Personal & Group Reflection
This section of our web site provides a variety of resources that you can use to learn more about the Salesian tradition. Many of these same resources could be used in small-group/faith-sharing models to provide individuals to learn more about the Salesian tradition in the company - and with the companionship - of others.
De Sales Discussions are a series of learning/discussion guides that accompany commercially-published books that deal with some aspect of Salesian spirituality. Special thanks to Al Reichelt and Judi Kenney of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish in Vienna, Virginia, who developed the first in the series dealing with Wendy Wright's book on the Introduction to the Devout Life and Treatise on the Love of God. The books that are paired with each learning/discussion guide may be purchased from De sales Resources & Ministries at desalesresource.org.
Salesian Seminars provide an alternative approach for using the De Sales Discussions series, offering the opportunity to reflect upon and discuss a book dealing with Salesian spirituality in five (5) installments or sessions: five days in a week, one day a week for five weeks, once a month for five months, five Saturdays in a row, etc. The books that are paired with each learning/discussion guide may be purchased from De sales Resources & Ministries at desalesresource.org.
Salesian Perspectives are a collection of tri-fold pamphlets that examine many aspects of the efforts to pursue a life of holiness from the perspective of Salesian spirituality. Each pamphlet provides encouragement for the journey, food for thought, questions for reflection/discussion and suggestions for further reading. These can be used for individual consumption or for small groups like materials from RENEW, Disciples in Mission and Little Rock Scripture Study. These are a perfect option for small church/faith-sharing groups.
Spiritual Conferences are a contemporary translation of St. Francis de Sales' Spiritual Conferences by Rev. William Ruhl, OSFS. The Conferences were a series of reflections that Francis de Sales originally shared with the first Visitation community in Annecy, Savoy. His conferences were recalled, recorded and distributed to other Visitation community’s as the Order grew. While many of the particulars of Francis de Sales' observations are specific to the lived experience of cloistered, contemplative religious women, the overall themes and the spirit of these Spiritual Conferences are applicable to anyone striving to practice “devotion,” that is, to grow in love for and union with God, a love and union that is expressed in authentic love for self and others.
The Spiritual Directory offers a practical approach to developing the interior attitudes necessary to recognize the presence of God in all things, people and circumstances, attitudes that likewise assist us in our efforts to embody the humble, gentle love of neighbor so clearly demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ.
Pursuing Happiness provides some qualities or characteristics associated by the Salesian tradition with the pursuit of happiness. St. Augustine once wrote: “All persons want to be happy, and no persons are happy who do not have what they want.” This implies that the things that we choose to desire/obtain have a direct connection with how happy we can be. If we cannot obtain that which we desire, we will be unhappy. By contrast, if what we desire is obtainable, then we truly can strive for happiness. As important as happiness is, defining it – let alone obtaining it – is much more nuanced then one might expect. Perhaps this is why happiness seems so elusive: is happiness indeed something better pursued than achieved?
Knowing God’s Will
Knowing God's Will offers a practical method for discerning God’s Will in the midst of the ebb and flow of everyday life. This guide is based upon both Salesian perspectives and contemporary considerations by Rev. John W. Crossin, OSFS.
Guide for the Lay Faithful
Guide for the Lay Faithful is a reflection by Rev. Francis de Sales, OSFS in which he offers three ways in which the wisdom of de Sales addresses the spiritual vacuum of our age: (1) In a culture of death where there is disregard for the unborn, aging, and disadvantaged, Salesian spirituality offers an optimistic worldview rooted in the dignity of the human person; (2) In a world that craves meaningful relationships and nurtures too few, Salesian spirituality provides practical and accessible ways to address the deepest longings of the human heart; (3) In a world of expedient and shallow responses to life's questions and problems, Salesian spirituality provides the wisdom and sustenance needed for daily living.