The word “Aesthetics” sounds somewhat abstract in English, but it represents a theme that has been explored in European formation and educational circles. Fr. Biesmans uses the term to include education in music, drama and fine arts, as well as physical education through recreation, gymnastics and sport.
A noted Salesian scholar and author, Fr. Desramaut has recently undertaken a work of major proportions, a dictionary of Salesian spirituality. The title of the work is: Les cent mots-clefs de la spiritualite salesienne (One Hundred Keywords in Salesian Spirituality). It is being published in installments in Cahiers Salesiens, the journal of the Center of Salesian Studies in Lyons (France), over which Fr. Desramaut presides. The first installment of the work (containing entries from A to C) is prefaced by an introductory essay on Salesian spirituality. This is the essay which is given here in English as meticulously translated by Fr. Arthur J. Lenti.
From 1863 onwards the Salesian work which arose at Valdocco and through other oratories in Turin began to expand rapidly, as already indicated, through numerous foundations first in Italy—Piedmont, Liguria (no. 18) and then in other regions—and finally in France and Latin America (nos. 21, 24, 25, 27).
Si offre l’edizione critica di sette schemi autografi di predicazione di don Bosco conservati nell’ASC e composti in occasione di alcune feste mariane. Solo due di essi sono datati (3 giugno 1842 e 11 settembre 1864). Altri due, in base alla grafia, possono essere attribuiti ai primi anni di ministero sacerdotale, mentre i restanti appartengono certamente agli anni della maturità. Nonostante la concisione, questi manoscritti contengono alcuni dei punti che caratterizzano il magistero mariano di don Bosco, Continue reading “Aldo Giraudo – Gli appunti di predicazione mariana di don Bosco. Edizione critica”
I sacerdoti allievi del Convitto ecclesiastico di Torino, tra le altre cose, studiavano sacra eloquenza ed erano invitati a comporre un corso completo di meditazioni da usare nelle “missioni” o negli esercizi spirituali al popolo. L’Archivio Centrale Salesiano conserva una parte di queste prove del giovane don Bosco, ognuna con la data di composizione.
The Preventive System in the education of the young (1877) is one of the most important and widespread documents by the founder of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. It is the first more or less complete account—despite its small size—that Don Bosco had put together on his educational approach. It is with this “small treatise” that his reputation as educator and pedagogue became so intimately linked.
Written over several occasions between 1873 and 1875, the manuscript of the Memoirs of the Oratory remained unpublished by Don Bosco’s explicit will. However Fr John Bonetti drew on it abundantly for his History of the Oratory of St Francis de Sales, (which found its way into English under a different title Don Bosco’s Early Apostolate) published as a series in the Salesian Bulletin between 1879 and1886. And Fr John Baptist Lemoyne included it in its entirety in the first volumes of the Biographical Memoirs, adding in other information and anecdotes drawn from other witnesses. The first complete edition of the Memoirs appeared in 1946. The decision to put the book in the public domain in its entirety was motivated by the universal dimension that the Saint has taken on, as Eugene Ceria wrote in the presentation: “Today Don Bosco has become part of history and also been listed among the saints.”
The biographical profiles of Louis Comollo (in the 1854 edition), Dominic Savio, Michael Magone and Francis Besucco are among the spiritual and pedagogical documents which are most representative of Don Bosco’s outlook. From these stories comes a horizon of meaning, a way of thinking and acting thoroughly rooted in his cultural context. At the same time however, beyond historical contingencies, they highlight a range of elements which better illustrate the characteristic features of the saint’s spiritual pedagogy.
The sixth part contains most of what, in Salesian tradition, is known as the “Spiritual Testament”. It is a handwritten notebook entitled Memories from 1841 to 1884-5-6 by Fr John Bosco to his Salesian sons, where the saint, on different occasions, especially in the final years of his life, wrote exhortations and reminders for his disciples, friends, benefactors and Cooperators.
Efforts to reform society along Christian lines, undertaken in the Turin diocese after the fall of Napoleon’s Empire, in addition to taking up systematic parish catechesis once more, fostering popular missions, the Forty Hours and retreats for all kinds of groups, focused above all on reform of the clergy, beginning with more careful selection of candidates for the priesthood and diligent care in their preparation. With this in mind diocesan authorities first reorganised the seminary in the capital (1819), strengthening disciplinary and spiritual aspects, and encouraged the initiatives of Fr Luigi Guala, approving the Rule for the Pastoral Institute [Convitto ecclesiastico] (1821), then extended the seminary at Bra (1824-1825), and finally set up a new seminary in Chieri (1829) in the old house which belonged to the Oratorians (St Philip Neri’s priests), putting trusted formators in charge. The model of formation espoused by the archbishop, the Camaldolese Colombano Chiaveroti (1754-1831), drew its inspiration from priestly ideals belonging to post-Tridentine Catholic tradition, with a strong emphasis on apostolic charity and pastoral sacrifice (the priest had to be a “victima charitatis”). Meanwhile groups of generous clergy, supporting his reform efforts, made themselves available for preaching to the people, the ministry of confessions and spiritual direction, along with some orders and congregations that had been set up once more after the suppression in the French era.