In today's fast-paced secular world, the St. Francis de Sales Association connects people on spiritual journeys locally and globally. Through reflection, prayer and community we seek a deeper relationship with God and a more active practice of love, attempting to live our lives more closely attuned to the profound words and life of St. Francis de Sales.
What are the requirements for applicants?
The association receives Catholic women whether single, married or widowed, separated or divorced and not remarried, who are living according to the teachings of the Church.
How does one join the association?
Traditionally, one is invited by an existing member ("associate"), who recognizes in you qualities or unmet spiritual needs and desires to share the possibilities of the association with you. Indications that this is right for you are: the desire to read the Scriptures and pray more, frequent attendance at Mass and a love of learning more about the Roman Catholic faith, its teachings and history. When one does not know someone who is already an associate, you can be put in contact with one, who will get to know you, or you may get to know your pastor and ask him to propose you. There is a written application, which is usually submitted on your behalf by an associate.
The next step
Prospective members of the association begin with a 3-month period of prayerful meditation called the aspirantship. As an "aspirant," you will be assigned a companion, a spiritual friend to accompany you on your journey. During this time, it is important to make a prayerful decision about whether God is calling you to Salesian spirituality. If you decide to continue, the next step is the process of formation.
The time of formation
St. Francis de Sales recognized how easily we can be overwhelmed by our need to to grow in many directions at one time. This is especially true today! Therefore, the association offers a 2-year program of formation that focuses on our unique series of written booklets known as "probations" supplemented by the Catholic church's Vatican Council II teachings, writings of St. Francis de Sales, and association history. Probations are more than readings: they require reflection, prayer, and meditation on aspects of the love of God, virtues and the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. Monthly contacts with your companion help to understand and assimilate what you are learning into your everyday life.
Upon completion of your time of formation, you decide if you want to commit, through a Salesian consecration, to living the family spirit of the association. If you choose to do so, you then become a member of the St. Francis de Sales Association. As Salesians, we freely give and consecrate our lives to God.
Living as a spiritual family
St. Francis de Sales reminds us that we are called to holiness in the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives. The association provides a practical means of living a life devoted to God with a family of spiritual friends, united by the bond of love, to support us along the way. Our family spirit is nourished by monthly gatherings, contact with our companions, days of recollection, and annual retreats.