Cenacle Sisters mark 60 years of sharing Christ in a changing city

March 10, 2015

During a spring dinner at the Chateau Crystale Ballroom, friends, family and longtime supporters of the Cenacle Sisters gathered to celebrate the community’s 60 years of service. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo was the event’s guest speaker. Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza and Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz were also in attendance.

While the Cenacle Sisters have seen some changes like the shifting city that is Houston, including moving from the original 19th century French habit to a modified 1960s and 1970s habit, eventually to secular clothes, as well as growing from the original four sisters to 10 then to the seven today, the sisters continue to serve the needs of the Archdiocese and the Gulf Coast community. 

Yet, at the heart of their mission, the sisters continue to provide a place of peace for prayer, discernment and spiritual growth. 

“We have so much to thank God for,” Sister Mary Guido, rc said. Sister Guido serves as board president and ministry coordinator for the community. 

“He has been more than gracious to us throughout these 60 years of service to the people of the Archdiocese and Gulf Coast. He has given us a wonderful mission — to help make Jesus known and loved with and for the people of our time.” 

Their ministry began with retreats, days of prayer and catechetical training. A small retreat house in Rosharon was used until the retreats requiring larger space, better facilities brought the sisters to a 10.6 acreage in west Houston. The sisters have trained more than 500 men and women as religious educators and spiritual directors. Sister Mary Dennison founded the Masters of Religious Education. 

“Over the years, like leaven, the Cenacle has been quietly involved in Vatican II’s call to develop the ministry of the laity,” said Sister Lois Dideon, rc. “This has been evident not only in the training programs in parishes and at the retreat house, but also in the support offered by way of spiritual direction to those ministering in the churches in the Archdiocese.” 

And today, the work continues. The Cenacle offers adult retreats for men and women, days of prayer and spirituality, faith formation at the Cenacle and area parishes. The Cenacle sisters have served at least four parishes around the Archdiocese.

“It’s a privilege to accompany people who hunger to know God and who desire to follow Jesus as his disciples in their everyday life,” said Sister Guido. “God has blessed us with dedicated staff, volunteers and colleagues to assist us and generous benefactors to support us. It’s exciting to be part of the Church as we move forward into the future in one of the fastest-growing areas of the country.”

For more about the Cenacle Sisters, visit cenaclesisters.org/houston or call 281-497-3131.