Who we are

Community Cenacolo is an organisation which provides a free, fully residential programme to help people suffering from addiction to change their lives.

The Community was founded by an Italian nun, Mother Elvira Petrozzi, in 1983. For many years she had been concerned by the destruction she had seen among people of all ages through drug abuse and she longed to help them. Mother Elvira, together with two companions, Sr. Aurelia and a teacher, Nives Grato, were given an abandoned old house in Saluzzo in Italy, and so Community Cenacolo was born.

Today there are houses worldwide with over 2,000 men and women in the programme. The house for men in Ireland was opened in Knock, Co. Mayo in 1999. As yet, there is not a house for women in Ireland but women who wish to enter the Community are accepted in Cenacolo houses in Europe having attended the information and assessment night in Dublin. While secular programmes will use methadone and other drug substitutes to wean people off drug, Mother Elvira has a completely different approach. She believes in showing addicts a better life. She encourages them to find out who they are and to face up to their difficulties. They discover a God who loves them. They learn to accept a simple lifestyle and rediscover the gifts of work, friendship and of faith in the Word of God instead of relying on the crutch of drugs to escape from everything that is too painful to deal with. The Cenacolo Community relies totally on voluntary contributions as we do not receive any Government grants.

All men and women who wish to find out more about entering Community Cenacolo will be met beforehand by people that have already been through the programme. They are now living their lives free from addiction and are giving up their time to help others achieve the same goal.