Cenacle Retreat House and grounds up for sale

   A sealed-bid sale is underway on behalf of the Cenacle Retreat House, located on more than 19 acres near Lake Pontchartrain in Metairie, and will last through April 18 at 5 p.m., RE/MAX Commercial Brokers announced.

    The sale, which is open to the public and to brokers, represents “the largest land parcel of its kind” that is available for sale in Metairie, RE/MAX said. The sale includes the grounds and the 31,897-square-foot retreat house. The property is zoned R-1A, which is single-family residential.

    The Cenacle opened in 1958 and has coordinated thousands of retreats and other adult faith formation programs for area Catholics, especially for women. The North American Province of the Cenacle Sisters announced in October 2012 that it would have to close the landmark facility because of the decreasing number of Cenacle sisters to carry on the ministry and diminishing financial resources.
Difficult decision

    “We did not take this decision lightly,” said Cenacle Sister Mary Sharon Riley, spokeswoman and provincial councilor. “We are grateful for the many who have made it possible for us to minister in this community for so many years.”

    The Cenacle plans to continue offering retreats, spirituality programs, hospitality, spiritual direction and individual retreats through August.

    RE/MAX Commercial Brokers owner Richard Juge said the sealed-bid sale allows the property to be marketed in a way to solicit the “highest possible bids in a short time frame.” The Cenacle sisters will be able to review the offers.

    The lakefront property is located at 5500 St. Mary St. The retreat house features a chapel, a convent and 52 bedrooms.

    At its peak, the Metairie Cenacle was home to more than a dozen sisters. The North American Province currently numbers about 100 sisters, and most are elderly. The Cenacle has a paid staff of 20 full- and part-time employees and 170 collaborators in ministry. There are 117 retreat captains.

    Archbishop Gregory Aymond said back in October that the archdiocese was interested – “if it is humanly possible” – in finding some way for the retreat ministry to continue.

    Before the property closes permanently, the Cenacle sisters are planning events to allow the public and Cenacle sisters who have served there to bid farewell.

    Tours of the grounds by prospective buyers are by appointment only. Buyers must register at www.mysealedbid.com to schedule a tour. RE/MAX agent Matt Eaton will handle all inquiries at 838-0001 or .

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