“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12)
|LUMEN CHRISTI Monastery in Kansas City, KS|
“LUMEN CHRISTI” (the Light of Christ) Monastery was consecrated by Archbishop Joseph Naumann on September 14, 2013. The “Little Monastery” is the new home for the Little Sisters of the Lamb in Kansas City, KS. The monastery is the first of its kind for the Community of the Lamb in North America. Gathering friends from across the world both on location and through live streaming, the grace of God was called down to dedicate this new home for the community to Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Under the patronage of St. Agnes, LUMEN CHRISTI Monastery will serve as a furnace of God’s love and mercy.
In an article for the National Catholic Register, Archbishop Naumann explains the unique charism of the Little Sisters:
The sisters came to Kansas City at the invitation of Archbishop Joseph Naumann who encountered their community in Rome. Archbishop Naumann believes that the effectiveness of their ministry flows from their poverty, which requires them to go out and beg for their daily bread and, in the process, share the Gospel with those they meet.
“By coming in poverty, many people welcome them,” the archbishop said. “Their strong and beautiful prayer life sustains them in living out this radical poverty.”
The sisters travel in threes to beg for their daily bread in the tradition of St. Dominic. They offer to pray with and for the people they meet and share the Gospel with them. Their motto is “Wounded, I will never cease to love.”
It was fitting that the dedication took place on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross considering how close the Community of the Lamb is to the Wounded Lord. Seeking out the poor and suffering in any given neighborhood, the Little Sisters serve as beautiful instruments of the Holy Spirit for the New Evangelization.
|Perpetual Adoration at the Little Monastery|
Founded 35 years ago, the Community of the Lamb is still a relatively young and definitely growing community. The newspaper for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, The Leaven, explains:
Foundress Little Sister Marie said she had no idea she was starting a community 35 years ago in France. As a young Dominican Sister, she only knew that she had a big question in her heart.
“In our world, evil seems so many times so triumphant,” she explained. “And this question was in my heart. I believe it is in all human beings’ hearts: Tell us, Lord, how are you victorious over all evil?”
The answer came to her during a night in silent adoration.
“In the middle of the night,” she said. “this sentence of St. Paul’s arose in my heart: In his own flesh, Christ destroyed the enmity; in his own person, he killed hatred! (Eph: 2:13-19)
“I understand now, the Community of the Lamb was born in that moment.”
The motto of the community is: “Wounded, I will never cease to love.” Its charism is to live the Gospel and Jesus’ life in community.
“United to Jesus and filled with the love of God, we become the sent ones,” Little Sister Marie explained.
“Through the mercy of God we go, ‘without gold or silver,’ in order to give out the name of Jesus,” she explained. “We go like Jesus went — poor and begging the love of mankind; we beg for our daily bread, announcing the Gospel to all.”
“This is the living water of the charism,” she added. “The living water, because it is always renewed in adoration and in prayer and in our union to Christ.”
Today, the Community of the Lamb includes 130 Little Sisters and about 30 Little Brothers from many countries serving in communities around the world.
At the end of the Mass, the foundress, Little Sister Marie, invited the supporters of the Little Monastery to become adorers. She noted that 4,000 different donors had made the Little Monastery possible, and it was now time for them to become 4,000 adorers before Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
The simplicity and joy of the Little Sisters is truly attractive and inviting. Their way of life challenges a culture of excess while at the same time giving hope to the poor who they live among.
The cells for the sisters are extremely modest. In addition to their own rooms, they now have four rooms for young women who want to visit the community and rooms for priests to have days of prayer away from the noise of the world.
As I toured the newly blessed rooms and saw the sincere interest of the guests and benefactors, my heart was warmed at the possibilities. If these sisters could become so small so as to get out of Christ’s way, others can as well. Talking to the sisters after Mass and asking for their prayers, I was reminded how truly simple and straightforward their view of evangelization is: first you must live it. That’s it: first you must live it.
In their view, the New Evangelization occurs through witness before words. From the beginning, the vision for the Little Monastery kept that call to live the Gospel in mind. The National Catholic Register article from three years ago highlighted this vision:
Sister Bénédicte described the planned monastery as a simple structure in keeping with their charism. “It reflects in its architecture the message of the Gospel,” she said. “A simple building to be part of the New Evangelization, to go back to the basics. Each aspect of our life reflects the simplicity and beauty of the Gospel.”
|The Refectory at the Little Monastery|
Such simplicity flows from their encounter with Jesus Christ in prayer. As Archbishop Naumann was blessing the monastery, the sisters prayed the following prayer, between chanting antiphons of “Behold, the Lamb of God, resplendent of the glory of the Father, of the Glory of his most holy Passion, Light and complete joy of our hearts”:
In the last few months one has often heard the complaint that many prayers for peace are still without effect. What right have we to be heard? Our desire for peace is undoubtedly genuine and sincere. But does it come from a completely purified heart? Have we truly prayed “in the name of Jesus,” that is, not just with the name of Jesus on our lips, but with the spirit and in the mind of Jesus, for the glory of the Father alone, without any self-seeking?
Might we all be less self-seeking and more fervent to call on the name of the Lord. St. Agnes, pray for the Community of the Lamb!
If you want to hear more about what the New Evangelization looks like in Kansas, check out a new blog effort from the Office of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas: EVANGELIZED KANSAS.