“Our will for conversion is renewed in the monthly recollection and in the annual retreat. These are occasions of spiritual renewal which Don Bosco considered to be the fundamental part and the synthesis of all the practices of piety. (...) These times of grace restore to our spirit a deep unity in the Lord Jesus and keep alive in us the expectation of His return,” says art. 91 of the Salesian Constitutions.
And it is with this spirit that the members of the General Council of the Salesian Congregation all gathered together for a week, taking a break from the work of the summer plenary session to recharge themselves in spirituality, fraternity and humanity.
The days in Vallombrosa were marked by times of prayer, attentive listening to the words of the preacher Fr Bartolomé, silence for individual reflection, the Eucharist and sharing.
The eleven meditations that filled the different days ranged from acknowledging one's nature as sinful human beings to listening to the call of Jesus and taking the choice to follow Him at any cost, trusting in Mary as the teacher of spiritual discernment.
The program, although characterized by regularity in its activities and schedule, nevertheless left room for some special moments, such as: the penitential day, Wednesday 30 June; the individual “desert” day, Thursday 1st July; and that of joyful sharing, Saturday 3, with a visit to Siena, before returning to Rome.
Immersed in nature, in an environment with a long history, rich in beauty and silence, the Rector Major and the other General Council members were thus able to experience a week of discernment of God's will, of complete communion and mutual service, of sure benefit also for their roles of animation of the Congregation and of the Salesian Family.