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The 2024 NASN Film Festival
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Annual Meeting 2023
20 April 2023 – On Monday, April 17th through Wednesday, April 19th, the North American Salesian Network (NASN) held its annual meeting in-person at Embraced by God just outside Niagara Falls, NY with additional members joining virtually via zoom.
This year’s meeting brought together leaders and representatives of many Salesian organizations to discuss furthering NASN’s mission to share resources, educational services, vocational efforts, and more with the ulimate goal of bringing optimistic and joy-filled Salesian spirituality to people throughout North America.
In addition to the in-depth discussions of many topics and ideas, this three day meeting also gave members of NASN the chance to celebrate past accomplishments and help indentify new goals for the future.
Pope to Publish Apostolic Letter on St. Francis de Sales
(Photo by JORISVO/STOCK ADOBE)
By Loup Besmond de Senneville | Vatican City
Article from La Croix International
November 16, 2022
Pope Francis is preparing to highlight another outstanding Christian figure in history worthy of imitation. La Croix has learned that on December 28 the pope will release an apostolic letter on St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), a bishop and spiritual writer many call “the gentleman saint”.
The new papal document will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the saint’s death. A native of Savoy, where he lived a large part of his life, Francis de Sales was appointed bishop of Geneva (Switzerland) but was forced to live in exile in nearby Annecy because of the rise of Protestantism in the Swiss city. He became an important figure in the Catholic Revival or Counter-Reformation, preaching tirelessly on abandonment to God.
Francis de Sales became a priest in 1593 and was opposed to violence all his life, preferring to appeal to charity and witness. He was forbidden to speak after he tried to convince Calvinists to return to the Roman Church, so he decided to print and distribute his sermons to the people of Thonon, a small town about 30 miles down the lakeshore from Geneva. This would earn him the title “Patron Saint of Journalists” in 1923.
The “Sweetness” of Saint Francis de Sales
Francis de Sales founded the Order of the Visitation in 1610 as a place for widows, sick or elderly women who wished to embrace religious life. He was canonized in 1665 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1877.
It may come as a surprise that the Jesuit pope has decided to write a new apostolic letter on Francis de Sales since, up until now, he’s said relatively little about the French saint. However, the pope did make an allusion to him in a message for the 2019 World Day of Peace. Peace “is both interior and communal”, the pope said. “In the words of Saint Francis de Sales, (it is) showing ‘a bit of sweetness towards oneself’ in order to offer ‘a bit of sweetness to others’,” he added. The theme and title of that message was, “Good politics is at the service of peace”, words that would resonate again in a context of war between Ukraine and Russia.
A “Model of Meekness”
In 2018 during his January 24th general audience – which coincided with the liturgical Feast of St. Francis de Sales – the pope also urged young people to take the saint as “a model of meekness” and asked those who are sick to find in him an “encouragement to offer (their) suffering for the unity of the Church of Christ”. Furthermore, the pope invited young married couples to see Francis de Sales “an example for recognizing in (their) family life the primacy of God and his love”.
Pope Francis’ new letter comes one hundred years after Pope Pius XI published Rerum omnium perturbationem (“the disturbance of all things”), a 1923 encyclical that commemorated the 300th anniversary of St. Francis de Sales’ death and proclaimed him the “Patron Saint of Journalists, Editors and Writers”.
Moderation and Charity
“It is Our wish that the greatest fruits should be gained from this solemn centenary by those Catholics who as journalists and writers expound, spread, and defend the doctrines of the Church,” the late pope said.
“It is necessary that they, in their writings, imitate and exhibit at all times that strength joined always to moderation and charity, which was the special characteristic of St. Francis,” wrote Pius XI, fulfilling the promise that his predecessor Benedict XV had made a few years earlier to publish such an encyclical.
The 2022 NASN Film Festival
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International Conference on Saint Francis de Sales
17 May 2022 – (ANS – Rome) – On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the death of Francis de Sales, the Pontifical Salesian University (UPS) is organizing an international conference to celebrate his legacy. St. Francis de Sales influenced the history of spirituality and religious life not only through his writings but also through his own way of life. And not only during his lifetime, but until today, and this is the reason why it is worthwhile to study his legacy for the benefit of today’s Church and spiritual life.
The conference is organized by the Institute of Spiritual Theology of the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical Salesian University. The scientific committee, coordinated by Professor Wim Collin, SDB, unveiled the conference’s official website today. Information about the conference is available on the website, such as the schedule, the speakers with the different talks they will give and the congregations and institutes that will participate in the conference, the possibility to register, and so on.
The congress, which will be held in Rome at the Pontifical Salesian University from 18 to 20 November 2022, consists of two parts: the first part deals with congregations, institutes, and religious societies that have Francis de Sales as their patron and source of inspiration; the second part of the congress studies a wide variety of topics that have their origin in the spirituality, life, and writings of St. Francis de Sales.
All information is available at: https://francescodisales.unisal.it
Annual Meeting 2022
28 April 2022 – On Monday, April 25th and Tuesday, April 26th, the North American Salesian Network (NASN) held its annual meeting in-person at Camp Desales in Brooklyn, MI with additional members joining virtually via zoom.
This year’s meeting brought together leaders and representatives of many Salesian organizations to discuss furthering NASN’s mission to share resources, educational services, vocational efforts, and more with the ulimate goal of bringing optimistic and joy-filled Salesian spirituality to people through North America.
With 2022 serving as the 400th anniversary year of St. Francis de Sales’ death, as well as the 450th anniversary year of St. Jane de Chantal’s birth, members each took time to discuss ways their organizations have been celebrating the Double Jubilee.
Many additional topics were discussed during the three sessions of the meeting and the complete minutes can be found by following the link below.
Annual Meeting 2022 Minutes
Happy Feast Day of the Sacred Heart
Dear Salesian Friends,
Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart to you and your communities. While the Sacred Heart is venerated throughout the Church, there is a unique and special appreciation within our Salesian Family, given the appearances of Christ to St. Margaret Mary and emphasis that our spirituality is enlivened and enriched when “hearts speak to hearts.”
The below reflection was written by Sr. Karen Mohan, VHM, Minneapolis Monastery. It appeared in yesterday’s DeSales Weekly and is forwarded with Sister’s approval. We encourage you to share this with your communities.
All the best,
A Reflection on the Feast of the Visitation
On Monday, many Americans will host family gatherings as we commemorate Memorial Day and honor those who have served and died in the service of our country. This year, the poignant homecomings and family reunions will take on special significance as many families will come together for the first time in over a year, separated as they were by COVID-19 and the pandemic’s isolation and social distancing that has kept them apart.
As members of the Salesian family, we, too, will mark a family reunion on Monday as we join the Visitation Sisters in celebration of their feast day and to honor that special kinship between Mary and Elizabeth. This joy-filled meeting between two holy women confirmed God’s life-giving presence in their lives and it affirms the timeless message that God continues to work in, with, and through us at all times and in every aspect of our lives.
Coming as it does at the end of the school year, in my former role as Head of School at Georgetown Visitation, I often drew inspiration from the Feast Day for my valedictory comments as we sent students off to the exciting challenges of college or the ease of summer break. I would remind them that in the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth we find the core of our faith, the essence of Salesian Spirituality, and a prescription for a life lived well: joy, service, and the responsibility to carry Jesus to others.
In the Gospel account on Monday, Luke tells us that Mary “travels to the hill country in haste.” This would have been an arduous journey for a young woman in the early days of her pregnancy, but there was an urgency for Mary to share her joy and the good news that she was carrying the child who was to be the long-awaited savior with Elizabeth. So, too, was Mary’s wish to be of service to the older Elizabeth who was in her sixth month. Scripture indicates that she stayed with Elizabeth for three months, supporting and caring for her, and one can assume that she was then present at the birth of John the Baptist.
Joy, service, and carrying Jesus to others is not seen simply in the inspiring story of the scriptural Visitation. Rather, the message remains vital and relevant today, affirming the timeless and enduring charism of the Sisters, founded and formed by Francis and Jane. In my time at Georgetown, I experienced these characteristics in the Sisters with whom I was privileged to work with and with those who continue to serve in their legacy and name. I shared in the joy of Sister Anne Marie, the warm smile and hearty laughter of Sr. Mary DeSales, the selfless commitment to service, lived as wife, mother and teacher, of long-tenured faculty member Marian Canney, and the steady leadership and faith-filled vision of Sr. Mary Berchmans as she continues to carry Jesus to the current Visitation community at Georgetown. Each has followed the admonition of St. Francis DeSales, “to keep hearts right, intentions fervent, courage steadfast and trust always fixed on God.” I am confident that my experience is not unique and that this inspired service is at the heart of each Visitation monastery and ministry.
So on Monday, as we remember with appreciation those who have served our nation well, let’s also extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Sisters of the Visitation for joyfully carrying Christ to each of us. This is vividly depicted in the artwork below by Bro. Mickey McGrath, OSFS. Entitled, “The Visitation: Ain Karin to Georgetown,” it could easily be named “Ain Karin to Annecy, Mendota, Brooklyn, Minneapolis, St. Louis” or any other Visitation School or Monastery where the Sisters’ spirit has flourished. The painting hangs in the Nolan Center on Georgetown Visitation’s campus and has inspired students since 1998. Happy Feast Day, Sisters, and to all those who have been touched by your presence.
Annual Meeting 2021
By Fr. John Puntino, SDB
On Monday, April 12 and Tuesday, April 13, the North American Salesian Network (NASN) held its annual meeting via Zoom and in-person at DeSales Retreat Center in Brooklyn, MI.
NASN brings together organizations that share in the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. Visitation Sisters, Oblates of St. Francis de Sales (OSFS), Fransalians (MSFS), Secular Institute of St. Francis de Sales, and many other groups belong to the network. From Don Bosco’s Salesian Family, both provinces of SDBs and FMAs and the three North American Salesian Cooperators provinces hold membership, as well as the Volunteers with Don Bosco.
Over the last few years, NASN has been working toward using the 400th anniversary year of St. Francis de Sales’ death, 2022, to draw attention to his spirituality and apostolic activity. Through the initiative of Fr. Joe Boenzi and NASN, a petition, signed by Fr. Ángel Fernández and the Generals of the OSFS and MSFS on behalf of each organization, has been presented to Pope Francis asking that he write an apostolic letter for the anniversary.
At the meeting, the members agreed to hire Dan Kerns, retired head of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, as coordinator. He will work with NASN’s board and members to advance the goals of sharing resources, “refreshing our North American culture with the spirit of St. Francis de Sales and our Founders” (from the Mission Statement) and obtaining 501c3 status for NASN.
Members also engaged Ian Kinney, director of DeSales Resources and Ministries dba Embraced by God, as media coordinator. His Salesian background, enthusiasm and experience with media, will enable him to make St. Francis de Sales and our member institutes better known among young people.
One of the founding members of NASN, Fr. John Graden, OSFS, died in January of COVID-19. The Monday evening session was dedicated to a memorial for him. May he rest in peace.
The annual meetings ordinarily take place on the Monday to Wednesday following Divine Mercy Sunday. This year, because of the pandemic, it was reduced to a two-day event.
Board of Directors
NASN is pleased to announce those elected officers to serve on the Board of Directors.
President: Fr. Ken McKenna, OSFS (Oblates of St. Francis de Sales)
Vice-President: Fr. John Puntino, SDB (Salesians of Don Bosco)
Treasurer: Ms. Anne Williams (Visitation Salesian Network, Director)
Secretary: Ms. Kathleen Tierney (DeSales Secular Institute, US Director)
Congratulation to our Board of Directors and may God give you the gift of his Spirit to lead us forward in fulfilling the mission of the North American Salesian Network.
The North American Salesian Network held its annual meeting on April 21, 2020 via Zoom. To review the minutes, click here.
The next annual meeting will be held April 12-14, 2021 at DeSales Center, Brooklyn, Michigan.
North American Salesian Network
The North American Salesian Network (NASN) is an organization of both lay and religious groups that live the Salesian teachings of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. NASN facilitates the sharing of Salesian resources, educational services, vocational efforts, and a variety of resources, bringing this optimistic, joy-filled spirituality to people throughout the world.