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Association of St. Lawrence - Comunita Cenacolo America Inc.

Jacksonville, Florida

Cause Description:
Sister Elvira Petrozzi is a petite, scrappy, Italian woman with a mission - from God! In 1983 she opened her first Comunitá (Community) for men living in the darkness of addiction. Sister believes what these men need most in their lives is prayer, reconciliation and a strong work ethic. She calls her Communities a school of life! Their workday becomes a rhythm of life, beginning with morning prayer and ending with evening prayer. Through working together, they learn to communicate more effectively, accept the ideas of others, and resolve conflicts. Their work builds an interior discipline of life; it combats both their fear and their unwillingness to persevere with difficult challenges. It builds their will that has been weak, and bridles their passions, which have always ruled their lives. Some of the community jobs include carpentry, sewing, raising farm animals, construction, baking, cultivating fruit and vegetable gardens, cooking, and house maintenance. In 1993, Father Robert Baker (now Bishop of Birmingham, AL) formed a partnership with Sister Elvira because he too shared her vision. He too wanted to lead our brothers and sisters from the darkness to the light and together they began Our Lady of Hope Community at St. Vincent de Paul Farm in St. Augustine, Florida (affectionately known as The Farm). Today, in eleven countries, men and women live in Comunitá in over 80 houses. Sister has petitioned Rome to begin her own religious order and through the Diocese of Saluzzo, Italy, the Bishop has ordained one priest and accepted the first vows of several brothers and sisters who will be assigned to the Comunitá.

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