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Institute of Salesian Studies

Salesian formation for the life and hope of the young.

The Institute of Salesian Studies (ISS) is an unincorporated entity affiliated with the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. ISS students register for their academic studies at DSPT, and DSPT students benefit from access to the courses offered by ISS faculty.

As a ministry of the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Institute of Salesian Studies is dedicated to the ongoing formation of the Salesian Family for the life and hope of the young. To make this hope a reality, the ISS provides a place to study Salesian spirituality for mission in community, a place of personal growth.  

The ISS offers many different programs for the fulfillment of its Salesian mission. DSPT and GTU students are encouraged to learn more about the Institute and its full offerings through the ISS website.

See ISS website

DSPT and GTU students may benefit from particular opportunities:

  • Several regular and occasional course offerings
  • A Salesian Studies area of concentration for DSPT students
  • Weekly “Institute Days” dedicated to spirituality and personal development
  • A four-part series of day-long retreats dedicated to spiritual direction and personal growth


ISS faculty offer several regular courses which cover the historical, spiritual, and pastoral dimensions of the Salesian tradition. DSPT and GTU students are encouraged to avail themselves of these excellent courses. Additionally, DSPT students enrolled our MA (Theology) programs can choose Salesian Studies as their Area of Concentration.

Course Offerings

  • Don Bosco: History and Spirit 
  • Don Bosco’s Social, Cultural, Political and Religious Environment 
  • Don Bosco’s Vision of Education as Ministry 
  • Educational Leadership
  • Meaningful Living: A Pastoral/Psychological Study 
  • Preventive Leadership 
  • Salesian Family: Identity and Charism 
  • St Francis de Sales: Life and Spirit 

ISS Faculty

  • Joe Boenzi, SDB, DSPT Professor of Theology
  • Alexander Rodriguez, SDB, DSPT Adjunct Professor
  • Joseph Thannickal, SDB, DSPT Adjunct Professor


Institute Days

It is mainly through the Institute Days that the ISS is able to offer opportunities for spirituality experiences beyond the academic curriculum. These take place weekly on Institute Days – non academic days at the GTU that allow affiliated Institutes to offer specialized programs and process oriented in-services, retreats, and similar presentations.

ISS Wednesdays carry forward programs in human and spiritual growth, including work in the areas of personality development, community issues, spirituality and direction, prayer styles, wellness and ministry. Some of these sessions take the form of workshops or seminars; others grow out of community experiences of prayer, and discernment.

Personal Growth and Spiritual Direction

In order to open the discussion on Spiritual Direction, both in terms of personal experience and training, the ISS works with the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California, to develop a four-part series of day-long retreat days for personal growth. These take place over the course of the year.

  • The first centers on “Religious Experience,” in an attempt to offer a way of listening and recognizing God at work in daily experiences.
  • The second traces our “Personal Mythology” as a way to interpret encounters and events that shape us as persons.
  • The third part concentrates on “Personal Journey” and asks how we experience God in those circumstances, dealings and workings that have brought us to this time of our lives.
  • The Spiritual Direction series concludes with a day dedicated to “The Christ Story,” in a way that might make sense to the people among whom we minister.