Cenacle, Religious of the

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Religious of the Cenacle, officially known as the Congregation of Our Lady of the Retreat in the Cenacle (RC), a congregation of women religious with papal approbation, founded in 1826 at Lalouvesc, France, by Saint Thérèse couderc. The constitutions of the community are based on the Rule of St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose Spiritual Exercises, together with the spiritual heritage of the founder, constitute the bases for the formation and training of the religious.

The Cenacle sisters engage in both contemplative and active ministries, employing spiritual retreats and instructions in Christian doctrine as means of educating people in the interior life. The word Cenacle comes from the Latin coenaculum (supper room) and designates the place of retreat, the upper room, in Jerusalem, where Our Lady, the Apostles, and the followers of Our Lord met in prayer in the days preceding the first Pentecost. Modeling their life and work on that first spiritual retreat of early Christian times, the Religious of the Cenacle find in it the inspiration for the interior life and spirit of their congregation and their ministries.

At the end of 2000, the congregation was found in Europe (Belgium, Croatia, England, France, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, and Switzerland), North America (Canada and the United States), South America (Brazil), Africa (Madgascar and Togo), Asia (The Philippines and Singapore) and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand). The congregation established their first house in the U.S. in 1892. The Generalate is in Rome.

Bibliography: h. m. lynch, In the Shadow of Our Lady of the Cenacle (New York 1941).

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