Official title : Society of St Francis de Sales
Alternative title : Salesians of Don Bosco
Date founded : 18 December 1859
Founder : St. John Bosco
Salesians : 15,298 (14,603 without novices and bishops)
Countries : 132
Regions : 07
Provinces : 86
Salesian Fam. Groups : 30
Who are the SALESIANS?
St. John Bosco began his work with a religious community of Brothers and Priests, known as the Salesians of Don Bosco.
The Salesian Sisters, officially known as the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, is a Catholic religious community of women founded by St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello and St. John Bosco.
Don Bosco also established a group called the Salesian Cooperators. The cooperators are lay men and women who live the spirituality and ministry of the Salesians. They bring the Church to their lives in the workplace, the home and society.
Don Bosco’s Past Pupils are men and women who as young people attended a Salesian school, club or parish, and like the Cooperators live the Salesian Spirit in the workplace, the home and society.
What do SALESIANS do?
All Salesians minister to young people through schools, parishes, youth centers, in a word, wherever young people can be found. It is our mission to be signs and bearers of God’s love for the young.
Don Bosco wanted us Salesians to use all of our energy and creativity to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to youth through Salesian Youth Ministry.
How did it get started?
It all began with a young priest, John Bosco. Now he is St. John Bosco, but the kids called him Don Bosco. In Italy where he began his ministry priests are called “Don”. Today we still refer to him as Don Bosco.
Starting with a handful of teenagers in 1841 Don Bosco soon had several hundred kids coming to him on Sundays for Mass, religious instruction and an afternoon of recreation. They met wherever he could find enough space mostly in vacant lots. Don Bosco called this informal Sunday gathering the Oratory. Some of the kids were homeless and all of them were poor.
“Do you want to help Don Bosco?” he asked some of the youngsters. From these young volunteers came the Salesians, a religious community of brothers and priests dedicated to youth ministry. First there were 18 “Salesians” ranging in age from 16 to 22 years of age.
Later, a Parish Priest, Fr. Pestarino, approached Don Bosco telling him of a small group of young women who were interested in forming a community dedicated to the care of young people. He met the leader of the group, Mary Mazzarello. After much discussion and planning Don Bosco and Mary Mazzarello established the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Today Mary is St. Mary Mazzarello.
Today the Salesians of Don Bosco number 15,700 Brothers and Priests and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians number 15,000 Sisters. They serve over 120 countries. They dedicate their lives to the care and education of young people by bringing the Gospel of Jesus to the world.