The Community Cenacolo was started in Saluzzo in the North of Italy in 1983 by a nun called Sr. Elvira. Sr Elvira was concerned by the destruction she saw among young people through drug abuse and she felt called by God to help them. She begged her Religious Superiors to allow her to engage in this work and after eight years they consented. From the beginning God blessed the work. To-day there are 54 houses spread around the world including houses for street children in South America.
A house in Ireland was opened three miles from Knock, Co. Mayo in 1999. The Cenacolo in Knock does not receive State Funding and relies on Divine Providence. The Community does not believe in giving methadone which government funded centres do. The Community prefers to have the freedom to do things Sr. Elvira’s way through prayer, hard work and friendship. The men work with the animals on the farm, learn skills like metal work and carpentry, cooking and housework. There is no charge for anyone staying in the Community in Knock.
Every Wednesday at 7.30pm there is a Prayer Group in the Community Centre, St. Peter’s Church, Phibsboro, Dublin. While the Prayer Group is in progress men and women are interviewed with a view to entering the Cenacolo Community. In order to be accepted into the house in Knock male addicts must attend these interviews for a number of weeks. There is not a house for women in Ireland at present but women who attend the interviews in Phibsboro are accepted in the Cenacolos in Italy or in Medjugorje.
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