Mount Cenacle at Auchmar


Sheila Boyd.

“It’s a beautiful building. I had the pleasure of visiting inside several times when the Sisters of Social Service were living there and operating a retreat house.”

Gwen Vallee Miller.

“I stayed there for a weekend retreat in 1973 with my high school from St. Catharines.”

The above comments were in response to a photograph of Mount Cenacle, which was posted by Vintage Hamilton a few years ago.

The following is excerpted from Mount Cenacle Retreat House: Hamilton, Ontario 1971. Part1.

“In 1943, at the First Canadian National Missionary Exhibition in Toronto, Bishop Joseph Ryan of Hamilton extended his invitation to Sisters of Social Service to come to his Diocese. The Superior, Sister Ida Horvath, accepted the offer….

Sisters Mary Schwarz, Pauline Reti and Columba Kish arrived in January 1946. The house was ready for opening and blessing on August 25th and the first men’s retreat from Guelph, Ontario was held August 30th – September 1st.”

Auchmar Estate including 10 acres was sold to the Hungarian Sisters of Social Service for $35,000.

The Sisters would own Auchmar for more than 50 years. During those years, they hosted retreats, and worked in nearby parishes. In the early 1960s, the Chapel and Dormitory were constructed.

 During these years, a young Cardinal, Karol Jozef Wojtyla from Poland attended a retreat. He would later become head of the Roman Catholic Church and be known as Pope John Paul II.

Life at Mount Cenacle was chronicled and photographed.

The photographs are courtesy of the Bishop Farrell Library and Archives and Robin McKee.

Mount Cenacle Retreat House: Hamilton, Ontario 1971. Part 1 is courtesy of Sisters of Social Service Archives, Toronto, Ontario.