My name is Eva and I am a mom from the Cenacolo Community. Twenty years ago, drugs were not known in Slovakia very well. Nobody knew where to go for help. When we found out that our older son had problems, we found a community of parents who met regularly in Piešťany in Slovakia and Vrbovac in Croatia, where at that time, children were entering the Cenacolo community house on the path of a new life free from addiction. Myself, my husband, our daughter and our youngest son believed that this community trip would also help heal our relationships – simply heal the whole family. And so it happened. Martin, my son, returned from the community after 6 years, got married, and is now the father of three beautiful healthy children. My life was saved by the community, because through it I believed in God’s love and providence. In Slovakia the Cenacolo house opened in 2007, and with it my need to help the house and all parents with children suffering from addiction. I stayed with the community and with other elderly parents, I still participate in our Cenacolo clubs, preparation for entry meetings, monthly parents’ meetings, and trips to Medjugorje.
One of my great desires was also a pilgrimage to see Our Lady of Knock in Ireland. I had to wait eight years before I could travel by plane to your beautiful country to the feet of Our Lady. There were six of us moms whose sons have left community and we are still friends. We didn’t know what to do. Keep waiting? Many people warned us about the January weather in Ireland, but our determination was great. Every discomfort, every effort was repaid a thousand times over by the graces we received from Our Lady of Knock – through our ex-member Karol and his wife Angela, his mother Elena, through Theresa, Roman and all the boys in the house, and Archbishop Francis’ and Bishop Fonsie’s blessings at Knock Basilica. We had many strong spiritual experiences during our stay, when we visited the Blessed Sacrament in the church in Ballintubber, and the road to the ocean under Croagh Patrick. With joyful community dancing and singing by the ocean and at statue of St. Patrick, we celebrated Patrick’s life – real life in God’s love. There was constant conversation and sharing for all of us, a balm and encouragement in our busy daily lives. We spent the last evening in the house of the Alexian Brothers in Eucharistic Adoration and deep, honest sharing afterwards – about our life at home, in the community, our relationships and our desires.
Dear community families in Ireland – our pilgrimage to see Our Lady of Knock was meant to be a private event of the older mothers, but our testimonies at the monthly community meeting of parents in Nitra, Slovakia really appealed to all parents, so we are planning in January 2025 to travel back to Knock, bringing prayer intentions for all fathers and mothers, families and children to the Our Lady of Knock Cenacolo Community house.
Eva from Slovakia