On March 19 to 24, 2024, the Minister General and his Definitory conducted a spiritual retreat at a mountaintop Capuchin friary in Frascati, Italy. This annual retreat typically occurs just before Easter.

The retreat was led by Friar Mateusz STACHOWSKI from the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk). Friar Mateusz chose the Book of Jonah as his inspirational text. If the recalcitrant biblical prophet, with his ever-worsening situation, wanted to flee “away from the Lord,” the Definitors wanted to move closer to the Lord―or at least try to. Sister Creation helped a lot, with springtime weather, an atmosphere of silence and gazing out into the distance, where the large dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and other places in Rome were easily discernable from the friary.
The Minister General and his Definitory prayed for the Order as a whole, but also focused on particular cases of illness, personal hardship and other problems in certain Jurisdictions. Along with the Order, the Definitors prayed for the world, the “Nineveh” to which we as friars are sent. The Definitors prayed, not to escape it, but to love it more. Our world urgently needs conversion, as do we friars, we little prophets, inspired by Jonah, not to lament our situation, but to rejoice in God’s mercy. We are challenged to grasp the goodness in every mission the Lord sends us upon, rather than sadly cultivating our own “gourd plant.” In short, the Definitors encountered plenty of inspiration and good wishes, as well as intercessory prayer. They also discussed the next Ordinary General Chapter (June of 2025), something the Minister General and his Definitory have been working on for some time.
Friar Carlos and the Definitors were hosted by a small inter-Provincial Capuchin community. The Capuchin friars fostered silence and were fraternal and attentive. Refreshed by the retreat after their busy travels around the world, the Minister General and his Definitory returned to Rome on Palm Sunday evening, to take part in Holy Week and Easter at our Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles.

Friar Giovanni VOLTAN