We engage in this mission through our life,
which is prayer, community, and ministry.
Our ministry is that of retreats, spiritual direction, adult faith formation and contemplative presence.
- Pope Paul VI
If you are like we are, you have come to understand through life experience the importance of making space in your heart for goodness, for love, for God. From our beginnings, we longed to make interior space and we worked to provide a physical space for people to pray and to gather as Mary and the disciples did in the first Cenacle. You have likely thought about a person, virtue, or event that helped you make and keep that space for goodness, love, and God present and alive. We know people hunger for goodness and for transformation. We also know it can be challenging to hold such a space alone.
At the Cenacle we are with you, for this is our life! Join with us as we join with you in prayer, in spiritual direction, individually directed retreats and other retreats and programs to support a dynamic faith life.
We, as a community of women religious in the Catholic Church, are committed to accompanying you on your faith journey so that together with the Holy Spirit, we can contribute to the transformation of the world one heart at a time.
The Cenacle is rooted in the faith and efforts of Saint Thérèse Couderc and Father Stephen Terme. Father Terme began his journey of faith in the wake of the French Revolution and its destructive impact upon the faith and the religious formation of the people. As a parish priest and missionary, he helped people rediscover their faith and love of Jesus.
On one of his missions, he met a young woman who told him of her desire to enter religious life. She was Marie Victoire Couderc, who would become Mother Thérèse Couderc. Together they founded the Congregation of Our Lady of the Retreat in the Cenacle in the small French village of Lalouvesc in 1826. What was to be called the Cenacle in later years began as a hostel for women pilgrims visiting the shrine of St. John Francis Regis, SJ in Lalouvesc. With the help of God, providing safe accommodations for pilgrims and providing retreats in those accommodations, especially for women, lead to the foundation of dozens of Cenacle Retreat Houses around the world.
Mother Thérèse’s selfless love and desire to make Jesus known and loved led her to surrender herself to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Her life and faith became the foundation for the Congregation of Our Lady of the Retreat in the Cenacle, the Cenacle Sisters. She was declared a saint by the Church on May 10, 1970 and her feast is celebrated on September 26th.
The charism of the Cenacle Congregation flows from the first Cenacle in Jerusalem, the Upper Room where Jesus left a legacy of love and service at the Last Supper. After the Ascension, Mary, the Apostles and the women prayed and were blessed with the coming of the Holy Spirit in the same room.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit they found courage and hope to go forth and make Jesus known and loved. The Cenacle Congregation:
Cenacle Sisters are women of faith who share the call to make present the mystery of the first Cenacle in the world today. Although we come from diverse backgrounds and have various talents, by our vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and through our life of prayer, community and ministry, we are united in the common mission of living and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
-Sister Lois Dideon, r.c.
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For General Information, Programs, Donations and Public Relations questions:
Director for Ministry & Mission Advancement
Director Chicago Cenacle Retreat & Conference Center