The Idea of the Exemplary Salesian in the Twelve Recorded Dreams of St. John Bosco: A Spiritual and Psychological Consideration
Degree: Doctoral Thesis
Programme: Religious Studies
Authors: Ho Ka Fai
Supervisors: Supervisor: Prof. Anna Chan, Emeritus Professor, University of Saint Joseph; Co-Supervisor: Prof. Stephen Mann, Caritas Institute of Higher Education, Hong Kong
This dissertation is an attempt to analyze the twelve selected dreams written or reviewed by St. John Bosco in order to present the notion of an exemplary Salesian. These dreams inspired Don Bosco’s vocation, charism, and dealing with his life’s contingencies and correlate with his pastoral ministry for youth under the social-ecclesiastical context of the nineteenth century. The methodology for this research consists of two approaches: an investigation of their spiritual theology, and Morton T. Kelsey’s approach. In the first part, five dimensions of spiritual theology are explored: (1) the conformity to the truth, (2) the humility and the docility to the Divine will, (3) the discretion and the gravity of seeking the glory of God, (4) the liberty of Spirit with joy, and (5) the guidance of the Spirit. In the latter part, three issues inspired by Kelsey are explored: (1) the personal issue, including the exploration of thought and feeling; (2) the correlation between the dream content and the reality, including images and archetypal symbols associated with experience and memory; (3) the spiritual issue, including one’s openness to God and relation with Him. Through this present research, a model of an exemplary Salesian has been conceptualized, which considers three virtues: health, wisdom, and sanctity. This present study is expected to be beneficial to enhance the faithful’s spirituality. Moreover it is hoped it will provide a healthy stimulus for Salesians to seek to live an excellent Salesian religious life, and to the faithful be devoted Christians in this world as well for the sake of glorifying the Divine mercy.