Cenacle Retreat House Photos Prior to Hurricane Harvey
One day while visiting the beautiful Houston Arboretum and Nature Center we met a lady who told us about the Cenacle Retreat House. She mentioned not only its beauty but the peace that she always experienced when walking the grounds. My husband and I were intrigued and decided to check it out for ourselves.
We had undoubtedly traveled past this site many times and never noticed it. Other than a small sign at the entrance nothing can be viewed from the street other than an abundance of tall trees and foliage.
A large asphalt parking lot is available for people to park their vehicles. We exited our car and started roaming the grounds. It was springtime and there were beautiful azaleas in bloom. Brilliant stands of firecracker plants in addition to other blossoming plants and trees invited us in to explore the grounds.
The shaded pathways through the tall canopy of trees offered much appreciated shade on a warm spring day in Houston. Ceramic pieces representing the Stations of the Cross and other religious symbols and images were attached to many of the trees.
There is a quietude to this place. It is partially due to the natural setting on 9 wooded acres but also because of the immediate understanding that this is a setting obviously intended for tranquility and prayerful reflection.
The landscaping includes much in the way of religious statuary. People wandering the grounds can rest and relax in a number of different settings.
If you watched the first video above titled Cenacle Retreat House, you already learned a bit about the Cenacle Sisters and how they are congregants of a Catholic women’s organization. Their mission statement reads as follows: “We work for the transformation of the world by awakening and deepening faith with and for the people of our times.”
No matter what gender, faith or background…everyone is invited. The Cenacle sisters in Houston are comprised of 7 highly motivated and educated women whose ages range from 60 to 89. They have resided in the Memorial area since 1967 at this location.
The unicursal labyrinth on the grounds of the Cenacle Retreat House is intended to invite meditation and introspection as one walks the circular route to the center and back out again. It can be a therapeutic experience for many participants if in the right frame of mind.
Wayside shrines have an interesting history. They are featured in numerous cultures through the centuries and carry different meanings. This particular one is erected as a wooden pillar with an image of a saint. It honors a deceased person by the name of Kotryna Cesna.
By now you should have some idea of just how beautiful and conducive these grounds were in providing rest and relaxation. Sadly Hurricane Harvey came along in 2017 and these grounds were inundated with over 5 feet of water. Much was obviously destroyed. We have friends in the Bear Creek part of town with similar stories. Their homes also had 5 feet of water in them damaging not only their homes but much of their contents.
The Cenacle Sisters intend to rebuild and continue to offer programs with religious education as well as spiritual direction to those seeking it. Other facilities and grounds will have to be utilized for now until the monumental efforts of rebuilding are completed. Perhaps with much physical help as well as funding contributions retreats will once again be able to be held on these lovely grounds.
Here is more background regarding the origin of the Cenacle Sisters.