On September 10-19, 2023, some senior friars from Poland went on a spiritual retreat in Italy.
The idea for the retreat came from the Vicar General, Friar Jan MACIEJOWSKI. He entrusted the organization and leadership of the retreat to the General Delegate for Formation, Friar Piotr STANISŁAWCZYK. The main purpose of the retreat was to give senior friars of the Foederatio Europae Mediae et Orientalis (FEMO) who had never prayed at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi the opportunity to do so.
Eight friars from all three Provinces in Poland participated. Those from the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow) included Friars Józef CYDEJKO and Piotr MARSZAŁKIEWICZ from the friary in Legnica, Friar Stanisław GLISTA from the friary in Kalwaria Pacławska, and Friar Jerzy BRUSIŁO from the friary in Cracow.
Those from the Province of the Immaculate Mother of God in Poland (Warsaw) included Friars Mariusz SŁOWIK, Franciszek REKOWSKI and Kazimierz DOMEŁA from the friary in Niepokalanów. From the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk) there was Friar Wiesław PRZYBYSZ from the friary in Darłowo.
The visiting friars spent their first and last days at the St. Maximilian M. Kolbe Friary in Rome. On the second day, after Mass, Morning Prayer and breakfast, they went to Assisi, where they stayed at the Franciscanum Friary. While in Assisi, they went on pilgrimages, after Morning Prayer and breakfast, to places linked to the life of St. Francis. They celebrated Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis, the Portiuncola, San Damiano and Rivotorto. After lunch, there was time for rest, individually planned pilgrimages and personal prayer. Their days in Assisi concluded with Evening Prayer, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and dinner.
On the last day, the friars went to Greccio and Fonte Colombo where they celebrated the 800th anniversaries of St. Francis’ creation of the live nativity scene and the Later Rule.
On Sunday, September 17, they arrived at the General Curia in Rome where they celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles. Later, they met with the Vicar General who gave them a tour of the basilica and the friary. The retreat culminated with lunch shared with the Minister General and the friars of the General Curia.
The senior friars thank the Superiors of the FEMO Federation for this initiative and for the funding provided to make this retreat possible. They also express particular gratitude to the Superiors of the General Houses of Rome and Assisi for the hospitality and cordiality they were shown. Everyone hopes that this initiative can be repeated in the coming years.
Friar Piotr STANISŁAWCZYK, General Delegate for Formation