“This is a time when her eyes speak more than her mouth, and her teachings resound and echo inside each one of us. We have the great responsibility to give away what we’ve received. Are you wondering what on earth this little Italian woman has to do with me or you? We want to tell her story, because she no longer can.” (from the musical "A Call of God's Mercy")
Mother Elvira once known as Rita Agnese Petrozzi, was born in 1937 in Italy. She grew up surrounded by poverty and hardship. In her family she had 6 siblings, a mother who was both educative and demanding, and a father with a good heart but a weakness for drinking too much. Mother Elvira felt a call inside herself she could not deny, snd so she left her family and went to join the Sisters of Charity of St. Jeanne-Antide Thouret at the age of 19. She remained there for 28 years. While living out her vocation, she felt an even deeper call within herself to love and serve the desperate youth. The call was so strong that she asked permission to leave her order and begin serving drug addicts on the streets. She prayed fervently and waited patiently for God’s timing. Then, on July 16, 1983, Comunità Cenacolo was born. In 1993 we opened our first house in the United States in St. Augustine, Florida and we now have 4 houses in America and over 60 houses around the world! Comunità Cenacolo has done even more than just restoring the desperate youth; it is also a place where families are created, vocations are discovered, and we even have men and women who stay longer to go and serve in our missionary houses where we take in abandoned children. Through God’s grace, mercy, and providence, we have been in St. Augustine, Florida for 25 years. It is a miracle that continues everyday as men, women, children and families are restored in Christ Jesus.
" Getting up on stage, speaking about ourselves in front of many people, overcoming the fear of making mistakes, holding a microphone, and singing... these areal things that not one of us would have been capable of doing without first drinking or taking drugs. They are great conquests of freedom. Because of this, the testimonies are, first of all, a great gift for us. They heal our hearts, help us to overcome our fears and complexes, and reinforce within us what we are testifying. Before being a way of touching others, it is a means through which the love of God heals us,"