Autori Vari – The practice of meditation in the prayer life of the salesians of Don Bosco. Proceedings of the Seminar on Salesian Meditation

The text discusses the practice of meditation in the prayer life of the Salesians of Don Bosco. This practice emerged from a small seminar on Salesian meditation organized by the Formation Department at San Callisto, Rome, from May 10-12, 2018. The seminar aimed to illuminate the role of meditation in the tradition and life of the Salesians of Don Bosco, providing guidelines for growth in this area.

The idea for the seminar originated from Xabier Blanco, the Rector of the Salesian House in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, during a meeting of the Formation World Advisory Body in February 2016. Given the ongoing review of the Salesian Prayer Manual at the request of the 27th General Chapter, a seminar dedicated to this theme seemed appropriate. The  Department team, including Cleofas Murguia, Silvio Roggia, Francisco Santos, José Kuttianimattathil, and the author, collaborated with Eunan McDonnell, Giuseppe Buccellato, Giuseppe M. Roggia, and Xabier Blanco himself. The seminar unfolded in four stages: the sharing of personal experiences of meditation, illumination of these experiences through the Salesian tradition, a time for exchanging opinions and dialogue, and finally, the synthesis of the results. The text briefly mentions the contributions of Giuseppe Buccellato, Eunan McDonnell, Giuseppe M. Roggia, and Xabier Blanco, through whose intervention the “illumination of experience” took place.


  • Abbreviations and initialisms
  • Introduction
  • Notes for a “brief treatise” on meditation at the origins of the Society of St Francis de Sales
    • Introduction
    • 1. The need for meditation in religious life
    • 2. Meditation is to be distinguished from personal spiritual reading
    • 3. Meditation and progress in the theological virtues
    • 4. Importance of meditation as a daily practice
    • 5. Convenience of doing meditation in the morning
    • 6. Meditation in common or in private
    • 7. Length of meditation
    • 8. Meditation, affective prayer and imagination
    • 9. Importance and usefulness of a method
    • 10. The rendiconto (friendly chat) and meditation
    • Conclusions
  • Learning to meditate with St Francis de Sales
    • What is meditation?
    • Why do we meditate?
    • The practice of meditation
    • How do we meditate?
      • 1. Preparation
      • 2 . Place yourself in the presence of God
      • 3. Focus on the Word of God
      • 4. An Attitude of Listening
      • 5. Conclude with Resolutions and Gratitude
      • 6. Review of Prayer
    • Questions to help the review
    • Difficulties during meditation
    • Why does God make us wait?
    • Troubleshooting
  • Meditation as lectio divina: Sharing a simple experience
    • A small anecdote to begin
    • What kind of lectio divina?
    • The Lectio journey is essentially an educational one
    • The charismatic specific
      • A. Meditatio
      • B. Contemplatio
    • Fraternal collatio
    • Some suggested formation paths
      • A. In the various phases o f early formation
      • B. In ongoing formation
    • Conclusion
  • Three perspectives on the importance of Christian meditation
    • 1. Jesus, the man of “three times”
    • 2. The importance of the “time for prayer”
    • 3. Christian (and Salesian) meditation as a key moment in the time for prayer
      • 1. The importance of “learning to meditate”. The testimony of Pablo D’Ors
      • 2. The power of Christian meditation. Testimony of Pablo D’Ors
  • Conclusion
  • Letter of invitation
  • Letter to Provincials & Formation Delegates
  • Appendix
  • References
  • Logistics
  • The six moments that mark the work of the seminar
    • 1. Sharing of personal experiences (lived reality)
    • 2. Salesian tradition
    • 3. Meditative visit to the Catacombs
    • 4. Diagnosis – Brainstorming
    • 5. Steps for improving meditation – Brainstorming
    • 6. Offering orientations and guidelines

Reference time period: 2016 – 2018

The practice of meditation in the prayer life of the salesians of Don Bosco. Proceedings of the Seminar on Salesian Meditation, edited by Giuseppe Buccellato, Editrice SDB, Roma 2021.

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