From October 4-8, 2017, at the Franciscan Shrine of La Verna, the General Ministers of the Franciscan First Order and the TOR, Friars Michael Perry OFM, Mauro Jöhri, OFMCap, Marco Tasca, OFMConv, Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR, along with the friars of the General Definitoriums of the four families gathered on Retreat.
A few years ago, the brother Definitors of the four Franciscan Families participated a similar experience. It was a time of grace, of listening to the word of God and prayer. This year's Retreat was designed as one of the elements of the process of preparing for the anniversary of the meeting of St. Francis with the Sultan (in 2019 we will celebrate the 800th anniversary of this event). For this reason, the reflections proposed by the presenters dealt with themes of dialogue, diversity, alterity and friendship.
The Franciscan friars were led, during the first days of the Retreat, by Mons. Jean-Paul Vesco, OP, Bishop of Oran (Algeria). Bp. Vesco dealt with the themes of dialogue and friendship. The Conference on the last day of the Retreat was entrusted to the Muslim theologian, Prof. Shahrzad Houshmand Zadeh. She explained some issues relating to the dialogue between Christians and Muslims, pausing at length on dogmatic and spiritual matters. The brother Definitors left La Verna somehow changed and touched, certainly by the ideas shared by the presenters but also by cordial and generous hospitality offered by the friars who work and live at the Shrine of La Verna.