Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Cenacle of prayer... sharing life with the poor, the addicted, the ne'er do wells, and the brokenhearted...

"With all our poverty, fragility, and smallness, we enter delicately and humbly into the great universal mission of the Church, Servant and Mother of humanity, who brings 'good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and healing to the brokenhearted.''' - Mother Elvira, Comunità Cenacolo

If you love the Holy Father and admire his poverty of spirit, you will love Mother Elvira.  I first learned of her through Magnificat, who uses her writings from time to time as meditation on the daily Gospel.  I love her work more than her writing...

Who is M. Elvira and what is Comunita Cenacolo?
Comunità Cenacolo is an International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right in the Roman Catholic Church. The Community family consists of consecrated religious brothers and sisters, married couples, single men and women, and children.
Comunità Cenacolo America is part of the international Comunità Cenacolo, Community of the Cenacle, founded in Italy in 1983 by a dynamic, vibrant, and faith-filled religious sister named Elvira Petrozzi. Mother Elvira felt certain that God was calling her to serve the poor of the modern world: disillusioned young men and women who live in desperation and hopelessness, convinced that life has no meaning or value. Unable to find peace or joy in their lives, they seek to fill the emptiness with the illusory pleasures of the world, only to find themselves steeped in an intense interior isolation.

Trusting unwaveringly in the direction of the Holy Spirit, Mother Elvira proclaims to all those who live in darkness that only Jesus Christ can heal and transform their shattered lives, changing despair into hope, sadness into joy, hatred into forgiveness, and death into life.

To everyone we welcome, we propose a simple, disciplined, family style of life, based on the rediscovery of the essential gifts of prayer and work (''ora et labora''), true friendship, sacrifice, and faith in Jesus. The spirituality of the Community is profoundly Eucharistic and Marian. The day is structured around times of prayer (Eucharistic Adoration, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary), work, deep sharing about one’s own life in the light of the Word of God, recreation, and times of celebration. We believe that the Christian life in its simplicity and fullness is the true answer to every restlessness in the human heart and that, in the living encounter with God's Mercy, man is reborn into hope and is freed from the chains that have enslaved him, thus rediscovering the joy of loving.
The consecrated life in Comunita Cenacolo.
The first rule to enter in our community is to realize that you are a sinner. 
All the men and women who desire to enter the Formation House of Comunità Cenacolo must first live in one of the regular houses of Comunità Cenacolo, in order to know the Community and its members from their own lived experience in Cenacolo, as well as to validate their own desire to give their lives specifically in the service of the Comunità Cenacolo. Here I am! Send Me!

Mother Elvira says, "A call as luminous as this can even become mysterious, because it seems like you can see nothing! These youth say 'yes'. They have the courage to say 'yes', even with all their sins. The first rule to enter in our community is to realize that you are a sinner. Human qualities do not interest us: if you have good health, if you are young, if you are old. We are not interested if you are rich, if you are poor, if you are intelligent, if you have studied theology. From today onward, they begin to live together, to understand one another, to forgive one another, to live in holiness. When we are good, we make the world good. When we are humble, we help confuse the proud, to actually save themselves! When we are able to love, then others become healed! It is our kindness and not our professionalism that illuminates the world, that saves the world,that helps people!" - Comunita Cenacolo

"When we are humble, we help confuse the proud, to actually save themselves!" 

Comunita Cenacolo is a safety net for many.  Like Pope Francis, they confuse the proud...



  1. Hi Terry I met Sr Elvira in the early 90s or was it late 80s when we were in Medjugorje - was very inspiring listening to her. I feel Shadowlands would have loved the Cenacolos...

  2. Hi Terry — I have not checked to see when her community started, but the little you wrote reminds me very much of Catherine Doherty and the community life-style she directed/lead/taught.

  3. Jackie - Shadowlands would have loved this Pope!

    PML - I thought of the Baroness as well - I was never attracted to Madonna House however.

    1. Wouldn't she just Terry! I miss her :(

  4. This is a very moving and humbling occasion featuring a group of men from the Cencaolo Community.


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