Mission and Spirituality


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Salesianum School educates and develops the whole person based on the teaching of Saint Francis de Sales, whose spirituality can be summarized in “Live Jesus.”

As an independent Catholic secondary school founded by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in 1903, Salesianum challenges young men through dynamic college preparatory and extracurricular programs to live as Salesian Gentlemen devoted to faith, community and service.

School Motto: Tenui Nec Dimittam
(“I have taken hold and will not let go.”)

Direction of Intention 

In his advice on prayer, Saint Francis de Sales describes the Direction of Intention as the heart of his practical spirituality, a simple method of consciously offering to God what we are about to do. It need not be long or formal; one simply and briefly dedicates the action for God and His glory, and determines to accept whatever happens as coming from his kind and loving hand. The following version of the Direction of Intention above is used before all activities at Salesianum: 

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

My God, give me the grace to perform this action
with you and through love for you.
In advance, I offer to you all the good that I may do
and accept all the difficulty I may meet therein.
St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.
St. Jane de Chantal, pray for us

For more information on the Salesian spirituality which guides and directs everything we do here at Salesianum, please click here.

Six Pillars of Salesian Spirituality

Salesianum’s mission statement reflects the belief that the spiritual life of our school community is vital to our educational success. Guided by the teachings of Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane de Chantal, Salesian spirituality is marked by a joy-filled optimism and a gentle approach to the human person that is our guide to educating the whole person. The goal of a Salesianum education is that students emerge from adolescence not only prepared for colleges and careers, but fortified with a spiritual perspective that is meaningful and life-giving. Our spiritual and educational goals are never at odds, but complement one another and are inseparable. This approach not only fosters the spiritual growth of our students in a mature faith, but is also reflected in high academic standards, extracurricular involvement, commitment to moral values, and a close-knit school environment based on a respect for the uniqueness of each person. Every educational program, whether academic or extracurricular, is bound to participate in and contribute to the Salesian mission. Below are six themes that express our educational vision rooted in the Salesian tradition.

1. Salesian Optimism: An Optimistic View of Our Students and the World

There are a lot of reasons to lose hope in this world, but the Salesian view sees God’s presence and goodness everywhere, even when obscured by sin or suffering. For high school students, nothing is more important – and at times, more difficult – than recognizing their own goodness. While the world tells us them they have the wrong looks, the wrong things, and the wrong friends, Francis de Sales offers a different approach. To be happy, we need only be who we are. With so many people desperately seeking to fill emptiness in their lives, our students are encouraged to recognize the goodness within, to strive to be their best selves. Our starting point as educators  is that our students are children of God, and fundamentally good.

Be who you are, and be that person well.  
~ St. Francis de Sales

Live joyously and courageously, never doubting that Jesus Christ is entirely yours.  
~ St. Jane de Chantal

2. Liberty of Spirit: Motivating by Inspiration

Parents, teachers, and coaches may often try to “motivate” young people by hovering over them, critiquing their every move. Nagging, manipulation, and even intimidation – all in the name of achieving results – are considered motivational techniques by some. We all need a push from time to time, but the truly motivated study, practice, and perform because they have learned to love the experience. We all remember the teacher that taught us to love learning or the coach that taught us to love the game. Likewise, Francis and Jane believed that when we do things out of love, inspired by the sheer satisfaction of the moment, we are truly motivated. And that’s the inspiration that can change a young person’s life.

We must do all things through love, and nothing through fear.
~ St. Francis de Sales

Lead others with great expansiveness of heart, fostering in the community a holy liberty of spirit, and banishing the servile spirit of constraint. 
~ St. Jane de Chantal

3. Gentle Strength: Maintaining a Humble and Gentle Spirit

Discipline and respect are critical to any school, but are rarely achieved in a rigid, unfriendly, or unforgiving environment. Francis de Sales is known as the “Gentleman Saint,” and would have had a lot to say about our culture, which seems so often to confuse tough-talking and bullying with real strength. Unlike the brash, and egotistical personalities so often celebrated in our society, we believe that the truly strong individual is humble before God, gentle with others, and patient with self. Willingness to share credit, sensitivity to the quietest voices, inclusive of diverse perspectives and differences, and a commitment to respect the needs of all are hallmarks of a Salesian community in which students learn to foster a humble, gentle, and patient spirit of community wherever they go.

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.
~ St. Francis de Sales

Do everything in a spirit of gentleness and fidelity. Strive to attain your goal in God’s time, not your own.
~ St. Jane de Chantal

4. The Little Virtues: Doing “Little Things” Well

A thoughtful comment. Noticing when a student or colleague is having a bad day. Doing something that needs to be done without being asked. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal believed that while our lives provide few dramatic, defining moments, we have countless opportunities each day to practice “little virtues” such as perseverance and gratitude. While perhaps less heroic in the eyes of the world, our success as human beings is determined more by daily faithfulness than sporadic greatness. Salesianum students learn that being a member of a community has benefits, but also responsibilities best understood as doing the “little things” well. When we are conscientious of doing even the little things with great love, success will follow.

Do ordinary things extraordinarily well.  
~ St. Francis de Sales

We cannot always offer God great things, but at each moment we can offer him little things with great love.  
~ St. Jane de Chantal

5. Spiritual Friendship: Learning with a Personal Approach

Standardized test scores are important, but say nothing about the quality of education in personal terms. We believe that students reach their potential when high school is not reduced to a checklist of requirements. That’s why effective teachers know their students as well as their subject matter. Communicating with teenagers requires more than dispensing information; young people respond to community, relationships, and a sense of belonging. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal knew the importance of speaking “heart to heart” and taking a personal interest in others. And the hallmark of a Salesianum education is providing the personal attention and spirit of community and brotherhood young people need to succeed.

A heart speaks to a heart; lips speak only to ears.
~ St. Francis de Sales

Lead those in your care with an understanding heart.  
~ St. Jane de Chantal

6. Universal Call to Holiness: Everyone Has a Mission

Every class and activity at Salesianum begins with a prayer, the Direction of Intention, to nurture a personal connection to God in the midst of daily activities. For faith to be meaningful, students must integrate religious beliefs with everyday concerns. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal stressed that all are called to holiness – working moms and businessmen, doctors and lawyers, retirees and students. Teaching Salesianum students that they are called by God to make a difference is our most important responsibility, affirming their goodness and challenging them to make the most of the opportunities they have been given. This is our educational mission and vision for life, shared with our students during their high school years and entrusted to them as they go forth to chart their futures, bringing faith, hope, and love to a world in need. 

We all have a vocation. We must believe that God has called us to fulfill a special mission that no one else can accomplish.
~ St. Francis de Sales

Let all your difficulties increase your courage and trust in the Lord.  
~ St. Jane de Chantal