In the fall of 1829, Father Stephen Terme, the Cenacle co-founder, made a retreat according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. When he returned to La Louvesc, he appeared unannounced (as was his custom) in the sisters’ dining room. They had just begun their meal. According to Mother Joséphine Grégoire, one of the sisters from the earliest days of the congregation:
"He said that he had some news to announce, but that, since it might give some of them quite a turn, he would postpone it until after our supper, and that we should continue eating as usual."
You can imagine the effect this had on supper. Some of the sisters were no longer in a mood to linger over their meal, and they finished in no time. What Fr. Terme finally told them was that they were going into retreat for eight days -- four of the sisters anyhow -- and there were to be no ifs, ands, or buts about it. They were going to make this retreat according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, this very Jesus-centered manner of entering into the mystery of God.
Mother Therese put it this way:
"This was the first retreat that we had made according to the method of St. Ignatius, which we had never heard of before, and I can well say that we followed [these exercises] without understanding them..."
In any case, in 1831, the sisters began giving the Spiritual Exercises to women who came to the house.
There are many different kinds of retreats, but the Spiritual Exercises remain a significant element of the spirituality of the Cenacle Sisters and an effective means of helping others know the love of God in their lives.