RMG – Francis de Sales Missionary

24 October 2022

(ANS – Roma) – We have reached the fifth and last video in the series fostered by the Sector for Formation of the Salesian Congregation and realised by the Centre for Youth Pastoral Care and Social Communication of the ICP province in Piedmont, for the ongoing formation on St Francis de Sales' spiritual and pastoral heritage, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of his death: Francis de Sales MISSIONARY. It is a form of accompaniment we receive from our saint, most appropriate for this month of October, which will have for us yet another day of grace in November, where on the 11th we will commemorate the 127th anniversary of the first expedition of Salesian missionaries to Patagonia.

The video is filmed in the Chablais, the land that saw Francis, just a year after his ordination as priest, embark on an extremely difficult and risky mission, to which he dedicated all of himself. It became for him a time of formation where the hidden seed bore much fruit. The characteristics that Don Bosco most intensely wants to make his own by imitating St. Francis de Sales and desires them to be part of our way of life come mainly from the formidable "inter gentes" formation that Francis lived as a missionary in the Chablais.

“It was here in these lands that the motto so dear to Don Bosco was born: ‘Da mihi animas cetera tolle’”.

“In the Eucharist, Francis prepared his heart to become a missionary. This is the only way to explain why he would gain so many conversions over four years.”

“This is also where Salesian gentleness grew to maturity: precisely in the relationship with Reformed Christians whom he approached and called ‘brothers’ … It was a decidedly delicate approach so as not to upset them, including the clothes he wore. … One member of the clergy, seeing his very respectful attitude towards the reformed Protestants, objected: ‘Bishop, these are apostates, they are lost, unworthy of your attention.’ And he replied: ‘Alas, there is only God and us to love these poor sinners! Do you want me to forget that they are my little lambs, or that I cease to weep over those for whom Jesus Christ shed all his blood? Let those who love severity turn away from me, because I want nothing to do with them’”.

The conclusion of this last video is a "strenna" within this year's Strenna: a word that goes straight from the heart of Francis to the heart of all of us who bear his name. These are also the last two lines of Fr Michele Molinar and Fr Livio Demarie, whom we sincerely thank for this precious service of animation rendered to Salesian presences around the world during these months in 2022.

“Let us end this five-part Salesian tour by focussing on a few words of St Francis de Sales. Just a few words whereby Francis gives us a glimpse of his inner self and leads us to the roots of his proverbial Salesian gentleness and loving-kindness: ‘When I was consecrated Bishop, God took me from myself to take me to Himself, then gave me to the people, that is, He converted me from being for myself to being for others’”.

As for the previous videos, the original in Italian was produced in voice-over for the other main languages: video IT, video EN; video ES; video FR; video PT (watchable and downloadable from the respective hyperlinks).

Those interested in the text can download it from the following hyperlinks: text IT, text EN, text ES, text FR, text PT.

Those who wish can access the folders SFDS 01, SFDS 02, SFDS 03, SFDS 04, SFDS 05 containing all the videos and texts in the series.

AN IMPORTANT REMINDER: from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 November, the Congress entitled "Saint Francis de Sales: Posterity, Spirituality, Pedagogy" will take place at UPS: https://francescodisales.unisal.it 


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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