by Jill Ragar Esfeld
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Children were running though the monastery of the Little Brothers of the Lamb here on June 3, hiding behind signs that read “entrance,” “chapel” and “refectory.”
The monastery was accessible for a game of tag because, for now, it is an outline in white paint on a field at the intersection of Homer and Boeke streets in Kansas City, Kansas.
The children were part of many local families who came to celebrate the groundbreaking for the future home of the Little Brothers, which will be called “Light of Mary, Mother of God.”
The event coincided with the birthday of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, who lined up with the Little Brothers and construction officials to break ground for the building.
“Unless we build on the rock which is God,” he said, “our building is in vain.
“The Little Brothers and Sisters have built their community life on this rock, which is the Lamb of God.”
The archbishop recalled the vision of the community’s foundress Little Sister Marie when she talked of a monastery for the Little Sisters of the Lamb who were first to settle in the archdiocese.
“I couldn’t see it,” he said.
The Little Sisters’ monastery, Lumen Christi, was consecrated by Archbishop Naumann on September 14, 2013.
“And when [the community] said they had a perfect place for the Little Brothers’ monastery,” continued the archbishop, “I was blind to that, too.
“But they were looking with eyes of faith.”
The archbishop thanked those gathered for their sacrifices that helped raise funds for the monastery, and for their prayers that made it a reality.
The crowd was an impressive socioeconomic mix of friends from the immediate neighborhood and the surrounding counties in the archdiocese.
Referring to the diversity, Archbishop Naumann commented, “This makes us see we are one family in God.”
The establishment of this second monastery for the Community of the Lamb places the Little Brothers, along with the Little Sisters, permanently in Kansas City, Kansas.
“What a blessing this is,” said the archbishop. “They place God in the center of this community — an oasis of God’s presence where all can come to pray.”
The archbishop asked the audience to pray for “smooth construction and the safety of all working on the project.”
He also expressed his hope that they would gather again within the year to celebrate the monastery’s completion.
“All of you are part of this,” he said. “The Lord has worked through you to make this a reality.”
After the groundbreaking, the Community of the Lamb surprised the archbishop with a giant birthday cake holding an appropriate number of candles.
They then escorted him to a center seat in the audience and performed a play written especially for the occasion.
The celebration finished with friends and neighbors sharing traditional foods from their native countries.
To contribute to the building fund of the Little Brothers’ monastery, send a check to: Little Brothers of the Lamb, 801 Vermont Ave., Kansas City, KS 66101, or donate online by visiting their website.
All donations are tax deductible.