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Salesian Spirituality

Father Judge High School is grounded in Salesian Spirituality - lived, taught and passed on by St. Francis de Sales, our patron.

A key word to characterize Salesian spirituality is "practical." It developed out of De Sales' experience as the bishop of a small diocese and as an advisor to a wide variety of people who were interested in living out their faith in their daily lives. Much of his advice was given through letters of spiritual direction written in his spare time. These letters were later complied into his classic work, Introduction to the Devout Life, first published in 1609. De Sales' words have stood the test of time. They continue to guide anyone seeking to live out their baptismal commitment. The concepts listed below provide a basic idea of Salesian Spirituality:

1. All people are called to holiness, not just a select few. It is a "heresy" to banish the devout life from any career or lifestyle.

2. Since all people are called to holiness, then the means to achieve that holiness must be readily available. One lives the "devout life" by passionately and joyfully meeting the demands of one's state in life for the love of God. It is not so much what you do in your life but how and for whom you do it. We are called to do the ordinary "passionately well."

3. The devout life is relational. It is in the living out of our relationships in love that one lives the devout life.

4. All is life is to be done through love and nothing through force. Love in this case is an act of the will, not a sentiment of the heart. It is seeing good in another and choosing and acting to make that goodness grow. We should accentuate the positive rather than condemn the negative. We should assume a positive stance towards everyone. "The measure of our love is to love without measure."

5. HUMILITY—living in self-truthfulness about who we are, both positive and negative, and about who God is towards us - is an essential virtue. "Come and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart." A Salesian person is unpretentious, natural and approachable.

6. Humility leads us GENTLENESS towards our neighbor. Because one is so aware of his/her own needs and weaknesses, one extends to another person similar understanding and compassion. Gentleness is not weakness, but rather controlled, directed and loving strength. It might also be described as knowing how to react to life appropriately and proportionately. To quote De Sales: "There is nothing so strong as gentleness and nothing so gentle as real strength."

7. Civility and respect must mark the behavior of a truly "gentle," devout Christian.

8. The PRESENT MOMENT is where a Christian lives life. The past is over. The future is yet to be. "NOW is the time of salvation."

9. Because we have a Savior, we are always OPTIMISTIC. We already know how things are going to end. Sin, death and the things which deny life will not triumph.

10. A truly devout life enhances, not detracts from, ones life. Real devotion never inconveniences others.

11. The devout life is a process. It only happens with grace, perseverance and patience over a lifetime. One is always striving to be devout.

12. Salesian Spirituality is primarily a matter of the conversion of the heart. It is therefore something interior.

13. We are called to be patient with everyone, especially ourselves.

For more information on Saint Francis de Sales and Salesian Spirituality, you can check out the following links to Religious Orders and Congregations who seek to live out and spread Salesian Spirituality:

www.oblates.org (Oblates of St. Francis DeSales)
www.oblatesisters.org (Oblate Sisters of St. Francis DeSales)
www.visitationsisters.org (Sisters of the Visitation)

or contact the De Sales Spirituality Center in Camden NJ at:
http://www.oblates.org/spirituality.