KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In their small chapel in Kansas City, Kan., the voices of the Little Sisters of the Lamb enfold their visitors within the Psalms they sing.
In the short time they have been here, they have become friends with many in the area and have taken on the building of the first North American monastery of the Little Sisters of the Lamb.
The Little Sisters of the Lamb in their blue habits hail from Poland, France, Austria and Luxembourg and bring with them a lifestyle radical by any standard. Founded in France by Little Sister Marie, the community espouses a life of contemplative prayer and poverty. A branch of the Dominican order, the community has Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, a fellow Dominican, as its bishop protector.
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.”
Retired sheriff Currie Myers met the women soon after their arrival. He is impressed with the impact they are having on the people they meet. “We are always amazed at how God is working through them,” Myers said. “They go to poor and rich neighborhoods to share the Gospel. By the time they leave, whether [the people they meet are Catholic, Protestant or unbelieving], they are singing and praying all together.”
Little Sister Alma described how people helped them when they first moved into the old rectory of a demolished parish church. The rectory had been neglected, and there was a lot of work to do. “We went to the parish and told the people we needed help,” she said. “All we had was a pocketknife to open our cans and do everything. Immediately, we had help.”
People from all walks of life came to their aid, wielding tools and supplies to make the old rectory more livable until the sisters could build the monastery. Among those helping were Mario Gutierrez and his family.
“You can feel God’s love through them as soon as you walk through the door,” he said.
Having them in the neighborhood and being part of the sisters’ community as a third order member gives him strength. “I feel strong enough to walk away from some things,” Gutierrez said. “And strong enough to walk toward others.”
Laurie Ghigliotti writes
from Atchison, Kansas.
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