The Cenacolo Community at Dodding Green
The ancient house and chapel at Dodding Green has been the centre of Catholicism for many centuries. It ceased to be a parish in its own right in the 1970’s when it was subsumed into this parish, Holy Trinity and St. George, Kendal. Up until 2004, the house was leased to private tenants, and Mass and other Services were celebrated periodically in the chapel. Then, in 2004, after a great struggle a Cenacolo Community was established at the property.
The Cenacolo Movement was established in 1985 by the Italian Sister Elvira Petrozzi. The essence of these communities is to propose a new way of life to those who have formerly suffered from addictions of one kind or another (mainly drugs). The house at Dodding Green is dedicated to ‘Our Lady Queen of Martyrs’ and can house up to 16 residents. One of their many activities is to hold a meeting for those with addictions and their families each week on Thursdays at 8pm in the Parish Centre, New Road, Kendal.
The life of the community is work, prayer and friendship, and is wholly dependent on Providence.
Here they set out the places in Bethlehem that will be visited during their enactment of the Nativity each Advent, on their Open Day. In the background are the polytunnels they have built for growing vegetables and fruit.
Enquiries about the Community, should in the first instance be directed to:
Cenacolo Community UK on 01995 602577 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
History of Dodding Green
Dodding Green is situated below the fells by the Shap Rd. to Penrith, a mile and a half north of Kendal. It is a place of historical importance to Catholics in the area of Kendal because it was where Mass was said in the Penal times.
In 1687 it was the home of Robert Stephenson and his family. He was a Catholic layman who had bought the house and continued to provide a chapel in the attic for the use of a travelling priest of the Westmorland circuit. Access to the chapel was by a stairway within the thickness of the wall. Some years ago, a pewter chalice and an altar stone were found in a hiding place. It was in this small chapel that Bishop John Leyburn confirmed 37 people during his astonishing tour of England in 1687. Bishop Leyburn was the first Vicar Apostolic in England since the Reformation and was born at another Mass centre in the Kendal area, Cunswick Hall.
Robert Stephenson tragically lost both his daughters in the year 1687, and in 1708, his wife also died. Being now alone, he made over his dwelling house a a residence for a priest of the Westmorland circuit. The property was conveyed in Trust to 4 Trustees and continues as a Trust to this day.
Built onto the side of the house is a tiny chapel. Entrance to this is by steps leading into it from a courtyard. This chapel probably dates from the time of the Catholic Relief Act of 1791. Against the wall is a rainwater head bearing the initials R.A.S. 1682 (Robert and Alice Stephenson). The chapel is dedicated to SS. Robert and Alice. In 1793, the Kendal Catholic community built their own chapel in Stramongate. Dodding Green continued as a separate community with its own priest. Ultimately it became a Parish but priests continued to be appointed by the Trustees. This right of appointment was challenged by the new Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle. Clerical Trustees were finally appointed and brought the matter in line with Canon Law. It ceased to be a Parish in 1990 when it became part of Kendal.
The chapel we see at Dodding Green today was tastefully improved and ornamented in 1840 by the Rev. Charles Brigham. In the cemetery in front of the house are buried three of the incumbents at Dodding Green – Fr. Robert Hogarth, obit 1868, Fr. Ralph Platt, obit 1874 and Canon Luke Curry, obit 1890.
The Trustees in 2001 restored and redecorated much of the house. Between 1714 and 1990, 18 priests had ministered at Dodding Green. The last priest was Canon William Jackson. It is now a home of the Cenacolo Community.