Saint Francis de Sales, Life and Spirit
Fr. Joseph Boenzi, SDB
Fr. Joe Boenzi’s book,Saint Francis de Sales, Life and Spirit (DeSales Resources, 2013) is the fruit of 16 years of teaching courses on the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) at the Institute of Salesian Studies and DSPT in Berkeley. The comprehensive study introduces the saint as a model and a most lovable companion.
In addition to the life of Francis, Fr. Boenzi includes a masterful section on Francis’s spiritual theology and an account of the saint's influence after his death.
If the main content of the book provides a detailed understanding for the general reader, the appendices offer tools for the researcher: a detailed timeline of Francis’s life parallel to a list of contemporary events; a description of religious communities and lay movements related to Francis and Salesian spirituality; an extensive index of persons and their relationship to the saint. The author’s select bibliography and detailed notes add to this wealth of information.
For many years, Fr. Boenzi has provided scholarship in his preaching and presentations at National Salesian Conferences and other spirituality gatherings. This book contains many of the parenthetical remarks that he has slipped into more formal presentations. This new publication speaks clearly of his extensive knowledge and warm affection for Francis de Sales, his life and his spirit.
"Salesian spirituality, molded by the experiences of Francis de Sales, inculcated by Jane Francis de Chantal, articulated by Jean-Pierre Camus, fostered by Louis Brisson, pastorally relaunched by John Bosco, emphasizes what Vatican II would come to term the universal call to holiness. It is an approach born of common sense. God is sought in the ordinary events of life, where the profane is not separated from the sacred. The spirituality of Francis de Sales and of those who follow his approach to the Gospel is attentive to meeting the spiritual needs of lay men and women and supporting them in their day-to-day commitments in the home, in the workplace, and in society.
These pages are the fruit of spoken sessions and living experiences. I cannot claim to add anything to the great work of so many scholars on themes that derive from Francis de Sales and the Salesian tradition. I can only hope that these pages continue to add to the conversation, allowing people to resonate with Francis de Sales in their own circumstances." Fr. Joseph Boenzi, SDB