Why build a little monastery today ?
In the night of this world, there are lights; some stars shine as lights of hope in the darkness of history. The mission of a little monastery of the Lamb is to be a light of the Gospel in the heart of the city. After the terrorist attack in Paris on November 13th, several people shared with us how they saw this little monastery as a providential answer to the drama of the world today. A politician who knows our community well, greeted us after Mass that was celebrated in homage to the victims. He spontaneously expressed his gratitude for our charism saying, “Thank you for who you are. Our society is being torn apart by violence and fear, and you, you are a response by the way that you go out towards each person. You tie bonds of kindness and trust which are weakened nowadays.”
The Diocese of Lyon has offered us a piece of land in the center of the city to build our monastery. The doors of a little monastery of the Lamb are always open: to the poorest whom we meet on mission and to all those who are thirsty for friendship and seek God without even knowing it. It is not only our chapel that remains open to welcome everyone but also our table. As so often in the Gospel, it is much more than bread that we share.
The three parts of a little monastery
- The chapel: open to everyone, in the center of the monastery.
- The community house: a refectory with an ‘open table’, and a place to welcome a family in need.
- The cloister: with twelve cells, an oratory and a library for prayer and study in solitude.
How can one insure the solidity of a building without foundations? Jesus taught us, “No house can stand unless it is founded on the rock”. Thanks to your donations, the foundations will soon be able to hold up the walls of this monastery. And the most beautiful thing is that foundations are invisible; but real!
Our little monasteries allow for the Community to root ourselves long-term in a city; just as the foundations of a house hold up the whole building.
- visibilityNine little monasteries worldwide, click to discover them
Kansas City, US
2.“Light of Peace ”
3.“Light of the Transfiguration”
4.“Light of the Gospel”
Buenos Aires, Argentina
5.“Light of the poor”
(near Czestochowa), Poland
7.“Mary, Light of the Church”
8.“Light of the Resurrection”
9.“Light of the Holy Encounter”
Thanks to a multitude of donations, nine little monasteries of the Lamb already shine throughout the world. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:5)”. The 10th little monastery of the Lamb (in Lyon) has received the name: ‘Light of the Immaculate’. “Because you don’t light a lamp to put it under a bushel but on the lampstand where it shines for everyone in the house (Mt 5:15)”.
WHAT DO THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE LAMB DO?
There are currently four little sisters of the Lamb in Lyon: little sister Judith (France), little sister Angela (Austria), little sister Marie-Alexandra (France) and little sister Agape (USA). When we arrived in Lyon on November 1st, 2013, All Saints’ Day, Cardinal Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, told us “I ask of you only one thing: go out in the streets in your habits so that people can know that God exists.” It was a prophecy announcing the thousand daily encounters that we have! Yes, the world is waiting for the testimony of consecrated life. In our mission as mendicant (begging) little sisters, we are led to the existential peripheries. As we knock on the doors of houses and buildings in order to beg for something to eat, we encounter mankind. The simplicity and humility of this request not only opens doors, but it opens hearts as well. God is near; God himself is a beggar. He knocks at the door of our hearts, whilst infinitely respecting our freedom. As we bear witness to this love, our hearts overflow with joy; a joy that no one can take away from us. It is the joy of being close to peoples’ lives, to be with them, and to become their friends. This is the joy of the Gospel.
The essential part of our life is contemplative prayer; from which the mission’s dynamism and brotherly love draw their source and energy.
Our testimony of community life and our fervor for the mission draw their energy from the source which is contemplative prayer: this is the most important part of our life. Our days, and occasionally our nights, are dedicated to the « activity of the Liturgy » which is actio divina. Thus we spend a lot of time in the chapel celebrating our liturgical offices: listening to God’s Word, enriched by the beauty of the songs and the wealth of the homilies of the Fathers of the Church. In the silence and the depth of a heart-to-heart with the burning love of the Lord, we are invited “to live at the rhythm of God’s Word meditated upon relentlessly; at the rhythm of those who “keep and ponder” God’s Word in their hearts (Lk 2:19, 51) like Mary, the mother of Jesus. Thus we remain in his presence, face to face with Mercy, so as to speak only with God or of God” (extract from the Purpose of life of the Community of the Lamb).
After one of our vigils, a woman told us, “The candle light procession in the night was beautiful. The Gospel was live; it was real! We were like the wise virgins who lit their lamps when the bridegroom arrived. What I understood most in the liturgy is that the light shines in the darkness! I had never understood that phrase until last night; until I saw the lamps and the candles shining in the dark. The world is really held up by prayer! By faith, by those who pray and work secretly for the good of men! Without this, the world would fall apart!”
Verwendung der Mittel
Total ground surface of the monastery=760m ²
(estimated cost 88 160 €)
Lisa, 22 years old, in a squat, Lyon: “I don’t know anything about God… But, if I understand correctly, you do this in order to come close to people.” -“Yes, because God has come close to us. He became so close to us that he became one of us.” After our visit the occupants named their squat: “The three sisters”.
Elisabeth, 70 years old, Lyon: “I don’t know if God exists; but if he exists, it’s surely him who sent you.” Later, she wrote to us: “Your visit remains for me the Event of this spring, it brought to me a totally unexpected light on my path, which was so important in the midst of the doubt which I always have.”
Adi, a father in a gypsy camp: “Sister, are you coming to help us?” A little sister opened her hands and replied timidly: “We came empty handed… but …” Before she was even able to finish her sentence, Adi added smiling: “But your hearts are full!”
Alison, a university student from England, took us hitchhiking and, staring at us in astonishment asked us: “What are you? I never saw anyone like you!” -“We are sisters.” -“But sisters of what?” At the end of the conversation, Alison thanked us saying, “Sometimes, we’re a little lost and we need somebody to show us the way!”
- visibilityFor some pictures, click
Elizabeth, Lyon: “When I am angry, I call Him and I tell Him: “Hey, you up there, could you not help us out a little bit!” She began to cry and then told us, “When I’m angry, I’m going to call you so that you can help me. You work for us. You’re valuable!”
Michael, a university student, welcomed us and as he was preparing a meal for us he exclaimed, “It’s crazy that you’re here, in my home”. “You’ve honored me. I’m honored by your visit.”
Myriam, a young Muslim woman, Lyon: “I often see you passing by from my window. When you rang the doorbell, and I realized that it was you, I got goosebumps.”
Bernard, a taxi driver who took us hitchhiking: “I let Jesus down.” -“Jesus is never disappointed, he always trusts us. He is always waiting for us. We really ask the grace for you to have the strength to go and meet a Priest.” -“I’m a big sinner and there are sins that he cannot…” Tears ran down his face. “Jesus’ mercy is stronger than sin: than all our sins. It overcomes everything!” Having been pursued by Mercy, Bernard received the Sacrament of Penance and started his Christian journey again.
Cécile, a cleaner, opened the door of the apartment where she works. She apologized for not being able to help us as it wasn’t her home. She was so moved by the encounter that she started crying. We comforted her and began to say, “Three sisters, without warning…” she finished our phrase: “Nothing but joy!”
©Tekoa for majority of pictures