Re: Drug Rehab Cult Comunita Cenacolo
Date: December 30, 2008 11:55AM
Coming on to this site I was amazed to see a few people posting after an absence of a few years.
I saw this webpage before I entered Community and thought the original poster had been well enough refuted by parents and friends of Community members. But now that some former members who have had disagreements have responded, let me balance things out a bit.
I spent nearly a year in Community before I too was “kicked out”. However, the circumstances of my leaving were different than those who have posted here. I was not a drug addict. I was seeking a possible vocation with the Community and had a family member who was an addict. However, 20 years earlier I had gone some other battles in my life, so I have some knowledge and experience of bottoming out and the need to return to God. After a year it became clear that a ministry to adult drug addicts and alcoholics was not for me, that the interests of my heart lay elsewhere, and so I was told to go home. Good thing too, as a family emergency came just several weeks later that might have ended up with a family member dead had I not been there. The Holy Spirit had removed me from Community so I could be there to stop this tragedy.
Anyway, on to Community and the concerns of you parents out there. Most days are spent in a combination of work, prayer, and sports. Maybe once a week they get a movie or television sports, but this can vary. Yes, the work is hard, but this is due largely to the hot and humid environment of northern Florida. One thing that the work brings is that you get to appreciate the little things. For example, I am not at all a watcher of television sports, let along the non-American sport of soccer, but I soon began to LOVE it when I saw the TV being rolled out and the tapes of taped games being brought out. Heck, sometimes they were in Spanish, but I didn’t care. Anything to relax with the brothers, a dish of ice cream in hand, after a day of hard work.
Prayer is done primarily through the Rosary, done three times a day. Sometimes this seems mechanical, but after some time you gain the privilege of once a week going to the chapel by yourself and having an hour of Eucharistic Adoration. Also, anyone can visit the chapel at night before bed no matter how long they have in Community, as long as they are with someone long enough to have the privilege of opening and closing the tabernacle. So deep, daily meditative prayer is generally available to everyone.
Sports builds character and teamwork and is a great release for everyone. Usually basketball, soccer, or volleyball, these are generally played after work and on Sundays.
Changing the inner man in Community is done also through monthly commitments, which are giving during sharing sessions called Revision. During these sessions the houses are divided into subgroups of four or five and each individual tells how they are living inside themselves and then hears from others how they are doing and how they can improve. A commitment to do something each day—give a brother constructive advice, speak up when you see something wrong, catch yourself when you about to explode and turn it into something more positive—is given. These commitments provide training for brothers in developing the skills to form positive relationships with people and deal with situations once they are on the outside in ways other than resorting to drugs or other dependencies.
Another thing the Community started to emphasize more when I was there was weekly Bible classes. A whole new class on the history of the Church was started as well. These were conducted by one of the Community’s lay leaders.
It is a “rite of passage” in Community in America to go to Europe, where the Community houses are sometimes harder. My Community experience in Europe was very brief—only 2 ½ weeks for a festival and a pilgrimage that I was invited to conclude my experience with—but I saw five separate houses and did Community work for a week at the mother house in Saluzzo, Italy. It was enough to catch a glimpse of how Community truly is. The feeling among all Americans there was that they had “arrived”. After seeing Community in Europe I realized how sad it was for all the Americans who left while still in Florida because they had not seen anything of what Cenacolo truly had to offer. I will never forget staying at the house for men in Lourdes, France and hearing the beautiful French hymns being sung from the cathedral that one could see in the valley of the town at the base of the Pyrenees. The peace that one experiences at the house in Lourdes and in the town itself is so awesome as to warrant enduring any level of difficulty to get there.
Though I did not receive a vocation, I was transformed by my experience in Lourdes. I am extremely envious of those members of Community who get to stay for free there! To spend months, maybe a year or more, for free at the closest place to Heaven on earth? I have since returned to Florida on a couple of occasions and was treated like a king there even by those whom I hadn’t gotten along with very well.
If there is anything that the Community in Florida needs it is resident religious. Some of the houses in Europe had priests or nuns and this changes the climate of the house very much. When a Franciscan friar or one of the Community priests would visit for a few days everyone felt different and more at peace. But this isn’t the Community’s fault. It has to make do with the personnel it has, and those lay individuals who run Cenacolo in Florida do the best with what they have.
A few things to respond to the original poster about: there is electricity in the living quarters, and the “ritual chanting” and “prayer based mind control techniques” are called the Holy Rosary. They don’t dress in frocks. This person might have seen the recital costumes, but they dress in normal clothes 24/7 and this charge is just plain weird. As for its founders, the Community in Europe was founded by a nun in good standing with the Church and in America by a man who is now the acting bishop of Birmingham, Alabama. As a recognized Public Association of the Faithful for the Diocese of Saluzzo and a Private Association of the Faithful for the rest of the world, and having had informal pronouncements of support by both Pope Benedict XVI and John Paul II, Comunita Cenacolo is affiliated with the Catholic Church. They don’t, however, meet in Catholic churches, unless maybe you are talking about some of the parent support groups (I don’t know if they do). They have plenty of books (indeed we had to get rid of some once because we had too many), and if anything I was often taught to think for myself in how to solve certain problems.
Finally, I am going to add why Cenacolo may be better than other options. It is because at the center is the Holy Eucharist. Your son or daughter will be involved in daily Adoration of the Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The original poster says there is no doctor at Cenacolo. That isn’t true. There is Jesus, the ultimate doctor and healer of our wounds.
I left the Community after nearly a year because, try as I might to make it my vocation and drugs heavily impacting my family, the interest at heart to help adult drug addicts and alcoholics was never built in. My interests are in education and teaching history. This manifested itself in various ways in the program and I was often introverted (I am this by nature) and didn’t develop friendships as deep as I could have in some cases.
My experience ended with an incredible miracle and gift at Lourdes. It was an incredible experience of being elevated from Purgatory to Heaven on earth, and when I returned to Florida for a couple of occasions I was filled with a new spirit that most guys there saw. That is why I would recommend something that not even the people at Cenacolo would think of. If you have the money and the time, go with your husband or wife to Europe to see Cenacolo in Europe. Go to Lourdes. Go to Medjugorje. Go to the mother house in Saluzzo. See the huge former royal estate that is now the Cenacolo house of Borgero in Turin. Go to the house in Knock, Ireland. If you send your child to an orientation in Florida you’ll already be going there, but you’ll only see a part of Community and not it at its fullest. You can decide whether or not to take your child, but I wouldn’t. Leave them behind and let them build the faith and trust in your word and in God.
Comunita Cenacolo isn’t for everyone. But above all for parents I would recommend that you do SOMETHING about your child’s problem. Believe me, being in a family that has no faith and refuses to change but whose drug addict member was introduced to Community, only to have them refuse it and still be accepted back into the house where everybody distrusts each other and there is no real love, SUCKS. Take it from an insider who has been through the Cenacolo experience and been in your position as well. Don’t make the mistakes my family has made. Contact the Community. Get your child in and GET INVOLVED. Visit Cenacolo in Europe. Make contact with other families. Change your own lives towards more going to Mass, more praying the Rosary, more doing Adoration. Take the journey with your child, don’t just dump them off at the Community’s doorstep. You will find at the end having done a faith journey to God like you have never done before in your lives.
I am not an official contact for Community so I do not claim to speak for it, but I can for anyone interested relate more of my personal experience in how it impacted me.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/29/2012 08:54PM by rrmoderator.