Via di San Teodoro, 42; 00186 Roma (Italia); tel. centr.: +39 06.69766401; fax: +39 06.69766433
Between the Campidoglio (Capitol Hill) and the Palatine Hill, in the area of the ancient Boario Market, in the historical center of Rome: these are the coordinates that would help you find the friary dedicated to St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, being the place of his studies while in Rome, and where he founded the Marian Movement of the “Militia of the Immaculate” along with some of his companions.
On the first floor of the friary, next to the friary chapel, one finds the room where Friar Kolbe stayed while he was in Rome, and where he founded the Militia of the Immaculate. The room and attached parlor is a small Kolbean Sanctuary cared for by the International M.I. Center. A hall and multimedia exhibit concerning the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe, while he was in Rome, and the founding of the Militia of the Immaculate, were recently dedicated.
The community presently numbers 16 friars. Their responsibilities are defined by their present jobs, and almost all have offices attached to the friary. The International Center for the M.I. is here. Also based here are the General Secretariat for Formation (SGF); the General Secretariat for Mission Animation (SGAM); the General Delegate for Justice, Peace and Safeguarding Creation (GPSC); the OFM Conv. General Assistant for the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) and the Coordinator of the Executive Committee for the Revision of the Constitutions (CERC), who also takes on the ministry of guardian. Working with him are Friars Bernardo Commodi, Víctor Mora, Zbigniew Kopeć and Timothy Kulbicki. Besides these, and of great ecclesial significance to the Order, there is the service offered by Friar Zdzisław Kijas who is an official of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and Friar Gianni Huang who works for the Church in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (China Section).
There are other small pastoral services such as fraternal hospitality, helping with confessions at the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles, pastoral assistance at some parishes, spiritual guidance for some OFS fraternities, and daily liturgy for the community of the Sisters of St. Joseph, neighbors to our house – a long standing tradition that, for a time, had even been carried out by St. Maximilian when he was a young priest; the voluntary revival of continuity and fraternity.
It is a community open to the world, not only in composition (1 from China, 1 from Costa Rica, 1 from Ghana, 3 from India, 3 from Italy, 5 from Poland, 1 from Romania and 1 from Spain), but also as an apostolic project; for this is a community in which “the journey” finds daily meaning through the dimension of “collaboration”. Practically all of the friars are called to work as a team, not only from the viewpoint of fraternity, but also from the very mode and criteria necessary to accomplish what they identify as their tasks, going about the world providing service to diverse peoples and to the Church, where the Lord has planted the charism of our Order.
Given this reality, the first Conventual Chapter of the community decided that, in keeping with the various meetings with the General Definitory (which gave us some directions between now and the next Ordinary General Chapter), the whole community would come together in an effort to be a visible and tangible fraternity, at table and at common prayer. It decided upon “fraternity days”: ten days a year in which the friars would exchange their experiences, especially after long periods of absence, for some. These days are intended for formation, retreat, Conventual Chapter, and for calmly and joyfully sharing experiences. These days are attended by all. Even when various friars are on trips to various continents, we follow them with daily prayer, and they constantly inform us of their activities by telephone or e-mail.
The community life we are living helps us better understand the value of living daily Franciscan common life. Every day is an occasion to learn something new; each day we are invited to reflect upon another dynamic of Franciscan life. Each day is a time for the Lord to call us to renew our mutual concern and our understanding of the diversity through which we express our unity, and to open our hearts to the needs of Christian salvation which the world communicates to the community through the life and activity of every friar. Also, for all of this, every day is an occasion for praising and thanking the Lord. We are aware of this and want to make it a strong dimension of our community life.
Friar Valentín Redondo OFM Conv. Guardian