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Jesus at the Center
If you were to ask me point blank: “What does it mean to you to live spiritually?” I would have to reply: “Living with Jesus at the center.” There are always countless questions, problems, discussions and difficulties that demand one’s attention. Despite this, when I look back over my life, I can say that, for me, the person of Jesus has come to be more important. Specifically, this means that what matters increasingly is getting to know Jesus and living in solidarity with him. There was a time when I got so immersed in problems of society that my whole life had become a sort of drawn-out, wearisome discussion. Jesus had been pushed into the background or had himself, become just another problem. Fortunately, if hasn’t stayed that way. Jesus has stepped out in front again, so to speak, and asked me: “And you, who do you say that I am?” It has become clearer to me than ever that my relationship with Jesus is the heart of my existence.

Sr. Jackie Bates, rc, is the Young Adult Ministry Coordinator and the Local Vocational Contact in Metairie, Louisiana. She is a certified Master Catechetist and is also involved in the ministry of directed retreats and spiritual direction. She joined the Cenacle Sisters in July of 2002 and is currently in her Temporary Profession.        
Comments 1 Rating: Rated 4.33 star by 3 people.
Are You Being Called?

I have been a Sister of the Cenacle since 1978. My vocation was a surprise to me, and has been an inexpressible gift. It has also presented me with challenges which I would never have believed I could handle, but the challenges have very often revealed the grace of God. Because of the mysterious ways of the Holy Spirit working in each person, our community life and our ministry never cease to be a wonder. I am currently part of the Cenacle community in Chicago.

Some of my Interests: 

I play several musical instruments.  
Music is for me an essential element in the spiritual life. I find that it facilitates an openness to the presence of God and the beauty of God's creatures.

I experience the importance of ritual in human life, revel in the beauty of the liturgical year, and am nourished by the mystery of the Eucharist.

Literature and other...

  • The role of women in the Church
  • The internet as a tool for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Discovering contemporary ways of living a contemplative lifestyle
  • Poetry


  • Emory University, Ph.D., M.A., French, 1972
    Dissertation: "L'Elément orphique dans la poésie de Baudelaire et la musique pianistique de Chopin"
  • Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, M.A., Theological Studies, 1984
    Thesis: "The Sacrament of Penance: A Reformulation of the Principle of Integrity"
  • Agnes Scott College, B.A., English, 1965


  • "Caught Up in God: Cenacle Journal" (a meditation/spirituality web page, updated regularly)
  • "Why Do We Gather: Religious Community and the Transforming Journey" (another version was published in 2007 in Review for Religious).
  • At Prayer with St. Therese Couderc: A Novena to the Good God. Chicago: Religious of the Cenacle, 1999.
  • "Consider Tradition," Commonweal (January 29, 1999).
  • "Unity and Uniqueness: the Perils of Consistency," Chicago Studies 31:2 (August 1992).
  • "Cultivating Uselessness." Review for Religious 51:2 (March-April 1992).
  • "The Communion of Saints: Lest the Journey Be Too Long." The Way 30:3 (July 1990). Reprinted in Memoriæ Vis: Essays in Celebration of Arthur R. Evans. Edited by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis and Erkmann Waniek. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993.
  • "The Prince of Darkness as an Angel of Light." Review for Religious 47:6 (November-December 1988).
  • "Openness of Heart and the Sacrament of Penance: A New Look at Integrity." Chicago Studies 25:2 (August 1986).

Comments 0 Rating: Rated 3.5 star by 2 people.
In my role as Vocation Director for the North American Province of the Cenacle Sisters, I have the privilege of meeting many wonderful women, and sharing a part of their spiritual journey. I find more and more people wondering if religious life, or affiliation with a religious congregation, is where God might be calling them -- inviting them "into their future." For all, no matter where the journey eventually leads them, investigating this possibility turns out to be a very important part of their discernment. Much of my dialogue with people is centered on their relationship with God, past and present; what makes them happy and gives them that deeper sense of wholeness; and the call to be part of a spiritual community.

Vocation directors of all congregations are first and foremost "companions on the journey" rather than "recruiters." While we obviously feel that our way of living out of the gospel call is wonderful and we want to invite others to join us -- our first commitment is to helping women and men deepen their own relationship with God -- however and wherever that leads them.

Since the primary expression of our Cenacle ministry is retreats and spiritual direction, I feel doubly blessed in bringing this background to my particular ministry as vocations director.

I welcome your calls, comments and questions. I can be reached at 773-528-6300 or e-mail

Originally from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Sr. Janice Bemowski received an undergraduate degree in interior design and went on to work in Chicago both in designing and banking. Living in a condo and being part of urban life, Sr. Janice found herself searching even though her work and life were good. She had begun a process of discernment by enrolling in the pastoral studies program at Loyola, and by looking at religious life when she happened upon a retreat weekend at the Chicago Cenacle in 1988. She felt God was indeed calling her to something else and needed to trust Him enough to quit her job which she did at the end of the summer. In 1989 she entered a pre-novitiate program and later a formal novitiate on Long Island after completing her MPS from Loyola. She has served at Cenacles in Houston, Chicago and Minneapolis. As vocations director, she is currently working on many projects that share information about the Cenacle Sisters, Auxiliaries, and Affiliates/Companions. 
Comments 2 Rating: Rated 4.75 star by 2 people.
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