On December 13-17, 2021, the friars of the Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. in Brazil participated in a spiritual retreat. The retreat was held at the CEFLÃ Retreat Center (Center for Spirituality and Lay Formation) of the Archdiocese Juiz de Fora, located in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais.

After two years of restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the retreat was finally conducted with everyone physically present. A priest from São Paulo, the Jesuit Father Cleiton NERY DE SANTANA, led the retreat. Following the style of the Ignatian spiritual exercises, which he adapted for a five-day experience, Father Cleiton led reflections based upon the theme of fraternity, with elements taken from Pope Francis’ encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.

Emphasizing social friendship, the friars examined the fraternal and spiritual dimensions of life that help us further our call in developing a culture of encounter and dialogue. Fratelli Tutti draws upon the parable of the Good Samaritan as its biblical foundation. In a similar way, the entire dynamic of reflection, prayer, contemplation and celebration during this retreat was based upon the merciful encounter with the Lord who, like the Good Samaritan, lifts us up, heals us and takes care of us. We are thus reminded that as disciples of the Lord, rediscovering ourselves as lesser brothers, we are called to not imitate the other characters in the parable, namely, the thief, the Levite and the priest, who threaten and destroy fraternity and the encounter with God.
May the Lord, the authentic Good Samaritan, help the friars experience God’s tenderness and compassion by means of the fraternal encounter.

Friar Carlos Roberto DE OLIVEIRA CHARLES, Custodial Secretary