The Metairie Cenacle with only four sisters, down from seven, will be closing its doors and selling the 20-acre property in 2013, Cenacle sisters announced Thursday.
The deciding factor was the insufficient number of sisters to continue the work at Metairie, according to an email.
Cenacle, like other organizations in this economy, is experiencing a substantial decrease in financial resources while the high cost of maintaining the facility grows ever more difficult.
“Congregations of sisters and their ministries have undergone significant changes, particularly in personnel and finances,” said Sister Rose Hoover, superior of the Metairie Cenacle. “Cenacle Sisters in North America have met over many months to engage in studies, discussion and prayer about our situation.
“As a result of this long study and discernment, the North American Province of the Cenacle recommended to our General Government in Rome that the Metairie house be closed and the property sold. Our international leadership has accepted this recommendation,” she added.
The Cenacle Sisters will continue their ministries of retreats, spirituality programs, hospitality, individual retreats, and spiritual direction at least until the middle of 2013, Hoover said.
Sister Mary Sharon Riley, province councilor, said, “We are in the preliminary stages that are part of selling a property and have no concrete information at this date. While this is a time of great sadness for us, it is also a time of gratitude. We are grateful to God who has allowed us to minister to so many people for so many years. We have been blessed to be part of the greater New Orleans community — and beyond — for such a long time.”
Since the Cenacle Sisters came to Metairie in 1958, they have offered the ministries of retreats, faith formation and spiritual direction to thousands of people who came from near and far.
“It has been a privilege for us to welcome and serve so many people in the joys, sorrows, and search for meaning in their lives,” said Sister Gloria Haagensen, coordinator of ministry.
Saint Therese Couderc and the Rev. Stephen Terme founded the Cenacle Sisters, a congregation of religious women, in 1826 in the small French village of La Louvesc.
In the spirit of that first Cenacle — the upper room in Jerusalem where Mary and the apostles prayed and awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit and then were sent out to spread the Gospel — the sisters live a life of prayer, community, and ministry.
According to their mission statement, they “work for the transformation of the world by awakening and deepening faith with and for the people of our times.” The sisters live that out through the ministries of retreats, spiritual direction, prayer enrollments and adult faith formation and continue to minister in Chicago, throughout the United States, and in 14 other countries, they said.
In addition to the Cenacle Sisters —women religious who live in community and take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience — the congregation has other forms of association. Cenacle Auxiliaries are vowed women who live Cenacle spirituality in the secular world. Affiliates/Companions are women and men, single or married, who also live the Cenacle spirituality.
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