Friday, November 25, 2005

Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration, Kansas City, Missouri

Dedicated in 1948, the convent of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration was purchased by the Society of St. Pius X and now houses the Franciscan Sisters associated with the SSPX. The huge edifice (in the well-balanced but unornate style of those few mid-twentieth century architects who hadn't lost their heads yet) at 63rd & Meyer is a testament to "moribund" and stale preconciliar Catholicism (as George Sim Johnston put it in the article that caused me to cancel my subscription to Crisis magazine), and that fact that it was emptied and abandoned by the order a decade or two ago is likewise a testament to the "new Springtime" we've been experiencing since 1964, isn't it? My understanding is that the sisters have a lot of infrastructure work to do--significant plumping upgrades. Click here for an article on the state of the building (SSPX newsletter, in PDF format).

Whatever you may think of the SSPX situation, let's all pray that they can keep the structure up on their own until there's a traditionalist reconciliation, the Catholic world starts to right itself, and they can get a wider base of support.

I recall a few years ago a little dispute between the owners of the old Bishop Hogan High School (now some sort of secular charter school, which I also took pictures of) and the sisters arose when it was discovered the football field was built halfway on the convent grounds, and halfway on the high school grounds. The sisters wanted protection from liability and rent payments to help them with their own expenses (a reasonable request, given that a secular high school football program isn't part of their apostolate, if you ask me). I'm not sure how that worked out.

I've also heard a rumor that someday the sisters hope to open a girls' school at the convent. That sounds appealing, especially if an SSPX reconciliation can be worked out. As it stands, I wouldn't send my girl to either of the "Catholic" girls schools in town. I haven't heard anything good at all about either of them.

Feel free to add other details. For instance, do you know when the Convent folded? Did any of the Benedictine sisters have any attachment to or involvement in Bishop Hogan High School, or were they all strictly contemplative?


One again, nobody's volunteered to do the research for me, so I took care of it. I imagined at one point that this would be an interactive tour--I'd just drive around town with my camera asking stupid questions in my post, and other people would run off to their libraries or rectories and do all the research for me. That's happened in a few cases, but sadly, it hasn't happened enough. It's starting to feel like work or something. Anyways, I'm not at page 507 in This Far by Faith.

The convent was founded by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at Clyde at the invitation of Bishop O'Hara in 1943. Construction began in 1947, and the sanctuary was dedicated in 1949.

The practice of Adoration was supported widely (to hear the historian tell it), and laity across the city participated in it, with regular holy hours, benedictions and processions. However, by 1982, the sisters at Clyde elected to close the convent due to a lack of vocations and increasing costs. The property was sold to an evangelical group of heretics, Youth for Christ, in 1984 for $750,000. As noted above, it was recently purchased by the Society of St. Pius X for the use of Franciscan sisters (third orders, technically, due to jurisdiction issues that will, we pray, soon be worked out), and they're raising money to do necessary major plumbing and mechanical work to the facility.

BTW, if you're in Kansas City, and you've never driven up near Maryville to see the Benedictine Convent at Clyde and Conception Abbey, and the Benedictine convent at Clyde only a mile away, it's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon this spring. The outside views are something. I can't evaluate the orthodoxy of either the Clyde nuns or the Conception monks at Conception (except to note that the nuns have kicked the habit and the monks have wrecknovated their bascilica, though they preserved the interesting original Beuronese murals). The chapel at Clyde is beautiful and mostly intact and the nuns had one of the largest collections of relics in the United States at one time. If you go, you might call to see if they still have them, and when and how they can be viewed.


Anonymous said...

I don't recall when the Benedictine Convent closed; but I believe it was in the late 60's, right after Vatican II closed. It was sold to (if I remember correctly) Kansas City Youth For Christ who made it into a home for unwed mothers to be. The home offered the young girls some high school courses and occupational training. They aso gave the girls support delivering their children. It was open for several years then closed and was eventually sold after many years to the present owners.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd vouch that a visit to the Clyde and Conception, MO monasteries are a great way to spend some time in the spring. They are very hospitable, it's peaceful and contemplative, and I don't know how you judge orthodoxy but I don't think you'll be scandalized by anything you see there. Just a clarification...the nuns have not really ditched the habit. They don't wear the old traditional habit but they consider their habit to be simple, tasteful, modern-day B&W dresses, blouses, and skirts.

Anonymous said...

Pax to all.
The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have a beautiful Adoration Chapel in Tucson, Arizona.
Also check out the web site for Clyde Missouri and go to their music. The CD's are wonderful bringing great joy to the heart.
May you continue to Adore Jesus always.
Your Sister in Christ

Anonymous said...

All is not as well as it seems. Please be careful when going to visit the Benedictines in Clyde. Whatever you do, do not agree to a massage. I have a friend that was badly hurt by one of the sisters there in a very unethical situation with a massage. I hope my friend will finally receive the apology she has waited 5 years to receive, a formal apology. It was quite awful.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Curmudgeon said...

Removed the last post when someone brought it to my attention, as it names names. Needless to say, the commenter expressed some pointed reservations about the orthodoxy and good faith of some of the few nuns who remain in Clyde.

Anonymous said...

My friend who received the topless massage spent 6 years in agony. For the first three years, the Sisters ignored her. Then three years of talking to her but she wasn't allowed to really talk about her pain about what happened. The result is that my dear friend no longer goes to Mass. This Spring her son will be confirmed, but she lives in a great deal of pain. The Sisters have pretty much blamed her for most of it. My friend, I have known her for 30 years. We went to school together. Please pray for her that she can recover. I could not remain silent. It is not what it seems. The Sister who did this massage was allowed to speak at the national soap conference last weekend but has yet to speak with the couple she hurt badly, with her apology and faith.

Please pray for my friend. Please pray for the Sister who hurt her, that there can and will be a sense of restorative justice to the situation. My friend does not want a monetary settlement, only acknowledgement of the pain and a resolve that no other woman will be hurt in this manner again.

A practicing Catholic who loves her friend and wants to see her heal from being hurt by one of the Clyde nuns.

Catherine Todd said...

I am so sorry and very upset reading about the "unethical massage" that your friend received at the convent of the Benedictines in Clyde. That's putting it mildly!

Here I thought it was only "pedophile priests" we had to worry about.

Have you posted anything on their convent website, or contacted them AGAIN about what happeend to your friend? I have a great friend who has been a nun for going on 50 years at a different Benedictine convent, and I can hardly imagine what she would say if I told her about this. Something definitely needs to be done.

Please keep in touch and I wish your friend the best. I know what it's like to try and get over an "unethical" situation like that. I'm still trying myself.

Yours, CT

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who had a massage by a Benedictine nun at the convent here in Washington State. If she had been hurt, it's possible I would be in prison right now.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I went to the Benedictines in Washington State for an abuse retreat and there was a very kind sister who gave the retreat. They are very good people. It is not my intent to malign religious. I speak out with truth about what happened, and now, finally, in 2009, begin the process of moving on with my life. Finally. I no longer attend church of any kind, but know that God is not a cause of what happen. I struggle. Thank you for your post.

catholicblog said...

For awhile, Kansas City Youth for Christ owned this beautiful convent. They had Circle-C and L. bar C Ranches as camps for youth, and a number of branches, I belonged to the Edwardsville/Bonner Springs (KS) one. These folks also owned TV 50, Kansas City's first religous TV station. (TBN now does the job on channel 16).

For a number of years and during my high school years (in the 1980's) it was known as L.I.G.H.T House. "L.I.G.H.T." stood for "Life Is Given Hope for Tomorrow". Babies were actually born in this building and each time a new one was born, they'd ring the bells. At the time it was the only facility of it's kind in the Bible-belt Midwest. Runaways and other pregnant youth called this place home. This was odd considering nuns and priests are forbidden from having sexual intercourse to this day, and are also not allowed to have artificial insemmination. It went from housing females forbidden from sex to unwed mothers who already done the deed.

Kansas City Youth for Christ founder Al Metsker died. Shortly after ward would me the scaling down of the organization. The TV Station was sold and is known today as part of the ION network with Qubo on a side channel. This building to was also sadly closed, and I don't believe the Conquest Magazine they used to print even exists anymore. It amazes me they have the auditorium at 4715 Rainbow, built in 1965. I forget what happened to the camp ranches. "Kansas City Youth for Christ" is no longer in the phonebook or online although they're still around. Today they operate as Youthfront.

Anonymous said...

I lived here in 1994. At that time this building was used for teenage mother's called the Lighthouse. Hopefully the building will stay as beautiful as it was then. As odd as it may seem to go from a convent to helping teenage mother's it was a miracle to many of us girls.

Unknown said...

I lived here in 1992 and my son was baby 398. Is the property still standing? I am planning a trip to KC in a few weeks and would love to go see it.

anonymous said...

I attended Hogan High School "next door" to the Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration when it was being built in 1948. It was so nice to stop in after school to pray before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. There was a Sister kneeling in adoration every minute of the day and night. How sad when the Sisters abandoned it.

I knew the Youth For Christ people through my work with Right To Life when they bought the building. After they left, I think it sat empty for years.

How wonderful it was to see Catholic Sisters reclaim this magnificent structure and return it to the service of Our Lord and His Holy Church! I hope and pay that the Sisters receive the support they need to continue this great work.

They can be contacted at:

Franciscan Sisters, Convent of Christ the King, 1409 E Meyer Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri.


FlowersMama said...

I lived there in 1995, I placed my child for adoption, thanks in part to the support I got there. I really want to go back to that building!

Marsha said...

Yes I was living in it right after it opened..