Leaven Blog

A perfect celebration

by Jill Ragar Esfeld

What is the best way to celebrate 30 years of marriage?

How can you spend money saved for the occasion in the most significant and memorable way?

That was the debate going on between my husband and I this summer as our anniversary date approached.

Should we have a weekend getaway; an extravagant night out on the town; a party with friends?

Should we buy artwork or an expensive piece of jewelry (my idea)?

In the end, we chose to help build a little monastery. And it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

On our anniversary, we headed to Lumen Christi, the monastery of the Little Sisters of the Lamb, located at 36 South Boeke in the heart of Kansas City, Kansas.

Just down the street is the site of the future monastery of the Little Brothers of the Lamb, who are currently living in an old rectory and trying to raise money for this permanent residence.

Within Lumen Christi is a small chapel where the Little Brothers and Sisters often invite the public to join them for Mass.

On the evening of our anniversary, we were warmly welcomed at the chapel door by Little Brother Christoph, the celebrant, who was delighted to hear we had chosen to celebrate with them.

The Mass, as always, was beautiful.

I’ve often written articles about the Little Sisters and Brothers of the Lamb. But I don’t think I’ve ever been able to communicate the peace and joy that permeate their lovely little chapel.

And no prose, no matter how poetic, can describe the sound of their voices singing the liturgy in perfect harmony.

It is one of the best-kept secrets in Kansas City — a true taste of heaven.

In the end, Little Brother Christoph surprised us by calling us forward for a special anniversary blessing.

Then the Little Sisters gathered around us and sang like angels.

It was a spontaneous, loving gesture that touched us deeply.

If a faith-filled moment can be called magical, this one was. And we will hold it in our hearts forever.

As we left the chapel, the Brothers and Sisters were outside saying goodbye and wishing their guests well, as they always do.

We handed the Little Brothers an envelope containing a donation to help build their monastery; our anniversary gift to each other.

We knew it wouldn’t matter to them if it was one dollar or a thousand; they would accept it with heartfelt gratitude and repay it with earnest prayer.

If you have something to celebrate, or just want to experience a magical evening, I strongly recommend attending Mass at Lumen Christi.

The Brothers and Sisters welcome anyone who wishes to join them. And an experience of Mass with this community is well worth the trip.

A schedule can be found on the Little Sisters’ webpage here.

And if you’d like to be a part of supporting this wonderful community in our archdiocese, make a donation to help the Little Brothers build their monastery.

Their need is great and their gratitude is genuine.

About the author

Jill Esfeld

Jill Ragar Esfeld received a degree in Writing from Missouri State University and started her profession as a magazine feature writer, but quickly transitioned to technical/instructional writing where she had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. She returned to feature writing when she began freelancing for The Leaven in 2004. Her articles have won several awards from the Catholic Press Association. Jill grew up in Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri; and has been a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas, for 35 years.

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