However, the Encounter With Jesus retreats, which are unique to MDM, had to be held at other locations throughout the archdiocese since there were not adequate facilities to house and feed the retreatants at the Mission. Over the years, securing these locations became increasingly difficult, and for a time the EWJ retreats were suspended.
At the start of 2012, the Community was still living in its “temporary” quarters in New Braunfels. But there was a growing sense among the members that in order to develop a stronger spiritual program at the Mission, it was necessary to live there. Building two monasteries, however—one for men and one for women—was a huge financial undertaking for a small group that existed on donations and without any regular source of income. But just as the Community was set to begin a big capital campaign to raise money for the monasteries, God seemed to open a side door—some houses adjacent to the property became available. The Community purchased these to serve as immediate living quarters until actual monasteries could be constructed at some future date.
The Community moved into their new quarters at the end of 2012. And very soon a schedule of regular weekday Masses and Holy Hours at the Mission were opened to the public. At last, Our Lord in His Eucharistic Presence could be dwelling there perpetually. The Mission was developing as a spiritual presence in the area, and as the true spiritual home of MDM. These were significant steps in fulfilling the Mission’s triple role of monastery, sanctuary, and retreat center.
The Mission was emerging as a spiritual resource for the San Antonio archdiocese, but also attracting people from beyond the archdiocese. Saturday mini-retreats on different topics of spirituality and spiritual development were attended by individuals, parish groups, cenacles, prayer groups, and ACTS teams, among others. The annual Triduum Retreat drew many people to participate in the powerful liturgical celebrations of Holy Week, including Good Friday’s Walking Way of the Cross, and Holy Saturday’s Rosary of the Sorrowful Mother. But the largest crowd of the year continued to assemble on the Sunday after Easter—Divine Mercy Sunday. On that day, tents were added to both sides of St. Joseph’s Chapel to handle the large turnout.