Although the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters had been living on Dutch soil since their founding in 1896, the Motherhouse community was German. Because of the restrictions placed on the Church in Germany by Bismarck, Arnold Janssen, like a number of other German founders, began his three mission Congregations just across the border in Holland. For a long time, Mother Mary Michael had desired to found a convent in the interior of Holland, mainly for Dutch candidates, where their own language would be spoken. Finally in 1927 an opportunity presented itself, and an adoration convent could be started in a small country house in the city of Soesterberg. Here the Cenacle of the Eucharistic Heart was opened on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, June 24, 1927. In 1939 a large convent and chapel were erected.
Later an international military airbase was built nearby. Supersonic jets from far and near zoomed over the convent day and night, reminding the Sisters that their life of adoration and prayer was needed and that their convent was a center of faith and a refuge of hope and peace in our world. During World War II, the sound of bombs hissing and exploding around them day and night was almost deafening. But God placed his hand visibly over the community. When bombs fell near the house, either they did not explode or they exploded without doing any major damage. For about eight months, the Sisters were living mostly in the basement. Hundreds of hungry people came to the door asking for something to eat. In the end, the Sisters could thank Divine Providence for his loving care and protection.
In time the maintenance of the large house became too much for the community. A suitable smaller house with a lovely chapel, the St. Ludger Chapel, was found in the city of Utrecht. On September 8, 1999 it was inaugurated with Cardinal Adrianus Simonis officiating. Here the Sisters continue their cloistered contemplative life and service of perpetual adoration, supported by a zealous group of lay adorers, who also gather in the chapel regularly for recollection days. In the busy city, the Sisters are silent evangelizers in a place where people of no religion at all are predominant and the Catholics need new evangelization. One priest said of them: “You are even more missionary here.” The adoration chapel has become a beacon of light and an oasis in the unrest and stress of daily life.
How to contact
Klooster Cenakel St. Willibrordusstraat 34 3553 SM Utrecht Netherlands
Tel: (0031) 30-243-51
Fax: (0031) 30-670-1707
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