I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
Cenacle Retreat House
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 is viewed from the street. There is an abundance of tall trees and foliage.
The address is 420 N. Kirkwood Road, Houston, Texas 77079.
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 many azaleas in bloom. Brilliant stands of firecracker plants in addition to other blossoming plants and trees invited us in to explore the Cenacle Retreat House grounds.
Religious Symbols on Trees
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 nine wooded acres but also because of the immediate understanding that this is a setting intended for tranquility and prayerful reflection.
Sculptures and Settings
The landscaping includes much in the way of religious sculpture. People wandering the Cenacle Retreat House grounds can rest and relax in several 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 have seven highly motivated and educated women whose ages range from 60 to 89. They have resided in the Memorial area since 1967 at this location.
Labyrinth and Wayside Shrine
There is a unicursal labyrinth on the grounds of the Cenacle Retreat House. It is intended to invite meditation and introspection as one walks the circular route to the center and back out again. This can be a therapeutic experience for many participants if in the right frame of mind.
Wayside shrines have a fascinating history. They are featured in numerous cultures through the centuries and carry different meanings.
This particular wayside shrine is erected as a wooden pillar with an image of a saint. It honors a deceased person by the name of Kotryna Cesna.
Hurricane Harvey Impact
By now, you should have some idea of just how beautiful and conducive these grounds were in providing rest. Sadly Hurricane Harvey came along in 2017, and these grounds were inundated with over 5 feet of water. Much was 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 Sisters intend to rebuild the Cenacle Retreat House 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.
Their current location is 12211 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77024.
Watch the video below to learn more about the Cenacle Sisters.
© 2020 Peggy Woods
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 07, 2020:
I have not driven by that location, but like you, I hope that they are successfully rebuilding or have already rebuilt it.
Sarah on September 07, 2020:
Hurricane Harvey did cause tremendous destruction in the Houston area. Hope this peaceful place has rebuilt by now.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2020:
It is great that people from all religions are welcomed there.
Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 17, 2020:
This is a beautiful retreat. I like that they invite all people from any and all denominations. I'm saddened about their loss but inspired that they are rebuilding. Thanks for sharing.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 17, 2020:
I am sure that with enough time, money, and effort, the Cenacle Sisters will be able to return to this serene setting.
FlourishAnyway from USA on April 16, 2020:
It’s sad to know that the hurricane caused such damage. It looks like it was such a peaceful, natural place. I love the statues of St. Francis and other figures and the hammock. So sad.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2020:
So many places in Houston suffered damage in that flood event. I hope that they get to return to that lovely spot in the future. It was beautiful and serene.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 16, 2020:
This looked like a lovely place. Your photos are top quality. It's so sad to hear of the damage caused by the hurricane.