With two Retreat Centres established in West Bengal, the Vincentian Congregation looked eastwards and this is how the Divine Retreat Centre, Khetri was established. The Congregation’s first foray was into Assam- the closest among the seven North Eastern states. The first centre was built at Khetri which is located about 39 kms from Guwahati. The Bishop of Guwahati the Rt Rev Dr Thomas Menamparambil invited the Vincentian Congregation to establish a Retreat Centre in Guwahati Diocese.
Khetri is a beautiful village set in idyllic surroundings and was well chosen for this divine purpose. The Divine Retreat Centre, Khetri is located atop a hill and is spread across eight acres of land. It has developed into a very popular centre where the faithful congregate for worship and praise of the Lord. Today retreats are conducted in many languages to cater to the spiritual needs of the communities in the region.
God’s ways are strange and wonderful. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and He works everything for our good. Circumstances have now changed and the Centre is growing by the day and is functioning very well. The serenity of Divine Retreat Centre, Khetri provides a conducive atmosphere for prayer. A pious surrounding is also created by the presence of the Rosary mysteries on the way to the centre, the Stations of the Way of The Cross and the Word of God written on coloured boards.
Continuous intercessory prayers are done at the perpetual Adoration Chapel which can accommodate about forty persons. The cave like chapel which is exclusively meant for silent prayers attracts many souls to contemplation and deep prayers. The beautiful Grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary draws the people to praying the rosaries in her loving presence.
Besides, there is the Grotto of St Joseph, the patron of the centre, Grotto of St Vincent De Paul and St Alphonsa and the statue of St Michael where people pray for protection. There are separate buildings for men and women with the capacity to accommodate over a hundred persons. The first floor of the Ladies Building is the Auditorium with space for some two hundred and fifty persons which is used for preaching.
Every month three residential retreats are conducted for the different tribes of North East such as Khasi, Khasi Pnar, Garo, Assamese, Hindi, Bodo, Tiwa, Karbi, English, Nagamese. There are good translators of English into the vernacular dialect. The number of participants vary from group to group.
Special Retreats for priests and the Religious are conducted thrice a year where the participants reach to the maximum. Also special Retreats for groups like Novices, Candidates, Youth, and Catechists are conducted. On Fridays to Sunday a team of two priests and three sisters go on outreach programmes to the parishes of the North East as per the request of the Parish. The Divine Retreat Centre, Khetri extends its services outside the country as well.