In the early 1970s, Archbishop Ignatius Strecker envisioned having a house of prayer for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, that would be founded on the Scripture passages “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46: 11) and “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56: 7). At about this time, Archbishop Strecker invited Archdiocesan priest Fr. Edward Hays to go on a pilgrimage to various places of prayer around the world and then return and establish a house of prayer for the Archdiocese.
In 1971, Fr. John Stitz found 120 acres of land for sale in Easton, Kansas, and the Archdiocese purchased it to be the site of the House of Prayer. The only building on the property was a three-sided tin horse barn. Fr. Hays moved onto the property in February of 1972, and the first volunteer staff members arrived later in May. Fr. Hays named the house of prayer Shantivanam (pronounced Sh