of St. Michael in Kansas City, Kansas, which housed a group of cloistered Carmelite nuns.
The monastery closed down years ago, but the love of God continued to work within its walls.
It was bought by Charles and Carolyn Cofield, and became an outreach ministry to assist teen moms with unplanned pregnancies.
They called it Rachel’s Tea House.
When the Cofields decided to downsize their ministry and sell the huge monastery, they knew they wanted to turn it over to a good cause. They never put it on the market.
Enter the Drescher family
Carla Drescher had retired from her position as director of behavioral health for the state of Kansas with 25 years experience in child welfare, and a vision of helping at-risk foster teens.
She knew the need was great.
She and her son Bryan, also a social worker, started talking about the idea of opening a residential group home for youth.
Dresher was told by a friend that the owners of the huge old monastery in the 3500 block of Wood Avenue might sell to someone who had a worthy project.
The moment the Coefields met the Dreshers they knew their prayers were answered. They’d found the next owners of their treasured home.
The door to the old monastery was painted bright blue. And — after six months of serious renovations — it will begin this New Year as a foster home to 16 teenagers.
The Blue Door has bedrooms for eight boys on the lower level and eight girls on the upper level.
The program will be able to support itself financially because of the daily rate received from the state for each foster child.
The process that led to opening the Blue Door has been riddled with miracles.
“If I could tell you all the different ‘God moments’ we’ve had,” said Drescher. “It’s just incredible; it makes me want to cry.”
As a residential group home, the Blue Door will be unique because Bryan and his wife Laura Drescher will be living there, fostering an atmosphere of family support.
Perhaps the best miracle of all? Bryan and Laura will be welcoming their first child in the New Year.
The Drescher family and their Blue Door project give us a beautiful example of how to make a plan based in love and trust God to see it through.
What better New Year’s resolution can we make than to follow that example?
The Blue Door Project would love to have the Catholic community involved in its efforts to build a loving foster home for local youth. If you’d like to know how you can help, call 913-961-0866 or visit the website.