Sunday, October 21, 2007


An absolutely charming film was shown on EWTN this evening. It was an Irish-made documentary about the Cenacolo of Our Lady of Knock, in county Mayo.

This is a house in which live young men who are in the process of recovery from some horrific slavery — such as drug addiction, alcoholism and similar plagues which affect so many souls in modern society.

By the time they reach the Cenacolo, they have usually hit rock bottom and lost almost everything of value to their lives.

There they find a tough regimen which imposes some order and structure on their wrecked lives. They live what is in effect a monastic life, with a large part of their day given over to work, to prayer, and to adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. And so the process of recovery begins.

Many of the inmates related that they had never prayed in their lives before coming to Cenacolo, and to see them on their knees in silence before the exposed Sacrament was especially touching.

No substances or behaviours which might tend to reinforce their addictions are permitted in the house. There is no alcohol or methadone; there is not even tobacco.

The life is remarkably Benedictine; all that is missing is the recitation of the Divine Office.

The official website of the movement which resulted in the establishment of the Cenacolo can be found here. There is unfortunately no Irish website, but interested parties may read about it on the webpage of Ballinteer parish, as well as find contact information for the house in Knock here.

Melancholicus used to be a seminarist, so he was particularly interested in the life that the brothers live in the Cenacolo, and in comparing it with his experience of the horarium of the seminary. He does not envy the struggles of a recovering drug addict; he has no idea what a hell that must be. But his heart was warmed by the sight of these poor brothers living in community, and he must confess that he misses community life, with its regularity, its hours of prayer, and its time spent before the tabernacle in silent contemplation.

Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum, habitare fratres in unum — psalm 132:1

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