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Center of Our Heart


“The more we draw near to God, the more we desire to draw near; the more we are united with God, the more we desire this union, because we understand more and more that God is the center of our heart and that God alone can fill them and make them happy.”

— Saint Therese Couderc,
Letter to Mother de Larochenégly, August 7, 1867


The image is by Rose Hoover, rc, with the help of Apophysis software.

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We Remember

We Remember ... First Four Cenacle Sisters in North America

…four courageous women who landed in New York on July 17, 1892. They knew no English when they set sail, nor did they know where they would live when they landed. They knew simply that at the invitation of Archbishop Michael Corrigan of New York they were missioned to bring the Cenacle to New York and so the United States. The four—Mother Jenny Bachelard, Mother Christina de Grimaldi, Madam Marietta de Marschall, Sister Francoise Ellien—arrived with a keen sense of God’s providential care. 

We Celebrate ...

...this, our 125th Anniversary of presence, life and grace, that is, all God has done in our midst.  We celebrate what God has and is asking of us as we live the Cenacle mission in the North American Province.

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This month we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life. Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter “To All Consecrated People on the Occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life,” quoted Benedict XVI, who said, “It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but by attraction” (Evangelii Gaudium).

What does this mean? Whether we are speaking of the Church as a whole or of religious life, this suggests that if people see our joy they will desire to join us. 

“Similarly,” Pope Francis adds, “the apostolic effectiveness of consecrated life does not depend on the efficiency of its methods. It depends on the eloquence of your lives, lives which radiate the joy and beauty of living the Gospel and following Christ to the full. . . . Radical evangelical living is not only for religious: it is demanded of everyone. But religious follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way.”

Let us pray that whatever our vocation, we may live fully and radiantly the lives to which we are called.


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Prayer for the New Year


O God, as you once gazed on all you had made and found it good,
look now on us, your weak and cherished people,
created in the beauty of your own image.

Have mercy on us as we begin a new year.

We have fouled your creation through heedlessness and greed.
We have defaced your image by making war.
We have reached out, not for you, but for possessions, honors, and power.
We have hearkened to the noise of our fears, instead of to your gracious and transforming silence.

O divine Mercy, have mercy on us.

Consider our woundedness and heal us, for we are helpless to heal ourselves.
Consider our smallness and comfort us, for we have known sorrow.

O Love, fill us and teach us.

Teach us again, as a child is taught,
that peace is found by resting in your ample heart,
that bounty flows through love of neighbor,
and that while perfect security in this life is an illusion,
we need not fear,
for you hold us, always and for all eternity, in your everlasting arms.

We pray through Jesus Christ,
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Understanding Laudato Si

"Understanding Laudato Si" is an excellent series of videos on the encyclical by Pope Francis.  Visit YouTube for these presentations by Franciscan Father Daniel P. Horan, OFM.  The first of the series is called "Models of Creation."


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Pope Francis wrote "Responding to God's call means allowing Him to help us leave ourselves and our false security behind, and to strike out on the path which leads to Jesus Christ, the origin and destiny of our life and our happiness."  Are you being call to a life as a religious woman?  If so please feel free to send an email to Sr. Janice Bemowski
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A New Provincial Installed

On Saturday September 26, 2015 the Cenacle Sisters celebrated the installation of a new Provincial and her council with a Mass and festive meal. Sr. Rose Hoover, r.c. (on the right of the photo) and her four councilors will now begin their 3 year terms as the leadership of the Cenacle Sisters in the North American Province.  The Sisters and guests thanked the previous provincial, Sr. Evelyn Jegen, r.c., (on the left of the photo) and her councilors for their 6 years of dedicated work on behave of the congregation. They also welcomed and prayed for Sr. Rose and her new council. May the Light of the Good God shine upon Sr. Rose and her leadership team.



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June 6-16, 2016
Cost: $2,100.00 (not including airfare) 

A Ten-Day Contemplative Art Retreat using art as a language of prayer will take place at the Cenacle Retreat Center located in beautiful Tuscany. No art experience is needed, just a desire to open yourself to this spiritual practice of art-prayer. Retreat days form a balance of input, studio time, personal time for reflection, plus visits to Assisi, LaVerna, and other local art treasures. Some walking required. Space is limited. Contact: Sr. Peg Lane at Phone: (773) 528-6300.

We share our gratitude and joy as we prepare to celebrate our 12th anniversary of the Praying with Art Retreat held at the Cenacle in Tuscany. Participants from 24 states and 6 countries have experienced the blessings of this international experience. Why not come and join us? 

Download Day Trip details , registration form

Luciana Duce-Dugan is a fine artist and spiritual director originally from New York, but now living in Deerfield Beach, Florida. A multi-media artist, Luciana teaches painting, collage and art journaling. She received her Masters in Fine Arts from New York University and studied extensively at the Art Students' League in New York. Sr. Barbara Ehrler and Sr. Peg Lane are both Cenacle Sisters live and minister in Chicago, IL and serve as spiritual directors and co-organizers for these programs.
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Going Deeper

When my brother and I were children, we liked to dig wells in the back yard. It sounds impressive, I know, but for us digging a well was a simple process:

1. Take a piece of aluminum pipe about six feet long and an inch and a half or two inches in diameter. (This was usually leaning against the wall in the garage.)

 2. Grab the pipe with both hands and drive it into the ground as hard as you can.

3. Pull it up and bang it on a tree to knock out the dirt.

4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 until you have a neat and narrow hole several feet deep.

This being Florida, with a high water table (at least in those days), we would reach water-bearing sand a few feet below the surface. How exciting it was to see the first drops of water in the sandy soil brought up by our pipe!

Now this was not exactly a well you could drop a bucket into and bring up a cool drink. For that we would have had to go much deeper. But back then we were more than satisfied with these shallow wells and the sandy water they gave.

In the realm of the spirit, however, there is something in each of us that continually calls us deeper—beneath the sand and the pollutants, beyond the murkiness of our hearts to that living stream where the water is pure and flows freely.

Strangely enough, though, when we think we have arrived there, and after we have rested a while, we hear again the call, “Go deeper.” We respond by letting ourselves be drawn—and there we may find ourselves in what seems like the dark. We may feel as if we have lost the light of God, but this may be because we had mistaken our own light for God’s, and our own light is no help here.

(Notice that in this journey it can be very helpful to have a skilled spiritual director.)

Then, once again, when we have grown accustomed to the new depth, we hear again, “Come deeper”—and this time it may be a call to move beyond the fear that keeps us focused on ourselves and the unlove that imprisons us. We are called always deeper toward that place in our hearts where perceiving distinctly with our human eyes seems less important than it used to, for Christ is light and God is all in all.

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Solitude of the Heart

One of our old Cenacle prayers included a petition asking that we might love the "solitude of the heart" (or translated more literally from the Latin, "the retreat of the heart").

But what does that mean? Solitude of the heart is not the same thing as physical solitude, although I believe we do need to carve out some space and time for physical solitude as well.

In truth, solitude of the heart is a particular way of being in the world. Listen to what the Quaker Thomas R. Kelly says:

"Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself…

"A practicing Christian must above all be one who practices the perpetual return of the soul into the inner sanctuary, who brings the world into its Light and rejudges it, who brings the Light into the world with all its turmoil and its fitfulness and recreates it." (A Testament of Devotion)

This solitude of the heart allows us the freedom, by God’s grace, to begin to see with the eyes of God and to know with the heart of God, rather than with the eyes and heart of Microsoft or the Republican Party or the Democratic Party or the next-door neighbors. Through this way of being, we are drawn toward a truer vision of other people and of creation as a whole.

I believe our Eucharistic worship can facilitate this kind of solitude together — a solitude that doesn’t isolate us, but paradoxically unites us with others.

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