02 May 2016
02 May 2016

Treasures of the Congregation – Writings of the Founder

by  Jozef Golonka, scj

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The Congregation’s library contains many treasures, spiritual, historical and scientific. Among the spiritual, we can include several printed works of Fr. Dehon our Founder. We can boast of a beautiful collection of the Founder’s writings translated into many different languages: English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, etc…

Father Giuseppe Manzoni, the first director of the Dehon Study Center, in his book on Leon Dehon e il suo messaggio, writes: “The teaching of Father Dehon in his Spiritual books focuses on charity. This is the true originality of Fr. Dehon. His spiritual works are predominantly ‘books on meditation’, born for the concrete needs and to improve the lives of its readers. And ‘Gospel applied to life”. Sometimes we look for extraordinary books for our meditations, but we should also look to our founder. Obviously, his writings are of the nineteenth century, but in them, we can discover and deepen our SCJ spirituality. The value of Father Dehon’s writing was rediscovered by the confreres of the community and retreat house of Clairefontaine in Luxemburgo. They reprinted Father Dehon’s original books on meditation (making a few necessary corrections) : Le Coeur sacerdotal de Jésus ; La Retraite du Sacré-Cœur ; Mois du Sacré-Coeur de Jésus ; Cournnes d’amour au Sacré-Cœur ; and De la Vie d’amour envers le Sacré-Coeur de Jésus.

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Father Dehon was not a spiritual writer, but a spiritual master who taught by his life and by the works that he founded. His spirituality flows mainly from real life, above all from an interior life of deep and intimate dialogue with the Lord. To write and to talk about spirituality can be very easy. It is more difficult to give an example of living. When meditating or making spiritual exercises, the Founder writes about everything. There is no denying his intimacy with the Heart of Jesus, which is one of the characteristics of his spiritual life. His collaboration with God’s grace, serenity and peace can be found in the various meditations. In an age full of individualism and selfishness we Dehonians are called to be bearers of charity and love of Jesus Christ. That love springs from the Heart of Jesus and in his generosity he abundantly pours out his mercy. “The cult of the Heart of Jesus – writes Fr. Dehon – for us it is not a simple devotion but a true renewal of the Christian life and the most important event after the redemption. This thought leads all the efforts of our apostolate and it is, after all, the reason of this magazine “(OSc, I, 7). This is the beauty of our lives as Dehonians: to enter into the depths of the Heart of Jesus which is with full of merciful love and bring it to the church, inserting ourselves into the project of the New Evangelization. That project pushes us to enter the reading on the meditations of Father Dehon’s original texts or the translations. It also gives us the courage to translate writings into various languages.

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I would like to present the efforts of Polish province which has started to translate the writings of Fr. Dehon, especially the Series: Notes Quotidiennes. It has already released the first volume with the title: Zapiski codzienne, tom1 1867-1894. Doing translations of the Founder’s writings offers all the brothers the opportunity to learn more about the personality of our Venerable Father Founder Leo Dehon.

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