A Sister's Testimony

I am twenty-one years old and from Dublin. I want to highlight how much Cenacolo has done for my brother and the whole family as a unit.

There’s a lot I remember from my childhood. In many senses my childhood was abundant. My mother and father always provided a loving atmosphere. We were well looked after and were taught right from wrong. However, once the plague of drug addiction crept in, we all suffered.

I was nine the first time I stepped inside a prison. My mother took me to visit my brother. I remember being confused as to how to take the police. At school we were shown the image of the heroic policeman who was a protector of our community, while at home they were the men who barged through our house shouting and taking our brother away.

I remember too, the long journeys down to visit him in Cork prison. Even though my brother’s big greeting smile hid a lot, it couldn’t hide how lost he was underneath. When he came out of prison he could no longer hide his addiction. I remember my mother trying to talk to him and get him to attend the Cenacolo meetings. He would agree to go but I don’t think he had any real intentions of entering.

The day he did finally enter I didn’t believe he had really gone and kept expecting him to knock at the door! Eleven months after my brother left Ireland my Mam and I went to Italy for the festival. I can’t say what I was expecting, an average treatment centre, I suppose. What I found was far from this. It literally blew me away and all I could describe it as was amazing! It was emotional seeing my brother for the first time in as long as I could remember so full of life. It was probably the first time I saw my brother genuinely happy and he was so healthy. I was so happy to see how much Cenacolo had done for him.

It has given us back the brother we knew before drugs. Cenacolo has given us back the big brother we look up to and are proud of. Cenacolo saved his life and has brought us all closer as a family unit. I feel that the Community has reassured me in my faith and given me stronger trust in God. I am so grateful for everything this journey has given me and my family.