On October 12-15, 2021, the friars of the Russian General Custody of St. Francis of Assisi conducted their annual spiritual retreat. The event took place at a retreat center run by the Divine Word Missionaries in the small village of Alieevo, near St. Petersburg, Russia.

The retreat was led by Father Jarosław MITRZAK, the pastor of a church in Stavropol, and the founder and spiritual director of a diocesan community for vocations. Eleven friars attended the retreat. Due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the friars in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan were unable to participate. They carried out their own spiritual retreat in Oziornoje, Kazakhstan.
The spiritual retreat in Alieevo was characterized by a special atmosphere of listening to the Word of God, and practicing Lectio Divina. Friar Jarosław preached with his characteristic humor and spoke about his nearly thirty years of missionary service in Russia. All the friars experienced the richness of this spiritual reflection; they discussed the Word of God, their spiritual experiences and their vocation.
The retreat participants were able to enjoy some fairly warm and sunny weather, which is unusual for this season.
May their time spent praying, adoring the Blessed Sacrament and meditating on the Word of God in fraternity yield good results and help them, each day, to live out their vocation in total service to God.

Friar Dariusz HARASIMOWICZ, General Custos