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26.03.2024 19:58:31 344x read.




Roncalli's retreat house was established as a concrete response to the encouragement of consecrated life renewal mandated by the Second Vatican Council. Responsive to that renewal, the 1967 FIC Special General Chapter recommended the importance of formation, deepening of life and prayer. As a manifestation, Indonesia Province established a centre for forming and deepening monastic life: “Centrum voor Vorming en Ver-dieping”. This centre of formation and deepening was originally planned for the internal benefit of the congregation.

Hearing the news, the Vicar General of Semarang Archdiocese, C. Carri, SJ., proposed that the centre be not only for the FIC brothers but also to serve other orders. Bros. Carlo Hillenaar and Joachim van der Linden, FIC, with the support of the Bishop of Semarang Archdiocese and chairman of Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia – the Supreme Council of Indonesian Bishops – Cardinal Justin Darmojuwono, pioneered the centre for the formation and deepening of monastic life, located in the complex "Djoen Eng Palace", Salatiga, Central Java.


The name “Roncalli” comes from Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, later known as Pope John XXIII (1958-1963). Roncalli was chosen as the name because it was from him that the idea of the renewal of the Church originated: “aggiornamento”. Open the doors and prepare a pilgrimage for people to discover. Drawing spiritual wealth from Roncalli, the pioneers of the Roncalli retreat house hope to find something valuable for our monastic life to remain in accordance with its era.

Combination of mercies

The exciting thing about the architectural side of the “Djoen Eng” palace building, from the exterior to the interior, is the openness and ornamentation of the womb. Doen Eng Palace is open. This open architectural semiotics is in harmony with the language of John XXIII, opening the windows where popes convened. Regarding the womb, from its etymology, the term womb is borrowed from the Arabic “al-Rahman” and “al-Raheem”, two of the 99 names of Allah. Both terms come from the same root: “raa haa meem”. It means uterus or “raham” in Arabic. It is from this Arabic term that we know the womb.


(Bro. Petrus Anjar and Staff of Roncalli Retreat House, Salatiga-Indonesia)

“Al-Rahman” is predicated only to Almighty Allah. “Rahman” means merciful. “Al-Rahman” means Allah whose mercy to His creation is infinite. His love goes out to all of His creation. Even a wild animal will take care of its young. Let alone God. That's why Allah is also called “Al-Raheem”, His mercy reaches all His creation. “Al-Rahman” refers to the infinity of God's Love, and “al-Rahim” refers to the creation to which His Love is addressed.

These forces of mercy are animated and are expected to be experienced by those who come to this “Khalwat” House. This merciful power also combines the natural spirit of “Djoen Eng's” palace with the spirit of Angelo Roncalli. It is hoped that through the experience of being wombed by God's own mercy through nature and the means provided by “Khalwat” Roncali's House, they are born again to continue their pilgrimage in this world.

Formation and deepening program.

The ongoing formation is important for every religious person. “Vita Conserata” article 69 affirms, among other things, that ongoing formation in both apostolic and contemplative orders is an intrinsic requirement of religious reform. So early formation must be closely related to ongoing formation and create a willingness in anyone to allow themselves to be fostered every day of their lives. Recognising this, Roncalli provides itself a place for the religious to refresh and renew themselves by offering various courses, deepening, and opportunities for personal guidance retreats for 6/7 days and 30 days grand retreats.


(Bro. Redemptus Lastiya and the particpants of the preparatory for perpetual vows course)

From the beginning until now, Roncalli has specialised in religious formation and for its organisation, the Congregation of the Brothers FIC collaborates with various congregations and orders, both sisters and priests, as guidance and teaching staff. The programs held since the establishment of Roncalli on May 12, 1968, include the Final Professional Preparatory Course, which is intended for sisters, brothers and sisters who will practice professions for life; the Medior courses for sisters, brothers and priests who have worked and need refreshment of spiritual life; Senior Preparation Courses for those preparing for retirement; and the Senior Course for those who are retired and to prepare for old age with joy. In addition, every three years, Roncalli organises a Spiritual Formation Course. This course lasts 6 months and offers provision for trustees in congregations/orders/dioceses. Roncalli organises community leaders’ meetings, housekeeper meetings, and life processing meetings for non-routine activities.

Through various formation courses, jointly and individually, it is hoped that religious people will be able to respond to the challenges of the times. Continuous formation is a concrete manifestation of caring for vocations and maintaining faithfulness as religious (cf. Vita Consecrata art. 70). Without continuous formation, religious people will become more self-reliant and increasingly set aside God's power or grace in their life and apostolate.


On behalf of Roncalli staff – Br. Petrus Anjar Trihartono, FIC


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