For Peace and Prayer
By Br. Vito Martinez, OFM Cap.
When Br. Matteo da Bascio began a reform movement within the Franciscan brotherhood, what would eventually become the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, contemplative prayer was a cornerstone of the movement. For a time, the early Capuchins sought refuge in the rugged mountains of central Italy among the hermitic Camaldolesi monks. Br. Matteo proposed a radical return to the roots of the Francsican movement. He hoped to fashion a fraternity of hermits who would more closely order their lives to the Rule of St. Francis. Over time, the Capuchin charism would evolve. Capuchin friars today are known more for hospitality, accompanying people in their suffering and addressing basic human and spiritual needs. Nevertheless, contemplative prayer remains a cornerstone of the order.
The Importance of Remaining Close to Contemplative Prayer
Contemplative prayer was a criticial piece of the community life that Br. Matteo and his brothers established in the 16th century, and it continues. It is visible today at our Capuchin Retreat Center in southeast Michigan, where we invite people to encounter God away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This comes from the example of St. Francis, who, according to St. Bonaventure’s biography, “learned in his prayer that the presence of the Holy Spirit for which he longed was granted more intimately when he was far from the rush of worldly affairs” (Bonaventure, Major Life, 3).
Today, people seeking to enter deeper into prayer still go on retreat, much as Francis did. In Washington, Michigan, less than an hour’s drive north of downtown Detroit, the Capuchin Retreat Center offers the faithful an opportunity to slow down and enter deeper into contemplative prayer and reflection. Situated on 95 wooded acres, the grounds are home to deer, ducks, rabbits, foxes, butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife.
Retreats and Masses Offered at Capuchin Retreat Center
Capuchin Retreat Center offers group retreat weekends as well as private individual or directed retreats. Groups include a range of organizations from parishes to religious orders to fellowship and advocacy groups. Spiritual direction is offered during these retreats for guidance and support.
People go on retreat to give thanks, for a period of prayerful discernment, to resolve an issue, to pray for intentions or to seek reconciliation. For this last reason, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is also available.
Mass is celebrated every weekday morning by our Capuchin friars in the Chapel at Capuchin Retreat Center, as well as Wednesday evenings. A Blessing of the Sick service is now offered the first Wednesday of each month that includes a blessing with a first-class relic of Blessed Solanus Casey.
St. Bonaventure tells us how St. Francis would sometimes visit abandoned churches to pray in the night. The tradition of making retreats pre-dates St. Francis and even cuts across many faith traditions beyond Christianity.
A "Gouda" Introduction
The inaugural “A Gouda Evening” event took place this summer, introducing Capuchin Retreat and its tranquil, bucolic setting to a new generation of neighbors. The friars invite you to take advantage of all that Capuchin Retreat offers.