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Free Ebooks on Salesian Spirituality
Did you know that Pope Francis’ upbringing and education were greatly formed by the Salesians, and he is very thankful for this?
In a letter relating his upbringing, he wrote, “It’s not strange that I speak with affection of the Salesians, because my family was nourished spiritually by the Salesians of San Carlos.”
The then-Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote about his experience as a boarder in the sixth grade in the Wilfrid Baron School of the Holy Angels, in the city of Ramos Mejia, Argentina, saying,
“School life was a ‘whole’ …. the School created, through the awakening of the conscience in the truth of things, a Catholic culture….”
He also said,
“A dimension that grew a lot in the subsequent years to the one spent in the School was my capacity to feel good: and I realized that the base was set the year of boarding school. They educated my sentiment there. The Salesians have a special ability for this.”
St. John Bosco and St. Francis de Sales
The Salesian approach to the formation and education of youth is tied very closely to the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, who lived in the 1600s.
The Salesian education is nothing less than what “was adopted by Don Bosco and is now practiced by his Salesians, an order he founded inspired by the gentleness, patience, and charity of St. Francis de Sales,” according to Sean Fitzpatrick, headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy.
St. Francis de Sales, Along with St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Sales founded the women's Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (Visitandines) in France in 1610. He is known as the “gentleman saint” because of his patience and gentleness.
Free Ebooks Available
St. Francis’ spirituality has a special appeal among many young people discerning their God-given vocation in life - whether that be the single life, the married life, or a life consecrated to God. The Sisters of the Visitation of the Second Federation in the United States have produced three free ebooks (no email required) based on the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. Two of the ebooks help those discern their vocational call, and the third one is on the spirituality of St. Jane de Chantal.
The first one is Straightening the Wayward Path: Online Chats About Discernment. The title implies that people often lose their way in discernment, or lead wayward lives.
The ebook answers these questions:
- Can we sense from our own interests how God is calling us in life?
- What is the best way to make our way along this path?
- Will it be a contemplative or active order?
- What are some pitfalls to avoid?
- What does a spiritual director do?
- How do you find one?
- Should you become an Associate of a religious community?
- How do you deal with cell phones in a religious community?
These and other actual questions are answered in this ebook by the gentle hands of the Visitation Sisters as they guide chat room participants in the “Living Jesus Chat Room,” held each Sunday evening at 7:30 ET at VisitationSpirit.org/chat.
Discerning with St. Jane
The second ebook is Discerning with Saint Jane: Finding Your Place in God’s Will with the Foundress of the Visitandine Order - A Novena of Reflections. In this ebook you will find a saintly guide to walk with you on your discernment journey. The wisdom of Saint Jane de Chantal will be there to help you look at the discernment process in a way that you might never have before. She will be there as a spiritual guide, ensuring that you are not in this alone.
In this nine-day novena of reflections, you will be presented with spiritual nuggets of wisdom from Saint Jane de Chantal, the foundress of the Visitation order. The fruit that came from her work of founding a religious order will be there for you so that you can become spiritually nourished. Take off the pressure of having to make a decision, and give yourself some time to prayerful reflect upon where God is calling you in your life.
Spirituality of St. Francis de Sales
The third ebook is “Living Jesus” in the Visitandine Spirit - The Spirituality of St Francis de Sales and Other Salesian Thinkers. The wisdom of St. Francis de Sales, carried forward by his spiritual descendants over the centuries, is available in this easy-to-read collection of 25 essays.
The articles in this ebook first appeared as newsletters sent as emails by the Sisters of the Visitation. Spanning a diverse range of topics such as suffering, the love of the Sacred Heart, and vocations, these short articles, along with discussion questions, will shine a supernatural light on the ordinary events of your day.
All three ebooks are available free, in eight different formats, and do not require an email. Go to the Visitation Sisters Free Ebooks.