When, as Cenacle Sisters, we talk about “community,” it is always directly tied to the individual call to surrender our lives in faith, to be ready to follow Jesus Christ wherever he leads. Consequently, although we are women who come from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds, we freely choose and are strongly committed to community life, knowing that it is God who has called us together and united us in the same three-fold mission of prayer, community and ministry.
Our community life, centered in the Eucharist, is strengthened by communal prayer, as well as by sharing our personal faith journeys, our joys and sorrows, and our apostolic actions. Fidelity to community life and the transformative journey has the potential to create a climate of love, forgiveness, and peace in which each one can grow in interior freedom and spiritual maturity, and in which lasting friendships may come to life. The joy of a community depends on all the sisters’ acceptance of the demands of common life for the sake of that love which requires sharing who we are and what we have, thus giving meaning to “holding all things in common.” Therefore, we look to bearing one another’s burdens in a spirit of kindness, an essential element in communal living, to help sustain and animate an élan that thus infuses the quality of our apostolic works.
We are several communities around the world forming one family in Christ, all vital members of this one international/intercultural body, actively contributing to the service of the Church and our global village. Given this extensive diversity of countries, members and ministries, our communities have many expressions of this unity. For some the boundaries are more porous than others.
As our lives in North America and the needs of the people whom we serve keep changing, so does the style of our communities. For example, we have communities of several sisters living together for the sake of serving the people of God in and through a retreat center with one unified focus. Probably lesser-known expressions of Cenacle community are the small communities situated among the people and serving an assortment of spiritual needs. We also have individual sisters creating community in the geographical areas in which they live. We have sisters inserted into already established lay communities to be a Christ-leaven for the residents. We have Cenacle sisters living with sisters of other religious congregations and supporting and nurturing the shared Gospel charism. And we have sisters who sustain and hold space for a cyber community.
Whatever form community life takes for us, it is created and nurtured not just for ourselves, but for the people of God.
See Cenacle Constitutions Articles 1, 67, 68, 69