Sacred Study Circle, Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales

Jan 13, 2013Feb 24, 2013
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Paul Mankowski, SJLumen Christi Institute


Sacred study is the prayerful and attentive reading of a work with the initial goal of understanding it, the intermediate goal of reflectively appropriating it, and the final goal of making its teaching concrete in a life devoted to God. Sacred study is study because it puts ques­tions to the text, as an apprentice questions the master, so as to come to grips with the deeper meanings. With these aims we will study St. Francis de Sales’s Introduction to the Devout Life this winter quarter. In this classic work of spirituality the reader is presented with counsels and practices to aid him in deepening his hunger for God while overcoming the obstacles that impede his progress in moral integrity and spiritual wisdom.

The Sacred Study Circle will meet weekly, covering a minimal amount of text each week. Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J., scholar-in-residence at the Lumen Christi Institute, will guide participants in a reflective discussion of the text. Each session will meet at Gavin House, 1220 East 58th Street on Mondays from 4-5PM. While participants are encouraged to attend every session, this is not required. Copies of the book will be provided. We will be using the 400th Anniversary Edition, Eremitical Press, 2009.



January 14: Counsels concerning the soul’s first aspiration to the devout life.
(Pt.1, Ch.6-22, pp.26-51)

January 21: Counsels concerning the soul’s firm resolution to pursue the devout life.
(Pt.2, Ch.1-9, pp.55-66)

January 28: Counsels concerning the practice of virtue.
(Pt.3., Ch.1-5, pp.91-106,119-126)

February 4: Counsels concerning poverty of spirit amid riches.
(Pt.3, Ch.14-16, 37-38, pp.127-133, 175-178)

February 11: Counsels concerning true and false friendship. (Pt.3, Ch.17-22, pp.133-146)

February 18: Counsels concerning commonly experienced temptations.
(Pt.4, Ch.1-10, 13-14, pp.191-204, 209-219)

February 25: Counsels concerning renewal of the soul in devotion.
(Pt.5, Ch.1-6, 18, pp.223-230, 240-241)

Sacred study is intended for university students and faculty. Please contact Mark Franzen at with any questions.

Paul Mankowski, SJ, is the Scholar-in-Residence at the Lumen Christi InstituteA native of South Bend, Indiana, and a member of the Society of Jesus, he has an A.B. from the University of Chicago, an M.A. from Oxford, and a PhD in Semitic Philology from Harvard University. He taught for many years at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and has published in the areas of language, theology, and the biblical text.