It is very difficult to establish the time of summer holidays for members of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Being an international and also intercontinental religious institute, there are different periods of vacation time in the various SCJ provinces. As for the Generalate, which is located in Rome, Italy, holidays take place in the months of July and August; for the students, also in September. During this time, I suggest reading a few books that focus on Dehonian spirituality. The invitation is to make a journey with our Founder; to be good witnesses to the Dehonian charism even in the new places that divine Providence leads us. For many students, holidays are a time to study languages. Reading a book in the language you are studying is a good way to understand the new language better.
The language of our Founder was French. I present to you a book by him reprinted from Clairefontaine’s “Heimat und Mission”, with the title: Couronnes d’amour au Sacre-Coeur, which contains three books of meditations: Incarnation, Vie cachée e vie publicque; La Passion; L’Eucaristie. The books were first published in 1905, when the author was still alive and was able to prepare them himself. In June, these volumes were translated into Polish. In short, we can say that they are three months (January, March and June) of meditations on the path of love towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus in union with its mysteries.
In April, “Heimat und Mission”, published another book on Dehonian spirituality, written by Fr. Michel Simo Tengo, SCJ, a student from the Cameroon Province at the University of Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium, with the title: “La spiritualité dehonienne relue à partir du concept de style”. The book contains three chapters with the following topics:
- – Definition of spirituality and other related terms;
- – The Rule of Life and contemporary debates on Dehonian identity;
- – Theological reading of Dehonian spirituality from the concept of style.
The author presents a new look and a new concept of Dehonian spirituality that is very interesting to address.
A small booklet containing the thoughts of Fr. Dehon for each day of the year was published by the Portuguese Province: Dia a dia com Dehon. Um pensamento por dia do padre Dehon. On the back of the cover we read the summary of the booklet: “The thoughts published here reveal the personality and form of action and thinking of Father Dehon, who dedicated his entire life to building the Kingdom of the Heart of Jesus, reign of mercy, love, justice and peace. In this spirit he founded the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, asking his disciples to bear witness to the love of God to all men and to work for the fraternity and reconciliation of all people”. On the occasion of the jubilee of his 50th anniversary in November, 2019, the Seminary of Our Lady of Fatima in Alfragide, shares with us this book of Father Dehon’s daily thoughts.
The historical aspect of the Congregation, which influences the spiritual growth of its members, is not lacking. Therefore, I present to you a book by Fr. Juan José Arnaiz Ecker, SCJ, a member of the Centro Studi Dehoniani in Rome, entitled: Caminos en la lejania 1915-1925 – first steps of the Dehonian presence in Spain through correspondence of the first protagonists. In practice, the volume contains the collection of correspondence from the first SCJ confreres (Frs. Antonio Jerònimo Roos, Zikke, Foxius) who began apostolic work in Spain. This collection was prepared on the occasion of the centenary of the presence of the Dehonians in Spain enriched by photos relating to the beginning of the mission.
Continuing the story of the life and mission of the Dehonians in the church, we find a publication prepared by the Compagna Missionaria del Sacro Cuore: Mosaico armonioso di relazioni. Memory of Father Albino Elegante, SCJ (1919-2014), founder of the Compagna Missionaria del Sacro Cuore. In the presentation of the book, Anna Maria Berta wrote: “This new publication gives a voice to all those who knew him: members of the Compagna Missionaria, Dehonian confreres and other friends who, through their memory, give us these “pearls”, to help us learn about other aspects and nuances of his life, perhaps unknown to us… This publication is a gift of gratitude to Fr. Albino on the fifth anniversary of his death and on the centenary of his birth. We thank him for this network of relationships that he has been able to weave, and we recognize that through these testimonies our dear Fr. Albino still speaks to us”.
At the end of these presentations of Dehonian books recommended for reading during the summer holidays I want to give you a little book by Fr. Giuseppe Moretti, SCJ. On the back of the cover, the author invites reflection on the faith that drives us to open the book and carefully read his meditations. “Faith is not a commitment we make with God, but it is a commitment that God makes with us. We cannot prevent God from loving us; he will always do it even if we don’t ask him. Faith does not enslave, it sets us free, because God wants us to be free. We can stop believing in God, but God will not stop believing in us because he knows how much we go through… Research, on the level of faith, is a necessity that accompanies us to the door of eternity. “