Maria Maul, FMA
Yohannes Wielgoβ, sdb
The fame of the extraordinary activity of the priest Giovanni Bosco in Turin, going beyond the Alps, had already penetrated into German circles during his lifetime. The publications of the works of D'Espiney (1883) and of Du Bois (1885) are tangible testimonials, in translations from Italian or French.
As an example, the reasons and developments that favored the promotion of the Salesian charism and, linked to this, the insertion of the Salesians and of the Sisters of Don Bosco in the German-speaking cultural sphere should be indicated.
The German author and Steyl missionary, Johannes Janssen, in 1885 presented a biography of the Turin priest. To this publication the young priest of Regensburg Johann Baptist Mehler, as an eyewitness to Valdocco, had affixed a preface in which he suggested with what hope he wished to resume the charism of Don Bosco in Germany. He was in close relationship with social Catholicism and recognized in Don Bosco's pastoral and social activity the most suitable means for solving the social question. A first step towards the targeted dissemination of knowledge about Don Bosco's charism was staged during the 32nd General Assembly of German Catholics from August 30th to September 3rd 1885 in Münster. According to the data he provided, in these days he succeeded in raising 110 Salesian Cooperators.
In the political discourse around the confessional and secular orientation of the school Catholic associations of teachers and teachers were formed in Germany. Don Bosco's educational achievements, which had become public domain, had awakened the interest of these circles; they stimulated scientific debates with Don Bosco's educational system: among them we can list Leonhard Habrich, Lorenz Kellner, Josef Göttler, Franz X. Weigl. On a more practical and spiritual level there were the discussion circles called "Don Bosco Circles", like those of the group of teachers born in Solingen (Wald) around the master Franz Gustav Sina (1840 - 1900). Normally these people also belonged to the circle of Salesian cooperators.
In Tyrol in July 1887 in the newspaper "Neue Tiroler Stimmen" a series of articles appeared on the famous Italian priest with the title "Don Bosco, das pädagogische Weltwunder der Gegenwart" ( Don Bosco, worldwide pedagogical miracle of the present ), articles that made known to many people in Austria the educational achievements of the priest-educator of Turin.
From 1877 Don Bosco published a newspaper with which he proposed to liaise with friends and supporters of his work. This sheet - "Salesian Bulletin" - referred above all news from the Salesian missions.
From 1879 it was also published in French. Until 1895 in the German-speaking area, its content was accessible only to people who were experts in languages of a high cultural level.
Mehler had asked Don Bosco in vain to make a German edition, printed in Turin with the title "Salesianischen Nachrichten" with a circulation of 20,000 copies. It was sent free of charge to registered Salesian cooperators, but intentionally was also made accessible to potential multipliers as editors, priests and teachers. The knowledge of the Salesian charism found a further diffusion through the reports from the Salesian houses, the news on the new foundations, on the activity of the congregation in the missions in South America, in Asia and Africa, with the popular presentations from the biography of Don Bosco and the community of the Salesian Cooperators. As an indicator for the rooting of the Salesian forms of piety in the people, the reproduction can be evaluated in the Salesian Bulletin
The Sisters of Don Bosco (FMA) were clearly underrepresented in the reports of the Salesian Bulletin. In the letters of the Rector Major to the Salesian Cooperators at the beginning of the year they were mentioned with their new foundations. They were present visually on some photos from the missions and in the graphic layout of each cover of a file. Among the flourishing of the church press, the Salesian Bulletin conquered a remarkable position - also favored by the love for reading society at the end of the century.
The German foundation of the "Don-Bosco-Instituts S. Bonifacius", which was very successful, gave an essential push towards the rooting of the Salesian charism in the German-speaking territories. As early as 1895 the Salesian Bulletin mentioned the "Work of Mary Help of Christians for late deliveries", founded by Don Bosco, which Fr Rua was able to develop, from modest beginnings in Foglizzo (1897 - 1899) and Cavaglià (1899 - 1900) and finally in Penango (1900-1910), in a thriving institution for German-speaking aspirants. In 1912 it was moved to Wernsee and during the First World War to Unterwaltersdorf near Vienna. Of the 700 or so late vocations that have passed through this institution, 200 have entered the congregation,
The first contacts of the founder of the Salesian Congregation with the citizens of the then Austro-Hungarian monarchy probably dated back to the years between 1860 and 1879. Because of the good reputation of the Salesians, who on many sides were required to lead educational works in the spirit of Don Bosco, branches arose relatively early in the territory of the monarchy outside the German-speaking area: in 1887 in Trento, 1892 in Miejsce (eastern Galicia), 1895 in Gorizia, 1898 in Oswiecim and Trieste, 1901 in Laibach, 1904 in Daszawa.
In Vienna towards the end of the 19th century, the precarious situation of children and young people was taken very seriously and treated scientifically in several congresses. One of the fruits of these congresses was the foundation of the „Kinderschutzstationen“ (Child Protection Centers) association. The founders, in particular the well-known Jesuit Father Heinrich Abel, had introduced a new mentality in Viennese society with the slogan “Zurück zum praktischen Christentum” ( Return to practical Christianity). Fr. Abel and with him numerous active Christians gave moral and material support to those orders that operated in view of a social change of society. The Salesians, in the Christian circles of Vienna, were esteemed as a modern congregation that tried to give concrete answers to the problems of the young.
Thus, in the autumn of 1903, the Salesians took over the direction of a kindergarten with 120 children in the Vienna Sector. But however, as conflicts soon arose with the leadership of the Association, in 1906 the Salesians put an end to the collaboration with the Association for the Protection of Children (Kinderschutzverein) and in the following years they built their first educational institution in the 3rd Sector, which was inaugurated in 1910 with different sections. Following the example of Valdocco, it became the "mother house" of the Salesian work in Austria, which developed considerably with the rise of various associations and a private gymnasium.Pastoral of the metropolis ). In it, Prof. Swoboda presented the Salesians as a highly modern congregation suitable for pastoral care in large cities, especially in the neighborhoods inhabited by the proletariat. A second foundation on Austrian territory - started in 1914 and conceived as a formation house for late German-speaking vocations - remained blocked at the beginning due to the war and only after the war could it resume its original purpose with great economic problems.
With the call to arms of confreres, novices and aspirants, with death at the front, abandonments and forced interruptions of formation, the war had caused painful gaps in the young consistency of the personnel. However, thanks to the far-sighted planning of Don Michele Rua, a number of requests from ecclesiastical institutions and supplications from Salesian Cooperators could be granted to take over the management of institutions to help youth. In the first decade after the world war the Salesians established themselves in Germany: in 1919 in Passau, Bamberg, München and Freyung, in 1920 in Burghausen and Ensdorf, in 1921 in Essen, in 1923 in Regensburg, in 1924 in Marienhausen, in 1925 in Helenenberg and Galkhausen, in 1926 in Buxheim, and in 1927 in Wiesbaden. In Austria they opened houses in Vienna Stadlau (1919), Wien-Unter St. Veit (1921), Fulpmes (1921), Graz (1921), Amstetten (1925), Jagdberg and Linz (1928). The first foundation in the German Kingdom took place in Würzburg in 1916, where, despite the prohibition of branches of religious communities, with the help of influential Salesian Cooperators of the Würzburg clergy, the setting up of a home for apprentices could be made possible. The good reputation of the social and charitable work of Giovanni Bosco and his young religious community - supported by the press and visits to Valdocco - had moved representatives of social Catholicism to convince the Salesians especially for the solution of the problem of apprentices. Taking into account the relatively rapid spread of the Salesian congregation within the Habsburg monarchy,
A first initiative to include the Sisters of Don Bosco in the German-speaking regions was started by Mother General Sr. Caterina Daghero, who had discussed her intention in May 1920 with the inspector Dr. August Hlond. The inspector in July 1920 made a request on the possible reception of the sisters in the Archdiocese of Vienna to Cardinal Gustav Piffl.
Although he gave his approval fundamentally, the Sisters of Don Bosco had to first set foot in Germany, that is, again in the jubilee year 1922, shortly after the first biography of Maria Mazzarello, edited by Clara Commer, a German author of religious literature, lived for many years in Vienna and Graz. The Rector Major Don Filippo Rinaldi himself, on the occasion of the jubilee year 1922 had invited the sisters to extend their works also to Germany, Poland, Russia, China, India and Australia.
Indeed in November of the same year the first German foundation in Essen-Borbeck was made possible, mediated by the Salesians who placed at the disposal of the sisters the space to erect an internship for girls. Since the hundreds of girls who daily attended both the oratory and the kindergarten, but also the sewing school of the nuns, many candidates for the congregation, the then Italian superior, Sr. Alba De Ambrosis, soon came out. later he was a visitor and inspector of Germany and Austria, and in 1924 he opened a formation house in Eschelbach in Bavaria.
The third house of the nuns was opened due to the fact that in 1928 the Salesian inspector Fr. seven years.
In the following decade the Sisters of Don Bosco erected, often alongside the Salesians, for whom in various places they also took on domestic activities, their areas of activity with typical works such as kindergartens, boarding schools, oratories and sewing schools clearly intended for groups of children and girls.
Looking at the beginnings of the presence of the Salesian Sisters in Austria, it is particularly striking that until the Second World War, only in isolated cases the Austrians had found the way to enter the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. All the specifically constructive work in the founding phase in Austria was provided for the most part by Italian and German nuns. While in Germany the nuns could also set foot in large cities such as München, Ingolstadt and Regensburg, in Austria they managed to fit in with foundations in small towns and suburbs. Although before the outbreak of the Second World War it was possible to start operations in the two regional capitals Linz and Klagenfurt, however a foundation in Vienna, despite several attempts made twenty years earlier, was only possible in 1950, in Vienna XI Hasenleiten. Most foundations are due to mediation or at least to the influence of the Salesians.
In the manifold and traditional landscape of the congregation, the Sisters of Don Bosco have entered modestly and, faithful to their charism, almost exclusively devoted to the care of children and young people. However, the undoubted social tendency towards really poor and abandoned children and girls was present to a great extent. Precisely this fact has always been appreciated both by the facilities but also by the local civil and ecclesiastical authorities.
The events of the war did not allow the centenary of Don Bosco's birth to be celebrated effectively, however, Leonhard Habrich took advantage of the occasion of the anniversary to collect his previous publications in a new editorial form entitled “ Aus dem Leben und der Wirksamkeit Don Boscos "(From the life and activity of Don Bosco) spreading them in the book market with a circulation of 3000 copies. And because at the end of the war the edition was sold out, followed by a second one in 1924 with 6000 copies.
The German Salesian Bulletin reproduced the decree of the Congregation of Rites on the beatification and canonization of the venerable Servant of God Giovanni Bosco of 24 July 1907, flanked by the unusual beatification of the beatification already in 1929 and the canonization in 1934. Peter Dörfler, priest, writer and director of an orphanage in Munich, in the April issue of the magazine "Hochland" appreciated the canonization with a contribution introducing it with these words: "you will not hear a foreign name , as sometimes happens in the Canonizations ”. Dörfler had studied the existing bibliography on Don Bosco in Germany and had documented himself in Turin. Now he concluded his considerations on the name of Don Bosco: "The name meant a work mediated by poor John, a spiritual attitude, an educational system and then also houses of education, a large community in continuous expansion - Don Bosco has become a brand that has matured to become a high value, especially in post-war Catholic youth ministry in Germany. Dörfler underlined the fact that there was a respectable reputation of the Salesian apostolate even without the repercussions of a canonization. Personally he was busy giving lectures on Don Bosco in the "Quickborn" youth communities that were inspired by Romano Guardini. a large, ever-expanding community - Don Bosco has become a brand that has matured to become a high value, especially in Catholic youth ministry in post-war Germany. Dörfler underlined the fact that there was a respectable reputation of the Salesian apostolate even without the repercussions of a canonization. Personally he was busy giving lectures on Don Bosco in the "Quickborn" youth communities that were inspired by Romano Guardini. a large, ever-expanding community - Don Bosco has become a brand that has matured to become a high value, especially in Catholic youth ministry in post-war Germany. Dörfler underlined the fact that there was a respectable reputation of the Salesian apostolate even without the repercussions of a canonization. Personally he was busy giving lectures on Don Bosco in the "Quickborn" youth communities that were inspired by Romano Guardini.
The extended festivities throughout Germany and the youth demonstrations on the occasion of the canonization in the years 1934/1035 with a high number of participants, as an expression of the spirit of revolt against National Socialism and also the extensive reports in newspapers and magazines close to the church, favored the popularity of the new saint. In the difficult situations of the national-socialist dictatorship Don Bosco, for many youth groups the Catholics, had become an icon as opposed to the cult of the Führer, touted by National Socialism.
The extraordinarily high number of entries into the novitiates of the Salesians and the almost unknown Sisters of Don Bosco in Germany, present with just four houses each in Germany and Austria must be considered as a clue that, with the canonization of Don Bosco, also the work of its communities had become a project of life worthy of consideration for the young generations.
In Germany and also in Austria with the "Anschluss" to the German Reich in 1938 the activity with the children and the young ended under the measures hostile to the Church of the national-socialist power. Legislation oriented towards state ideology, state police regulations and arbitrariness as well as complaints left no possibility for the free development of Salesian pedagogical work. Closures and expropriation of houses followed, the brothers were forced to reside in other regions, while some were banned from doing business. Young confreres had to live for weeks away from their communities, engaged in mandatory state services. The order was forbidden to accept candidates in the novitiate.
From the autumn of 1939 it was the war that dominated the development of the communities of the province. Calls to the military stop interrupted the formative processes of the confreres who were studying, the generation of young priests was forced into the health service. The nuns worked in the lazarets or in the packaging of goods important for the war.
On May 8, 1945, Germany capitulated without conditions, war actions were interrupted, but the devastation of the war still weighed on the Salesian labor camps for years. 150 German brothers of the young generation lost their lives, others had to wait years to be released from the prison of war, still others had been traumatized by the events of the war. Because of these factors, tensions of difficult solution sometimes developed within the communities.
Outside the Sisters and Salesians were confronted with the pressing tasks of rebuilding houses destroyed by war and the conditions of a largely canceled economy. Don Bosco's charisma had to address the current needs of a youth disoriented by war: war orphans, victims of flight and dispersion, homeless and out of work. While the Salesians had taken care of apprentices before the war in six houses, after the war twelve new foundations were set up in the industrial regions in order to serve as a boarding school. This expansion led in 1954 to the decision to divide the province into two: a North and a South.
The numerous entries by the Sisters and their new post-war foundations, geographically dispersed both in Germany and in Austria, led to the decision that the visitatoria of the Sisters of Don Bosco existing since 1931 was transformed in 1946 into an autonomous Province and then in November 1954 it was further subdivided into a German Province based in Munich and an Austrian Province with a provincial headquarters in Stams in Tyrol. Many German nuns continued to be part of the Austrian province and in turn the Austrian ones had received their religious formation in Germany.
The achieved autonomy of the provinces also led to the emergence of new areas of apostolate. It was especially with the purchase of Rottenbuch's house in 1950 and the opening of a school of home economics in Linz in 1958 that the Sisters marked an important step in the direction of the typical Salesian vocational training for girls and young women.
Nevertheless for a long time the style of life and the apostolate of the Sisters of Don Bosco remained marked by the Italian mentality. While the Salesians already headed a German inspector in 1922, in Austria only in 1972 - after 50 years of Italian management - the first Austrian nun was appointed as provincial.
Among the students of the theological studentate of Benediktbeuern, in the context of the discussions on the totalitarian education of youth in the national-socialist state, a group was formed with the aim of presenting Don Bosco as a model figure of educator for this time: the " Werkkreis für Fest und Feier "(Working circle for the party and the celebrations), but their hopeful beginning, in 1936/27 was very soon interrupted by the participation in the war and the death of several protagonists.
Under the impression of the devastation of the Second World War, at the end of 1945, resumed the instances of the aforementioned group, in Munich the " Werkkreis der Salesianer " (Salesian Work Circle) which intended however to broaden horizons. Some propositions of the programmatic appeal explain this opening on the Congregation: “Youth appeals to us Salesians, like never before. When was our work ever more similar to Don Bosco's activity than today? "
Above all, we feel that in many places, from conversations and letters, living forces are coming out of our own rows that through the „Salesian Work Circle“ can play a decisive part in the educational and religious-spiritual tasks of our congregation ”.
Overcoming the devastation of the everyday life we have mentioned (reconstruction, institution or new homes, sustenance and supply problems, conflicts within communities, as well as between generations, and relations with the confreres who returned from the war and with those who, dispersed by war or persecution, lived in isolation) have absorbed many forces and have not allowed to think beyond the everyday. Added to this are certain prejudices and misunderstandings on the part of the general management of Turin with regard to German situations, which compromise the relationship of trust.
For a future-oriented rethinking, " Linie " is proposed , an internal communication sheet, cyclostyled, which arose at the beginning of the 1960s among Benediktbeuer's students, which aimed to analyze, in dialogue between confreres, the "Closures of the past" and that he would have liked to have reached an open debate on the tasks of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Germany in the field of youth ministry.
This initiative has brought a considerable boost to the development of the Benediktbeuern student residence and to new starting points for inserting Don Bosco's pedagogy and pastoral care in the context of the Catholic Church in Germany and Austria.
As a fundamental principle for this new orientation of Don Bosco's charism, the second document of the XX General Don Bosco Chapter in the Oratory is valid within the Congregation. Permanent criterion for the renewal of Salesian action ".
(Translated from the German by Giuseppe Tabarelli)
Waldemar Witold Żurek, sdb
From the cradle of the Salesian Congregation of Turin they arrived in 1898 in Polish territory in Oświęcim - in the Galicja of that time - the first Polish Salesians, where they organized the first house of the congregation: the Don Bosco Institute. Already a year later, in the rented building (temporary institution) they welcomed first students. In the following years at the Oświęcim Institute the Salesian fathers organized the gymnasium (1900), the vocational school, the Salesian novitiate (1903) and, again, the center of seminar studies. At the same time they carried out the pastoral service in the church, before the Dominicans, restored from the ruins, which was dedicated to Saint Mary Help of Christians of the Christians. In Oświęcim, from 1905, the seat of the superior of the Province of the Holy Guardian Angels was established. From there the Salesians left for the new houses of the congregation - more precisely the Institutes in Galicja (Daszawa 1903, Przemyśl 1907, Kraków - in which the chaplain of the house of refuge had come from 1911), where they began their pastoral activity and educational - didactic among poor male youth. The history of the origins of the congregation in Poland and the links with Turin are a confirmation of theSitz im Leben of Salesian work in Poland. Around Oświęcim the main motivations of the subsequent work of the Salesians were concentrated, both with regard to the structures of schools, educational institutions, programs introduced in them, general and vocational education, socio-religious training and personnel as well as teachers, students, past pupils united in the Association of Salesian Past Pupils.
The chronological framework of the present paper includes the teaching-educational activity of the Salesians in Poland in the period between the two world wars: the first and the second, that is, in the times of the Second Republic. After the First World War, the new political order and international relations based on completely new principles were created in Europe. In the division of the borders of the future Europe a supreme principle was taken into consideration: the right of nations to self-determination of their own destiny and the territorial radius of a nation must indicate the surface of the State. Thus also the Polish state after 123 years of slavery reappeared in 1918 on the political map of Europe. The temporal term of the present paper is the second half of the year 1939 with the outbreak of the Second World War and the occupations of Poland: German and Soviet. This caused the suspension of the teaching activity of the Salesians in Poland. The geography of the Salesian schools included the entire state of the Second Republic of Poland with a lower density in the centers on the so-called Eastern borders. Presenting the network of Salesian institutes of education, it is necessary to underline their distinction in elementary schools, middle schools, gymnasiums, high schools, minor seminaries and professional institutes in a single Salesian province and from 1933 in two Polish provinces. The geography of the Salesian schools included the entire state of the Second Republic of Poland with a lower density in the centers on the so-called Eastern borders. Presenting the network of Salesian institutes of education, it is necessary to underline their distinction in elementary schools, middle schools, gymnasiums, high schools, minor seminaries and professional institutes in a single Salesian province and from 1933 in two Polish provinces. The geography of the Salesian schools included the entire state of the Second Republic of Poland with a lower density in the centers on the so-called Eastern borders. Presenting the network of Salesian institutes of education, it is necessary to underline their distinction in elementary schools, middle schools, gymnasiums, high schools, minor seminaries and professional institutes in a single Salesian province and from 1933 in two Polish provinces.
Following the model of the founder, Don Bosco, for whom the motivation of the initiatives undertaken was always the diagnosis of the needs of the place and time, the Polish Salesians recognized the field of their work in the regenerated homeland after the First World War. They sought that a new work would result from the concrete need of the local community, taking into account its expectations.
For the Italian congregation, which developed activity on Polish soil at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the priority task was the search for candidates for the congregation. For this purpose the middle school of junior high school was opened at the Oświęcim institute. The school's role was to prepare candidates for the congregation and the priesthood. In spite of the fact that the Salesians guaranteed to the students freedom in the choice to continue the subsequent formation in the state gymnasiums, in the education within the institute they tried to create the optimal conditions and give the training to take care of the vocations to the consecrated life in the group of students .
At the time of the start of World War I, in the Polish territories, four educational-educational institutions were operating in Galicja, in which the activity was interrupted. Despite the serious losses immediately after the war, other institutes were organized, especially for young people. Up to 1922, 12 new institutes were opened. In that year the autonomous Polish Province of St. Stanislaus Kostka was created, erected on 18 XI 1922. Until the time of the division of the Province of the Congregation in Poland into two others: the Province of the North and the Province of the South (created the 16 XII 1933) the number of houses increased by another 20 units. However, following a choice made in that year, it was decided to renounce 4 previously accepted works. Until 1939, another 15 institutions were opened, refusing to accept only one. Thus at the time of the start of World War II the congregation in Poland possessed 645 working members, who worked in 46 centers, of which 3 were in the beginning.
Faced with this very intense development of Salesian work in our country until 1939 it is right to ask a question: how the Salesians became aware of the concrete social needs, to which they responded so positively, taking into consideration the conditions that drove them to their development and which served as the foundation of further development not only of a school, but also for the congregation on a national scale? The conditions under which the Salesians began their service in the Polish territories were very particular. The Galicja, where the first house in Oświęcim was opened, was characterized by the economic and industrial delay: this fully reflected the economic situation of the inhabitants. There was a strong need for vocational education and education in general. Other Polish regions, incorporated by Russia and Prussia, subject to the process of denationalization until 1918, they required the development of Polish culture and a moral and religious renewal. The fame of the founder of the Salesians was well known among the Poles, who lived under the administration of the invading states and emigrated to other countries. For this reason the invitations, requests to accept and open new centers came from all sides. A strong demand emerges in the period following the recovery of the political independence of our country. The invitations were addressed by bishops and priests, social activists, who, in pastoral and educational-social work, saw the means of achieving the moral and social order. Some education centers, including existing charitable foundations, they sought to be managed by the Salesians, as they often had economic difficulties. The Salesians were invited by the state administrative authorities, local groups and private individuals. Finally sometimes the Salesians themselves asked to be able to take care of some centers in order to be able to open and organize houses of formation, seeing there an opportunity in the growth of vocations or a perspective of development of work on a specific territory such as, for example, in the Borders of East.
At this point other questions arise. What reasons did the Salesians and the people inviting them push to open new institutes? Certainly there was a strong need for educational and didactic activity among poor youth on a moral and material level. These factors played a leading role both in the origins of Salesian work in this part of Europe, and after the recovery of political independence by Poland as well as in the period of the great economic crisis of the 1930s. In the first years of the reconstruction of the Polish state, after the First World War, the urgent need was the care of children and youth and their education at a professional level. An equally important reason for inviting Salesians was often the need for educational and teaching activities in general. The path towards the development of national values and the growth of Polish culture belonged to the middle schools - gymnasiums, which imparted a general education.
The conditions under which the Salesians began and developed scholastic work were then defined by the historical, religious, moral and economic situation of the country. The initiative and the development of educational work in those circumstances required great expense and effort on the part of the people. On some properties taken in possession of the debts and, in the case of others, it was necessary to settle accounts and mortgages contracted. Taking into account the impoverishment of society after the First World War, the economic crisis, the devaluation of money and the number of institutions, we can derive the dimension of the problem that the congregation had to face in Poland. In return, the Salesians received a great credit for social trust; this led them to an even greater sacrifice and courage in works that were practically above human possibilities. Carrying out the service of education and teaching in Poland, the Salesians contributed, with their experience and the wisdom of the congregation, to the evolution of the formation profile and to the teaching programs of the various schools.
In the Polish reality the Salesians organized mainly artisan schools; this was motivated by the needs of young people and the need for qualified personnel within a profession. These initiatives also corresponded to the needs of the economy and the industrial sector of the country pending the rapid training of specialists and experts. The number of vocational schools, after the revival of Poland, was not enough and the number of students did not exceed 20% of middle school youths on a national scale. Until 1939 the Salesians organized 9 professional schools: Oświęcim (1901), Przemyśl (1916), Kielce (1918), Warszawa (1919), Łódz (1922), Wilno (1924), Kraków (1925), Dworzec (1927) , Jaciążek (1928); in them were trained students for about fifteen jobs. Very often in the schools four sections worked: blacksmith, carpenter, tailor, shoemaker, according to the tradition formed in Oświęcim. Sections such as modeling, organists, gardening, horticulture, beekeeping, graphics, metal working, machine building, foundry, blacksmithing - rail, driveway were rarely used.
In recruiting for schools the Salesians carefully observed the labor market and the need for training in the various professions, taking into consideration the specificity of the region, its economy and the level of industrialization. For this reason, since 1928, on a national scale, the sections, in which the number of pupils decreased, were grouped in a school in the school district or in the region and, over time, were liquidated. For example, the shoemaker section, starting from that year, worked only in two professional schools: in Kraków and in Wilno. Other sections developed independently in a professional direction: this contributed to the level of professional education. A good level of professional education in the 1930s has shown that some professional sections in some schools have achieved independent school status: the Mechanical Institute in Łódz, the Woodworking Institute in Oświęcim, Wilno, and Kielce, the School of Tailoring in Kielce; or have reached the rank of professional gymnasium. Here it is necessary to list the Mechanical Gymnasium in Łódz and Oświęcim, the Graphic Gymnasium with Experimental Graphic Laboratory and the Artistic and Graphic Typography Workshop in Warsaw, the Tailoring Gymnasium in Kielce (under organization). In particular, the merit of the Salesian School for Organists in Przemyśl must be emphasized, which from 1916 educated future organists to carry out their musical commitment, but also offering a theological-liturgical formation.
The Salesians have dedicated their utmost care and attention to this type of vocational school. Such schools demanded an economic base for the workshops, a large number of personnel, assistants with the quality of managers and instructors. Almost all the Salesian craft schools in Poland (except Jaciążka) possessed the same right as the state school. This also guaranteed them the right to set up their own competent committees in carrying out the apprenticeship examination.
No lower position in the Salesian school system, in the period presented, occupied the middle schools, gymnasiums and high schools of general education in the number of 7 units: Oświęcim (1900), Różanystok (1920), Aleksanrów Kujawski (1923), Kraków - Marszałki ( 1924-1931), Sokołów Podlaski (1925), Ostrzeszów (1932), Lwów (1937). The activity of the Galicja middle schools, including the first Salesian schools, was based on the scholastic legislation of the association of gymnasiums and royal schools in Austria of 1849 with further modifications. The law provided for the classical gymnasium of eight classes, composed of the junior high school (classes I - IV) and major (classes V-VIII). Minor gymnasiums could function independently and prepare pupils for education in the high school. This model also worked in Oświęcim. The high school prepared the students for university studies and could not function independently of the junior high school. After the rebirth of Poland, the previous model of the classical gymnasium with minor and major division returned to force. However, private schools had the right to their own programs which also benefited the Salesian schools. In the period between the two world wars the school authorities (The Ministry of Religious Confessions and Education) introduced a series of reforms of middle schools. In this way in 1929 in the gymnasium there existed the division into: classical, letters and sciences, mathematic-natural. The decisive turning point for the primary Polish school system, secondary and superior state and private came with the so-called jedrzejowiczowska reform (from the surname of the minister Janusz Jędzrzejewicz), entered into force on 1 III 1932. The reform regulated the general obligation to elementary education of seven classes and also introduced the school program middle school. In place of the eight-year two-year secondary school (minor, major), the six-year general middle school was introduced. It included the 4-year general gymnasium, which ended with the so-called small maturity, which made possible a further two-year general education high school course, with a professional or pedagogical profile, which ended with the high school leaving examination , which allowed access to university studies. The condition of admission to middle school and high school was to have completed the elementary school for 6 years. All the Salesian schools - gymnasiums and high schools - presented the program of the ministry of public education in the presented period and possessed the right of state schools. The superiors of the congregation directed the work in Salesian schools with the best professional preparation; and any deficiencies in personnel in this field were completed with lay personnel. The superiors of the congregation directed the work in Salesian schools with the best professional preparation; and any deficiencies in personnel in this field were completed with lay personnel. The superiors of the congregation directed the work in Salesian schools with the best professional preparation; and any deficiencies in personnel in this field were completed with lay personnel.
All the middle schools listed above were private men's schools, except for the Joint Municipal Gymnasium in Ostrzeszów, which the local authorities decided in 1932 to close due to debts. Taken back in the same year by the Salesians, the gymnasium preserved its mixed character until the opening of the female gymnasium in 1934 by the nazarene nuns.
Centers parallel to those just presented, from the point of view of the study program, were the minor seminaries. They were particularly taken care of because they provided candidates for religious life. Of these institutes until 1939 they worked in Poland 5: Daszawa (1907), Ląd (1921), Pogrzebien (1931), Jaciążek (1933), Reginów (1937). Two of them: Deszawa and Ląd were for the so-called Sons of Mary, young people who completed middle school education before entering religious life. The minor seminary in Reginów, opened in 1937, was to contribute to the formation of missionary vocations. Already in the second school year 1938/1939 the number of students doubled from 60 to 130 students in four classes. The students came from almost all of Poland. A further development was prevented by the Second World War. The seminar ran for only two years and did not prepare any candidate for the missions.
The above listed minor seminars functioned as private middle schools, but did not fully follow the state middle school program; almost all did not have the right to state schools except the minor seminary in Ląd (6 class gymnasium), which for a school year 1926/1927 received the right of the state school. Some of the minor seminaries (eg, Daszawa) sent their pupils in the last year to gymnasiums with state rights (eg Oświęcim). In this way the poor students, having completed the four classes, had the possibility of continuing their studies. At times these institutes did not possess adequately trained personnel, who were sometimes replaced by seminarians during their educational training; for this reason they carried out a lower program than the state gymnasiums.
The least represented group of schools run by the Salesians were the elementary schools. In parallel with the functioning of gymnasiums and artisan schools in some institutes, the Salesians organized elementary schools. In the history of the Salesian school these were limited episodes caused mainly by the education of children in existing institutes that were taken up by the Salesians. Taking the parish and the former Dominican convent in Różanystaw into its possession in November 1919, the Salesians decided to open a general and media school. Still, in the same year, they managed to organize the enrollments for the gymnasium and the general school, which in 1923 was entrusted to the management of the Salesian Sisters. The Salesians organized this type of schools more often at educational institutions, at orphanages or in children's homes, where training was age-related. This fact did not affect the educational professionalism of the Salesians as in the case of artisan middle schools and high schools.
Colleges worked at every school. For which it was possible to educate young people not only of the place but also of those who came from the surrounding countries and also from distant regions. These Salesian colleges in the period between the two wars came to 16. Not infrequently the number of pupils was limited due to insufficient accommodation. For this purpose an expansion of the houses and the construction of new buildings had become necessary. Thus the Salesians built a college for Aleksandrów Kujawski, the act of blessing which took place in 1927. Already in the second year of service of the Salesians in Sokołów Podlaski the college for gymnasium was built, in which pupils found a place they had failed to find accommodation in the city. Three years after the arrival of the Salesians in Ostrzeszów, the new 120-seat college was opened on 1 IX 1935. The Salesian colleges functioned according to the regulation of the houses and to the preventive system of Salesian education transmitted by Don Bosco.
In accordance with the Constitutions of the Congregation, schools, institutes and houses of education were destined for male youth. In case of need to take care of the education of the girls, they tried to cooperate with the female congregations, but sometimes the Salesians themselves had to manage it.
Presenting the problem of the Salesian schools of that period, we must still touch the theme of the attitude of the representatives of the reconstruction and the government of Poland (1926-1939) towards the Church and the religious education of society. Both the State and the Church aspired to religious education. In the field of education, the request of the Church and the Catholic world was the denominational school. The reconstruction government policy was not opposed to this ideal, and it supported it. With the regulation decreed by the authorities of public education (1926, 1932, 1935) the obligation of religious practices was imposed. Religious education is taught in the first floor of the school building. None of the subjects taught in schools attended by Catholic youth, it could be contrary to the Catholic religion. The decrees of the education ministers of the reconstruction period guaranteed the clergy more rights than in art. 114 of the 1921 Constitution and art. 13 of the Concordat of 1925. However, the disagreement between the reconstruction of the country and the clergy only apparently concerned religion. In reality it was the problem of who had to direct the school (private and state): the responsible priest or the state administration.
Giorgio Rossi, SDB
The purpose that we set for ourselves with this intervention is not so much to highlight the relationship between salesianity and politics in certain areas of the Salesian world, but in particular that of analyzing how the Salesians outside Italy related to the largely "cultural" politics "implemented abroad by the Italian governments of the Crispino, Giolittian and above all fascist periods: how they may or may not be considered" avant-garde of the spirit "(Francesca Cavarocchi,2010) in relation, for example, to fascism and cultural propaganda abroad, in the same way that the Dante Alighieri society, radio, publishing and Italian schools abroad were. Here it is a question of seeing how the involvement of Salesians in nationalist thrusts has been active, conscious, wanted and in what way, not spectators or instruments, but actors. That is, we are in addition to what Stanislaw Zimniak affirms with great insight about the almost inevitable distrust of the Salesian congregation, despite the declared apolitical and due obedience to the authorities of the State with which the Society of St. Francis de Sales operated. We are also beyond the simple cult of Italianness, closely connected, almost as a natural bond, with that of salesianity,Marek Chmielewshi about the Polish case at the time of missionary expansion at the time of the Rectorate of Fr Rua, who saw a notable strengthening of the link between Salesianity and Italianness, between Italian and Catholicism.
The privileged field of action is therefore the missions and in particular the emigrants and the generations of emigrants who from Italy had spread to various parts of the world or even people close to Christianity. We have by now an abundant literature as regards the action of the congregation since the time of the first missionaries sent by Don Bosco. Francesco Motto dedicated a precise analysis to this theme concerning the period and the action of Fr Rua and above all an extended vision on the Salesians of Italian ambassadors abroad, providing detailed statistical frameworks for the 1920s and 30s.
If this is the general context, we reiterate, however, that the aim we intend to pursue is a more detailed analysis of the concrete modality of the Salesians' attitude as closely linked to the "ideology" of the motherland, from which to draw ideality and to spend action and energies. It is a line that is not easy to define, although some guidelines have already been outlined when we have analyzed nationalist propaganda and the action of religious congregations abroad and the strategy implemented by the Salesians.
In making this inquiry, we privileged and delimited two fields in which the congregation was engaged, even if in different periods: Latin America and the Middle East. We made this choice because they seemed like two significant samples with their own characteristics, as we can see. Clearly they will be partial indications, which will have to be further developed and compared with research that can also lead to more articulated conclusions.
The sources to draw on are in part those already known and used by many, such as ASC and a bibliography now abundant. Instead, we will use, especially for the Middle East region, the Archive of the Vatican Congregation of Eastern Churches, because it contains authoritative voices, and we also believe worthy of credibility, of patriarchs, apostolic delegates, Vatican bodies, as well as letters and chronicles of facts and opinions. The other important archive, to which we will refer, is the Historical Diplomatic Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Farnesina), particularly with regard to cultural institutions, especially Italian schools abroad, and the National Association to help Italian Catholic missionaries abroad, founded by Schiapparelli,
Still in 1932, in full fascist propaganda, the director of Italians abroad complained against the Salesians because in their works the Italian was disappearing, especially in the Americas, and because the Italian language was debased; this is not how other religious orders behaved. The Salesians' reaction was strong and decisive. We intend to see whether the action of the Salesians, especially in Argentina, was such as to stand more as a resistance to the nationalist thrust that came from the Italian government or not rather as a consensus or at least as acceptance with due specifications. The crucial periods for this problem were the Rectorate of Don Rua and the Fascist period, therefore two different moments,
Around 1910 the pupils of the Salesian schools in the world exceeded 9000 units (Rossi, Motto) and the highest number was in Argentina with over 2000 students and the immigrants assisted by the Salesians in Argentina were about 150 thousand. In 1909, thanks to the contributions of the Italian government, the congregation managed 26 schools, 10 of them in Argentina, more than any other congregation; in the years 1906-1914 the number of Salesian schools in Argentina will triple. In this way, notes Chmielewski, quoting Luciano Tosi, the Salesians became an active part of a policy founded on the binomial "faith-homeland" or rather "Catholicism-Italianity" supported by the Italian political lobby.
To answer the question we asked ourselves and to realize the situation in Argentina we will use a terse pamphlet of a Salesian missionary, Father Michael Novelli, drawn 6 December 1923, ten years before the reprimand of Parini, entitled Brief notes on Salesian action in Argentina for the Italians (ACS, A921). At that time, Argentina had three large provinces and the data reported refer almost exclusively to the province with headquarters in Buenos Aires.
The extensor, Don Tonelli, dwells particularly to report on Italianness and schools: on various colleges the Italian flag flies on the occasion of the festivities celebrated at home; the Italian authorities and the most illustrious figures who visit Argentina are guests in the Salesian colleges; the feast of the Pope, the patriotic commemorations, the feast of the Statute, in opposition to the feast of September 20 of the taking of Rome, are always celebrated with solemnity and interventions by the authorities in the various centers; in the Italian church Masses of propitiation and the Te Deum are celebratedfor the victory in the great war, with the intervention of 14 allied ministers, funerals for the unknown soldier and for the victims of earthquakes (Messina and Tuscany), collections for the orphans of the war; the only catholic commemorations of Dante were held in the Argentine Salesian colleges, with the diffusion of special Salesian editions in Spanish on Dante; hospitality, salons and propaganda were granted to the various Italian missions for charitable, cultural and social purposes; at the great annual Italian pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Lujan, all the ceremonies are held in Italian with tricolor music and flags; there are 22 colleges in Argentina, schools of arts and crafts 8, agricultural schools 3 and the children of Italians or Italians are around 40-50%, with preference for children of Italians for free places. It is noted that the
This long list actually constituted the defense of the Salesians against the accusation of poor Italianness: ten years later, in 1932, Parini returned to the same accusations, further aggravating the situation. The answer, addressed to the General Procurator of the Salesians and friend of Parini, Don Francesco Tomasetti, is a precise and intelligent defense. The religious "cannot and must not appear as political instruments". The document specifies that the Salesians have established the teaching of Italian in all the places where their works have arisen "naturally with those criteria of elementary prudence required by the nationalist hypersensitivity of the natives and avoiding compromising the positive and real results with trumpeting uncultured and hot flashes ".
Certainly the Salesians found themselves between two fires, in search of an uneasy balance between the impetus given by the values and the bonds with the motherland and on the other hand by the concrete conditions and "cultures" of the place where they were called to work. If on one hand the programmatic affirmation of Don Stefano Trione, head of the Salesian Emigration Commission, and that is "we do not do politics, but simply pure and healthy patriotism", it could appear as an indicative and decisive criterion with regard to politics, on the other hand, the border is too little to safeguard against falling into an unintended part. Can it be the case of Salesians in Latin America? Certainly the long list of Don Michele Tonelli seems to go further than a "healthy patriotism", so as to give the
We have excellent Salesian studies on the situation of Salesians in the Middle East, such as those of Jesùs Borrego, Vittorio Pozzo, Pier Giorgio Gianazza and many others. The problem of nationalism, Franco-Italian rivalry, the ferment of the indigenous element, cosmopolitanism with opposing forces, divisions within the same religious communities, priests "more French than Christian": this and more frequently faces in the investigations of authors interested in the Middle East (RSS, 234 (20)).
For our part, therefore, we will try to provide schematic and necessarily disjointed indications in order to see if there was a voluntary or even undetected adhesion to those nationalist thrusts so accentuated in the Middle East. Let us keep in mind that the National Association to rescue Italian missionaries abroad, founded by Ernesto Schiapparelli in 1886, played a leading role in the call of Salesians in the Middle East: this bond will have a great influence on the behavior of the congregation in the East .
In September 1926 card. Pietro Gasparri, Vatican Secretary of State, sent to the Prefect of the Propaganda Fide Congregation a letter in which he said he had received a copy of the letter sent by the Apostolic Delegate of Egypt and had sent it to the Holy Father. The Pope "was somewhat worried by the statement by Msgr. Delegate, that is, the Italian consul in Porto Said [Egypt] will serve in his consular district above all of the Salesians and the Franciscan Sisters to make Italian propaganda ". The Pope orders to write to the superiors of the two institutes, which card. Gasparri executes, widening even more the accusation of political activity by the congregation "in the missions of Egypt, especially in the consular district of Port Said":
A year earlier, in 1925, the same Apostolic Delegate of Egypt, Msgr. Igino Nuti, at the request of the Salesians to open a house in Ismailia, writes to the Prefect of Propaganda Fide to deign to let the Salesian superiors understand that for Egypt and in particular for Ismailia it is necessary to choose people of proven prudence, in order to avoid painful and unpleasant problems as happened in Port Said. To tell the truth he was director of Port Said Don Michelangelo Rubino, of tendencies notoriously close to fascism.
In 1929 the archbishop of Smyrna and Apostolic Administrator of the Vicariate of Asia Minor (Turkey) sent a long and detailed report to Propaganda Fide about the nationalism of French and Italian missionaries. In that year the Salesians were present in Smyrna and helped the Dominican fathers in the activity of the parish of the SS. Rosary entrusted to the Piedmontese Dominicans. "Nationalisms have been the scourge of this diocese for many years, paralyzing most of the Bishopric's action, putting Italian and French religious in contrast with each other, with scandal for the faithful and damage to the principle of the catholicity of the Church". The French Capuchins of the national church of S. Policarpo and the Italian Dominicans of the SS. Rosario compete to honor liturgically recurrences, flags,
The life of the Salesian community in Smyrna also suffers sharply from this opposition, as Vittorio Pozzo writes. If in Smyrna things go wrong, one writes to the superiors of Turin in 1909, this would be attributed to the behavior of some French confreres who enjoy seeing the school bewildered. The good of Italy is bad for France; so you have to work more than you can on the decadence of Italian works, to make French institutes flourish more. But the Italian confreres, notes Pozzo, must not have been less, according to episodes reported in the chronicle of those years. The Salesian director of Smyrna joined the other Italian religious superiors and the Italian consul in boycotting the reception of the new archbishop, who was leaving in procession from the French consulate (Pozzo 260-1).
A striking case was the excommunication imposed on the Salesians Don Puddu and the coadjutor Bonamino in 1911 by the Apostolic Delegate and French archbishop of Baghdad, because they did not leave Mosul, Iraq. However, various reasons are grafted, such as the Salesians' agreement with the Italian government and the clash with the French religious of Mosul.
This rapid overview, which will continue with the particular situation of Palestine, demonstrates how the nationalist aspect has taken hold even among the Salesians, even if we would have to see well the temporal scan and the vastness of the scope of the phenomenon.
Palestine deserves a separate discussion, despite the general consideration that we are developing. There are two directives that emerge above others if we read the papers of the Archive of the Congregation of the Oriental Churches: the really large number of nations interested in having a solid foothold in Palestine, and then the contrast and the struggle between 'Latin European and Palestinian Latin native Palestinian religious element.
To give a good picture of the situation we report some passages from the newspapers that clearly illustrate the situation. A 1927 Cairo newspaper writes about Palestine: “Palestine has become today with foreign ecclesiastics a kind of League of Nations, in which every foreign ecclesiastic is a member who serves the politics of his respective government and his countrymen. We see among them Italian, French, Spanish, German, Belgian, English, Austrian, American, etc. and we see them all in educational institutions competing against each other with a combative rivalry, tearing off each other's pupils to fall in love with their respective nations and inciting them to hate the nation with which they politically rival [...].
The description could be read as an expression of part and opposition against the autochthonous element on the European side, but we have other testimonies that largely confirm the writing. Patriarch of Jerusalem, Msgr. Luigi Barlassina, who governed the patriarchate for 27 years, from 1920 to 1947 and despite fierce opposition from the Latin indigenous element and the English protectorate, the Holy See held him for many years. He writes in 1924 to the Prefect of Propaganda Fide to be on guard against a certain P. Orfali, a Franciscan from Palestine, "very shrewd and even more false", a friend of another native priest, "the most wretched priest" of his diocese and totally "devoid of any conscience", which guided all movements against non-native clergy, "And the Salesians can say something about it". Therefore a battle is expected from the autochthonous clergy against the European one, including the Salesians: it is not specified, however, whether the contrast occurred also among the Salesians themselves.
It is therefore appropriate to try to focus the entity and, more difficultly, the orientation as far as possible defined, of the Salesians, priests and brothers, originating from Palestine. According to the data sent by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to the Congregation of Propaganda Fide in 1928, the Salesian staff of the six houses surveyed, namely Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Cremisan, Nazareth, Caifa, Beitgemal were as follows: foreign priests 21, indigenous priests 10, coadjutors 37 foreigners, indigenous brothers 18. In 1932 there were 21 foreign priests (14 Italians, 5 French, 1 Belgian, 1 German), the Palestinians were 9, the Italian brothers 25, 2 French and only 2 Palestinians. It can however be affirmed that the presence of the personnel of the place was not of little weight, because a good third of the Salesian personnel was Palestinian, so his influence was not trivial, and the various reports of the Patriarch Barlassina make this stand out. It would be very significant to clarify this issue, also to see this Palestinian personnel to which final destination it has landed.
Already in 1923 the Patriarch Barlassina denounced an "accentuated xenophobism" and affirmed that also the religious dissident element was in full moral crisis for over twenty years. The struggle between high and low indigenous clergy had its repercussion also on the Catholic element: “The young indigenous clergy of the Frs. Salesians gave proof of this [...]. Also the indigenous Latin clergy is therefore affected by this movement ". The patriarch then broadens the discussion by presenting a general situation described by the newspapers, which he seems to share. Certainly it is a general impression in Palestine, Barlassina finds, that religious communities do "politics in educational institutions, politics in hospitals, politics in orphanages, politics within the masses, politics in church, politics in short and nothing else". He then adds that from this "disease of politication even Eastern Religious (Latinos and united rituals) should not be exempt, which are now pervaded by xenophobism and now by external idolatry for this or that European nation, according to which they hope for more or less financial income" . The newspapers in 1927 present the case of a former Palestinian Salesian expelled for his rebellion against his superiors, welcomed by the patriarch and in a tough fight against other religious rites. Finally, we also mention the aspect linked to attachment to one's own culture. A Bethlehem newspaper reports an article published in "La Stampa" in Turin in 1922 which states that religious in Palestine are more attached to their nationality than to faith and that "the extension of Italian language and civilization is due to the Italian religious;
We present some conclusions very schematically.
- The phenomenon of "nationalism" has also involved Salesians: not only tools, but also actors, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. The Salesians defended themselves both from the accusation of poor "Italianness" and from the accusation of being "agents" of the motherland.
- The extent and extent of this participation must be verified as far as possible through archival inquiry, making use of multiple sources, not only Salesian ones.
- The phenomenon must be contextualized and localized. Another is the modus operandi and the situation, as we have seen, in Latin America - Argentina, another in the Middle East, another in Palestine. The concept of "inculturation" was in its raw state.
- It is also indispensable to analyze the politics of Fascism above all with regard to youth associations, a priority area of Salesian action, and the function of the National Association to subsidize Catholic missionaries abroad, a primary link between the Salesian center of Turin and the lands of mission or foreign settlement: "No one is now unaware that behind the Association there is the Italian Government with its money and its prestige, but the forms have enormous value in this field" (Archive of the Foreign Ministry. Exactly for the Head of State Mussolini, 1933).
María Felipa Núñez, FMA ,
Pedro Ruíz Delgado, sdb
The working hypothesis that guided the investigation carried out in relation to the report we have elaborated consisted in documenting that the twelve years of Don Filippo Rinaldi's stay, especially in Spain, although the concept can be extended to the whole Iberian Peninsula, it was from its inception as a bench or field of experimentation of his Salesian commitment, in which one after another the essential elements of his work of animation and government appeared, which he later carried out not only at the level of the Congregation but also of the world Salesian Family.
As confirmation of the aforementioned hypothesis, the most relevant aspects of the same are continually expounded, to which we must put as a premise the most salient features of his personality, which the Bishop of Acireale, Mons. Evasio Colli, traced with masterly words at his death: " He was at the same time a man of formidable action and an ascetic; bold and prudent; tenacious and humble [...] man of action and man of God [...] who worked in depth and in depth with the faith of the saints, the silence of the wise and the tenderness of a father ".
As also Ramón Alberdi, a Salesian historian, states that Fr. Filippo Rinaldi was first of all a man of government to whom he exercised the ministry of authority about fifty years, without interruption. This data indicates how his personality was built on "wisdom, balance and synthesis". We can affirm without hesitation that what he learned from Don Bosco was the main orientation of all his acts and the main object of his government. Don Francesia said of him: "Don Rinaldi only lacks the voice of Don Bosco, all the rest has it".
An essential element to understand the importance of his presence at the origins of the Salesian Work in Spain and of his enormous later development was the understanding of the need and the interest to value that precise moment for the future of the same. In his first and only three-year term as director in Spain (1889-1892), he gave a strong development to the Professional Schools, convinced that in order to maintain the vitality of the Salesian presence and the increase in Spanish vocations one had to get out of the limits that were a bit tight in the which the Opera had shown up until that moment. A reflection of this enterprising spirit and of his conviction about the Spanish environment favorable to Salesian work is a letter sent to Don Barberis in 1891 in which he said: “I did not know that the people of Spain were so favorable to the Salesians. They call us everywhere. In all the cities there are Houses prepared for us [...] Believe me, vocations are abundant [...] Spain is a serious and very religious people and appreciates an institution so useful to society as ours ".
The prestige of Don Rinaldi increased when he was appointed, in 1892, Superior of the Iberian Province, created that same year, which included the Houses of Spain and Portugal. During the nine years in which he served as Provincial (1892-1901) he showed that he possessed, along with a genuinely Salesian spirit, excellent organizational and administrative qualities. He founded 16 houses in Spain and 3 in Portugal. At the conclusion of his service as Provincial he left 23 Salesian houses, 220 professed and 84 novices. The development was dizzying.
Besides the Salesians, Fr Rinaldi also promoted the expansion and consolidation of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Spain, based on his responsibility in this regard as Inspector. The fruit of his commitment during the years of his mandate was the foundation of a House in Barcelona and 5 in Andalucía, with an almost annual rhythm. In all these foundations the Sisters were accompanied and guided with care and delicacy by Don Rinaldi himself for that of Barcelona, and by the directors of Utrera and Sevilla for those of Andalucía, authorized in turn by Don Rinaldi.
For all this it can be affirmed that the dimension of the job that as a man of government realized during the 12 years of permanence in Spain, that always considered his second homeland, can be deduced from the fact that after his return in Italy in 1901, the Superiors saw the need to create three new Provinces: the Céltica based in Madrid, the Ibérica based in Sevilla and the Portuguese based in Lisbon, detached from the initial section of the Tarragonese Province or of Barcelona.
In addition to the Salesian expansion on the peninsular soil, Don Rinaldi also foresaw the need to create a good vocational platform in Spain to enrich the missionary movement of the Congregation in Ibero-American lands. In this regard he wrote to Fr Barberis in 1891: "About giving missionaries is still too early. It will take a few years. And then I believe that Spain will be a good mine ”, as it certainly was.
For all these reasons, Fr Viganó writes about him: “It does not seem an exaggeration to say that he was the great protagonist of the beginnings of the Salesian work in the Iberian Peninsula, and that in it he sowed, a significant thing, a solid and faithful tradition of the spirit of Don Bosco ".
Considering the many testimonies that are preserved about the Iberian stage of Don Filippo Rinaldi, this excels not only for his work of foundation, construction and organization, but also for the depth that he imparted to all his enterprises. His balanced personality and his generous dedication were rooted in a profound spirituality that had its external reflection in the paternal and lovable trait towards the young that he followed with opportune orientations, as in his capacity for the spiritual direction of every member of the Salesian Family . His spiritual paternity was rooted in the "family spirit", promoted and practiced by Don Bosco and this, combined with a profound religious experience, shaped his specific way of doing and performing his functions of government and authority.
Don Rinaldi, like Don Bosco, loved those around him, religious and laity, young people and children and was equally paid. His sweet and good smile was infectious. Seeing him satisfied infused joy and cheered those who approached him. His humility and abandonment in God gave his companies boldness. The primacy of goodness and paternity of which he was endowed arose from his life of union with God and from the example of Don Bosco. His speech was clear, orderly, incisive. He was not an easy and brilliant speech speaker, he did not manage to dominate the Spanish perfectly and his Piedmontese accent never left him, but his words penetrated little by little and transformed.
The most evident spiritual attitude of Don Rinaldi was humility combined with the poverty of spirit that led him to put all his security in Providence, as well as spiritual paternity, both in his role as director as inspector, since he was committed to “Being a father, avoiding authoritarian words and less delicate ways; never leave tiredness or hurry and always have Don Bosco present ”.
With regard to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the fundamental channels that made possible the style of her relationships in relation to the consolidation of the charism and Salesian spirituality in the female sphere were, in addition to participation in the celebrations of the most significant events in the life of the Institute, canonical visits and the Spiritual Exercises. These were the furrows of greatest depth, for he preached them for eight of the twelve years that he remained in Spain. In each change of Exercises he gave special importance to the closing celebration and to the delivery of a spiritual memory. This was repeated on the occasion of liturgical solemnities, offering the Sisters a written thought appropriate to their spirituality.
The spirituality of Don Rinaldi, however, was not limited only to the personal sphere. As the Salesian Tomás Bordás states, who knew Don Rinaldi closely and the concrete development of his work in Spain: “When he understood that a work or a company was for the greater glory of God and for the good of souls, although the available human means seemed disproportionate, he undertook it with determination and great constancy, because he always trusted in God's help ".
However, the assimilation of the spirit of Don Bosco would not be complete without devotion to Mary, under the title of Help of Christians. Don Rinaldi, like Don Bosco, expressed a total trust in Mary and since his stay in Spain he placed under the image that he had on the table small tickets on which he wrote his problems, certain of their solution. His favorite prayer was, when the "good night" began, the Spanish Marian invocation "Ave María Purísima, sin pecado concebida". Thus he created a tradition that continued in many Salesian houses in Spain. United to the love of Our Lady, he distinguished himself for his devotion to the Sacred Heart. This was also very profound in him, proof of this was the special attention he had for Tibidabo.
Open to progress, like Don Bosco, Don Rinaldi knew how to take advantage of all that the Salesians could do to fulfill their mission: the education and education of the most needy children and young people. He was therefore interested in vocations to Salesian life and introduced this specific attention into his educational work. The group of novices that Don Rinaldi met in Sarriá on his arrival in 1889, gradually increased to 30 in 1892 (15 for the priesthood and 15 for the brothers). He accompanied them personally, but he soon realized the need for a training structure that would shape the first novitiate that would take place in San Vicente dels Horts in 1895.
Don Rinaldi's educational model consisted of adapting what he had learned from Don Bosco in Turin to the Spanish foundations. The most substantial educational work during the time of Don Rinaldi was the Primary School, with the exteriors and interiors; the Festive Oratories, educational and evangelizing platforms, developed with their own characteristics in each House. The recipients, as always, were the poor boys to whom, according to the possibilities, lunch was offered to the most needy and teaching was free, supported by alms coming from benefactors. The Primary Schools were most often integrated with night schools, especially for the young people and workers of the districts who had to work during the day. Skills for boys' manual work were developed in the Professional Laboratories and Schools.
Don Bosco's Preventive System was the one introduced into the works, as an innovative pedagogical contribution to the commonly applied repressive system. The teachings were adapted to national provisions, but they took place in a way that included both religious subjects, such as social and scientific subjects. The visit to the classrooms as a form of pedagogical accompaniment by the Provincial and the director of professors was one of the elements promoted by Don Rinaldi as a habitual practice for the educational mission. Other complementary educational aids were formative and recreational youth publications such as the "Festive Oratory", the "Educated Youth", the "Catholic Readings" and "The Library of the Studious Youth". The aim was to make the Spanish and Latin classics available to young people. Educational elements that also had the purpose of giving publicity to the Salesian work were the scholastic exhibitions and the awards ceremony as the final act of the school year, welcomed by the participation of musical groups, songs, poems and literary compositions. In addition to the parents of the students, a party of ecclesiastical and civil authorities was invited to these parties.
Regarding the feminine aspect of education, let us take Fr Rinaldi's initial thought at number 3 of the Rule of Life, where he laconically wrote: "For the girls I will assign another person", a decision which, however, changed with time. This is demonstrated by the records of the chronicles of the Houses and Colleges of the Sisters, in which we read that Don Rinaldi, with a constant rhythm, visited the communities during the nine years that he played the role of Superior of the Ibérica Province. It is clearly reflected in the chronicles of the Houses the climate of affection that was created in the girls when she arrived. In this regard we must underline the references concerning the Spiritual Exercises preached by him from 1895 to 1900 to the students and Oratorians of the schools of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. At the closing, Don Rinaldi used to impose the medal of the Marian Associations on the girls and the young women, both internal and external: Angioletti, Aspiranti and Figlie di Maria. A special aspect to consider is the attention that don Rinaldi lent in May 1898 to the 120 young workers who attended the House of the FMA of Jerez (Cádiz), establishing for them the Association of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.
The aspects presented of the beginnings of Salesian educational work in Spain attracted the attention of ecclesiastical and civil, public and private personalities, who, through their visits, offered their support not only affective but also economic for the consolidation of the Work , as the resources were scarce and the needs many. Bishops and lay lovers of education emphasized that at that time there were many charitable institutions, but none realized what the Salesians did for a work that was so much needed in Spain.
During his stay in this nation, Don Rinaldi laid solid foundations for educational and pastoral works not only as regards the regular teaching, but also as regards leisure education. This was a specific dimension of the cultural and spiritual formation which was later to characterize his great lines of government as General Prefect and Rector Major, directing his action to the creation of typically popular institutions, in which the Festive Oratories appeared as his favorite work , as it was the one that gave 'tone' to the Salesian presence. In this regard, it is necessary to recall the words of Fr Egidio Viganò: "We can say that after Don Bosco, perhaps no one had as much an oratorian heart as Don Rinaldi".
Summary of the climate that Don Rinaldi was able to give to the Works of the Salesians and of the FMA opened in Spain during his stay are the words of Don Pietro Ricaldone, who lived in Spain during the same years: "The Salesians who had the good fortune of to collaborate with him in those happy years, they remember with emotion how he was filially loved by everyone and particularly desired by the young people who listened with greed and pleasure to the paternal word, which effectively encouraged Don Bosco's love and imitation ".
The gigantic tree that today is called the Salesian Family has in its roots Hispanic sap, thanks to the apostolic capacity of Don Rinaldi who was able to open up to the apostolate with adults that began in Spain where he reaped the first fruits. This was another of his major lines of government.
We know that he already knew the existence of the Cooperators in Italy through the Salesian Bulletin . In Spain he found that they could be an essential element in the Salesian Work and therefore organized the Association, convening in January 1890 the first Conference of Salesian Cooperators, among which was the Venerable Dorotea de Chopitea.
Attention to the Past Pupils is reported by Eugenio Ceria who recalls the meeting called and organized by Don Rinaldi in February 1899, on the occasion of the second visit of Fr Rua, which took place in March of the same year. It was in fact the first official meeting of the Association, the true seed of the Spanish Federation and model for those of Europe.
To what has been said, it is essential to add the reference to the spread of the cult of Mary Help of Christians and of the Archconfraternity. The Association started in Spain and was then promoted at the level of the central government of the Congregation
Don Egidio Viganò affirmed that "Don Rinaldi seemed to have received from the Holy Spirit a special ability to perceive the characteristics of the feminine soul". This can also be seen in Spain, where Don Rinaldi began his pastoral experience in a feminine environment, in the College of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Barcelona Sarriá. Aware that it was necessary to develop the Salesian charism with the values proper to women, it is not difficult to document that Don Rinaldi had to interpret and gradually develop the intuition of the Founder. In this regard, says Mother Marinella Castagno: "The clarity with which Don Rinaldi outlines the constitutive and essential element of our Institute is surprising".
When Don Rinaldi arrived in Spain, the FMA had only opened the House of Sarriá, a community made up of four professed and three novices and twenty inmates, the whole constituted the teaching staff and the pupils of the school. In 1892, when he was appointed Provincial, Don Rinaldi became aware of the direct responsibility he had with regard to the Sisters, in order to assist them, visit them, offer them his help and advice and increase both the spiritual progress of the community, such as material development of their works, so that they could remain faithful to the Salesian spirit and carry out their mission fruitfully.
The range of canonical visits to the Sisters' Houses, included in the itinerary of those of the Salesians, propitiated an environment rich in values, as well as the presence and participation of Don Rinaldi in the main events of the Institute in Spain. These were the broche de oro of fraternal and authentically Salesian relations. We must also remember the celebration, in Barcelona Sarriá of the 25th of the Institute, on 27 November 1897, presided over by Mother Emilia Moscow General Councilor. In his homily, Fr Rinaldi recalled with affection and enthusiasm the prodigious development of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. The celebration ended with the official coronation of the image of Mary Help of Christians of the church of the College "Santa Dorotea" of Barcelona Sarriá.
Proof of the cordial relations existing between Don Rinaldi and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Spain are the words of adhesion that he sent to Mother General, Mother Caterina Daghero, on the occasion of the aforementioned celebration: "Your Institute is for me an object of admiration and veneration for his birth, his progress, his spirit. The weaknesses, the difficulties that must overcome me make it seem more beautiful, and the future will be for them if, faithful to the spirit and the name of Don Bosco, they continue to seek the greatest possible perfection of its members ”.
Don Rinaldi placed his greatest interest in Spain in learning about the Institute and in accompanying the Sisters, thus initiating relationships that grew later on worldwide, with prudent advice and fatherly support during the period in which he assumed new government roles.
On 28 February 1901 the unexpected death of the General Prefect of the Congregation, Fr Domenido Belmonte, led the Rector Major to appoint Fr. Filippo Rinaldi to replace him, although Fr Rua had foreseen that he retain the role of Inspector until 1904. In this way, after nine years of wise and paternal government in Spain, where he became Spanish with the Spaniards, Don Rinaldi definitely returned to Italy.
Despite the geographical distance, Don Rinaldi's orientations to the FMA of Spain did not lose their effectiveness, but remained as a point of reference for the new paths of the Institute in the Iberian Peninsula. The historian Rodolfo Fierro went so far as to say, without a shadow of exaggeration, that those norms formed the basis of the good tradition that guided the numerous works that the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians developed in Spain. From the Salesians he officially took his leave in a circular letter which he sent from Turin on May 1, 1901, in which, with affectionate words, he informed them of the division of the Spanish Province which he would soon realize.
A summary of all that has been said may be the words that Rodolfo Fierro wrote in a biography of Don Filippo with prophetic intuition:
"A thank you Don Rinaldi " must be the whole of Salesian Spain. May the goodness of the Lord that the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Past Pupils and the Cooperators whom we loved so much can tell him one day at the foot of his altar ".
It was a desire and a wish that has already been realized for the glory of the Church and of the whole Salesian Family; only the last step is missing for the definitive proclamation of his holiness.
Josip Gregur, sdb
Today music is present in every area of life, but it is certainly not one of the first places in human existence, such as health, work, interpersonal relationships and politics. The music seems negligible. Even in the Church, traditionally a bearer of culture, and also in the liturgy, music seems to be 'icing sugar on the cake' rather than 'bread yeast', that is, a genuine expression of faith.
Faced with this negative fact, a sentence from Don Bosco makes us think. Eugenio Ceria tells us in the Biographical Memoirs: "If not this year , it is [sic] of these years another episode that shows how much importance he gave to music in festive oratories. In Marseilles he received a visit from a religious, who had founded one in a town in France and asked him if he approved music among the amusements of young people. His visitor thought he could take advantage of the education and enumerate them. Don Bosco, listened with signs of approval, finally said: - An oratory without music is [sic] a body without a soul. - But the other saw us also inconveniences and not small ones, like the dissipation and the danger that the young people go to sing or to play in the theaters, in the cafés [sic], in the dances, in demonstrations. Don Bosco, hearing everything without saying a word, repeated firmly: "Is being better or not being better?" The oratory without music is [sic] a body without a soul. "[one]
Since the soul normally represents the principle of life, one might think that Don Bosco, comparing music with the soul, uses only a metaphor, an occasional topos. However, faced with the very rich tradition of his work  and in front of a notable presence of music in the official documents of the Congregation, this phrase of Don Bosco does not seem to be a circumstance; instead it expresses a concept of music as an integral part of the Salesian charism.
In the narrow context of this brief report I would like to reinforce this thesis with some facts starting with the actual magna charta of Salesian music, that is, from the circular letter of Don Pietro Ricaldone of 1942 to the Congregation.
Honoring the centenary of Don Bosco's "modest musical initiative" of February 2, 1842, when he first sang Lodate Maria, or faithful languages , with twenty boys for the first time , in 1942 Pietro Ricaldone offered the Congregation a long circular letter on sacred music and Salesian recreation.  Referring also to music as the soul of the Oratory, one of its primary motives is the reorganization of Salesian musical formation before the prodigious extension of the Congregation in those years. The concern of the Rector Major is that "while we see that, in public schools and in the multiplied cultural and leisure associations [sic], music is put in great value, we, who were in the forefront, must not resign ourselves to seeing ourselves outdated." 
The ideological background of Ricaldone was the reform of sacred music at the beginning of the twentieth century, which was also strongly lived by the Salesians. In the twentieth century in Germany and slowly also in Italy, the concept of sacred music, from the seventies / eighties, was changing: from music as embellishment, to music as an integral part of the liturgy. This change carried out by the Ceciliano Movement culminates 1903 with the Motu proprio Between the Solicitudesby Pius X, with rather restricted principles: true sacred music is above all Gregorian chant, followed by serious and serious vocal polyphony, accompanied at most by organ, but without orchestra. The Ceciliano Movement also at Valdocco gradually eliminates the sacred romantic music, in force almost everywhere, but severely criticized by the reformists, that is music with a lyrical-theatrical style, also composed by the masters of the house, such as De Vecchi and Giovanni Cagliero, without great scruples and particular liturgical - theoretical attentions. In contact with the cultural and ecclesiastical environment, the Salesian masters, such as Giuseppe Dogliani and Giuseppe Grosso, no longer noticed the principles of the true liturgical music, and abandoned their spontaneous lightness.
Even Don Michele Rua, with some Salesians before the Motu Proprio Between the Solicitudes of 1903, was not convinced of the abandonment of the beloved tradition of the Cagliero era. After 1903 however d. Rua not only evokes and emphasizes the love of Don Bosco for the Gregorian Chant, but also supports the activities of the Cecilianists, convinced that Don Bosco himself was one of the promoters of the Reformation of sacred music and Gregorian chant. "This very important document ... [of Pope Pius X] must be accepted by the Salesians also as clear evidence that Don Bosco was filled with the spirit of the Lord and the spirit of the Church, and that he, he would say, foresaw what later the Head of the faithful would have commanded. Therefore we Salesians found ourselves prepared for the reform of singing in the Liturgy ”.
Gregorian chant is also one of the main themes of Don Ricaldone's circular twenty-four years later, and would like to push for a "race to cultivate the Gregorian chant and music better and to organize the Scholae cantorum , which should not lacking in any of our institutes and in the Festive Oratories ”.  In the twenty-seven pages the Rector Major recalls the importance of music in Don Bosco and offers a detailed program of musical formation in Salesian houses that would honor even a conservatory of sacred music. 
How satisfactory this circular was for Salesian musicians, results from a letter from Maestro Alessandro de Bonis to the Rector Major:
"We finally have the 'Salesian Charter' for Music! And there was need [...] It is a fact that
- the lack of preparation of the subjects and the difficulties between them to eliminate it,
- not being music considered as an occupation that makes for the community like other teachings,
- the incompresio [ne] of those that surround [...]
they certainly did not help to encourage those who had to bear the burden of music. If your letter is considered as it deserves and will be supported, many inconveniences (including the mistrust of musicians) will disappear and the Salesian musical movement will be able to return to the front row and remain honorably there, as it has been since the time of Don Bosco la Schola of the Oratory of Turin. On one thing I would dare to make reservations and it is the difficulty of changing the mentality of the staff assigned to the studentates against (I say against and not towards) the music. I hope my fear is dispelled by the facts. " 
But the facts as they were? From "some recommendations" at the end of the Ricaldone circular, it appears ex negative that not only Gregorian chant and music schools did not exist everywhere, but that the directors did not even show "real interest" and esteem for the appropriate school. It would be regrettable, observes Ricaldone, if the Superiors in school blame the singers, "made them the object of frizzing or worse of threats about school grades and exams" as if time dedicated to music was lost. "This would be little educational and nothing Salesian", an offense of "the work of our Founder." The sensitivity of the Rector Major to the conditions of musical work is also noteworthy: "Let us reflect that the work entrusted to music masters is not among the easiest and most enjoyable. Unfortunately, their efforts are not always properly considered. However, when parties, academies, award ceremonies, performances, name days, authority visits are approached, everything is expected of them, and sometimes the most demanding may even be the same ones who least appreciate and favor the work of the master and the singers. "
With the aim of understanding and favoring rather than preventing music, the Rector Major offers the already mentioned vast program to be carried out during the philosophical-theological formation of young Salesians by repeating the directives of his predecessors. Already the XV General Chapter of 1938 recommends the care of liturgy and singing in formation several times. Beginning with the aspirantate "give great importance to the liturgy, to sacred ceremonies, to religious functions, to Gregorian chant, to sacred music."  Philosophical studentates, in addition to cultivating sacred and recreational music, must be equipped " so as to allow the diligent preparation of future music masters on published programs. " Mass must be sung in theological studentates every Sunday and holiday.  The very detailed program of the circular of d. Ricaldone of 1942 is echoed in the title "Formation of Salesian Personnel. Programs and regulations for philosophical and theological studentates of the Salesian Society "presented at the end of 1946 on behalf of the Superior Chapter by Fr. Renato Ziggiotti. Here too sacred music occupies a remarkable place in the curriculum of philosophy and theology.
But, as often happens, the practice differed somewhat from the theory. Already in 1889 the X Preparatory Commission "Music and still song" for the V General Chapter in Valsalice "humbly prayers to those who can, that, among the other offices of the Congregation, leave a convenient place for the Music, and provide for the Houses , maximum to those that have public Church, skillful Organists and masters of Canto; and let them have the time and the freedom necessary to know the functions so as not to fail for the purpose that must be achieved with music ”. Faced with similar rumors, the Salesian music expert Dusan Stefani (+2011) in his analysis argues that in education "everything depended on the ability of individuals, on their constancy, on their" passion ". The environment was generally favorable.an almost spontaneous fact of individuals , rarely programmed and followed by superiors. Often therefore how they were born, thus they died either because of difficulties or because of the emergence of new interests. The general level of our teachers was, also for them, generally of good dilettantism. "  For this in" our 'making music' "- says Stefani -" normally it was not a high artistic level but of "[ i] practical approach… free from a cultural preoccupation: that is, the need for a true musical education, with knowledge of authors or genres, was not heard (or at least was not programmed), with the start of a musical aesthetics . And this not only with the boys, but also, in principle, with the students of philosophy and theology. " 
However, it should be pointed out that in spite of this 'dilettantism' in the Congregation also figures of remarkable artistic-musical culture emerge. The Stefani himself did not remain amateur at all, on the contrary. After his priestly ordination in 1946 "he began a long journey of musical studies" in Vicenza with the then-known maestro Arrigo Petrollo. The studies last nine intense years and lead him to the Diploma of Master Composer and Orchestra Conductor at the State Conservatory 'Pollini' of Padua (July 1951).  Having completed his musical studies in 1955, he was invited to Turin Crocetta as a teacher of Gregorian, liturgical music and polyphony for fifteen years, succeeding "great masters" such as Don Grosso, Don Pagella and don De Bonis.  Also the latter were of high musical culture supported and promoted by the Superiors.
Giovanni Pagella, according to Eugenio Valentini "the greatest Salesian musician",  was sent to improve first, in 1899 in Paris and then, in 1900, at the famous Kirchenmusikschule in Regensburg in Bavaria. The rest of his life will be spent as an organist at San Giovanni in Turin. On the occasion of his death in 1944 the newspaper L'Italia compares Pagella with characters such as César Franck writing: "Filled with classic Giovanni Pagella sap on polyphony is held magnificently. His choral pages attest to it: the numerous masses, dense with transcendent lyricism, including in particular those for St. Francis of Assisi and for Alessandro Manzoni ”. The confreres valued Pagella's amusing compositions for various festive occasions at home. His liturgical music, on the other hand, was sometimes misunderstood as 'too German'. Therefore, perhaps, the greatest work that was very close to his heart, his oratory 'Job' of 1902, to his great regret was not published nor executed. The confreres and other people - Pagella writes disappointed in the Superior Chapter - wondered why the superiors were not interested in this composition, which he would have been proud of elsewhere. 
Among the greats of Salesian music we must also mention Raffele Antolisei. Eugenio Valentini speaks only of the "school [of music] of the father" and underlines his "marked musical talent", because of which the Superiors "sent him to Rome as organist and chapel master of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart" where he remained from his priestly ordination in 1899 until his death in 1950. "He was held in high esteem in the Roman musical environment: the Mascagni [Pietro; 1863-1945] he admired his 'fugues' improvised on the organ and Perosi [Lorenzo, master of the Sistine Chapel; 1872-1956] he was very friendly. He kept the musical column in the Giornale ArcadicoFrom Rome. From 1907 to 1914 he directed the 'Nuovo Frescobaldi', a music magazine of polyphonic inspiration, fully corresponding to the directives of the 'Motu Proprio' of Pius X. "This is why the mortuary letter characterizes him as" one of the best architects for the reform of Sacred Music "by Pius X  and Pope" Pius XII, of motu proprio appointed him member of the Sacred Music Commission of the Vicariate of Rome. " 
Also the name of Alessandro de Bonis, a teacher in Palermo stands out in the Salesian musical scene. De Bonis studied music at the conservatories of Bologna and Naples significantly alongside his other duties. In 1940 he was called by the Director of the Conservatory of Music of Palermo as a suitable person to promote sacred music in Italy. "He wanted to have", writes de Bonis to Don Ricaldone, "a priest who was trained in music so that he could not only be a teacher but could be among the conservatory professors with a rank of dignity and imposition of the side of technical musical culture so that its prestige should not be placed in danger. ”De Bonis taught sacred music and Gregorian chant. To the invitation of Don Ricaldone de Bonis he composed a Mass for the beatification and another for the canonization of Don Bosco as well as one for the canonization of Domenico Savio at the invitation of Don Ziggiotti. In the mortuary letter there is a list of ninety-three of his works. A cantata was broadcast by Italian radio and television on the occasion of his death, of which he informed "all the press and various editions of local radio stations". 
Among the excellent musical talents of the Congregation, I would also point out d. Virgilio Bellone. He devoted himself to music already in the novitiate and then supported also in the studentate by the music director Don Cimatti, Bellone attended the Conservatory 'Giuseppe Verdi' in Turin and obtained a diploma in composition, organ and choral singing. From 1950 with the approval of Don Ricaldone he spent a year in Brussels specializing in musicology and early music from the Salesian Auda.  Expert above all in seventeenth-century polyphonic music, for twenty-five years he is a professor at the same Conservatory. He is also director of the renowned Stefano Tempia choirand is a member of the Diocesan Commission for Sacred Music; in short - as claimed by Don Remo Paganelli in the mortuary letter - d. Bellone "for a quarter of a century has animated and enlivened Turin's musical life". 
It seems curious, but it is not surprising that in 1951 Don Bellone proposed to the Superiors the foundation of a real “Salesian Sacred Music Faculty” . It "would gather and discipline all our musical geniuses in a tight and well-organized form ... for the benefit of our personal teachers and the glory of our Congregation."
At the beginning I noticed the little importance felt for music among the essential things of modern man. The same could be said of the liturgy: in fact, someone was surprised that in the face of the greatest problems of the secularized world the Church in the Second Vatican Council as the first subject dealt with the liturgy. In a similar context, in the midst of the world war, in 1942, Fr Ricaldone proposed to the Salesians the music: was there perhaps nothing else to think about in Don Bosco? Suspecting this objection and considering music as the soul of the Oratory, d. Ricaldone writes: "To some it may cause wonder [sic] that, in so much clanging of weapons, I invite you to take care of music. Yet I think, even ignoring mythological allusions, that this theme fully responds to the needs of the coming time.
In the novel The Idiot of Dostoevsky Prince Miskin pronounces the famous, though enigmatic, phrase: "Beauty [ krasota ] will save the world".  In this sense John Paul II, in the Letter to the artists of 1999, explains the importance of beauty for man: "In front of the sacredness of life and of human beings, in front of the wonders of the universe, the only appropriate attitude is that of amazement ". Recalling that for Don Bosco liturgical music was a foretaste of "those harmonies that [young people] would then go to enjoy in Paradise", d. Ricaldone observes that "we are immediately led to see the Music placed in a completely enlightened frame of celestial light, where it appears as an irradiation of faith, a factor of zeal, a means of salvation for souls."  The Rector Major does not he is only convinced of the pedagogical-formative efficacy of music, but he is equally persuaded that: "How many vocations blossomed into the fascination of Salesian music and how many young existences were restored to virtue, subjugated by the serenity given back to their spirit by the melodies of traditional Salesian songs! " 
With these words he values Salesian music not only as a means of free or festive time, but as a symbol of supernatural values and of the ultimate destination of man, that is, the praise of God. It would therefore be worthwhile to study more deeply what Don Bosco sensed by speaking to the French religious: "Is being or not being better?" The oratory without music is [sic] a body without a soul. "Thank you!
The contribution / social contribution of the Salesian Carlo Conci (1908-1928)
Ivàn Ariel Fresia  , sdb
In this text we approach the movement of social Catholics from 1908 until 1928, the year in which workers' circles linked to the 'Uniòn Popular Argentina' (UPCA) lose influence in social struggles, giving way to the emerging Argentina Catholic Action. In this context the social experience and leadership of the worker circles is placed by the Salesian Carlo Conci , which played the role of president of the UPCA. The tensions within the Argentine Church, the positions of some UPCA leaders and the decision of the superiors of the Salesian Congregation to remove Conci from a major ecclesial conflict, constituted the immediate situation that caused the end of a glorious era of Social Catholics and the Catholic Workers Movement. This is an important moment in the history of the Catholic labor movement because the removal of Conci from the organization and his transfer to Rosario in 1937 literally meant the fall of the organization of the circles in Argentina and its replacement with the emerging Catholic Action .
The broadest hypothesis on which we will work is that the experience of the associationism of Catholic workers in the early decades of the 20th century is a pioneering antecedent of the workers' union organization before the arrival of Peronism in the 1940s of the XX century. We will therefore support the hypothesis that Conci's exit from the UPCA management was the beginning of the end of this institution.
- We affirm that the ecclesial climate in Buenos Aires following the public stance of Conci and the UCPA (also in the daily newspaper El Pueblo ) in 1923 in favor of the candidacy of Archbishop De Andrea as archbishop of Buenos Aires and the fall of the same, put the leaders of the Union in an unsustainable situation.
- The superiors of the Congregation ask for explanations of his work and decide to leave the national organization of the Catholic workers. In the Buenos Aires archive there is some information, even if fragmentary: a letter from Conci to Don Rinaldi (24 February 1925) giving explanations of his work as head of the Catholic workers' movement in the face of the dispute over the appointment of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. But the answer to it is not found, nor is the previous correspondence.
- We also affirm that the tensions and divergences (of social and political action) between social Catholics and the positions taken by the ecclesiastical hierarchy, caused a break in the organization of Catholic workers.
- Following this situation arises, as an alternative for the organization of social action in public space and political participation, the Argentine Catholic Action, starting a new era in the history of the Catholic labor movement.
- Finally, we argue that the historiography on the Argentine labor movement, on the social organizations of social Catholicism and the history of the Church in Argentina, in an unjustifiable way do not take into consideration Conci as one of the main social and ecclesial actors of the time. But the documentation we have at our disposal is sufficient to complete the current interpretations of the Catholic social experience and the workers' movements in Argentina, which have relegated Carlo Conci - manager at the highest national level - to a secondary position in the historiography of the Argentine Catholic labor movement .
We will work based on documents that lie in the Central Archive of the Salesians of Buenos Aires and Còrdoba, with periodicals of the time and specialized bibliography. Unfortunately we do not have material from the Rome Archives. In the Central Salesian Archive of Buenos Aires and Còrdoba there is fragmentary documentation about the 'process' by which the Superiors ask Conci to leave the national leadership of the Catholic workers' circles in Argentina, under pressure from the local hierarchy.
This is a first approach, starting from these two archives. A subsequent step will need to have documentation at the archive of the Curia of Buenos Aires and the Central Salesian Archive in Rome. However, starting from the hypothesis we formulate, we will have the possibility of proposing an alternative reading of the biographical canon on the subject.
a) The newspaper "El Pueblo" and the Catholic workers' circles
Conci's participation in the Catholic labor movement dates back to the first decade of the 20th century, after the III Catholic Worker Congress held in Còrdoba in 1908. Starting from 1911, he began his collaboration with Emilio Lamarca in the dissemination of the 'Liga Social Argentina'. He was an active collaborator of the newspaper "El Pueblo", founded by Fr.Federico Grote in 1900. This newspaper came to be the official organ of the Workers' Circles in Argentina, fighting for the organization of the working class and as a means of spreading ideas Catholics on workers and the social question. Conci was an active writer, under the pseudonym of 'Carlos Mazzena' and came to be its director when in 1920 he was elected president of the Central Committee of the Circles.
From 1915 he was part of the Central Board of the Federation of Catholic Workers' Circles as a member of the sub-committee of "Cooperatives and reduction of consumption". The subcommittees collaborated with the Central Government according to the general program of social action determined for the benefit of the Catholic working class. Formally occupied the presidency of the Circles on 27 May, a place in which he had already exercised the provisional presidency in the absence of Alessandro Bunge.
As director of "Restauraciòn Social" he pays tribute to the newspaper "El Pueblo", in the section of books and magazines:
"He has completed 37 years of life; of very intense struggles for the defense of doctrine and of one's life; against the adversary of our Christian ideal and the intransigencies of those among our own who demand from the Catholic newspaper what they do not demand from the liberal newspaper; they are the ones who forgive the latter the most insolent and do not forgive the Catholic for even the slightest mistake. / And this is the battle that hurts the most, because it is usually unfair and not a few times personal. (...) The doctrinal newspaper is not suitable for notices as is the liberal newspaper, which deals with the topics commercially. The strongest newspaper, economically, is not the one that has the largest number of news readers and articles, but the one that has the most advertising. / The mere fact of having done the service of giving us the Encyclical against communism 9 days after it appeared in Rome, highlights the zeal and competence of the managerial staff. (...) And as far as Catholic-economic-social orientations are concerned, it gives them genuine and in full accord with the Pontifical teachings: it has been and is updated, without referring to its judgments on the political life of the parties of our country, given that the Pontifical teachings enable the reader to judge things correctly, without having to bind himself to this or that tendency. / Therefore RESTAURACION SOCIAL congratulates the metropolitan Catholic daily that takes on a great flow of heroic efforts of whole "generations. highlights the zeal and competence of the management staff. (...) And as far as Catholic-economic-social orientations are concerned, it gives them genuine and in full accord with the Pontifical teachings: it has been and is updated, without referring to its judgments on the political life of the parties of our country, given that the Pontifical teachings enable the reader to judge things correctly, without having to bind himself to this or that tendency. / Therefore RESTAURACION SOCIAL congratulates the metropolitan Catholic daily that takes on a great flow of heroic efforts of whole "generations. highlights the zeal and competence of the management staff. (...) And as far as Catholic-economic-social orientations are concerned, it gives them genuine and in full accord with the Pontifical teachings: it has been and is updated, without referring to its judgments on the political life of the parties of our country, given that the Pontifical teachings enable the reader to judge things correctly, without having to bind himself to this or that tendency. / Therefore RESTAURACION SOCIAL congratulates the metropolitan Catholic daily that takes on a great flow of heroic efforts of whole "generations.
He promoted various editorial and social initiatives in collaboration with Mons. De Andrea and Mons. Napal. He also published numerous books on sociological analysis of social reality and on the application of the teachings of social encyclicals in relation to Argentine politics and the labor movement.
b) The Past Pupils and the "Restauraciòn Social"
Carlo Conci lived dedicated to spreading the social ideas of the Church and about the social question, starting from his knowledge of sociology and politics. He organized - alongside d.Luis Pedemonte, director of the college 'Pio XI' of the district of Almagro - the Past Pupils of Don Bosco from 1907, and later was appointed Secretary in charge of the National Secretariat of the Salesian Past Pupils. From this place he gave new impetus to the monthly magazine of the "Past Pupils of Don Bosco", published in Buenos Aires. He convened numerous meetings of young students and past pupils of the Salesian schools in the city of Buenos Aires, preparing them to engage socially in defense of Christian social principles.
He founded and directed the magazine "Restauraciòn Social" between 1935 and 1939, published by the Regional Secretariat of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco. "Restauraciòn" was a monthly publication of social studies inspired by social Catholicism, clearly anti-communist and anti-anarchist, but some of its columns were openly pro-fascist. His program consisted in "studying, deepening and spreading the pontifical teachings in social matters, seeking in them the necessary light and the sure path to avoid making mistakes in solving the difficult problems we face".
The magazine's No. 1 presented itself with a 'Prospecto' (editorial) written by the editorial staff, some background articles (on the anniversary of Rerum Novarum ), some international experiences of workers' organization, national legislation, a section of books and magazines and general information and interest. The first authors were Antonio Nores, Gabriel Palau sj, Raùl Ignacio Ferrando, among others. This first magazine has a counter-cover with a propaganda from the newspaper El Pueblo , from the newspaper Los principios of Còrdoba and La accionof Paranà. A year after its appearance, the magazine's editorial said: "The publication of this magazine of ours - we must confess it - has given us great satisfactions, mainly as regards the collaboration of the most eminent men of social Catholicism". In another place of the magazine a list of collaborators is published: Alejandro Bunge, Juan F. Cafferata, Raùl I. Ferrando, Antonio Nores, Juan B.Teràn, Adolfo Korn, Miguel De Andrea, José Padilla, among others.
c) UPCA national manager and international projection
The creation of the 'Uniòn Popular Catòlica Argentina' (UPCA) in 1919 by the Bishops gathered in the Argentine Episcopal Conference - following the model of Italian social action - opened new perspectives to the national Catholic labor movement and meant the dissolution of the 'Uniòn Democràtica Catòlica' arose after 1912. The UPCA did not begin as a result of the union of the then existing Catholic social organizations, but as a direct action of the Episcopate. Conci had to struggle with this decision because various groups of the 'Uniòn Democràtica Catòlica' that worked in various Salesian works (Santa Catalina and La Boca), linked to the Salesian Past Pupils, did not accept this decision. In the search for reference people for the expansion of the 'Uniòn Popular Catòlica',
Within the UPCA, organizations of social Catholicism were created such as the 'Social Economic League', the 'League of Catholic Ladies' and the 'Liga de la Juventud / Youth League'. Conci thus appears as a component of the first 'Junta Superior de la Liga Argentina Econòmico-Social', alongside prestigious exponents of Argentine social Catholicism, such as Don Gustavo J.Franceschi (councilor), Ing. Alejandro Bunge (president), Dr. Enrique B.Prack, dr. Bernardino Bilbao, dr. José Ignacio Olmedo, Mr. Benjamìn Nazar Anchorena, among others. From 1920 Conci held the office of director of the 'Secretariado Nacional de la UPCA' - the first was the Jesuit Gabriel Palau - and immediately set about organizing the National Collection for the construction of housing for workers. At the same time,
Conci distinguished himself as a speaker; he improvised with 'proletarian heat' in popular conferences to give 'realism' to rallies in favor of the working class. Around 1921, Conci had the idea of celebrating May 1 as the day of the Christian worker. The proposal seemed reckless to some members of the Government Council of the Circles. Until that time the celebrations took place in the parishes and in other local branches related to the Church. The celebration of Labor Day was a field of disputes not only between socialists and anarchists but was also the trench of social Catholics. Some (anarchists) considered it a day of mourning and pain, for others (socialists) it was a day of struggle and of workers' resistance. For Catholics, however, it was a day of celebration par excellence.
Starting from 1929 it was decided to give another dimension to the commemorative acts of Worker's Day. In this way it passed from enclosed enclosures to the streets of the city of Buenos Aires, first, and of the main cities of the country, then.
In fact, a demonstration and a public procession were prepared, preceded by street conferences and mass concentrations in various parts of the city. From the pages of the newspaper El Pueblothe readers were encouraged to take part in the demonstrations on the streets of the capital city, concentrating in various central locations. The delivery was direct: "We will not accept your apology! If you do not participate today in the Workers 'Circle event, you will deserve only one qualifier: Deserter! "Norberto Repetto, Conci's successor to the presidency of the Central Committee of Workers' Circuits, said in this regard:" It was the first time in Argentina, and certainly in America , that on May 1st workers' masses paraded through the streets, preceded by the national flag and that, once concentrated, made the majestic notes of the national anthem be heard with martial and virile voices ".
But the fate of Catholic workers' organizations linked to the UCA was declining. According to Maria Pia Martin, the 1923 conflict over the succession to the archbishopric of Buenos Aires "dragged with it the fate of the UPCA on a national level". Certainly, as Auza states, the UPCA towards the year 1928 "no longer existed due to exhaustion and what was being announced constituted a new model, which coincided only in the general purpose of organizing the Catholic forces but not in everything". Finally, in 1931 the Argentine Episcopate, following the teachings of Pius XI decided the "name change" of the Catholic Union in that of Catholic Action.
"As we announced in our pastoral letter of December 1, 1928, the association that was created at the time to join forces, the 'Uniòn Popular', was reformed according to the teachings that suggested a long experience. years, not only ours, but, above all, of the Center of Christianity, where the Supreme Pontiff Pius XI, gloriously reigning, personally put into practice in admirable form the concept of Catholic Action, reforming the previous organization of Catholic forces in Italy. For this reason, as we wrote then, it was decided to change the name of the organization to that of Argentine Catholic Action, which responds exactly to the aims pursued ”.
It certainly wasn't just a change of name. The ideological transformations of the 1930s and the new context of social and workers' struggles ("paganism of ideas and customs") determined a new ecclesial strategy ("we cannot fight ... with the weapons of the past and with the tactics of other times"). If the UPCA had become an instrument of moralization of the working masses and of restoration of customs and the social order, Catholic Action - "under the immediate direction of the Apostles and Pastors themselves" - proposed itself as a militia of Catholics ("militant members ") To undertake a crusade" to triumph with greater success ... in the new battles of the Lord "in order to establish" the social kingdom of Jesus Christ ".
The long trajectory of the Salesian Carlo Conci on the scenario of the Argentine Catholic labor movement, particularly with regard to the care of the Catholic Youth Workers and the UPCA, forming part of the Social Economic Secretariat and then as president of the Union, made him one of the main references of social Catholicism.
At that time Carlo Conci was already a recognized sociologist and a competent scholar of the problems of work, the social question, the social doctrine of the Church and the workers' movement, and not only in the ecclesial context. Conci's participation in the workers' social struggles - now not only Catholic - would have continued beyond institutional belonging to an organization. Proof of this is his appointment by the National Government - in July of 1925 - as president of the official delegation and worker delegate, at the 7th International Labor Conference, held in Geneva (Switzerland).
His journey goes far beyond the Catholic worker circles and, later on, the UPCA, so much so that in 1931 he was elected, as representative of the Workers' Circles, president of the Argentine delegation in Rome for the commemoration of the publication of the Encyclical Rerum Novarum . After his transfer to Rosario he continued his social commitment and work in the diocesan organization of Catholic workers in Rosario de Santa Fe. In this situation, far from public exposure and at the forefront of national management. But that's another story.
(Translated from the Spanish by Don Giovanni Barroero sdb)
The social participation of the Salesian Carlo Conci (1908-1928).
Iván Ariel Fresia  , sdb
We address in this text the movement of social Catholics from 1908 to 1928 when labor circles linked to the Argentine Catholic Popular Union (UPCA) lost influence in social struggles by giving way to the emerging Argentine Catholic Action. In this context we situate the social experience and the leadership of the circles of workers by the Salesian Carlo Conci who served as president of the UPCA. The tensions within the Argentine Church, the positions of some leaders of the UPCA and the decision of the superiors of the Salesian Congregation to remove Conci from a major ecclesial conflict were the immediate situation that caused the end of an era glorious social Catholics and the Catholic workers movement. This is an important moment in the history of the Catholic workers' movement because, with the separation of Conci from the organization and its transfer to Rosario in 1937, it literally meant the fall of the organization of circles in Argentina and its replacement by the emerging Catholic action.
The broader hypothesis that we will work on is that the experience of the association of Catholic workers in the first decades of the 20th century is a pioneer antecedent of the labor union organization prior to the arrival of Peronism in the 40s of the 20th century. Around this hypothesis we will postulate that the beginning of the end of the UPCA was the exit of Conci from the direction.
- That the ecclesial climate in Buenos Aires as a result of the public position of Conci and the UPCA (also of the newspaper El Pueblo ) in 1923 in favor of Bishop De Andrea to occupy the seat of the archbishopric of Buenos Aires and the fall of his candidacy put the leaders of the Union in an untenable situation.
- The superiors of the Congregation ask for explanations of their actions and decide to leave the national leadership of the organization of Catholic workers. In the Buenos Aires archive, there is some information, albeit fragmented: a letter from Conci to Don Rinaldi (February 24, 1925) giving explanations of his performance at the head of the Catholic labor movement before the dispute over the appointment of the archbishop of Buenos Aires . But the answer to it is not found, as well as the previous correspondence.
- That the tensions and differences of positions (of social and political action) between the social Catholics and the positions adopted by the ecclesiastical hierarchy caused a break in the organization of the Catholic workers.
- That as a result of this situation conjuncture arises as an alternative to the organization of social action in the public space and in the political participation of the Argentine Catholic Action, giving rise to a new epoch in the history of the Catholic workers' movement.
- Finally, that the historiography on the Argentine labor movement, the social organizations of social Catholicism and the history of the church in Argentina in an unjustified way do not consider Conci as one of the main social and ecclesial actors of the time. But this documentation is sufficient to complete the current interpretations of the Catholic social experience and the labor movements in Argentina that have relegated Carlo Conci - leader of the highest national level - to a secondary place in the historiography of the Argentine Catholic working class movement.
We will work with documentation in the Central Archive of the Salesians of Buenos Aires and Cordoba, with periodicals and specialized bibliography. Unfortunately we have material from the Archive of Rome. In the Salesian Central Archive of Buenos Aires and Cordoba there is fragmented documentation on the "process" by which the Superiors ask Conci to depart from the national leadership of the Catholic workers' circles of Argentina under pressure from the local hierarchy.
It is a first approximation from these two files. A later step will involve having the documents of the archive of the Curia of Buenos Aires and of the Central Archive of the Salesians in Rome. In any case, from the hypothesis that we formulate we will have the possibility to propose an alternative reading of the bibliographic canon on the subject.
a) The newspaper "El Pueblo" and the Catholic workers' circles
His participation in the Catholic workers movement dates back to the first decade of the twentieth century after the III Congress of Catholic Workers held in Cordoba in 1908. From 1911 began his collaboration with Emilio Lamarca in the dissemination of the Argentine Social League. He was an active collaborator of the newspaper "El Pueblo" founded by Fr. Federico Grote in 1900. The newspaper became the official organ of the Círculos de Obreros de Argentina that struggled for the organization of the working class and means of dissemination of the Catholic ideas about workers and the social issue. Conci was an active writer in the Catholic newspaper under the pseudonym of Carlos Mazzena and became its director when in 1920 he became president of the Central Board of Circles.
From 1915 he joined the Central Board of the Federation of Catholic Workers' Circles as a member of the subcommittee on "Cooperatives and cheapening of consumption". The subcommittees collaborated with the Central Board in accordance with the general program of social action that it defined for the benefit of the Catholic working class. But he formally occupied the presidency of the Circles on May 27, 1920, since on some occasions he held the provisional presidency due to the absence of Alejandro Bunge.
Being director of the "Social Restoration" he pays homage to the newspaper "El Pueblo" in the book and magazine section:
"He turned 37 years old; of intense struggles for the defense of the doctrine and for the defense of his own life; against the adversary of our Christian ideal and the intransigences of those of ours, who demand from the Catholic newspaper, what they do not demand from the liberal; that they forgive this one the greatest rudeness and they do not present the slightest slip to the Catholic. / And this battle is the one that hurts most, because it is usually unfair and not infrequently personal. (...) The doctrinal newspaper is not conducive to advertisers, as is the liberal newspaper, which deals commercially with issues. The strongest newspaper, economically, is not the one with the largest number of readers of news and articles, but the one that has them with notices. / The mere fact of having served us by giving us the Encyclical against Communism 9 days after leaving Rome, it highlights the zeal and competence of its managerial staff. (...) And as far as catholic-economic-social orientations are concerned, it gives them genuine and in everything according to the Pontifical teachings: it has been and is up to date, without this our judgment referring to its judgments about political life of the parties of our country, then, the Pontifical teachings place the reader in a position to judge things correctly, without needing to be tied to this or that tendency. / SOCIAL RESTORATION, then, congratulates the metropolitan Catholic newspaper, which has on it the flow of heroic efforts of entire generations. " Without this our judgment refers to their judgments about the political life of the parties of our country, then, the Pontifical teachings place the reader in a position to judge things correctly, without needing to be tied to this or that tendency. / SOCIAL RESTORATION, then, congratulates the metropolitan Catholic newspaper, which has on it the flow of heroic efforts of entire generations. " Without this our judgment refers to their judgments about the political life of the parties of our country, then, the Pontifical teachings place the reader in a position to judge things correctly, without needing to be tied to this or that tendency. / SOCIAL RESTORATION, then, congratulates the metropolitan Catholic newspaper, which has on it the flow of heroic efforts of entire generations. "
He promoted various editorial and social initiatives in collaboration with Mons. De Andrea and Mons. Napal. I also publish numerous books on sociological analysis of social reality and on the application of the teachings of social encyclicals in relation to Argentine politics and the labor movement.
b) The Past Pupils and the "Social Restoration"
Carlo Conci lived dedicated to the diffusion of the social ideas of the Church and the social question, from his knowledge of sociology and politics. He organized - together with Fr. Luis Pedemonte, director of the Pio IX school in the Barrio de Almagro in Buenos Aires - the ex-students of Don Bosco since 1907, later he was appointed Secretary in charge of the National Secretariat of the Salesian Past Pupils. From there he gave new impetus to the monthly magazine of the "Former students of Don Bosco" published in Buenos Aires. From this place, he organized numerous meetings with young students and alumni of the Salesian schools of the city of Buenos Aires, preparing them to mobilize them to social commitment in defense of Christian social principles.
He also founded and directed the magazine "Social Restoration" between 1935 and 1939, edited by the Regional Secretariat of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco. The "Restoration" was a monthly publication of social studies affiliated with social Catholicism clearly anti-Communist and anti-anarchist but some of its columns were openly fascist edge. Its program consisted of "studying, deepening and disseminating the pontifical teachings in social matters, seeking in them the necessary light and the sure way not to err in the solution of the difficult problems that we have to address".
The n ° 1 of the magazine was structured with a "Prospectus" (editorial) written by the editorial office, some articles in the background (on the anniversary of the Rerum Novarum ), some international experiences of workers' organization, national legislation, a book section and magazines and general and interesting information. The first authors were Antonio Nores, Gabriel Palau sj, Raúl Ignacio Ferrando, among others. This first magazine contains on the back cover a propaganda of the newspaper El Pueblo , of the newspaper Los principios de Córdoba and L a Acciónof Paraná. A year after its appearance, the editorial of the magazine said: "The publication of this our Magazine - it is justice to confess it - has been of great satisfactions, mainly as regards the collaboration of the most eminent men of social Catholicism." Elsewhere in the aforementioned Magazine, a list of collaborators is published: Alejandro Bunge, Juan F. Cafferata, Raúl I. Ferrando, Antonio Nores, Juan B. Terán, Adolfo Korn, Miguel de Andrea, José Padilla, among others.
c) UPCA national leader and international projection
The creation of the Argentine Catholic Popular Union (UPCA) in 1919 by the Bishops gathered in the Episcopal Conference of Argentina - following the model of Italian social action - opened new perspectives for the national Catholic labor movement and meant the dissolution of the Catholic Democratic Union that emerged after 1912. The UPCA did not emerge as the result of the union of existing Catholic social organizations but as a direct action of the Episcopate. Conci had to deal with this decision because several groups of the Catholic Democratic Union that worked in various Salesian works (Santa Catalina and La Boca) linked to the Salesian Past Pupils did not accept the decision.
Within the framework of the UPCA, the organizations of social Catholicism were created, such as the Social Economic League, the Catholic Ladies League and the Youth League. Thus, Conci appears as a member of the board of directors of the First Board of the Argentine Economic-Social League, together with prestigious exponents of Argentine social Catholicism such as Pbro. Gustavo J. Franceschi (advisor), Eng. Alejandro Bunge (President), Dr. Enrique B. Prack, Dr. Bemardino Bilbao, Dr. José Ignacio Olmedo, Mr. Benjamín Nazar Anchorena, among others. Since 1920, Conci has assumed the position of director of the National Secretariat of the UPCA-the first was the Jesuit Gabriel Palau- and immediately devoted himself to the organization of the National Collection for the construction of housing for the workers.
Conci was a prominent speaker, improvising with "proletarian warmth" in popular conferences to communicate "reality" in the rallies in favor of the working class. By 1921, Conci had the idea of celebrating May Day as the day of the Christian worker. While the proposal seemed reckless to some members of the Governing Board of the Circle. Up to that moment, the acts were carried out in the area of the parishes and in other dependencies linked to the church. The celebration of the day of the worker was a field of dispute not only between socialists and anarchists but also the trench of social Catholics. Some considered it a day of mourning and pain (anarchists), for others (socialist) day of workers' struggle and resistance. For Catholics, on the other hand, it was a holiday par excellence.
But it was after 1929 that he decided to give other dimensions to the commemorative events of Labor Day. That way it went from the celebrations in enclosures to the streets of the city of Buenos Aires first, and of the main cities of the country later.
In effect, a demonstration and a public parade were prepared, preceded by street conferences and mass gatherings in different parts of the city. From the newspaper El Puebloreaders were encouraged to join the demonstration through the streets of the capital city, concentrating in different downtown locations. The slogan was direct: "We will not accept excuses. If you do not attend today the manifestation of the Workers' Circles, you will deserve a single qualifier: Deserter! ". Norberto Repetto, Conci's successor in the chairmanship of the Central Board of Workers' Circles, said: "It was the first time in Argentina and surely in America, that on May Day, masses of workers marched through the streets, preceded by the national flag and that, once concentrated, they let hear the majestic notes of the country song with martial and virile voices ".
However, the fate of the Catholic workers' organizations around the UPCA was falling into decline. According to María Pía Martin, the 1923 conflict over the succession of the archbishopric of Buenos Aires "brought with it the fate of UPCA at the national level". The truth is that, as Auza says, the UPCA, by the year 1928 and "did not exist by starvation and what was announced was a new model, which only coincided in a general purpose of organizing Catholic forces but not in everything." Finally, in 1931 the Argentine Episcopate, following the teaching of Pius XI, decided to "change the name" of the Catholic Union to that of Catholic Action.
"As we have announced to you in our pastoral letter of December 1, 1928, the association that was in its time created to unite your forces, the Popular Union, has been reformed, according to the teachings that have been suggested by an experience of long years, not only ours, but, above all, the Center of Christianity, where the Supreme Pontiff Pius XI, gloriously reigning, personally has carried out in an admirable way the concept of Catholic Action, reforming the previous organization of force catholic of Italy. For this reason, as we wrote to you then, the change of name of the organization has been resolved by that of Argentine Catholic Action, which responds exactly to the purposes pursued. "
Certainly it was not a simple name change. In the ideological transformations of the 1930s and the new context of social and workers' struggles ("the paganism of ideas and customs") they determined a new ecclesial strategy ("we can not fight ... with the weapons of yesteryear and with the tactic of other times "). If the UPCA became an instrument of moralization of the working masses and restoration of customs and social order, the Catholic Action - "under the immediate direction of the Apostles and Pastors themselves" - was proposed as a militia of Catholics ( "Militant partners") to undertake a crusade "to triumph with greater success ... in the new battles of the Lord" in order to establish "the social reign of Jesus Christ".
His long career on the scene of the Argentine Catholic labor movement, especially in the attention of the Catholic Working Youth, and the UPCA, first being part of the Social Economic Secretariat and then president of the Union made the Salesian Carlo Conci one of the main references of the social catholicism.
By then Carlo Conci was already a recognized sociologist and competent scholar of the problems of work, the social question, the social doctrine of the church and the workers' movement, and not only in the ecclesial sphere. The participation of Conci in the social struggles of the workers - and not only Catholics - would continue beyond the institutional belonging to an organization. Proof of this was his appointment by the National Government - in July 1925 - as president of the official Delegation and worker delegate to the 7th International Labor Conference held in Geneva (Switzerland).
His ways transcended by far the circles of Catholic workers and, later, the UPCA to such an extent that in 1931 he was elected as the representative of the Workers' Circles as president of the Argentine delegation to the commemoration of the publication of the Encyclical Rerum Novaron in Rome . Upon his transfer to Rosario, he continued his social commitment and work in the diocesan organization of Catholic workers in Rosario de Santa Fe. Now far from public exposure and in the front line of national leadership. But that is another story.
Maria Andrea Nicoletti
Devotions are practices of piety for the action of worship and rituals that contain a "relational attitude (prayer and contemplation) and a celebratory one (liturgy, feasts, popular devotion)  . These practices maintain a local insertion and a new social sense and identity.There are various prayers on the Help of Don Bosco over time, but it is characteristic that the Congregation is mentioned, the Salesian family and Don Bosco, as an example of Marian piety . As a celebratory attitude, St. John Bosco recommended the novena, where prayers, liturgies, sacraments and alms are found. Instead the Decalogue promotes a series of actions of solidarity, prayers and veneration to the image of the Madonna, now personally (bring a medal and belong to the arch-brotherhood), now publicly and collectively (enthronement of images, pilgrimages, parties and processions) .
The first images of Don Bosco's Help of Christians, which came to Argentina were painted, but only the figure of the Madonna and child  and not the complete one of the Sanctuary of Turin  which the founder of the Salesians entrusted to Thomas Lorenzone.
Although the images represent the iconography of the retable of Valdocco, between 1865 and 1868 the founder of the Salesians commissioned several paintings based on the Lorenzone retable to his former oratorian student Guiseppe Rollini, whose distinctive features are the crown and the scepter , the face of the Madonna, the arrangement of the clothes with folds and the cloud  .
With these paintings began the first devotional practices of the Help of Christians in Argentina. Since we concentrate on the patronage of the Argentine Agro, we exclude this work from the Sanctuary of Almagro in Buenos Aires and briefly analyzes its diffusion in some regions within Argentina in the first half of the 20th century.
Don Bosco's Help of Christians was prematurely bound to rural and agricultural space. In the Pampas, this devotion extended from the city of Toay, with the construction of the temple that began in 1897 and ended in 1915. From various countries of the Pampas they had begun to make pilgrimages in 1917, organized by a group of pampean elite women who are were institutionalized in 1924. "The institutionalization of the pilgrimage from Santa Rosa di Toay in 1924 was a proof of the massive character that Catholic mobilization had acquired in the National Territory of La Pampa"  .
At Rodeo del Medio (1898), the construction of the Temple of Mary Help of Christians produced a shift from the rural settlement to the cities. This change was not only geographical but "also implied a cultural and spiritual change of devotion to the Madonna del Carmen (typical of the parish of Maipú and of the order of Our Lady of Mercy), to the new devotion of Mary Help of Christians (favored by the Salesians) [11 ] .
From the Maria Ausiliatrice parish and the Salesian viticulture school, the first pilgrimage by train and from 1913 on foot, led by former students of Don Bosco of Mendoza, has been carried out since 1912. These pilgrimages were followed by other methods, such as pilgrimages of women (1916) and communities of foreigners (Italian, Syrian and Lebanese with a Maronite and Spanish rite)  . "The feast of Mary Help of Christians," The Madonna of Don Bosco ", had an important emotional and nationalist role that certainly concentrated the greatest efforts during the year"  .
The print that had propagated his devotion: " La Virgen de Don Bosco " Hojita de Propaganda of the cult of María Auxiliadora at Rodeo del Medio (1907), was not only a religious but also cultural and civic brochure. The press was an important social medium now linked to the elite of Mendoza now with Creole peasants and migrants  .
A similar brochure can be seen in Fortín Mercedes initially called El Santuario Votivo and later La Virgen del Fortín , centered in the life of the Temple, devotion to the Madonna, tales of stories of the miraculous image  , graces granted, news of the Archconfraternity of Mary Help of Christians, prayers, news of the Salesian family, the rural environment and patriotic celebrations  .
Fortín Mercedes became an important center of pilgrimage to Mary Help of Christians and Ceferino Namuncurá, when her remains were brought there in 1924. The Pilgrimages of the Help of Christians were in the first half of the twentieth century, generally from Bahía Blanca and some belonging to the Salesian family (ex students, ex stedentesse, explorers, etc.).
The Bulletin stated that in 1928 there were three thousand pilgrims arriving mostly by train: "we can say that the devotion of these faithful who came in compact column approached the sanctuary embellished by its piety which clearly reveals the great development that day acquires after day the devotion to the Madonna of Don Bosco "  .
In this synthetic itinerary we have observed that the devotion to the Help of Christians of Don Bosco in Argentina was born connected to the rural surroundings and to the agricultural Salesian schools, as after the foundation the decree dedicated to the Help of Christians with the patronage of the Agro: "that the title of Mary Help of Christians, transported to the innermost places of the homeland for the Salesian Congregation, through its agricultural and craft schools, the institutes and missionary works determined a flowering of their faith and confidence in its protection "  .
The spread of this devotion is organized into two distinct areas that we can identify with a territory legitimized by various elements  : Patroness of Patagonia, of the Colorado River to the south and Patroness of the Argentine Agro, from the Colorado River to the north. Although the latter is a national patronage, its identification with the space of this region through the Salesian agricultural schools and the Pampa Argentina camp which draw a more circumscribed devotional cartography.
As patroness of Patagonia, Mary Help of Christians takes possession of a regional space that seeks to be inserted by force into the nation. The entrance of the Salesians with the army of Giulio Roca on May 24, 1879, links the Help of Christians "the outpost of Christian civilization" and to the "spiritual conquest" of peoples immersed in an "immense aridity that weighed on their future as the offense of a curse "  . The triptych of the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, 24 May 1952, in which these words are found, refers to two aspects of patronage: Patagonia and the Argentine Agro and are linked to the patriotic celebrations of 25 May 1810.
For the patronage of Patagonia the words of Don Bosco on the Help of Christians are quoted as the Madonna of the "difficult times" and refers to the dream of August 30, 1872, in which Don Bosco "woke up to the cry of a hymn that the savages they sang to the Most Holy Madonna "  .
In the case of the patronage of the Help of Christians on the Argentine countryside, there is a prayer that proclaims it "protector of the fields". The allegorical image and the resolution of the Ministry of Agriculture and Ganaderia (2536/49), determined as the official image of the Sanctuary of Fortín Mercedes, adding "a guardian of flowers and fruits of the field"  .
The prayers in the image of Mary Help of Christians, patroness of the Agro, adapted to the various concerns of peasant society and national politics. The prayers of the fifties ask the protection of the Madonna of the "patrio soil" and "of the ominous inclemency of the times", "of the wounds and diseases", "of unbridled passions and winds"  .
If it requires the "appropriate rain", "the multiplication of animals to serve man" and "the fertility of the cereal plains, the pasture fields, the frond of our forests, the vegetable and vegetable gardens, the smiles of the vineyards and the anointing of olive groves "  and the blessing of" our meadows, sowing, industries and jobs "  . A more up-to-date discourse with the social doctrine of the Church, pray to the Help of Christians for "the peace and equity of our peoples", for "our farmers", "for our government", so that "fruitful dialogue ends the measures that damage the food and the justice of the weak "  .
The other issue we will briefly analyze is the symbolic identification of this "Argentine" and "national" patronage. The presidential decree of October 27, 1949 (2688) proclaims it Patroness of the Argentine Agro, as "a national homage to the Most Holy Mother of God and as a protector of the fields"  .
As Patroness of the Agro the Help of Christians is a "national symbol", identified with the agricultural activity and the Argentine countryside, in a period of national Catholic identity, where there was a significant symbolic correlation between "being Argentine" and "being a Catholic  ."
This concept can be applied in two distinct periods: from 1930 to "Peronism" and "Peronism" properly. In the case of the Help of Don Bosco as patroness of the Argentine Agro, even if we found it linked to agricultural activity in the period before 1930, patronage is institutionalized during the "first Peronism" (1949). The patronage of Patagonia we must adjust it to another chronology for the belated incorporation of the region into the Nation, through military campaigns (1879). The Patagonian identity with the Salesian work and the invocation of the Help of Christians are found in the administrative arrangement as a diocese in 1934, although its introduction was with the army at the end of the 19th century, under the protection of the
The patronage of the Help of Christians was national hierarchy since 1944, in the context of the nationalist social policies of the 1943 military government, of which Perón participated as Secretary of Labor and Forecast. In 1944 the statute of the daily newspapers of the campaign was decreed (decree 28.169 of 10/08/1944), which established the working conditions of the rural workers and I started other measures for the improvement and the union organization of the farmers, with the objective to modify the system of prevalent exploitation of the agricultural entrepreneurial sectors and the concentration of the land in large owners " . Moreover, with Peronism, "" the monopoly of Christianity, especially Catholicism, is no longer in the hands of the faith "professionals of the faith", of the "Notables Catholics" and expands throughout the body of Argentine society "  . According to this construction, the patronages are not "a gratuitous fact: they submit symbolically to the actions of the State and to a superior and divine law incarnated in the Catholic Church, through the official image of this"  . Our Lady Help of Christians as Patroness of Agro has a presence in its own institutions of the State with the enthronement of the image in the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Ganaderia  .
Perón identifies the Salesian work as a patriotic work in the period of the covenant with the Church and of the incorporation of religion into schools  . This thought is reflected in a drawing after the Peronist period, which links the Congregation with the works of the Fatherland.
In this idea, the Help of Don Bosco recovers lost values, those moral values identified with the purity of rural customs, voids of urban "vices", centered on the figure of the settler. The Madonna of Don Bosco, becomes one of the many symbols that builds " Argentinean " in a foreign key. A Queen to which attributes are added related to the Salesian idea of rurality, that is to say, the idea of the development of small owners, "the possibility of accessing the land of unprotected minorities (Indians, Creoles and migrants) and supporting the traditional faith and moral values, which are reflected in rural life, with the assistance of the regular clergy ", logically Salesian . These ideas are consistent with Perón's discourse who designates Salesian work as a "work that makes the fatherland" and "forms good Argentines". Thus he builds a selective memory that creates national identity, in this case identified with traditional rural culture, with the agriculture program and a Catholic education and traditional crafts. The new sense of the Help of Christians as the Patroness of the Agro is positioned as a synthesis of the common memory in the identification of the work of an Italian Congregation with the "rurality" as the essence of the "Argentine being".
Maria Andrea Nicoletti
Devotions are practices of piety for the cultic and ritual action that contain a "relational attitude (contemplation prayer) and a celebratory one (liturgy, festivals, popular devotion)  . These practices sustain a local insertion and a social and identity resignification. There are different prayers to the Help of Don Bosco over time, but it is distinctive that they mention the Salesian Congregation and family and Don Bosco as a devotional example . As a celebratory attitude, the novena recommended by St. John Bosco details the prayers, ejaculations, sacraments and alms. While the decalogue promotes a series of actions of solidarity, prayers and veneration in his image both personally (wear a medal and belong to the Archconfraternity), as public and collective (enthronement of images, pilgrimages, festivals and processions).
The first images of Mary Help of Christians by Don Bosco that arrived in Argentina were paintings but only of the Virgin and Child  and not of the complete altarpiece of the Shrine of Turin  , which the founder of the Salesians commissioned Lorenzone .
Although the images follow the iconography of the altarpiece of Valdocco, the founder of the Salesians commissioned, between 1865 and 1868, his former Oratory student Guiseppe Rollini, different paintings based on the altarpiece of Lorenzone, whose distinctive aspects are the crown and scepter, the face of the Virgin, the layout of the clothing with its folds and the cloud  .
Around these paintings began the first devotional practices to the Auxiliadora in Argentina. Since we focus on the patronage of the Argentine Agro, we exclude in this work the Sanctuary of Almagro in Buenos Aires and we briefly analyze its propagation in some regions of the interior of Argentina in the first half of the 20th century.
The Auxiliadora de Don Bosco was linked early to the rural space and agricultural production. In La Pampa, the devotion spread from the town of Toay with the construction of the temple since 1897, which was completed in 1915. From different Pampean localities began to make pilgrimages in 1917, organized by a group of ladies of the pampean elite which was institutionalized in 1924. "The institutionalization of the pilgrimage from Santa Rosa to Toay in 1924 was evidence of the massive nature of the Catholic mobilization in the National Territory of La Pampa"  .
In Rodeo del Medio (1898), the construction of the Temple of Mary Help of Christians, produced a displacement from rural to urban settlement, "which, in addition to geographic, also implied a cultural and spiritual shift, since the devotion to the Virgin of Carmen was passed on (proper to the parish of Maipú and the Mercedarians), to the new devotion to Mary Help of Christians (propitiated by the Salesians)  . From the Maria Auxiliadora parish and the Salesian wine school, the first pilgrimage by train since 1912 and from 1913 on foot, promoted by the former students of Don Bosco de Mendoza, was carried out. These pilgrimages were followed by other modalities, such as the pilgrimages of women (1916) and foreign communities (Italian, Syrian and Lebanese with Maronite rite and Spanish . "The feast of Mary Help of Christians," The Virgin of Don Bosco ", with an important nationalist emotional charge, undoubtedly concentrated the greatest organizing efforts during the year"  . The form that propagated his devotion: "The Virgin of Don Bosco" Hojita de Propaganda of the cult of Mary Help of Christians in Rodeo del Medio (1907), was not only a religious but cultural and civic sermon. It was an important social medium that linked them to both the Mendoza elite and the Creole and immigrant peasantry  .
A similar form can be seen in Fortín Mercedes, initially called El Santuario Votivo and later La Virgen del Fortín , centered on the life of the Temple, devotion to the Virgin, stories of the Miracle Table, the graces granted, news of the Archconfraternity of Mary Help of Christians, prayers, news of the Salesian family, rural surroundings and patriotic celebrations . Fortín Mercedes became an important pilgrimage center for Mary Help of Christians, which was joined by the figure of Ceferino Namuncurá when his remains were taken there in 1924. The pilgrimages to the Help of Christians took place in the first half of the 20th century, generally from Bahía Banca and on the part of some branch of the Salesian family (former students, alumni, explorers, etc). The Bulletin shows in 1928 about three thousand pilgrims who arrived mostly by train: "we can affirm that the devotion of these faithfuls who in a compact column approached the Shrine impelled by their piety reveals clearly the stupendous development it acquires day by day the devotion to the Virgin of Don Bosco "  .
In this synthetic journey we have observed that the devotion to the Help of Don Bosco in Argentina was born linked to the rural environment and to the Salesian agricultural schools, as the decree that makes her Patron of Agro: "That the invocation of Mary Help of Christians , taken to the most recondite places of the Nation by the Salesian Congregation, through its agricultural schools and crafts, institutes and missionary works has determined a flourishing of its cult and the confidence in its protection "  .
The propagation of this devotion was organized in two differentiated spaces that were territorially identified with different elements that legitimized it  : Patron Saint of Patagonia del Río Colorado to the south and Patroness of Agro Argentino del Colorado to the North. Although the latter is a national patronage, its identification with spaces of this region through Salesian agricultural schools and the Argentine Pampa field, draw a more circumscribed devotional map.
As Patron Saint of Patagonia, Mary Help of Christians appropriates a regional space that seeks to be included by force to the Nation. The entrance of the Salesians with the army of Julio Roca on May 24, 1879, links the Help of Christians to the "advance of Christian civilization" and to the "spiritual conquest" of peoples immersed in an "immense aridity that weighed on their future like the outrage of a curse " . The triptych of the Feast of Mary Help of Christians on May 24, 1952, in which these words are found, alludes to the two Patronages: Patagonia and the Argentine Agro and links them to the acts of the patriotic celebration of May 25, 1810. For the patronage of Patagonia, the words of Don Bosco about the Virgin Help of Christians are mentioned as the invocation of the "difficult times" and the dream of August 30, 1872, in which Don Bosco "woke up before the clamor of a hymn that the savages sang to the Virgin Ssma Auxiliadora "  .
The case of the Patronazgo de la Auxiliadora on Argentine agriculture is exemplified by a prayer that proclaims it "Protector of the fields". The allegorical stamp and the resolution of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (2536/49), determines as official image of the Sanctuary of Fortín Mercedes, adding "a guard of flowers and fruits of the field"  .
The prayers in the pictures of María Auxiliadora, patron saint of Agro, are adapting to the different concerns of peasant society and national politics. The prayers of the 1950s ask for the protection of the Virgin from the "soil of the Fatherland", from the "unfortunate inclemencies of time", from "plagues and diseases"  and from "unbridled passions and winds"  . Requests the "timely rain", "the multiplication of animals to serve man" and the "fecundity of the pampas of cereals, the grazing fields, the fronds of our forests, the orchards of fruit and vegetables, the smiles of the vineyards and the anointing of the olive groves "  and the blessing of". A more updated discourse in tune with the Social Doctrine of the Church, prays to the Help of Christians for "the peace and equity of our peoples", for "our rural producers" "for our government", so that "fruitful dialogue ends to measures that end up damaging the diet and justice of the weakest "  .
The other issue that we want to analyze briefly is the symbolic identification of this advocation with the "Argentinean" and the "national". The presidential decree of October 27, 1949 (2688) proclaimed Patron of Agro Argentino, as "NATIONAL TRIBUTE to the Blessed Mother of God as Protector of the Fields"  .
As Patron of the Agro the Help of Christians operates as a "national symbol", identifying itself with the agricultural activity and the Argentine countryside, in a period of Catholic national identity, where there was an important symbolic correlation between "being Argentine" and "being Catholic" . ]. This concept can be applied in two different periods: 1930 to Peronism and Peronism proper. In the case of the Auxiliadora de Don Bosco as patron of the Argentine Agro, although we found it related to agricultural activity in periods prior to 1930, her patronage was institutionalized during the first Peronism (1949); while for the patronage of Patagonia we must adjust this periodicity to the late incorporation of the region to the Nation, through the military campaigns (1879). The Patagonian identity with the Salesian Work and the invocation of the Help of Christians, were reflected in the internal administrative organization as a diocese in 1934, although its introduction was with the army at the end of the 19th century,
The patronage of the Auxiliadora had a national hierarchy since 1944, within the framework of the nationalist social policies of the military government of 1943, of which Perón was a member as Secretary of Labor and Social Security. In 1944 the Statute of the Peon de Campo was decreed (decree 28.169 of 8/10/1944), which established the working conditions of the rural wage-earners and initiated other measures for the improvement and union organization of the peasants, with the to modify the prevailing system of exploitation of the agrarian business sectors and the concentration of land in large landowners " . Added to this reality, with Peronism "the monopoly of the Christian and especially of the Catholic, it stops being in the hands of the 'professionals of the faith', of the 'notable Catholics' and it spreads throughout the body of the Argentine society "  . In function of this construction, the Patronazgos are not "a gratuitous fact: the actions of the state are symbolically submitted to a superior, divine order incarnated in the Catholic Church, by means of the official image of it"  . The Virgin Auxiliadora as Patrona del Agro has a presence within the same state institutions with the enthronement of her image in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of the Nation  .
Perón identifies the Salesian Work as a patriotic work in the period of alliance with the Church and the incorporation of religion in schools  . Graphically, this thought is reflected in a drawing after the Peronist period that links the Congregation with the works of the Fatherland.
In this key the Help of Don Bosco recovers lost values, those moral values identified with the purity of rural customs, empty of urban "vices", centered on the figure of the settler. The Virgin of Don Bosco, becomes one of the many symbols that builds "Argentina" in a foreign key. A queen who is joined by attributes related to the Salesian idea of rurality, that is, the idea of small-scale development, "the possibility of access to the land of unprotected minorities (indigenous, Creoles and immigrants) and the maintenance of the faith and traditional moral values, reflected in rural life, with the assistance of the regular clergy ", logically Salesian . These ideas coincide with Perón's discourse that points to the Salesian work as a work that "makes homeland" and "Argentine form of good". It builds a selective memory that creates a national identity, in this case identified with the traditional rural culture, with the agriculture program and with a Catholic and professional education. The "resignification" of the Auxiliadora in the agrarian patronage is positioned as a synthesis of the common memory in the identification of the Work of an Italian Congregation with "rurality" as the essence of the "Argentine" being.
The unique reduccion experience of in Dawson Island
University of Cassino and southern Lazio
On 21 July 1887, in the middle of Patagonian winter, with 11 degrees below zero, four Piedmontese Salesians, with a brown suitcase and a trunk with holy furnishings, arrived by ship in Punta Arenas, then the southernmost city in the world. Giuseppe Fagnano, Antonio Ferrero, together with the cleric Fortunato Griffa and the catechist brother Giuseppe Audiso, set foot on the wooden pier. They came from Buenos Aires and had crossed the Strait of Magellan, whose low and deserted shores were covered with snow. They lodged in two rooms of the Hotel Cosmos in which they celebrated mass. Immediately after Fagnano he went to the governor Francisco Sampaio who greeted as Prefect Apostolic with jurisdiction over the entire Tierra del Fuego both in the Argentine and Chilean parts.
Punta Arenas had about 300 small wooden houses with colorful roofs to be seen from the sea, 1500 inhabitants, streets full of mud, a small wooden chapel that stood in the main square, where today stands the city's cathedral, where it is buried Monsignor Giuseppe Fagnano. This town had been founded in 1848, to be the site of a prison for life imprisonment, but it had developed thanks to the coal mines that served the motor ships directed towards the pacific ocean or those coming from China directed to the English ports. Its importance will expire after 1914, when the Panama Canal will be opened.
In those years Punta Arenas was the last city in the world, the last Antarctic Thule, as Ushuaia, founded two years earlier, on 12 October 1884, was only a cluster of houses, around the old Protestant mission of the Bridge pastor and not the famous prison at the end of the world, the Penal, was still built, around which the life of the city and today the tourism industry will develop. As can be seen, both Punta Arenas and Ushuaia, the two most important cities of Tierra del Fuego, developed around a prison.
Why had the Salesians come this far south? For two reasons: both to bring the word of Christ Usque ad ultimum terraeto the "end of the world" and therefore to realize in the name of Christianity the prophecies of the Bible and the mandate of the Gospel, both because Don Bosco in his five "prophetic dreams" on Patagonia (1873, 1883, the two of 1885, and the last of 1886) had paved the way for future missionaries. The most famous among them, the prophetic "sueño américano" had in Benigno Canadese the night of August 30th 1883 (day dedicated to Santa Rosa) is a beautiful bird's-eye view of South America that ends in Punta Arenas . A dreamlike journey through space and time, because, besides indicating the places of mission in American geography, he will also see the future of the congregation.
After having founded the Colegio San Josè in Punta Arenas opened on September 19, 1887 less than two months after arrival, Fagnano also activated the school of arts and crafts, built a new chapel for the children of Spanish, Italian but above all Croatian emigrants. arrived in great numbers as gold prospectors and, finally after having founded a factory to build bricks (the first bricks that were seen in Punta Arenas, so that the fires in the houses decreased), he devoted all his attention to the fuegian Indians. Moreover, he decides to found a mission in the large island in front of Punta Arenas, the Dawson island called "the pearl of the strait", in that point 50 kilometers distant from the sea. His father will be Antonio Ferrero.
Thus the Salesian Bulletin gives the news in April 4, 1891
[...] - Some telegrams announced in the newspapers that the Government of Chile sold the Dawson Island to the Strait of Magellan for twenty years to the Salesian Missionaries, where they gathered the savages of the various islands to reduce them to civil and Christian life. Now we receive direct communication from our Apostolic Prefect. The sale is made to Mr. José Fagnano, so that you can build a chapel with schools and a hospital.
It is an extension of eighty or ninety thousand hectares, with forty or fifty million tall trees called fagus antarticus, similar in all to our oak, except in hardness, which they serve magnificently for construction, and with pastures capable of ten thousand sheep and four thousand cows.
With this initiative Fagnano overturned the terrible judgment on the fuegian Indians, those that Darwin in 1832 making the journey around the world on the Beagle ship had defined as the most miserable men of the earth, closer to the animal world than to the human species, also declaring that they were cannibals.
The initiative of the Salesians was well seen by the Chilean authorities for many reasons: in this way they protected and tried to fix in a place the nomadic Indians already decimated by illnesses and by violence by estancieros; moreover the mission broke the geographical and / or cultural isolation of marginal groups and favored their insertion into a wider unity called "nation". We must also not forget the attempts by France to put a colony in the Strait of Magellan to supply the ships that went to the French pacific possessions, settlement attempts that had already been attempted previously and had already failed. If the French had set foot in the strait, there would have been a political / military tension between Chile and France between Argentina and England over the Falklands / Malvinas.
Testifying to the Chilean government's approval of the presence of Salesians in Tierra del Fuego, the President of the Republic Jorge Mont expressed himself in 1892, in a letter of reply to the Bishop of Punta Arenas, when the mission had already been founded for some years :
I see with real pleasure, that due to the dedication and tireless work of its missionaries, the dark horizon of these remote regions is opened to the light of science, and that taking civilization to the very center of barbarism promises to make its inhabitants men useful to the fatherland  .
Fagnano was therefore the right man that Don Bosco had chosen to fulfill his dream of bringing the word of Christ to the end of the world. Of strong build, of liberal ideas (he had been a Garibaldian volunteer without participating in the expedition of the Thousand), he brought together in his own person the experience of the Salesians with the emigrants in the Argentine cities and the one just begun with the Indians of Patagonia. Before founding Dawson, Fagnano had a long presence behind Carmen de Patagones in 1880, then with the Tehuelches at Comodoro Rivadavia, and finally in 1886 he accompanied Colonel Lista's expedition to Tierra del Fuego and in the Bahia of San Sebastian he stopped the massacre of the indians onas from the fire of Argentine soldiers.
To realize Don Bosco's dream of entering "the center of the barbarism" and transforming the savage Indians into good Christians and civilized men through work, he reproposes the model of Jesuit reducciones in Paraguay and Bolivia that flourished between the seventeenth century and a good part of the eighteenth century until the expulsion of the order in 1767. A model already known in the Congregation, so much so that the work of LA Muratori was reprinted in Turin in 1880, The Christianity happy in the missions of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus in Paraguay , which had already left Venice in 1743, which had spread the ambitious Jesuit missionary project in Europe.
The Dawson mission was therefore directed to the Indians of the Strait of Magellan, the alacalufes who lived on canoes and onas hunters of land, but did not include the inclusion of the yamanas Indians who lived further south on the shores of the Beagle Channel. In this area there were already Protestant missions, in the Bahia Douglas of the Navarino island closed in 1916 and in the Tekenika bay from 1892 to 1907 of the Wollanston archipelago, near Cape Horn. And moreover, there were no inhabited centers around the Beagle, since Punta Arenas was the only city in the south of the world that could serve as a rear for the mission. Furthermore the yaganes were very few, they lived on fishing, scattered over a very large territory, composed of islands surrounded by stormy seas, and already decimated since 1830 by English sailors.
Dawson's "sacred experiment" was not the only one in Tierra del Fuego. It was replicated in 1893 by opening The Mission of Candelaria in Rio Grande in Argentina, for the onas Indians, now extinct; and, if both Fagnano initiatives had negative results, they did not exhaust the missionary commitment on the island, which is still present in Porvenir, Ushuaia and Rio Grande itself in other places and with other populations. Indeed the mission of Rio Grande, whose buildings are still visible, was the nucleus around which the city was built, which today has more than 60,000 inhabitants.
In any case the failures had in the Tierra del Fuego served of experience for analogous initiatives that immediately after were had with the Indios of the forests of Brazil (in January 1902 don G. Balzala and A. Malàn made contact with the Bororo of Brazil), while they were contemporaries of the mission at the Shuar in the East of Ecuador, headhunters, who live along the Rio Upano. These projects, but especially those of Tierra del Fuego, in the collective imagination of the Congregation are still seen today as the pioneering phase of missionary action.
The experience of Dawson before and the subsequent one of Rio Grande cannot be put on the same level as the other missionary activities, those aimed precisely at emigrants or the local population, indeed they will always have the character of a small utopia, consequent to the visionary dimension already present in Don Bosco because there were nomadic Indians who lived outside of history, or, better said, "not yet out of prehistory", who lived in an extraordinary place from every point of view. The action of the missionaries in Tierra del Fuego would have been carried out with a fervor worthy of the first apostles, as they saw themselves, as Matthew's Gospel says, "like sheep among wolves", risking martyrdom, as indeed it happened for at least one of them.
The mission of St. Raphael of the island of Dawson had two centers, that of Bahia Harris and a minor one on the opposite side of the island el Buon Pastor in Punta San Valentin. The latter was "para niñas discolas y que estan en la edad peligrosa". It was closed on October 17, 1905, prefiguring what would happen soon after with the other settlement.
The history of the mission can be divided into three phases: the first, when the foundations of the project are laid and it has a period of time ranging from 1887 to 1894; the second, the most prosperous, culminates with the visit of the President of the Republic Don Federico Erráuriz in February 1899; the third phase, finally, is the most bitter one, marked by the sign of a slow decadence that arrives until the closure in 1910.
The first decade is buzzing with activity and a constructive spirit. A meteorological observatory will be set up (in Punta Arenas already active since 1888), the layout of a town with at least 50 single-family houses with a zinc roof, even if without floor and glass windows, as well as the door, strongly opposed by the inhabitants for not feeling themselves prisoners. The lack of doors and windows in the windows also served to disperse the smoke, as on the ground the fire was lit that served as a meeting point for the whole family and around which one slept, on the ground, according to the customs of the akar, or traditional circular hut. There will also be a school, in which a magic lantern will be used for entertainment and education purposes, while the musical band of the Indians complete with brass instruments, drums, plates and uniforms will make its voice heard in the trees of the island, where the only sounds had always been those of the wind, the sea and the birds. When the President of the Republic visits the mission on February 13, 1899 he faces a village composed of 350 Indians (the previous year they were 550, the highest number of presences in the twenty years of history) with a sawmill planted in 1897 " para apartar del ocio y del descontento que este engendra en los indios i civilizados ", which had a chimney (still visible), two engines that operated a large saw for wood, wooden rails three kilometers long to bring the trees to the sawmill, a wooden dock for the mooring of ships, where the wooden poles that supported the telegraph poles in Patagonia were loaded; finally a chapel and other buildings built for work and administration. While the women (as the historian Padre Lorenzo Massa, founder in Buenos Aires of the soccer team San Lorenzo (of which the pope is a fan) recalls, worked in wool under the leadership of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.
Since the President's visit takes place in February, he does not know that another 95 Indians will die during the year, while the year before they were 110 victims (one every three days) and, in 1897, 145, while in 1896 they were 115. At that date there were 620 graves in the cemetery, which by now had become the center of island life. In the following ten years, another 242 Indians will die, for a total of 862. And the decrease in the number of deaths, more than indicating the resolution of the problem of mortality, is the indicator of the abandonment of the mission by the Indians, who do not flock there more with the hope of being protected by the guns of the estancieros, or to find food, but they are aware that this is only a place of death, as was the mission of Ushuaia of the Anglican pastor Bridges.
The last phase, as we can see from what we have said, will consist of a slow agony of activities and of men, which from the maximum number of 550 in 98, is reduced to 36 in 1911, when it was abandoned, moving to Rio Grande the last Indians who wanted to stay with the missionaries. These, like ghosts, moved among empty buildings, abandoned houses, work tools full of rust, feral animals in the woods, while the clock placed on the bell tower marked the hours in vain. The mission was active in Rio Grande until 1927, where it operated a tannery for sheepskin and a small textile industry that engaged women. From then on the mission turned into an agricultural school active until today.
What are the reasons for this failure?
First of all the diseases brought by white men, from clothes that were not washed, from living together, which spread tuberculosis, measles and other contagion diseases. But more than any other in Tierra del Fuego the attempt to radically change the life habits of Indians, who for about 10,000 years were nomadic hunters, in wood workers or cattle ranchers, was deleterious. It was a naive utopia operated by both Anglican and Salesian Protestant pastors to believe that in a short time the nomadic Indians would become residents, that they would change the hunt with labor workers to machines, that they would wear clothes never used in their history and changed their feeding of meat and raw fish with bread, pasta, beans, coffee and other products from Italy. And they would have learned to read and write under dictation of sentences by authors of a world and a culture incomprehensible to them.
And yet Dawson's experiment remains an experience yet to be fully understood. Even today it has not been possible to identify the place of the cemetery which houses the approximately 900 tombs to know the true causes of the mortality of so many people, nor the "modalities" of the profound cultural clash that took place on this isolated island at the end of the world. If the project gets out of hand with the Salesians, we must still consider that in every Indian they saw a man to help, unlike the estancieros who saw in the Indians an obstacle for the breeding of the sheep and paid the pounds of the men and two pounds a pound women's breasts.
I want to close these reflections by reporting some passages from the letter that Fagnano wrote to Don Bosco on November 5th 1887, a few months after his arrival in Punta Arenas:
Captain Paolo Ferri from Varazze brought me a family from Tierra del Fuego, his mother with three little boys, two boys and a girl. The father was killed by some gold digger. They belong to the Ona breed, whose idiom nobody intends here and I only know a few words that I could gather in a small dictionary. I greeted her with all charity, I had to wash them from head to foot and clean them entirely; I taught the mother to wash, I gave everyone what to dress decently, but they were not happy except with their guanaco skin and next to their poor fire. They eat neither bread nor soup but only meat. How much patience and what effort to educate them! I wanted to invite them to eat in our refectory so that they could see how we do and they laughed soundly: if we offered them soup, they spat in the dish as a sign of disgust. They touch everything with wonder, plates, glasses, bottles and laugh. And while the mother and the two older children are snooping, the child on his mother's shoulders is having fun chasing the numerous little animals that nest in his hair eating them tasty.
The reading of this beautiful letter is the demonstration of how two worlds were so close but at the same time so distant and of how the humble generosity of Fagnano could not bridge the cultural distance that separated them.
Here are some photos of the mission collected by Dr. G. Caperna
Marcel Verhulst, sdb
The organizers of the Congress asked that the inclusion of the charism of Don Bosco in Central Africa be studied. In the past, for the Congregation, Central Africa involved the territory of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.
In our case, the period of insertion and first development of the Salesian charism runs from around 1911 to 1959. In fact, it was only in 1949 that the Salesian charism blossomed in such a way that the foundation of the "Central African Province" was really made possible in 1959: the first Salesian Province based in Africa did not happen by chance, but it was the fruit of a matured process.
It seems to us that it is appropriate to distinguish three phases in the insertion of the Salesian charism in the Congo:
1 °) 1911-1925 : we can call this phase a first experimentation on Salesian educational methods in which the Salesian activity was concentrated in the environment of the nascent city of Élisabethville and its surroundings (Kafubu, Kiniama).
2 °) 1925-1949 : the expansion of the Salesian Work in the area ordinarily called the "Sakania Boot" because of its geographical conformation: a region in the extreme south of Katanga, interspersed in Zambia (ex Northern Rhodesia). In this rural area, with a sparse population, the Salesians focused on evangelizing the villages, turning more to adults, without neglecting young people though.
3) 1949-1959 : the full development of the Salesian charism, especially in some urban areas of South-Katanga characterized by new social needs to which the Salesians wanted to respond, founding professional and technical schools, urban parishes with oratories, organizing multiple para- and extracurricular activities.
The objective of this presentation of ours is threefold: 1) How the Salesian charism was lived and inserted into the socio-cultural context of Central Africa; 2 °) Know the facilities and difficulties encountered in the insertion of this charism; 3) Evaluate the depth of this insertion with its own characteristics.
It was at the request of the Belgian colonial government and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that the Salesians arrived in the Congo, specifically in Élisabethville, the capital of Katifera province, on 10 November 1911. A few months after their arrival, they started a school official elementary school for European children (12 February 1912) and, a month later, a vocational school for young Africans (15 March 1912). To these works were added later a first missionary station in Kiniama (1915), an elementary school for young people and adults at the "Indigenous City" of Élisabethville (June 1917) and an agricultural school in Kafubu (1921).
The main protagonists of this first phase were the Inspector of the Belgian Province, Don Francesco Scaloni (1861-1926), Fr Anthony Joseph Sak (1875-1946), head of the first missionary expedition sent to the Congo and Superior of the Salesians of the Congo , and Don Fernand Laloux (1889-1955), successor of Don Sak in the direction of the two Élisabethville official schools entrusted to the Salesians. Referring to their testimonies, we realize some choices made in this first phase of Salesian work in the Congo.
Very soon, some Salesians began to discredit the "official" school for European children. In the same way, during his canonical visit in 1914, Don Scaloni noticed two obstacles to the good progress of this work if he had wanted to make it a true Salesian house: the lack of collaboration with the parents and few opportunities for a real work of evangelization. Both goals were difficult to achieve due to the different faiths of the students' parents, some of whom were hostile to the Christian faith. According to the "agreements" that both parties - the Government and the Salesians - had signed, it was forbidden for Salesians to put the least pressure on students to become Catholic Christians. On the other hand, the Salesians were frankly of agreement to avoid any proselytism and respect the secular nature of the school, leaving parents the choice to attend (or not) Catholic religion lessons. In practice, this meant that in that school, there were not many opportunities to do proper pastoral work. The priest priests therefore questioned themselves about the reason for their presence in this school.
To all that is added then the lack of qualified personnel in sufficient quantity: so it soon becomes clear why, between 1923 and 1926, Don Sak and his brothers wanted to leave that school. But this did not happen for two reasons: firstly, the Superiors of the Congregation wanted to keep it, considering that the formation of a European elite in Black Africa was also a valid educational goal; and above all, leaving it, we would have lost the financial income necessary to provide for the missionary work in the Congo. That's why the school was never sold to other managers.
With respect to missionary work in Kiniama and Kafubu, the missionary method of the head of the first missionary team, Fr Joseph Sak in particular, was characterized by the importance given to human relations in their first contacts with the native population to create mutual trust. Gestures like gifts to the chiefs, medical care for the sick and participation in village festivals have affected the population.
What was the pastoral plan of the protagonists of that time? In 1914, Don Scaloni believed that the Salesians had to extend into the villages from Élisabethville, and create synergies between towns and villages. Every missionary station that would be founded had from now on to include an agricultural center and a primary school, so that in the future it would be easy to choose the best students from the villages and send them to the Élisabethville vocational school. He believed that after a certain time, the Salesians would have had a great influence on the villages of origin of the students, through well-trained young men both at a professional and a Christian level. Don Scaloni "dreamed" of being able to train them as "collaborators" in the
In order for the Salesian schools in Élisabethville to have a real impact on African students, Don Sak was very keen on the "boarding" system that allowed him to devote a lot of time to extracurricular activities. In 1913, the Government wanted to suppress the boarding school, with the excuse that almost all the young people of the school had a family member in the city and, therefore, could be hosted in the family. Don Sak then protested vigorously, saying that removing from the Salesian community any possibility of organizing extracurricular activities meant losing natural opportunities to exert positive influence on students, outside of the moments of lesson and workshop: not doing so meant condemning their training for a sure failure.
In fact, it should be noted that the Salesians of the first generation devoted considerable time to recreational and artistic activities, particularly in the band and in the choir. To all that was added, starting from 1924, the theater, as a way of recreation and Christian formation; and the same thing happened with the film. Likewise, liturgical activities immediately attracted the European and African population of the city, struck by the "Congolese mastery" of religious music. In this way, in the Salesian houses of the Congo, the liturgy, music, theater, games and good food intertwined to create family joy in religious and civil celebrations, as was used elsewhere, in other parts of the Salesian world .
This does not mean that school activities were neglected. Don Sak, son of a provincial school inspector from Belgium, guaranteed the quality of teaching in the Salesian schools of Élisabethville, Kafubu and Kiniama. But he believed that the best service to be given to the native population was to create elementary, professional and agricultural schools. Don Sak was reluctant to start a school for order clerks - as requested by the Government - for fear that uprooted and disenchanted young people would be formed. He much preferred a popular and widespread teaching, for adults and young people, offered to them at any time of the day (morning and evening), according to his own convenience.
The praising reports of the Belgian colonial government about the good performance of the Salesian schools, in the first years of the presence of the Sons of Don Bosco, show that the concept of his teaching was highly appreciated by the official institutions, as an adequate response to the need - economic and social - to have skilled workers. On this point, there was a strong convergence of ideas between Governor Wangermée, Don Scaloni and Don Sak.
This observation leads us to affirm that one of the factors that contributed to the growth of the Salesian Work in the Congo, in the early days (and even later), was the good collaboration of the Salesians with the Government in the field of "official" teaching.
A second factor that helped the matter was the existence of certain favorable predispositions in the Congolese youth: in particular their "passion" for study, their sense of solidarity lived in the family and that they found in Salesian residences.
As regards the educational method used by the Salesians in the Congo, what probably most affected the Congolese youth of that period was the closeness of the Salesians in their lives; this contrasted with their education in the family and with social relations in the then colonial environment, characterized by racial segregation. However, this closeness had some limitations: for example, the Salesians did not practice assistance during games in the courtyard, nor did they accompany young people on walks in the city. The Salesians gave as reason that the Congolese young people already behaved as adults before age; and then, the same people said, in the local culture, young people used to organize their own games without the intervention of adults.
The great frustration of the Salesians was the prohibition of organizing extracurricular apostolic activities, by decision taken in 1923 by the Apostolic Prefect, Mons. De Hemptinne, who wanted to reserve the parish pastoral of Élisabethville, both of the African population and the European one, only to the religious of the own Order, the Benedictines. Consequently, the Salesian community of Élisabethville had to renounce the direct pastoral activities that it had already begun to organize for the former students who were still residing in Élisabethville, for work reasons. This gave a powerful brake to the pastoral thrust of the Salesians of Élisabethville, deprived of any parochial work, without even the permission to celebrate religious services in their chapel for the surrounding population.
This drastic position of the Apostolic Prefect has forced the Salesians to focus almost exclusively on scholastic and pre-school activities within their own works. This did not prevent them from having any impact on the environment, through former students who were marked by the lived preventive system, as evidenced by various converging elements.
However, the consequence of this ban on pastoral care for the parish was such that, at the level of the first phase, the Salesian charism could not take root in depth due to the lack of a pastoral space that allowed a plurality of activities, as Don Sak would have liked.
With the establishment of the Apostolic Prefecture of the Holy See in 1925, under the name of "Luapula Superiore" and the appointment of Don Sak as Apostolic Prefect - now called Mons. Sak - a new phase began in the evolution of the Salesian work in Congo. This became a missionary work of evangelization in the area commonly called the "Boot of Sakania" already entrusted to the Salesians by Mons. De Hemptinne in 1913, but without granting them a jurisdiction independent of their own. Now, the Salesians operating in this area were under the jurisdiction of Bishop Sak.
The extraordinary canonical visit of Don Scaloni, in 1926, in the name of the Rector Major Don Rinaldi, reinforced this "new orientation" desired by Bishop Sak, to spread to the rural areas in the "Boot of Sakania". From then on, the Salesian presence was divided into two different areas: in the urban area (Élisabethville), it involved only young Europeans; in the rural area ("Boot of Sakania") instead, it concerned the native population, young people and adults, through a network of missionary stations scattered in the territory.
In Élisabethville, therefore, there was nothing left but the school for European students, the "St. Francis de Sales College": an elementary school to which a secondary school was added in 1920 but remained a long time without the high school (high school degree). Located in the city center, this College has become a center of influence through extracurricular and post-school activities. In any case, thanks to this rather peculiar work, the Salesians have long played a unique role in the province of Katanga, from the fact that almost all young Europeans were entrusted to them. Therefore the great efforts that, since 1936, the Belgian Salesian Province has allowed to maintain and increase this institute have been justified, despite all attempts to remove their direction.
About Mons. De Hemptinne, it should be noted here that, despite his very difficult relationship with Mgr Sak, he did not show a lack of esteem for what the Salesians were doing in his ecclesiastical jurisdiction; and he always considered the College of St. Francis de Sales an important work, not only from an academic point of view, but also from a pastoral point of view, on condition that it depended strictly on him.
Furthermore, a spirit of unity and mutual assistance began to emerge between him and the Salesians since 1934; thus the Salesians were able to re-enter the Élisabethville parish ministry, lending their collaboration as they were invited by the Benedictine parish priests of the two parishes of the city.
This positive evolution is even more evident after 1945, when the Salesians began to lend support to the local clergy, not only for confessions, but also for the scout's chaplaincy, also through the creation of a power of attorney selling school supplies, and above all with the Catholic radio programs at the "Radio-Collège" launched by the Salesians in 1947. It can be said that at the end of this phase, the participation of the Salesians in the Élisabethville general pastoral care had grown significantly, although they remained "auxiliary" and not yet considered partners.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the vast majority of Salesians sent to the Congo in that period were confreres who had asked to go to work in the "missions". Almost ex officio, they were destined for missionary stations in the Prefecture of Luapula Superior, which had become the Vicariate of Sakania in 1939. They were itinerant missionaries who were visiting Christian communities in the villages, principals or teachers in primary schools, nurses in clinics. Beyond evangelization, they provided a series of social services much appreciated by the public and civil authority.
It should also be noted that, in the Vicariate of Sakania, a certain number of Salesians also devoted themselves full time (or almost) to education and to teaching young people. What were the results? The Kafubu vocational school has trained highly skilled workers, who have found work easily in many industrial enterprises in the cities of Katanga and elsewhere in the Congo. This is undoubtedly a positive development, but perhaps today we regret that very few of them have returned to the rural environment to contribute to its development, as originally desired by Don Scaloni and Don Sak. Without wanting to, the Salesians have perhaps contributed to the depopulation of the villages. The Minor Seminary (in Kipusha, then Kakyelo) produced only a few candidates for the priesthood, but it has formed a number of lay graduates who formed the first indigenous Christian elite in the region. The "normal" [magistral] school of Kipusha and "application" (in Sakania then Tera) have trained several generations of teachers in the service of the elementary schools of the "Boot of Sakania". In general, the testimonies agree to say that the Preventive System has been applied by many missionaries, with some exceptions, because much depends on the concrete confreres sent to the Congo. The most visible effect of this education (offer) is the organization of Ex-students since 1938, with monthly meetings and the publication of a Newsletter The "normal" [magistral] school of Kipusha and "application" (in Sakania then Tera) have trained several generations of teachers in the service of the elementary schools of the "Boot of Sakania". In general, the testimonies agree to say that the Preventive System has been applied by many missionaries, with some exceptions, because much depends on the concrete confreres sent to the Congo. The most visible effect of this education (offer) is the organization of Ex-students since 1938, with monthly meetings and the publication of a Newsletter The "normal" [magistral] school of Kipusha and "application" (in Sakania then Tera) have trained several generations of teachers in the service of the elementary schools of the "Boot of Sakania". In general, the testimonies agree to say that the Preventive System has been applied by many missionaries, with some exceptions, because much depends on the concrete confreres sent to the Congo. The most visible effect of this education (offer) is the organization of Ex-students since 1938, with monthly meetings and the publication of a NewsletterDon Bosco Shinwe [= "Your Father Don Bosco speaks to you"], which indicates the attachment to education received.
A third step is perceptible after the end of the Second World War. The Salesians of the Congo emerged from the isolation in which they had had to live for almost five years. The "boom" of vocations in Belgium, which lasted until 1960, allowed not only to replace some tired confreres for long years of work in the Congo, but also to increase the number, even in works outside the Vicariate of Sakania, especially in secondary schools.
First there were many para-, post- and extra-scholastic activities from and around the College of St. Francis de Sales of Élisabethville, which then began perhaps the most splendid period in its history. The state was building new buildings for secondary school and boarding school. A movie theater was added. There were plenty of places for Movements and Groups. In 1957, a new "public" chapel was blessed by Mgr. De Hemptinne.
The Salesians were increasingly oriented towards the urban areas of the Congo; in particular: the new city (suburb / suburban area) of Ruashi in Élisabethville and the mining town of Kolwezi. The Provincial, Don René-Marie Picron, had the project of reaching other cities before 1960: Luluabourg (Kananga), capital of Kasai and Léopoldville (Kinshasa), the capital of the country. But the old, and especially the new nascent foundations that absorbed all the energies, made this project impossible. In fact, we already had three professional and technical schools (Élisabethville, Kigali, Ruwe), the large parish of Saint-Amand alla Ruashi, two minor seminaries (Kambikila and Rwesero), over a dozen mission stations in the Vicariate of Sakania. It was too difficult to want to do everything in such a short time.
In citing the name Rwesero, we realize that the Salesians of Central Africa were surpassing the Congolese geographical area to launch themselves towards the neighboring country, Rwanda. In fact, it is January 24, 1954 that the first team has arrived. Note that this is not the only country then influenced by the Salesians of the Congo. There was also Northern Rhodesia in the Copperbelt region of Zambia today, as a number of former students settled there to find work, continuing to receive the Don Bosco Shinwe Newsletter . Don Picron, the last Provincial of the Belgian-Congolese Province, helped prepare for the setting up of the Salesian charism in the Congo-Brazzaville, and dreamed of reaching Uganda through Rwanda.
This keen interest in Rwanda is due to the fact that before the Second World War, he had been a missionary in the Vicariate of Sakania where he realized the great difficulty in having local vocations. He therefore sought to arrive at other African countries where the socio-cultural context was more favorable to the birth of vocations. Thus, in 1956, he accepted the direction of a second minor seminary, that of Rwesero dedicated to "San Domenico Savio". Having invested a lot of personnel, both in Kambikila (Congo) and in Rwesero (Rwanda), clearly expresses his desire to have vocations for the diocesan clergy and for the Salesian Congregation. In fact, the first African Salesian vocations come from these two minor seminaries since 1957.
Another process is still visible at this stage. In the 1950s, large professional schools were opened throughout the Salesian world. Central Africa was not left behind and, in October 1955, in Élisabethville, the Salesians opened a second vocational school (after La Kafubu): an official school that would be "interracial" (for white students and black students), according to the new policy of the Belgian government for Congolese government schools. It should be noted that the Provincial, Don Picron, made sure that "inter-locality" was also adopted in the College of Saint Francis of Sales, which until then had remained a school reserved exclusively for European youth.
From 1955, at the request of Mgr. De Hemptinne, the Salesians engaged in urban parish ministry in the new municipality of Ruashi of Élisabethville, where multiple groups and parish movements would flourish. At the same time, they ran a large elementary school built by the state, where they would soon (in 1958) be supported by the FMA. To all this was added the start of the third branch of the Salesian Family, very dear to Don Picron, the Salesian Cooperators, born in 1959 as associates or sympathizers of the various works of Élisabethville.
During the summer holidays of 1958, three playing fields worked and, in 1959, it was already thought to create a specific work in favor of non-schooled and idle young people, exposed to delinquency. The Provincial, Don Picron, estimated that the Preventive System had lived correctly in all the houses of the Congo and Rwanda.
In short, in the years 1949-1959, the Salesian presence in Central Africa had become consistent due to the number of Salesians and works, especially with the variety of activities for young people. Consequently, since 1955, the Inspector Picron devised a plan to make the Congo and Rwanda autonomous with respect to Belgium; and in fact, this has led the Superiors of the Congregation to create a Province of its own. Waiting to have sufficient local vocations, he proposed as a "transitional" solution a "wide internationalization" of missionary personnel.
After what we have just described, we understand that the question of whether the Salesians in Central Africa were able to insert Don Bosco's charism into Central Africa (ie Congo and Rwanda) in the period before 1960, we answer without hesitation in the affirmative. Not only have they succeeded in inserting this charisma, but the charisma has grown from them up to such a level of maturity, that it was possible to create the Province of Central Africa by Don Renato Ziggiotti, on 13 July 1959.
(Translated from the French by Placide Carava, sdb)
Insertion and development of the Salesian charism in Central Africa (1911-1959)
Verhulst Marcel, sdb
The organizers of the Congress asked to study the insertion of Don Bosco's charism in Central Africa. In the understanding of the Congregation of old, the notion of Central Africa implied the territory of the present Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Rwanda.
In our case, the period of the insertion and first development of the Salesian charism goes from 1911 to about 1959. Indeed, it was not until 1949 that the Salesian charism really flourished in such a way as to allow the foundation of the "Province of Central Africa" in 1959, the first Salesian province founded in Africa. which did not happen by chance, but as the fruit of a process of maturation.
It seems to us that we should distinguish three stages in the insertion of the Salesian charism in the Congo: 1 ° that which goes from 1911 to 1925: that we can call that of a first experimentation around the methods of Salesian education where the activity of the Salesians was concentrated in the middle of the nascent city of Elisabethville and its environs (Kafubu, Kiniama); the one that goes from 1925 to 1949:characterized by the expansion of the Salesian work in what is commonly known as the "Sakania's Boot" because of its geographical form: a region located in the extreme south of Katanga, landlocked as "returning" to the territory of the Zambia, formerly known as Northern Rhodesia. In this sparsely populated rural area, the Salesians have emphasized village evangelization, with greater emphasis on adults but without neglecting young people; finally, that of 1949 to 1959: with the full development of the Salesian charism, especially in some urban areas of South Katanga characterized by new social needs to which the Salesians wanted to respond by founding vocational and technical schools, urban parishes with patronage, organizing many - and extracurricular.
We aim for a triple objective in our presentation: 1 ° to know how this Salesian charism was lived and inserted in the socio-cultural milieu of Central Africa; - 2 ° to know the facilities and difficulties encountered in the insertion of this charism; - 3 ° to evaluate the depth of this insertion with its own characteristics.
It was at the request of the Belgian colonial government and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that the Salesians arrived in Congo, more precisely in Elisabethville, the capital of the Copper Province of Katanga, on November 10, 1911. A few months after their On arrival, they opened an official primary school for European children (opened on February 12, 1912) and, one month later, a vocational school for young Africans (opened March 15, 1912). To these works were added, successively, a first mission station at Kiniama (in 1915), a primary school for young people and adults at the "Cité indigène" in Elisabethville (in June 1917) and a farm school at Kafubu (in 1921).
The main protagonists of this first stage were the provincial of the Belgian province, Don Francesco Scaloni (1861-1926), the father Antoine-Joseph Sak (1875-1946), leader of the first missionary expedition sent to the Congo and superior of the Salesians in the Congo, and Father Fernand Laloux (1889-1955), successor of Father Sak in the direction of the two official schools of Elisabethville entrusted to the Salesians. Referring to their testimonies, we are aware of some options taken in this first stage of Salesian work in Congo.
Very early, some Salesians began to discredit the "official" school for European children. In the same way, Don Scaloni, during his canonical visit in 1914, noted two obstacles to the smooth running of this work if we wanted to make it a real Salesian house: the lack of collaboration with the parents and the few possibilities to make a true work of evangelization. Both goals were difficult to achieve because of the different religious denominations of the students' parents, some of whom were hostile to the Christian faith. According to the "convention" that both parties, the government and the Salesians, had signed, it was forbidden for the Salesians to put the slightest pressure on the pupils to become Catholic Christians. Moreover, the Salesians were frankly in favor of avoiding any proselytism and respecting the secularism of this school, leaving the parents the choice to attend (or not) the Catholic religion course. In practice, this meant that in this school there were not many opportunities for pastoral work proper. The confreres priests therefore wondered about the reason for their presence in this school.
When the lack of qualified personnel in sufficient numbers was added, it is easy to understand why, between 1923 and 1926, father Sak and his colleagues wanted to leave this school. If this did not happen, it must be attributed to two reasons: the first, the superiors of the Congregation wanted to keep it considering that the formation of a European elite in Black Africa was also a valid educational goal, and especially since leaving it would have lost the financial income necessary to finance the missionary work in the Congo. As a result, the transfer of this school to other managers never took place.
In relation to missionary work in Kiniama and Kafubu, the missionary method of the leader of the first missionary team, Father Joseph Sak in particular, was characterized by the importance given to human relations in their contact with the population. to create mutual trust. Gestures such as gifts to customary chiefs, medical care for the sick and participation in village festivals have affected the population.
What was the pastoral plan of the protagonists of that time? In 1914, Don Scaloni believed that the Salesians had to expand into the villages from Elisabethville and create a synergy between towns and villages. Each mission post that was to be founded was to include an agricultural center and an elementary school so that in the future it would be easy to select the best students from the villages and send them to the Elisabethville vocational school. He believed that after a while, the Salesians would have a great influence on the villages of origin of the students through young people who were well trained both professionally and Christian. Don Scaloni "dreamed" of being able to train "co-operators" in their home.
In order for the Salesian schools in Elisabethville to have a real impact on African students, Father Sak was very attached to the internship system, which made it possible to devote a lot of time to extracurricular activities. When, in 1913, the government wanted to abolish the boarding school on the grounds that practically all the young people in the school had some family members in town and could therefore be accommodated with their families, Father Sak protested vigorously by saying to exclude from the Salesian community any possibility of organizing extracurricular activities, was identical to lacking natural opportunities to exert a beneficial influence on them outside of class and workshop hours. Therefore, it was to condemn their education to a certain failure.
We see, indeed, that the Salesians of the first generation gave a lot of time to the recreational and artistic activities, in particular to the fanfare and the choir, to which was added, from the year 1924, the theater used for both recreation and Christian training, just like the film. In the same way, the liturgical activities immediately attracted the European and African population of the city, touched by the "Congolese mastery" of religious music. In this way, in the Salesian houses of the Congo, liturgy, music, theater, games, and good meals intertwined to create family joy during religious and secular festivals, as was done elsewhere in the Salesian world. .
This does not mean that school activities were neglected. Father Sak, son of a provincial school inspector from Belgium, ensured the quality of education in Salesian schools in Elisabethville, Kafubu and Kiniama. But he believed that the best service to the aboriginal population was to create primary, vocational and agricultural schools. He was reluctant to found a school for office workers, as the government had asked him to, for fear of training uprooted and jaded youth. He preferred by far a popular and generalized teaching, given to adults as to young people, given at any time of the day (in the morning as in the evening) according to their personal convenience.
The praiseworthy reports of the Belgian colonial government on the smooth running of the Salesian schools in the first years of the presence of Don Bosco's sons, show that his conception of education was well appreciated by the official bodies as being an adequate answer to the economic need. and social of the moment that was to have skilled workers. On this point, there was a strong convergence of ideas between Governor Wangermée, Don Scaloni and Father Sak.
This leads us to affirm that one of the factors that contributed to the growth of the Salesian work in the Congo in the early times (and even after) was the good collaboration of the Salesians with the government in the context of the teaching. "official".
A second factor that contributed to this was the existence of certain favorable predispositions among Congolese youth: in particular their "passion" for study, their sense of solidarity experienced as a family that they found in Salesian boarding schools.
At the level of the educational method applied by the Salesians in the Congo, what most probably struck young Congolese at that time was the proximity of the Salesians to their lives, which contrasted with their education in the family as well as with the social relations in the colonial milieu of that time, characterized by racial segregationism. This proximity, however, has had some limitations: eg. the Salesians did not assist during the games in the playground and did not accompany the youngsters during their walks in the city. The Salesians gave the reason that young Congolese already behaved like adults before the age and that, in the local culture, the young people used to organize their games themselves without the intervention of adults.
The great frustration that the Salesians have experienced was that of the prohibition to organize apostolic activities outside school, and this by a decision taken in 1923 by the Apostolic Prefect, Bishop de Hemptinne, who wanted to reserve the parish pastoral of Elisabethville, of the European population as well as Africans, only religious of his order, the Benedictines. Following this measure, the Salesian community of Elisabethville had to give up the direct pastoral activities it had begun to organize for former students who, for reasons of employment, continued to reside in Elisabethville. This gave a serious impediment to the pastoral impulse of the Salesians of Elisabethville deprived of all parish work,
This draconian position taken by the Apostolic Prefect forced the Salesians to focus almost exclusively on school and extracurricular activities within their own works, which did not prevent them from having a certain impact on the milieu thanks to their former students who remained marked by the application of the preventive system as attested by various convergent testimonies.
Nevertheless, the consequence of this banishment from the parish pastoral was that at the first stage, the Salesian charism could not take root in depth because of a lack of pastoral space to organize a plurality of activities such as would have wanted Father Sak.
With the erection of the apostolic prefecture by the Holy See in 1925 under the name of "Luapula Superior" and the appointment of Father Sak as prefect apostolic - now called Mgr. Sak - began a new stage in the evolution of the Salesian work in the Congo which then became a missionary work of evangelization in the territory commonly known as the "Boot of Sakania" already entrusted to the Salesians by Bishop de Hemptinne in 1913, but without granting them jurisdiction independent of his. From now on, the Salesians working in this territory were under the jurisdiction of Msgr Sak.
The extraordinary canonical visit of Don Scaloni of 1926, made in the name of the Rector Major Don Rinaldi, reinforced this "reorientation" desired by Mgr. Sak to go to the rural areas in Sakania's Boot. From then on, the Salesian presence was subdivided into two very different zones: in an urban area (in Elisabethville), it concerned only European youth; in rural areas (in Sakania's Boot), it concerned the indigenous population, young people and adults, through a network of mission posts scattered throughout the territory.
In Elisabethville there remained only the school for European students called "College Saint Francis de Sales": a primary school to which was added in the 1920s, a secondary school long truncated, that is to say say without a higher cycle. Located in the city center, this college has nevertheless become a center of influence through its extracurricular and after school activities. In any case, it is thanks to this particular work that the Salesians have long played a unique role in the province of Katanga because almost all the European youth was entrusted to them, which justified the great efforts that, as early as 1936 the Salesian province of Belgium has agreed to maintain and develop it despite all attempts to take the management away from them.
With regard to Bishop de Hemptinne, it should be noted here that despite his very difficult relations with Mgr. Sak, he did not lack esteem for what the Salesians were doing in his ecclesiastical jurisdiction and he always considered the College St. Francis de Sales as an important work, not only from a school point of view, but also pastoral, provided that it depends closely on him.
On the other hand, a spirit of union and mutual help began to appear between him and the Salesians from the year 1934, which meant that the Salesians were able to reintegrate into the parish pastoral of Elisabethville by lending their help as they were asked by the Benedictine priests of the two parishes of the city.
This positive development is even more noticeable after 1945, when the Salesians began to lend a hand to the local clergy, not only in the administration of the sacrament of confession, but also through chaplaincy among Scouts, through the creation of a supply of school equipment, and especially by Catholic radio broadcasts at the "Radio-College" launched by the Salesians in 1947. It can therefore be said that at the end of this stage the Salesian participation in the pastoral care of Elisabethville had increased significantly while remaining "auxiliaries", not yet considered as partners.
Moreover, it should be noted that the vast majority of Salesians sent to the Congo at that time were confreres who had asked to go to work in the "missions". Almost automatically, they were intended for mission posts in the prefecture of Luapula Superior, became vicariate of Sakania in 1939. They were itinerant missionaries who visited the Christian communities in the villages, directors or teachers of primary schools, nurses in the dispensaries. In addition to evangelization, they rendered many social services well appreciated by the population and the civil authority.
It should be noted that in the Vicariate of Sakania, a number of Salesians also devoted full-time (or almost) to the education and teaching of young people. What were the results? Kafubu Vocational School has trained well-qualified workers who have easily found employment in the multiple industrial enterprises of cities in Katanga or elsewhere in Congo. This is undoubtedly a positive fact, but we can regret today that very few of them have returned to the rural area to contribute to its development as originally desired by Fathers Scaloni and Sak. Unwittingly, the Salesians may have contributed to the depopulation of the villages. The minor seminary (in Kipusha and later in Kakyelo) produced very few priesthood candidates, but it has trained a number of lay laypeople who have been the first indigenous Christian elite in this region. The "normal" Kipusha school and the "application" school (in Sakania and then in Tera) trained several generations of teachers in the service of the primary schools of Sakania's Boot. In general, the testimonies are concordant to affirm that the preventive system was applied by a large number of missionaries, with some exceptions, because a lot depends on the concrete confreres sent to the Congo. The most visible effect of this (given) education is the organization of alumni from 1938, with monthly meetings and publication of a newsletter The "normal" Kipusha school and the "application" school (in Sakania and then in Tera) trained several generations of teachers in the service of the primary schools of Sakania's Boot. In general, the testimonies are concordant to affirm that the preventive system was applied by a large number of missionaries, with some exceptions, because a lot depends on the concrete confreres sent to the Congo. The most visible effect of this (given) education is the organization of alumni from 1938, with monthly meetings and publication of a newsletter The "normal" Kipusha school and the "application" school (in Sakania and then in Tera) trained several generations of teachers in the service of the primary schools of Sakania's Boot. In general, the testimonies are concordant to affirm that the preventive system was applied by a large number of missionaries, with some exceptions, because a lot depends on the concrete confreres sent to the Congo. The most visible effect of this (given) education is the organization of alumni from 1938, with monthly meetings and publication of a newsletter the testimonies are concordant to affirm that the preventive system was applied by a large number of missionaries, with some exceptions, because a lot depends on the concrete confreres sent to the Congo. The most visible effect of this (given) education is the organization of alumni from 1938, with monthly meetings and publication of a newsletter the testimonies are concordant to affirm that the preventive system was applied by a large number of missionaries, with some exceptions, because a lot depends on the concrete confreres sent to the Congo. The most visible effect of this (given) education is the organization of alumni from 1938, with monthly meetings and publication of a newsletterDon Bosco Shinwe , which seems to indicate the attachment to the education received.
A third step is perceptible after the end of the Second World War. The Salesians of Congo came out of the isolation in which they had to live for almost five years. The "boom" of vocations in Belgium, which would last until 1960, not only made it possible to replace some confreres tired of long years of work in Congo, but to increase the number, also in works outside the vicariate of Sakania, especially in secondary schools.
At first there was a plethora of para-, post- and extracurricular activities from and around the Collège Saint François de Sales in Elisabethville, which was then perhaps the most splendid period in its history. The state was building new buildings for the secondary school and the boarding school. We added a movie theater. There were locals in abundance for the movements and groups. In 1957, a new "public" chapel was blessed by Bishop de Hemptinne.
The Salesians were moving more and more towards the urban areas of the Congo; concretely: the new city (the peripheral district) of Ruashi in Elisabethville and the mining town of Kolwezi. The provincial, Father Rene-Marie Picron, had plans to reach other cities before 1960: Luluabourg (Kananga), capital of the province of Kasai and Leopoldville (Kinshasa), the capital of the country. But, the old and especially the new foundations in process of realization and absorbing all the energies, made it impossible. Indeed, we already had three vocational and technical schools (Elisabethville, Kigali, Ruwe), the large parish of Saint-Amand in Ruashi, two small seminaries (Kambikila and de Rwesero), besides a dozen mission posts in the vicariate of Sakania. It was too much to want to do in such a short time.
Mentioning the name of Rwesero, one realizes that the Salesians of Central Africa were going beyond the Congolese geographical framework to embark on the neighboring country, Rwanda. Indeed, it is on January 24, 1954, that the first team arrived there. It should be noted that this is not the only country which, at that time, was influenced by the Salesian presence of the Congo. There has been a shift to Northern Rhodesia, in the Copperbelt region of present-day Zambia, as a number of former students have moved there to find work and have continued to receive the newsletter Don Bosco Shinwe. Father Picron, the last provincial of the Belgian-Congolese province, helped to prepare the establishment of the Salesian charism in Congo-Brazzaville and dreamed of being able to reach Uganda through Rwanda.
His keen interest in Rwanda can be explained by the fact that, before the Second World War, he had been a missionary at the vicariate of Sakania where he had realized the great difficulty of having local vocations. He was therefore looking for ways to obtain them in other African countries where the socio-cultural context was more favorable to the emergence of vocations. Thus in 1956 he accepted the direction of a second minor seminary, that of Rwesero dedicated to "Saint Dominic Savio". The fact that he has invested a lot of staff, and in Kambikila (Congo) and Rwesero (Rwanda) shows his desire to have vocations for the diocesan clergy and the Salesian congregation. Indeed, the first Salesian vocations from Africa came from these two small seminars from the year 1957.
Another process is still noticeable at this stage. In the 1950s, all over the Salesian world great professional schools were created. Central Africa did not stay behind. Thus, in October 1955, at Elisabethville, the Salesians opened a second vocational school (after that of Kafubu): an official school that was to be "interracial" (for black and white students) following the new course of the Belgian government for official Congolese schools. It should be noted that the provincial, Fr. Picron, was seeking to have interraciality also adopted at the Collège Saint François de Sales, which until then had been a school reserved exclusively for European youth.
From 1955, at the request of Bishop de Hemptinne, the Salesians invested in urban parish pastoral care in the new Ruashi commune of Elisabethville, where many groups and parish movements were soon flourishing. At the same time, they took care of a big primary school built by the State, where soon (in 1958) they would be supported by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. To this was added the launching of the third branch of the Salesian family, very dear to Fr. Picron, the Salesian Cooperators, who were born in 1959 as associates or sympathizers of the various works of Elisabethville.
During the 1958 holidays, three playgrounds were in operation and in 1959 there was already a thought of creating a specific work for out-of-school and idle youth exposed to delinquency. The provincial, Father Picron, felt that the preventive system was well applied in all the houses of Congo and Rwanda.
In short, in the years 1949-1959 the Salesian presence in Central Africa had become consistent with the number of Salesians and works, especially the variety of activities for young people. Consequently, as early as 1955, the provincial, Father Picron, devised a plan to make Congo and Rwanda independent of Belgium; and in fact this has led the superiors of the Congregation to create a province in its own right. While waiting to have enough local vocations, he advocated as a "transitional" solution a "broad internationalization" of missionary personnel.
After what we have just explained, it is understandable that to the question if the Salesians in Central Africa were able to insert the charism of Don Bosco in Central Africa (that is to say in Congo and Rwanda) in the period before 1960, we answer without hesitation in the affirmative. Not only were they able to insert this charisma, but this charisma developed at home to such a degree of maturity that it allowed the creation of the province of Central Africa by Don Renato Ziggiotti on July 13, 1959.
Carlo Socol, sdb
The Salesians (FMA and SDB) in China, Japan and Thailand
The period of the Rectorates of Don Filippo Rinaldi and Don Pietro Ricaldone was characterized by a notable expansion of Salesian work in the world, with the most populous and culturally diverse Asian nations as main recipients and protagonists, realized with innovative strategies gradually developed in a relationship dialectic between center and periphery, and with the involvement of the Holy See that on a strongly expanding Salesian Congregation had placed considerable trust: expansion, strategies and dialectical relationship that shaped the Salesian Missions until the Council.
The first Salesians who left for Asia to set up the mission in India and China, two populous nations that according to Don Giuilio Barberis had already attracted Don Bosco's attention in May 1875 belonged to the 1905 expedition. to set foot on the Asian continent, January 5, 1906, was the quintet destined for India. A month later, on February 13, 1906, the six destined for China landed in Macau: D. Luigi Versiglia, expedition leader, the priests Ludovico Olive and Giovanni Fergnani, the coad. Giuseppe Carmagnola, and the novices coadjutors Gaudenzio Rota and Felice Borasio: all between the ages of 49 and 19, average age 32!
That this should happen sooner or later was in everyone's expectations: Don Bosco's missionary vocation was born in Asia, and to go to Asia he began to speak in the aftermath of the first missionary expedition in 1875 - which had been decided on four feet after negotiations failed to send the first Salesians to Hong Kong. After the first group left for Argentina, Don Bosco set to work on the idea of recalling the trusted Cagliero to Turin in two years to send him to India, aiming at an expansion of his work which at the same time embraced East and West : dream soon abandoned! Throughout the 1980s, and even on his deathbed, China will talk, write, dream, and write about his future testament to future developments.
In the first 5 years (1906-1910) the work of the missionaries was limited to taking care of 30-50 orphans entrusted to them by the bishop and to impart to them the rudiments of a trade, a job not very different from that carried out elsewhere in Salesian hospices. The temporary expulsion of religious communities from Macao, following the Portuguese revolution of 1910, allowed the two remaining missionaries, Versiglia and Olive, to obtain from the bishop a district to be evangelized in China - the Heungshan - just beyond the frontier of the enclave Portuguese, and to reopen the orphanage as a real school of art and crafts.
The two types of work, mission and school, allowed to welcome 10 new missionaries in the following years (1911-12) and to insert them in a context that on the one hand made them feel realized as educators; and on the other hand allowed them to acquire the necessary skills for future development in the two fields. This was the vision that Don Versiglia, having been on the spot, had developed. The expectations of the new arrivals were very different: "Of all the priests who came, except D. Olive and D. Canazei, all protested that they came to stay in the college, not to go on the mission".
College or mission? It is clear that up until the first post-war period the Congregation was looking for missions in the classical sense, even when it was not to ask them, but they were offered by the Holy See: Versiglia had hypothesized the alternance of developing schools in the vicariates of others, perhaps asking the territories in which they were located to carry out the work of evangelization, modeled on Macao-Heungshan. But "The Superior Chapter [had] already decided to ask for an independent, independent mission in China."
Thus it was that in 1916 the Superiors gave Versiglia the mandate to initiate the procedures to request an Apostolic Vicariate, soon obtaining the consent of the Holy See. In 1919 the Salesians entered the territory assigned to them in North Guangdong under the guidance of the French missionaries of the MEP who had set up the mission there; in 1920 the apostolic vicariate of Shiuchow was erected, and in 1921 Versiglia was consecrated bishop.
In the 1920s the vicariate was organizing and consolidating with the arrival of new forces that did their utmost with great sacrifice of sweat and blood, and took on an appearance quite similar to that of the missions of other orders, albeit with style, spirit and own characteristics. At the same time, the properly educational works also began to take off. In 1924 the Shiuchow mission was accompanied by the Don Bosco College. The autonomous expansion of the Salesian school, instead, started from Shanghai (1924), closely followed by Hong Kong. The first three typically Salesian works in China were born and grew on the borders of the Chinese continent: initially in the Portuguese ultramarine province of Macao, and then in the British colony of Hong Kong and in the 'Treaty Port' in Shanghai.
That in China we could develop typically Salesian works was because in 1923 the Vice Province was built and in 1926 the Province. Initially the Macao orphanage depended on the Lisbon Province and was incorporated into the Portuguese Padroado system. In 1910 he moved to the Subalpine Province. The only superior on the ground was Don (later Mons.) Luigi Versiglia, director of the Salesian work and in charge of the mission (Heungshan from 1911 and Shiuchow from 1919). This double canonically anomalous assignment is solved by the Superior Council in October 1921 in preparation for the General Chapter, through the approval of some articles ad experimentum, in which, among other things, it was decided to erect Visitors ruled by Visitators representing the Rector Major and delegating the faculties of the Provincials. On 1 January 1923 China became an Vice Province, and Don Ignaz Canazei was named Visitor. The resulting dualism of government solves some problems but creates others.
At the Church level, the decade 1920-1929 is a time of great excitement, reflection and change regarding the concept and practice of mission. The Encyclical Maximum Illud(1919) initiates a process that aims to transform missions into local churches, a renewal triggered overwhelmingly by the crisis that emerged within the Chinese missions, on which the shadow of the French protectorate, nationalism and congregationalism stretched. The new line included a subdivision of the old apostolic vicariates to be entrusted to new orders and institutes. Also to the Salesians, in the audience granted to Don Rinaldi on June 6, 1922, Pius XI had asked for a further commitment for the missions, despite the many already taken, including "that of China", recently assumed and already "so promising" . The Pope suggests strategies: "See to study our project with his advisers and the staff will not miss them". The Holy See was actively preparing encyclicals,This maximum .
At the level of the Congregation, autonomously and in parallel with the renewed ecclesial spirit, in the decade 1922-1931, motivations and internal impulses emerge to implement a generous missionary development: the fiftieth of the Salesian missions and the beatification of Don Bosco. After the GC12, in the months of June and July 1923, developments in Asia are at the center of attention of the Superior Chapter: the Apostolic Vicariate of Shiuchow awaits personnel. Given the scarcity of priests, a decision is made with important strategic consequences: sending novices to China and India "to begin those novitiates with our own elements". Only D. Rinaldi, D. Ricaldone and D. Fascie are present. On July 23 the Chapter decides to accept the mission of Japan. In September he decided to send seven novices to China, the same number in Assam and Palestine. In June 1925, Fr. Vincenzo Cimatti was charged with the expedition to Japan, and almost simultaneously the mission of Siam was accepted with delayed timing : both the missions cut from the territories of the MEP and 'imposed' by the Holy See.
During these years, a series of decisions aimed at re-launching the Salesian missions with a new vision but not without problems, the foundation of the missionary institutes for basic formation 'near the Superiors', and the substantial increase, with a purely optical Salesian, of the number of candidates destined for missions. Afterwards, a series of extraordinary visits to help Salesian missions scattered throughout the various continents to undertake the new course. A courageous and wide-ranging development, conceived to stimulate vocations, and to launch a renewed strategy for the Far East, first sketched and then gradually defined in all its complexity, which will bring unprecedented vitality and development, but which will impose very difficult adjustments on the plan of structures, personnel, training,
The first challenge was to provide the region with macro structuresfor which yes and no the basic conditions existed. On December 1, 1925, the Superior Chapter, with 5 out of 5 votes, took the decision to ask the Holy See for the creation of the Chinese Province, including Japan. The decree of erection of the "Sino-Japanese Province of Mary Help of Christians" will be issued on May 28, 1926, with Canazei as Inspector and including 14 houses erected or to be erected: Macao and Shanghai, Miyazaki, Oita and Nakatsu in Japan still erected before the arrival of the Salesians, three in the Heungshan mission and six in the Apostolic Vicariate of Shiuchow; the latter in reality of simple missionary stations. Ideally, the mission of Siam (acceptance deferred in November 1926) and actively Timor (January 1927) will be added.
In December the extraordinary visit of Don Ricaldone to the houses of Asia is announced with the aim of supporting the good spirit, ensuring unity of direction and intent, making stronger the bonds of affection and solidarity that make family, better understand the difficulties related to places, customs, character of the various peoples, and finally to dispel misunderstandings, to put an end to irregularities, to remedy problems:all in all a centralizing vision. Canazei had sent to the visitor a report about the situation and the local problems: the extension of the territory, the relations with the Apostolic Vicariate and the situation of the missionaries inside it, the formation of the young confreres sent by the Superiors, the local vocations, the necessary adaptation to the local culture, the practice of the preventive system. The most concrete result of the visit, ten months of travel and work, were the following two strategic decisions:
1. The design of a legally well-established regional structure: the Province of China of Mary Help of Christians with houses in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Shanghai, Timor, and the mission of the Heung Shan; the Apostolic Vicariate of Shiu Chow; the Miyazaki mission in Japan with its 9 confreres divided into three houses, and that of Ratburi in Siam not yet born and then de facto constituted by the precept of personnel and novices from China, both of them a few years old destined to be erected in Apostolic Prefectures flanked by Salesian Vice Provinces, each governed by a single Superior.
2. The consolidation of the strategy of sending young novices, and, in some cases, aspirant and lay volunteers, in the missions, and the decision to set up a house of formation for them: house of formation for the missionaries, meant Ricaldone; home for indigenous vocations, Canazei insisted stubbornly, who considered the formation of very young people in China too problematic, and myopic and not in line with the directives of the Holy See deny priority to indigenous vocations.
Under the Rectorates of Don Rua and of Don Albera - at least as far as China is concerned - the attempts of an introduction and adaptation of the heart and of the different expressions of Don Bosco's charism (the preventive system, devotion to Mary Help of Christians, works by breath youth, etc.) were based on a dialectic and local research, with approaches suggested by the complex local socio-religious reality. Starting from the Rinaldi-Ricaldone management, the setting of the missions is centered on mainly Salesian schemes and vigorously piloted by the Major Superiors, ending up pointing to latent differences between new and old missionaries. Church Magisterium and Salesian Magisterium traveled on divergent missiological tracks. While the primary objective was the Implantatio Ecclesiae, this wanted above all to keep intact the spirit and the method of the Founder.
The process of regulating the Salesian missions in a structured way, an attempt to reconcile the Salesian spirit and method with the directives of the Church, produced "Regulations ad experimentum " hastily approved in 1929 by the CGXIII. The articles on indigenous vocations were accepted without serious reflection, out of deference to the Pope. Those about the relationship between ecclesiastical superior and religious superior did not produce shared solutions. A few months later the Regulations were revised in line with a recent Instructioof the Propaganda Congregation. Canazei, newly elected Apostolic Vicar of Shiuchow, did not fail to send a precise and articulated report in an attempt to align the position of the Congregation with that of the Holy See (Motto 2004). Revised by D. Berruti, the Regulations were approved only in 1936 by CG XIV, again without reaching an agreement, but simply invoking charity and humility to overcome the dichotomy inherent in the presence of two authorities in charge of the same people and the same territory.
The Regulations , submitted to Propaganda, obtained approval in 1940 only after insistent and consistent observations, and relative explanations on the part of the Salesian Congregation, eager to maintain their own style and spirit, on the basis of their own educational identity not comparable to that of others missionary orders, and this for the prevalence also abroad of 'Salesian' educational works, set according to their own choices, such as sending young people on a mission.
Meanwhile, in the various circumscriptions, efforts were made to set up the mission according to the new directives.
Japan . The 6 priests and 3 coadjutors (30 years of average) destined for Japan arrive in February 1926 to take over part of the mission of the French Fathers in the south of the country, understandably without a clear program on how to develop the work, and starting with learning the language, knowing the socio-political situation, understanding the nature of the Japanese, with a great spirit of adaptation.
One of the first activities of the small squadron, soon drastically reduced (the 3 coadjutors and a priest will return home and another priest will die there in a few years) was to approach and understand the haggard Christians, generally poor and neglected poor men. Given the high level of education and the sense of beauty widespread among the people, missionaries immediately understood the importance of the press, and later also of music, as means to be accepted and known, and to transmit the Christian message. Objective also focused on the opening of centers for the care and education of children and, through these, to reach families.
Salesian Japan did not experience the difficulties of governance already seen in China, as D. Cimatti remained a contemporary ecclesiastical superior ( Missio Sui Iurisfrom 1928 and Apostolic Prefecture from 1935 to 1940) and religious (Visitor from 1928 and Inspector from 1937 to 1949). Japan received little missionary personnel. After a failed experiment, imposed by the Superiors, to send theology students to Hong Kong (1933), Cimatti obtained the opportunity to address his students to the Tokyo seminary for an inculturated theological formation. Despite the active interest in local vocations, the vast majority of Japanese confreres entered the Congregation after the war (Compra 2004). In 1949 the Province included 15 houses, several of which were opened after the war: missions, social works, formation house, oratories and schools, run by 99 confreres.
Thailand . The arrival of the first Salesians in Thailand was preceded by the visit of D. Canazei to the future mission, which drafted a masterly report for the Superiors (January 1926), and from that of D. Ricaldone in transit between India and China (1927) , who signed the contract of acceptance of the mission. The first expedition, organized within the same year, was entirely composed of priests, clerics and above all novices taken from China, led by D. Gaetano Pasotti, Master and Superior. At the end of 1927 there were 28 Salesians, in 1929 there were 47 (in the meantime 2 priests, 2 clerics and 16 novices had arrived), in 1930 there were 75, of which only 11 priests.
At the same time, in the years 1928-1930, the Vice Province and the Missio Sui Iuris of Ratchaburi were erected . Single superior of the two entities Don (later Mons.) Pasotti. In 1934 the mission became Apostolic Prefecture and Apostolic Vicariate in 1940, while in December 1937 the Province was born, with Don Giovanni Casetta the first Provincial (1938). In 1939 the Province will be able to develop a project of expansion of its own, also to occupy the numerous confreres (84, of which 13 are Thai), and a "Modus Vivendi" between the Prefect and the Provincial will be approved by the end of the year . Difficulties were not lacking, so putting it into practice was sometimes very laborious.
The decision of the Superiors to send substantial teams of novices imposed on the Vice-Province a heavy work of formation, which Pasotti immediately faced with courage despite decidedly inadequate resources, structures and personnel. In 1952 there were 72 confreres: in 25 years 145 had been incardinated in the Province, 69 had left or left and 4 had died.
China . Having left first, China was faced with a change of missionary vision with which St. Louis Versiglia himself could not completely identify himself after the years of laborious work on the 'scattered' plant inherited from the French Fathers. The painful exchange of letters is known, which led him to offer his resignation to Fr. Rinaldi, informed by missionaries who did not share the bishop's line. Monsignor Canazei, who in 1932 managed the transfer of the Don Bosco Institute to the Congregation, whose management in the following years caused him great dissatisfaction, held his ecclesial line despite the severe warnings of D. Pietro Berruti, an extraordinary visitor to the 1937: making Christians sic et simpliciter, and not Christian Salesians; first the development of the local church, then of the Salesian works. In short, a different vision of the mission with important implications on the level of formation: preference for local vocations, and for an 'inculturated' formation also for the young missionaries, whom Canazei preferred to be sent as trainees, and not as novices.
Fr Carlo Braga, Provincial since 1930, aligned himself with the directives of Turin: he very hardly set up the house of formation (5 directors in the first 7 years, and in 1933-34 himself as director); after six years of interruption he was able to restart the novitiate with young novices of different nationalities and small groups of young Chinese. The language of instruction was Italian, the learning of Chinese tolerated, and that of English relegated - by order of D. Berruti - to the summer holidays. In 1940, when war broke out, the entire educational community moved to Shanghai.
At the end of the war there were 210 Salesians, of whom only 17 were in the Vicariate vacant due to the death of Canazei. There were 57 Chinese confreres, 6 of whom were priests. The main work was in the 14 houses scattered throughout China, with Don Braga already planning a great expansion: in 1946 the Catholic hierarchy was established and many of the new dioceses wanted a Salesian institute. The Rector Major recommended moderation, consolidation, and slow expansion, declaring to be the Congregation always at the service of the Church, but "in the desired conditions".
The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. All three missions ended up founding native female congregations in support of missionary work, but it is clear that the initiators immediately thought of a joint mission in which the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians would have their own complementary role in evangelization and in the works of charity. The Congregation lived a strong charismatic moment, which strengthened the motivation. In 1919 Versiglia, at the time of accepting the mission, wrote in Turin that it was necessary to think of the sisters for a purely missionary work, and for them he already proposed to buy land: they would arrive in 1923 accompanied by the same Monsignor. In 1927 Don Cimatti expresses to the Visitor the desire to have the nuns: they will land in Japan in 1929; In Thailand they will arrive in 1931,
In China the sisters were in charge of the mission and under the paternal care of Versiglia: in Hosai they took care of the children, the young, the blind and the elderly (1923); in Shiuchow they managed the masterly balanced schools (1924); in Lokchong they had a nursery school, catechesis and clinic management (1933). In each case they are always well inserted, but also a bit embarrassed in relations with the female element of the campaigns. Canazei entrusted them with the care of the local Congregation, and the fact that some postulants then passed to the FMA, was the cause of a painful rupture that led the sisters to open up to Shanghai (1934). In Thailandthe nuns initially ran the laundry and kitchen of the Salesians, collaborated in the formation of the local congregation, but within 7 years they had their home, paid for by them. The houses became three by 1952, when the Province was erected. In Japan the difficulties in sharing the mission with the Salesians through the care of children and young women soon emerged. In 1933 the Superiors encouraged the sisters to seek autonomy: in 1937, with the birth of the local female congregation, the presence of the FMA in the mission appeared insignificant in all its clarity, so they began to see the expansion in the city of Tokyo as the only opportunity for the development of one's own charisma.
The sisters arrived on a mission with a rather simple specific formation, based on the expectations of the Salesian superior of the mission: readiness for sacrifice and adaptation, and 'practical' indications on what they could do. But their missionary identity, and the idea of what this meant, were the result of a long personal and community research on the place, in contact with the often demanding and not always easily reconcilable reality - at least according to the first groups - to the spirit of 'Institute. It is more than natural, therefore, that while some sisters felt fulfilled in direct missionary commitment, others found themselves more at ease in the more traditional educational environments.
Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians set out for the highly motivated missions of Asia, ready for sacrifice, aware of the diversity of the cultures they addressed, strong in the identity deriving from their own charisma, of which they claimed the specificity without always being able to insert it adequately in the ecclesial context, lacking in the basic theological preparation, weak in ecclesial reflection, inadequate - understandable at the beginning - specifically. According to the statement of a prelate in China, whose name has not been handed down to us: "Salesians are good in schools, but fail as missionaries", an evaluation that reflects the situation of the second phase of the development of Salesian missions in China and does not do justice to the great work of implantatio ecclesiae of the first two decades of the Apostolic Vicariate of Shiuchow.
The two Congregations, convinced of their own identity and educational mission, but at the same time uncertain about the ways to live them concretely, tending to conserve rather than develop and adapt, will eventually develop educational works, which become small communities of faith on the edges of a local ecclesiastical reality, even without completely renouncing real mission territories, which however end up taking second place in the realization of the missionary nature of the two institutes. They are the typically Salesian works with which they will preferably identify themselves, which will highlight the charism of Don Bosco, and to which recognition will be given.
The question remains whether the Salesian Congregation is missionary or not, and what it means to do mission. The costs of the 1930s turnaround in terms of quality of training, degree of inculturation and, consequently, of the efficacy and depth of education-evangelization work carried out remain to be evaluated. Without detracting from the great work done.
Jose Kuruvachira, sdb
Inculturation of the Salesian charism in India indicates that Don Bosco's charism was so firmly rooted in Indian culture that it presented a typically Indian identity. It is argued that the case of India is an extraordinary story of the success of inculturation in the history of the Salesian congregation. The Salesian pioneers arrived in India, faithfully and creatively implanted the charism of Don Bosco in their "new homeland". The fact that this happened in a relatively short period is something that is surprising, both within the Salesian world and outside.
This presentation is a brief summary of the history, process and method of inculturation of the Salesian charism: it takes into consideration the first fifty years of Salesian history in India (1906-ca.1956), with some critical remarks added  .
The first group of Salesians arrived in Tanjore, in South India, on January 14, 1906  , the apostolate began at the orphanage of St. Francis Xavier. Three years later he built a second foundation in Mylapore, with another orphanage. In 1928 the Salesians were forced to withdraw from Tanjore and Mylapore. They then constituted a new mission in Vellore, in the North Arcot, still in South India. On 13 January 1922, a group of eleven Salesians arrived in Shillong , in Northeast India, and assumed the office of the Apostolic Prefecture of Assam. The first Salesian Province of India was canonically erected May 28, 1926, and had St. Thomas the Apostle as patron. On 8 February 1934, the province of India was divided into two parts: South India, with St. Thomas the Apostle patron, and Northern India, with patron Saint John Bosco.
The Salesian charism, lived by the first groups arrived in India, had three main directions: a) a special predilection for the poor and abandoned youth and for their education; b) the mission ad gentes and catechesis; c) works of charity and initiatives for human development.
All the apostolic works, initiated by the first Salesians in India, showed a preference for poor youth and for their education. In 1906, in Tanjore, the Salesians took charge of an orphanage with a small group of poor and abandoned boys. In a short time, this mission developed and an industrial school, a night school, an institutional school and a printing house for poor youth were created. The second foundation of the Salesians in Mylapore, created in 1909, was an orphanage for poor children. Departing from Tanjore and Mylapore, in 1928, the Salesians went to Vellore, in the North Arcot, and even there they founded a small orphanage for boys. In 1922, when the Salesians assumed the office of the Apostolic Prefecture of Assam, they dealt, among other things, with two orphanages, which, in 1932, they became seven. Successive Salesian institutions continued to show the same predilection for poor and marginalized young people.
The Salesians were convinced of the need to invest their best energies in the education of young people. To this end they founded numerous elementary schools (to offer everyone basic education), evening schools, boarding schools and boarding schools, schools in urban and semi-urban areas, university colleges for higher education, industrial schools for technical education , and agricultural schools to train people to cultivate the land rationally and with modern methods. More than carrying out a simple social work, the Salesians directed their apostolate to the integral growth of young people, in order to make them "good Christians and honest citizens", as Don Bosco wanted. The management of educational works, according to the Salesian system, in particular the preventive system, brought many positive changes in the lives of young people.
Inspired by Don Bosco's Da mihi animas , the first Salesians considered missionary evangelization (mission ad gentes ) one of their priorities. In South India, in 1915, the parish of the Sacred Heart of Tanjore was entrusted to the Salesians. The priests visited the villages to catechize, to administer the sacraments, to also announce to the non-Christians the message of the Gospel, and to bring back to the Church those who had abandoned it. There were conversions to the Catholic faith in their orphanages.
When the Salesians began Assam's mission in 1922, the Catholics were only 5,419. In the early years they cared for many parishes from a pastoral point of view , with numerous mission stations in distant villages. They were always traveling in the territories of their mission to contact non-Christians, to catechize and to administer the sacraments to Catholics, and to bring back to the Church those who had abandoned them. They spent most of their time visiting the districts of their mission often on foot and stopping in the villages with people for several days. This led to the conversion of many people.
The schools in the villages played a significant role in promoting the mission ad gentes . Missionaries considered schools in villages as "entry tickets" to non-Christian villages; some missionaries considered the school a 'synonym of the mission' itself.  In almost all the centers there were interned, both for boys and girls; many of them, after having lived with the Salesians, freely asked to be baptized. Even the festive and daily rectors proved to be important means of bringing the faith to non-Christians. The children of the oratory were called "little apostles" because many of them took an active role in bringing the Christian faith to parents and families.
Always following the example of Don Bosco, the Salesians carried out pioneering work in the field of catechesis . They organized a regular teaching of catechism for young people in schools, boarding schools and orphanages, and in some parishes. The press apostolate was used creatively for the spread of the Christian faith and for religious education. Catechism competitions in different languages, catechetical campaign, theaters, music, radio programs, seminars and conferences on Christian themes, were used with genius to evangelize and catechize. The lay catechists played a very fundamental role in the mission ad gentes and in catechesis to be considered the ' longa manus', and the 'spokesmen' of the missionary. 
2.3 O pears of charity and initiatives for human development
Don Bosco was a great organizer of charitable works: in his imitation, the Salesians in India organized charitable works and humanitarian services on behalf of poor and marginalized people. These works took different forms, such as, for example, the management of orphanages, nursing homes for the elderly, care of lepers, visits to sick people in the villages, care for the sick in clinics and hospitals, care for refugees, immigrants, people affected from floods, from fires, epidemics, famines, earthquakes, care for sick and wounded soldiers in war, free distribution of food, medicines and clothes for the poor, and so on.
Many projects aimed at human development , with the aim of improving people's quality of life; they opposed social evils, such as the caste system and racial prejudice; instructed people about human rights, social justice, the Church's social doctrine, the harmful effects of alcoholism, the skills and options for better economic sustenance, the sense of economy and savings, the defense of innocent people in the law courts. These charitable works and these initiatives led to a surprising change in public opinion regarding the work of the Salesians and of the Catholic Church in India in general.
The Salesians in India used different procedures and methods in their work of inculturation of the Salesian charism.
The decision to train young missionaries on site was a very significant strategy in inculturation. The immediate result of this choice was the foundation, in Shillong, of a novitiate house, in December 1923, of a philosophy studentate in 1925, and one of theology in 1928. In southern India the novitiate began in Tirupattur, in December 1933; the studentate of philosophy in 1935 and that of theology in 1941. Thanks to this courageous and far-sighted decision, the first Salesian missionaries learned the local languages, learned to learn more about indigenous cultures, customs, customs and, consequently, some of they became exceptional promoters of indigenous languages and cultures.
From the beginning, the Salesians worked to recruit indigenous vocations to Salesian life  , an initiative that was not at all easy to achieve in the first decades of the last century. In the early years the candidates were sent to Europe for their training. In 1924, in the novitiate of Shillong, within the first group of twelve novices, four were Indians. At the outbreak of the second world war, unable to recruit novices from Europe, it was necessary to look for indigenous vocations; there were many in both the Indian Salesian provinces: formation houses were founded for the various stages of initial formation. The candidates belonged to different languages, to different ethnic groups and liturgical rites.  The Salesians from Europe, despite being of Latin rite, gladly accepted the candidates of the ancient Syrian rite (Syro-Malabar) of Kerala, and recruited indigenous vocations also for the local Churches.
The first Salesians in India encouraged indigenous cultures, incorporating elements from local cultures into their education, evangelization and catechesis apostolate. Some Salesians made the effort to learn Sanskrit; someone, having good knowledge of it, mentioned in his writings the Upanisads.(one of the sacred texts of the Hindus); several wrote about the social, cultural, historical, anthropological and religious aspects of the people in various periodicals, newsletters and scientific magazines; they also wrote monographs; some carefully collected and preserved handicraft and cultural products, rare photographs relating to the culture of the people; others composed religious hymns in local languages, encouraging the use of traditional clothing, music and native dance during solemn liturgical celebrations. The Salesians, aware of the great interest of people, especially of the tribes, for music, for the theater, for games and for sport, made good use of it in their educational system.
In the 'standards for missionaries' approved by the XIII General Chapter of 1929, the missionaries were invited to learn the language, history and culture of their 'new homeland'. All the Salesian missionaries from Europe made an extraordinary effort to learn the local languages. The Salesians were among the first to produce texts in some local languages of Northeast India, in the form of dictionaries, lexicons and grammars. Some translated the New Testament, the Catechisms, the Bible, the hymns, the prayers and the lives of the saints in the local languages. Others published periodicals, and wrote school textbooks in indigenous languages for Catholic schools, approved by the government also for use in public schools. In some schools they introduced the local language as a language of instruction or as a subject to study.
The Salesians did their best to identify themselves with the Indian people. They shared the poverty and deprivation of the people, the simple lifestyle and the acceptance with serenity of difficulties and discomforts related to living conditions, climate, food, illness and travel. They participated in important events in the life of the nation, such as the celebration of the country's independence and the Republic Day, and encouraged their students to do the same thing. Moreover, many although from Europe, freely decided to become Indian citizens.
India is a country of many religions. The Salesians have always shown great respect and openness towards the followers of other religions. In their institutions, schools, orphanages, boarding schools, university institutes, there were always many non-Christian students, colleagues, employees and collaborators. In parishes and missions they had positive relations with non-Christians in a spirit of mutual acceptance, recognition, appreciation and friendship, showing concern and concern for their pains, their anxieties and aspirations, and pledging to help them, through works of charity and humanitarian services, especially in times of great need and hardship.
A special attention was given by the Salesians in India to the introduction and inculturation of all the fundamental elements of the charism, of spirituality and of Salesian traditions. They organized their apostolic works according to the spirit and style of Don Bosco and the Salesian traditions. With great dedication they committed themselves to spread devotion to Mary Help of Christians, to make Don Bosco known and loved, and to practice the preventive system. Following the Salesian tradition, they spread among the people a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and love for the Pope, and encouraged devotion to the Salesian saints, to St. Francis de Sales, St. John Bosco, St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello, St. Dominic Savio, and actively promoting the growth of the Salesian Family, and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), the Association of Salesian Cooperators and Past Pupils. The first half of the last century saw the foundation of two indigenous female religious institutes that share the charism and spirit of Don Bosco: the congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), founded by the Salesian bishop Stefano Ferrando of Shillong il October 24, 1942; and that of the Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI), founded by the Salesian bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow of Krishnagar on 12 December 1948. the congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), founded by the Salesian bishop Stephen Ferrando of Shillong on 24 October 1942; and that of the Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI), founded by the Salesian bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow of Krishnagar on 12 December 1948. the congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), founded by the Salesian bishop Stephen Ferrando of Shillong on 24 October 1942; and that of the Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI), founded by the Salesian bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow of Krishnagar on 12 December 1948.
The inculturation of the Salesian charism in India has also encountered problems. Due to a strong 'clerical antipathy', the Salesians were forced to withdraw from their first two presences, namely from Tanjore and Mylapore, in 1928, after 22 years of apostolic work. In the Assam mission they found great opposition from some Protestant groups. The tolerance of Hindus towards Christianity has not prevented some of them, suspicious of the works of Christian missionaries, to consider Christianity a foreign religion and missionaries an extension of British imperialism. At the beginning, the recruitment of indigenous vocations to Salesian life was not encouraged: some were skeptical about this initiative, others explicitly opposed it. Although the Salesians have written extensively on the religious, social and cultural aspects of India, some reports were negative and the publications on positive values in Indian culture were few. At times there was the impression that some Salesians felt 'superior' to the Indian culture and lifestyle and, consequently, looked down on the Indians, disregarding some of their cultural expressions. There were occasional discontent and hostility between Indian Salesians and European ones.
From a general point of view, the Salesians in India have neglected the formation of the elitesHindu, made up of 'rulers' and country policy makers. A serious dialogue with them required a profound knowledge of Hinduism, Hindu philosophy and culture, of which the majority of Salesians had no adequate intellectual and cultural preparation. The same can be said about their knowledge of other religions present in India, such as Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, traditional religions, Islam, etc. Although the Salesians had gone to India to evangelize through education, no serious attempt had been made to study the educational systems and methods of India, or to explore India's contribution to the world through its ancient centers of study. Little effort was devoted to systematically learning the classical languages of India, such as Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit and Tamil are fundamental tools for interpreting Indian culture, religion and philosophy. There was no significant effort to understand the religious life, ascetic discipline and mysticism of India or to inculturate the elements of Indian culture in prayers, meditation and liturgical life. The efforts made to use the elements of Indian art and architecture to build churches, shrines, chapels, or to paint sacred paintings, to compose sacred music and other forms of art, were rare. Although they knew all the stages of primary education in India, the contents of their philosophical and theological curricula were fundamentally 'Western' and 'Eurocentric', and, consequently,
We must remember that the 'great success' of the Salesians in India was above all among the tribal groups and among the so-called Dalits . The tribal communities did not have 'organized religions' with their own sacred written texts, and a philosophy and a systematized theology in the strict sense of the term. The Dalits , for the most part, were people who wanted to free themselves from the oppressive caste system of Hinduism, and found Christianity as a religion that offered them what they were looking for. It can be said that these factors contributed, to a large extent, to the success of the Salesian missionary, educational and human development works in India.
Finally, it is recalled that this is a period of "pre-Vatican II", when concepts such as inculturation, interreligious dialogue, ecumenism, openness to the modern world, and the conviction that other cultures and religions can also have good elements , true and noble, they were not widespread. This should help us to look with some understanding, some 'errors' and 'faults' and suggest to refrain from making absolute judgments of a negative nature, about what they have done, or have failed to do.
If there was a particular quality that characterized the first Salesian groups in India, this was the absolute fidelity to Don Bosco and the ardent desire to make the Salesian charism firmly rooted in the 'new homeland'. In order to achieve this goal, they have invested all their energy and resources without reserve. They were bold, creative, patient and persevering in their efforts, despite their limitations and shortcomings, and to a large extent, they succeeded in their project. However, we must also emphasize the ability of Indian culture to be open and receptive to the positive values present in other cultures, from all backgrounds. This cultural situation has greatly facilitated the inculturation of the Salesian charism in India so that, when the Salesians arrived in their mission land, they found fertile ground in which Don Bosco's charism could grow and take root. Therefore, the favorable cultural context of India must be recognized as one of the factors responsible for the rapid inculturation of the Salesian charism in that country. India has inherited a charisma that has derived its origin from a fully Christian environment, and has taken deep roots in a predominantly non-Christian context. Perhaps the novelty and the singularity of the inculturation of the Salesian charism in India consists precisely in this, and shows that Don Bosco's charism is universal and has the capacity to incarnate in any culture, provided that processes and methods are used for its realization righteous. the favorable cultural context of India must be recognized as one of the factors responsible for the rapid inculturation of the Salesian charism in that country. India has inherited a charisma that has derived its origin from a fully Christian environment, and has taken deep roots in a predominantly non-Christian context. Perhaps the novelty and the singularity of the inculturation of the Salesian charism in India consists precisely in this, and shows that Don Bosco's charism is universal and has the capacity to incarnate in any culture, provided that processes and methods are used for its realization righteous. the favorable cultural context of India must be recognized as one of the factors responsible for the rapid inculturation of the Salesian charism in that country. India has inherited a charisma that has derived its origin from a fully Christian environment, and has taken deep roots in a predominantly non-Christian context. Perhaps the novelty and the singularity of the inculturation of the Salesian charism in India consists precisely in this, and shows that Don Bosco's charism is universal and has the capacity to incarnate in any culture, provided that processes and methods are used for its realization righteous. India has inherited a charisma that has derived its origin from a fully Christian environment, and has taken deep roots in a predominantly non-Christian context. Perhaps the novelty and the singularity of the inculturation of the Salesian charism in India consists precisely in this, and shows that Don Bosco's charism is universal and has the capacity to incarnate in any culture, provided that processes and methods are used for its realization righteous. India has inherited a charisma that has derived its origin from a fully Christian environment, and has taken deep roots in a predominantly non-Christian context. Perhaps the novelty and the singularity of the inculturation of the Salesian charism in India consists precisely in this, and shows that Don Bosco's charism is universal and has the capacity to incarnate in any culture, provided that processes and methods are used for its realization righteous.
(A summary for presentation)
Jose Kuruvachira, sdb
Inculturation of the Salesian charism in India means making Don Bosco’s charism firmly rooted in Indian culture so that it acquires a truly ‘Indian identity. It has been argued that, the case of India is one of the amazing success stories of inculturation of the Salesian charism in the history of the Salesian congregation. The pioneer Salesians who came to India faithfully and creatively implanted and inculturated Don Bosco’s charism in their ‘new fatherland’. The fact that this was accomplished in a comparatively short period of time is something that surprises many, both within and outside the Salesian world. The surprise is even greater when one knows that, it happened in a country which is predominantly non-Christian, and where Don Bosco and the Salesian congregation were almost totally unknown until the arrival of the first Salesians in South India in 1906.
This paper is a brief summary of the history, process and methods of inculturation of the Salesian charism, taking into consideration the first fifty years of Salesian history in India (1906-ca.1956), with some critical observations.
The pioneer Salesians reached Tanjore, South India, on 14 January 1906 where they started their work at the St Francis Xavier orphanage. Three years later they opened a second foundation at Mylapore with another orphanage. But the Salesians had to withdraw from Tanjore and Mylapore in 1928. After this, they took over a mission at Vellore, in North Arcot. On 13 January 1922 a group of eleven Salesians arrived in Shillong, Northeast India, and took charge of the Prefecture Apostolic of Assam. The first Salesian province of India was canonically erected on 28 May 1926 with St. Thomas the Apostle as its patron. On 8 February 1934 the province of India was divided into two: South India with St. Thomas the Apostle as its patron, and North India with St. John Bosco as its patron.
The Salesian charism as lived by the pioneer Salesians basically had three dimensions: a) a special predilection for poor and abandoned youth and their education; b) mission ad gentes and catechesis; and c) works of charity and developmental initiatives.
All the apostolic works which the pioneer Salesians initiated in India manifested a preferential option for poor youth and their holicstic education. In 1906, at Tanjore, the first group of Salesians took charge of an orphanage with a small group of poor and abandoned boys. In a short time, this mission developed, and had also an industrial school, a night school, a formal school and a press, all catering to poor youth. The second foundation of the Salesians at Mylapore, started in 1909, was also an orphanage for poor boys. When they left Tanjore and Mylapore in 1928, and went over to Vellore in North Arcot, there too they had a small orphanage for boys. In 1922 when the Salesians took over the Prefecture Apostolic of Assam, they had to look after, among other things, two orphanages, which by 1932 increased to seven. The institutions which the Salesians founded later, continued to manifest the same predilection for poor and marginalised youth.
The Salesians were convinced that they should give their best energies to the education of the young. To this end they established numerous elementary schools to provide basic education, night schools, boarding houses and hostels, schools in urban and semi-urban areas, university colleges for higher education, industrial schools for technical education and agricultural schools to educate people to cultivate land rationally and by using modern methods. More than doing mere welfare work in favour of youth, the Salesians aimed at their integral growth in order to make them ‘Good Christians and honest citizens’, as Don Bosco wanted. The proper organisation of these educational institutions, following the Salesian method of education, especially preventive system, brought about many positive changes in the life of youth.
Inspired by the da mi animas of Don Bosco, the pioneer groups of Salesians considered missionary evangelisation (mission ad gentes and catechesis) as one of their priorities. In South India, in 1915, the parish of Sacred Heart of Tanjore was entrusted to the Salesians. The priests constantly visited the villages in order to catechise, administer sacraments to Catholics, reach out to non-Christians with the message of the Gospel, and bring back the lapsed. They also had conversions to the Catholic faith in their orphanages.
When the Salesians took over the Assam mission in 1922 the Catholics were only 5,419. In the early years they had many parishes to look after, and all of them had numerous mission stations attached to them in villages. The missionaries extensively toured the mission territories for contacting non-Christians, catechising and administering sacraments to Catholics, and to bring back the lapsed. Missionaries in general spent most of their time touring the mission districts on foot, and stayed in the villages with people for several days. This resulted in the conversion of many people to the Catholic faith.
The schools in villages played a major role in missionary evangelisation. Missionaries saw village schools as ‘entry tickets’ to non-Christian villages and some even considered school as ‘synonym of mission’ itself. Practically all the mission centres had boardings for both boys and girls, and many of them after having lived with the Salesians, freely asked to be baptised. Festive and daily oratories were important means used by the pioneer Salesians to bring the Christian faith to non-Christians. The oratory children were called ‘little apostles’ (piccoli apostoli) because many of them were instrumental in bringing the Catholic faith to their parents and families.
Following the example of Don Bosco, the Salesian missionaries did pioneering work in the field of catechesis. They conducted regular catechism classes for the youth of their schools, boardings and orphanages, and in some parishes on Sundays. The apostolate of the press was effectively used for the propagation of the Christian faith and religious instruction. Catechism competitions in different languages, catechetical campaign, theatricals, music, radio programmes, seminars and conventions on Christian themes for general public, were also effectively used for evangelisation and catechesis. The lay catechists played a vital role in evangelising and catechising, and they were considered as the lunga mano and portavoce of the missionary.
Don Bosco was a great organiser of charities, and in imitation of him, the pioneer Salesians organised works of charity and humanitarian services on behalf of poor and marginalised people. These took a variety of forms, such as, running orphanages, old age homes, care of lepers, visit to the sick in villages, care of the sick in dispensaries and hospitals, refugees, immigrants, those affected by flood, fire, epidemics, famine, earthquake, care of the sick and wounded soldiers in war, free distribution of food, medicine and clothes to the destitute and so on.
Salesians initiated many developmental projects in order to raise the standard of life of people. They fought social evils like caste system and racial prejudices, and conscientised people on human rights, social justice, Catholic social principles, harmful effects of alcoholism, skills and livelihood options, sense of economy, and helped innocent people before tribunals. These charitable works and developmental initiatives helped to bring about amazing change in the public opinion regarding the Salesians and the Catholic Church in India in general.
The pioneer Salesians used many methods and procedures in order to inculturate the Salesian charism in India. The principal ones are the following:
The decision of the Salesians to form young Salesian missionaries in loco was a significant move in inculturating the Salesian charism in India. The immediate result of this decision was the opening in Shillong of a novitiate house in December 1923, a studentate of philosophy in 1925 and a studentate of theology in 1928. The Salesians of South India started a novitiate at Tirupattur in December 1933, a studentate of philosophy in 1935 and a studentate of theology in 1941. Because of this bold and farsighted strategy, the early Salesians were able to learn local languages, familiarise themselves with indigenous cultures, customs and practices. Some of them became outstanding contributors to local languages and cultures.
Right from the beginning, efforts were made by the pioneer Salesians to foster indigenous vocations to Salesian life, an initiative which in the early decades of the last century was not at all easy to accomplish. In the early years the candidates to Salesian life were sent to Europe for their formation. In 1924 among the first batch of twelve novices in Shillong four were Indians. With the outbreak of the Second World II no more novices could come from Europe and the Salesians were forced to look for indigenous vocations in a serious way. This resulted in both the Salesian provinces of India having many indigenous vocations, and formation houses for all stages of initial formation. The candidates to Salesians life belonged to different languages, ethnic groups and liturgical rites. Though all the Salesians from Europe belonged to the Latin rite, they willingly accepted candidates from the ancient Syrian rite of Kerala. The pioneer Salesians also promoted indigenous vocations for the local Churches.
The pioneer Salesians in India promoted indigenous cultures by incorporating elements from local cultures into their apostolate of education, evangelisation and catechesis. Some Salesians made efforts to learn Sanskrit; some were familiar with the Upanisads (one of the sacred scriptures of the Hindus) and could quote from them; some frequently wrote on the social, cultural, historical, anthropological and religious aspects of the people for magazines, bulletins and scientific reviews and as monographs; some collected and preserved with care cultural artefacts and rare photos related to the culture of the people; some composed religious hymns in local languages, encouraged the use of traditional costumes, music and cultural dances during solemn liturgical celebrations. Some Salesians, aware of the great interest of people, especially tribal, in music, theatricals, games and sports, made good use of them in their educational system.
In the ‘norms for missionaries’ approved by the General Chapter XIII of 1929, the missionaries were asked to study the language, history and culture of their ‘new fatherland’. All the missionaries who came from Europe made a special effort to learn the local languages of their mission territories. Salesians were among the first to produce literature in some of the local languages of Northeast India in the form of dictionaries, lexicons and grammar. Some translated the New Testament, Catechisms, Bible history, hymns, prayers and lives of saints into local languages. Some published periodicals and wrote textbooks in local languages for use in Catholic schools which were approved by government for use also in public schools. In some of the schools they introduced vernacular languages, either as medium of instruction, or as subjects to be studied by students.
The Salesian missionaries tried their best to identify themselves with people of India. They shared the poverty and privations of people and simple style of life, and willingly accepted the discomforts and inconveniences related to the living conditions, climate, food, sickness and travel. They participated in the important events in the life of the nation, like Independence Day and Republic Day, and encouraged their pupils to do the same. Several Salesians from Europe freely opted to become Indian citizens.
India is a land of many religions. The Salesians manifested great respect and openness towards the followers of other religions. In their institutions like, schools, orphanages, boardings, hostels and university colleges there were numerous students, inmates and collaborators who were non-Christians. In parishes and mission centres they easily mixed with non-Christians in a spirit of mutual acceptance, appreciation and friendship, and were concerned about their pains, agonies and aspirations, and reached out to them through their works of charity and humanitarian services, especially in times of great need.
The pioneer Salesians took special care to introduce and inculturate in India all the key elements of the Salesian charism, spirit, spiritualty and traditions. They organised all their apostolic works according to the spirit and style of Don Bosco and the Salesian traditions. They made special effort to spread devotion to Mary Help of Christians, make Don Bosco known and loved in the country and practice the preventive system. Following the Salesian tradition they inculcated in people a special devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and love for the Pope, and encouraged devotion to Salesian saints, like St. Francis de Sales, St. John Bosco, St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello, St. Domenic Savio, etc. They actively promoted the growth of the members of the Salesian Family like, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), Salesian Co-operators and Past Pupils. The first half of the last century saw the founding of the two flourishing indigenous religious institutes of women that share the charism and spirit of Don Bosco, namely, The Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC) founded by the Salesian Bishop Stephen Ferrando of Shillong on 24 October 1942, and The Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI) founded by Salesian Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow of Krishnagar on 12 December 1948.
Inculturation of the Salesian charism in India had its own share of problems. Due to the strong ‘clerical antipathy’ towards the Salesians, in 1928, they were forced to withdraw from the first two Salesians presences they started in India, namely, Tanjore and Mylapore, after 22 years of apostolic labour. In the Assam mission they faced great opposition from certain Protestant groups. Though the Hindus in general were tolerant towards Christianity, some of them were suspicious of the works of the Christian missionaries, and looked upon Christianity as foreign religion and considered the missionaries as the extended hand of British imperialism. In the beginning recruitment of indigenous vocations to Salesian life was not encouraged, and while some were sceptical about it, others were clearly opposed to it. Though the Salesians published much on the religious, social and cultural aspects of India, some of their writings were sensational and negative in nature, and the publications on the positive values found in Indian culture were very limited. At times one gets the impression that some Salesians had a feeling ‘superiority’ over the Indian culture and Indian way of life, which made them look down upon, and even despise some of the cultural expressions. There were also occasional ill-feeling and hostility between the Indian and European Salesians.
The pioneer Salesians in India neglected, to a great extent, the education of the Hindu elite who were the ‘rulers’ and policy makers of the country. A meaningful dialogue with them demanded of the Salesians a deep knowledge of Hinduism, Hindu philosophy and Hindu culture, for which most Salesians did not have an adequate intellectual and cultural preparation. The same can be said of their knowledge of the other religions found in India, like, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, traditional religions, Islam, etc. They were more of “doers” than “thinkers”. Though the Salesians went to India in order to evangelise through education, no serious attempt was made to study the ancient educational systems and methods of India or India’s educational centres of antiquity and their contribution to world civilisation. Hardly any effort was made to find ways to inculturate the preventive system, in a systematic way, by taking into consideration the religious, social and cultural pluralism of India. Salesians hardly made any effort to learn systematically the classical languages of India, such as, Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit and Tamil, which are important tools for interpreting Indian culture and philosophy. One does not find serious efforts on the part of the Salesians to study the Indian understanding of religious life, ascetical discipline and mysticism or to inculturate elements from Indian culture in their prayer, meditation and liturgical life. Efforts were rarely made to use Indian art and architecture in constructing Churches, shrines, chapels, or in paintings, music and other art forms. Though the Salesians had all the stages of initial formation in India, the contents of their philosophical and theological curriculum were very much Western and ‘eurocentric’, and consequently, did not prepare them philosophically and theologically for a serious dialogue with India whose culture is one of the most ancient in the world.
We should take stock of the fact that, the ‘great success’ of Salesian India was mainly among the tribal groups and the so-called dalits. The tribal communities did not have ‘organised religions’ of their own with written sacred texts and systematised philosophy and theology in the strict sense of the term. The dalits were mostly people who wanted to liberate themselves from the oppressive caste system of Hinduism, and found Christianity as a religion that offered them what they were searching for. One may argue that, these factors contributed, to a great extent, to the success of the missionary, educative and developmental works of the early Salesians in India.
Finally, we should remember that we are dealing with a “Pre-Vatican” period when concepts such as, inculturation, interreligious dialogue, ecumenism, openness to the modern world, and the conviction that other cultures and religions also have elements that are good, true and noble were not much vogue. This should help us to look at, with ‘sympathetic eyes’, some of their ‘errors’ and ‘failures’, and refrain from making absolute judgments of negative nature regarding what they did or could not succeed in doing.
If there was a particular quality that characterised the pioneer groups of Salesians in India, it was their unflinching fidelity to Don Bosco and their ardent desire to make his charism firmly rooted in the country. In order to achieve this objective, they invested all their energies and resources for it. But one should also acknowledge the ability of the Indian culture to be open and receptive to positive values found in other cultures. This cultural condition greatly facilitated the inculturation of the Salesian charism, and when the Salesians reached India, they found a fertile soil where Don Bosco’s charism could grow and take root. Therefore, this favourable cultural context of India should be recognised as one of the factors responsible for the rapid inculturation of the Salesian charism in the country. Further, India inherited a charism which had its origin in a fully Christian context, and it took root in a predominantly non-Christian context. The novelty and uniqueness of the inculturation of the Salesian charism in India consists precisely in this, and it is a proof that the charism of Don Bosco is universal and that it has the ability to incarnate itself in any culture, provided the right processes and methods are employed.
Stanisław Zimniak, SDB
I allow myself to begin with a quotation that can be interpreted as a kind of "provocation" and, at the same time, an epistemological indication for the present investigation. In the activity of knowing, the use of one type of language rather than another establishes a difference, and the language that we now consider close to the truth, that is, that which possesses the greatest degree of scientificity, is probably the least suitable to tell the truth . Vice versa, fictional languages, ie those with the greatest degree of artistry, are enabled by virtue of their own nature, which consists precisely in being as fake as possible. The traditional relationship between truth and fiction is today understood above all, however, in terms of the recent and paradigmatic opposition between humanistic culture and scientific culture, which has inherited, at least in some respects, the terms of the secular querelle des Anciens et des Modernes. One of the questions we ask ourselves, when we find ourselves in front of a study, especially the literary one, to present a historical character: if all that has been written corresponds to the truth (is this 100% true)? This question is almost spontaneously associated with another one: is it possible to reproduce a complete, universal story, that is, one that will no longer need further research? It is understood that the biographical writings and representations of Don Bosco and his work cannot be subtracted from these questions.
The research status and the methodological option
The subject of the biographies, of the presentations of Don Bosco and his work, printed before his death (1888), as far as we know, was not the specific object of historical research. They dealt, in a rather generic way, with two distinguished Italian scholars, both Salesians. The first is Pietro Stella who, in his great work Don Bosco in the history of Catholic religiosity , reserved a chapter for the first biographies of Don Bosco (1881-1888) ; and don Pietro Braido in the biography Don Bosco priest of the young in the century of liberties dedicated a chapter Resonances: profiles and biographies. A first attempt at a critical juxtaposition is due to the Salesian scholar Piera Cavaglià, who took into consideration the biography written by Albert Du Boys.
Here it is necessary to mention the two interesting researches in relation to the evolution of the image of Don Bosco in which we arrive to our times. Das Bild Don Boscos im Wandel. Ein Beitrag zur Don-Bosco-Forschung [Image of Don Bosco in change. A contribution to research on Don Bosco]: a research carried out by the Salesian scholar Jacques Schepens. The author of the other History of Don Bosco's historiographyis the Salesian historian Francesco Motto. These two researchers, without claiming to present an exhaustive historiographical study, offer an in-depth and critical look at this topic, coming almost to the present day and, furthermore, they try to clarify the cultural, social and religious factors that underlie the evolution of image of Don Bosco and, finally, propose new epistemological approaches for the research to be undertaken.
For the periodic delimitation it was decided not to go beyond the death of our protagonist. The choice between the first biographies on Don Bosco or the presentations of his work was dictated by four main factors. The first: we wanted to exclude from the present discussion the works born within the Salesian environment. The second: that possibly the authors were secular or secular priests. The third: that they were popular in the public. Then three writers were selected: Antonio Belasio, priest of the diocese of Vigevano; two lay people: Charles D'Espiney, a French doctor from Nice and Albert Du Boys, also a French scholar. The last factor of relevance is the fact that these writings were "seen" by the biographer or even had the good fortune to be considered valuable by himself.
The theologian Antonio Maria Belasio was born in Sartirana, province of Pavia, in 1813 and died in Piacenza in 1888. He belonged to the clergy of the diocese of Vigevano (Piedmont) and was for several years spiritual director in the seminary. He became known as a writer of numerous works that had as their theme topics related to Christian teaching that required a comparison with the new scientific achievements of the time, exposed with a popular, lovable, attractive language to nourish, enlighten and bring closer to Catholic doctrine, above all, the popular classes in the society in rapid process of industrialization and urbanization and, above all, in a strong course of secularization, entering in its own way the cultural debate of the time. Belasio also became known in Piedmont as "a famous apostolic missionary". We have not succeeded in specifying the circumstances in which the acquaintance with the Founder of the Salesians was born, which has become increasingly intense over the years. Approximately we can say that it dates back to the fifties. He proved to be a great supporter of the Salesian apostolate: he can be numbered among Don Bosco's friends. In 1858 he dictated the spiritual exercises at the Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales.
Both had a great concern about the issue of school reform, that is that the school programs in a state of evolution, under the influence of secularism, were not deprived concrete references to Christian values, in their opinion, indispensable for the correct and healthy growth human of the new generation of young people, too unprepared to be able to orient themselves in the lay sea agitated by ideas about school and education. Don Bosco expressed this commonality in his letter of November 6, 1873 in which he expressed his satisfaction on the occasion of the publication made by the Salesian library of a new booklet by Msgr. Belasio Della Real School to Rekindle Society . Here are our affirmations: I read and pondered his very important operetta entitled:Of the real school to bring society together . I found everything that pleased me, the attractive exposition that falls in love with the subject, the noble concepts, the great views, the richness of scholarship that makes it safe; and even more that conciliatory practical common sense in such a vital question, shows with marvelous ease in a few pages how one of the most important reforms required by the state of the present society can be translated into action .
The volume by Antonio Belasio We are not afraid! We have the miracle of the eighteenth century Catholic apostolate and its ever newer and more beautiful hopes were published by the famous "Catholic Readings" in the fall of 1879. The "Catholic Readings", which came out at a monthly pace, were immediately perceived and appreciated as a Catholic press for the popular masses. From the title it is difficult to deduce that in the volume it would have been Don Bosco and, above all, of his congregation. The author, we can suppose to please Don Bosco, he wanted to give a dedication to a copy of nobles, known benefactors of the Salesian apostolate. And these are the “Ill.mi and Ven.mi Messrs Marchese Scarampi Lodovico di Pruney and Marchesa Maria Fassati born De-Maistre.
We note a detail of some importance. Before its publication in October 1879, Msgr. Belasio gave a speech during the novena in preparation for the feast of Mary Help of Christians at Valdocco (Turin), in which he presented the Salesian Opera. He did so exactly on 22 May 1879 in the church of Mary Help of Christians, crowded with faithful. This text could not be found in the archive. A piece is found in the "Salesian Bulletin" and in the volume Don Bosco by C. Despiney. For our theme this fact has a meaning, because it allows us to suppose that Don Bosco liked this speech, which later decided to print in the "Catholic Readings" of the month of October.
The booklet has 118 pages including the dedication and the index) and is organized in fifteen chapters. The first six chapters are dedicated to a general exposition, as if it were a kind of introduction to the main theme, namely the Salesian Congregation to which it reserves nine chapters. As for the literary style, it is an exhibition, a narration. The style of narration is such as to involve the reader and arouse interest and, above all, sympathy towards this "new religious congregation" of the Catholic Church. It assumes slightly and consciously the apologetic character towards modern culture, which rejected the extraordinary and the talk of the miracle. We do not find any reference to the sources (articles, books) for which there is no bibliographical note (except for three footnotes of an advertising nature). These data are explained by the fact that the "Catholic Readings" did not pretend to have the scientific character, because they were aimed at the front line of the popular masses and the middle class, without however excluding the scholars. For an educated reader, the authoritativeness of the writer had to suffice. The text lacks the indications of the data: there is not one, not even the date of the foundation of the Salesian Congregation. Therefore reading is not heavy. not even the date of the foundation of the Salesian Congregation. Therefore reading is not heavy. not even the date of the foundation of the Salesian Congregation. Therefore reading is not heavy.
The purpose of the publication is the presentation not so much of the person of the Founder of the Salesians as of a narrative on the Salesian Congregation he founded. In fact to Don Bosco he dedicated only six pages (61-66) and to his religious society fifty-two pages (59-61; 67-115). Through this presentation the author wanted to demonstrate the continuity of the "Christian miracle": "Here is one, and so great a miracle that continues for a thousand eight hundred years to us !" The birth of the Salesians is a new, clear and overwhelming proof:This is the miracle of the Catholic Apostolate which still throbbing with actuality in these days makes us jubilate with the dearest hopes: and we will leave it (sic) to judge by everyone, if it is not a great miracle that always continues, without fear of being denied. In this case for Belasio the miracle was understood as concrete works of charity. In the booklet, in fact, he made no mention of miracles, such as healing from illness or other inexplicable facts inherent in Don Bosco's life. He showed no interest in this traditional type of miracle here. The only miracle that was cited is that of the resurrection of Jesus Christ which constitutes the only foundation, the reason and the inexhaustible source of all the apostolate of charity, bearer of concrete works that made humanity progress and ensure them an uninterrupted development until the end of the universe. Jesus Christ risen - he wrote -he was on the Mount of Olives, and gave the Apostles the command to preach to the whole world. And this is also precisely a beautiful and great proof of his resurrection, the seeing that the command he gave then, continues to be performed without interruption with the sacrifice of a thousand lives up to the present day . Therefore the Risen Jesus, the miracle par excellence, is not only alive, but is incessantly at work for the liberation and progress of humanity of all times through his Church within which new forms of Christian industriousness, such as for example, orders, religious congregations, etc. ... And the Risen Christ never stopped sending his apostles since he began after his resurrection.He: go, for the whole world to educate and baptize all creatures ... Here I am with you until the end of time. Well, since here begins the most beautiful story of the greatest benefits done to humanity with the sacrifices of a heroism that never fails, always enlivened by Jesus' sacrifice in our midst: so let us judge now, if this is not the great miracle in permanence in all tests. In this Christological framework the work of Don Bosco was placed and all that his Salesians did in favor of the uncomfortable youth world. The Risen Christ is the only reason that explains the unusual and dynamic action of the Salesian Congregation and, at the same time, the Salesians attested through the ever more numerous works of charity this "unrepeatable miracle" which is the Risen Jesus. Thus their Donboschian works bear witness to the living and working Christ.
For the writer Belasio the modern crisis, which was affecting the whole of humanity, was due to the current democratic politics, understood by him as the desire of the democratic system of government among the peoples, aimed at ending the ancien régime (ancient regime) . Between a past that by now all collapsed, and a future that cannot be formed in one go, but which wants to be formed at all, a power that never showed itself to be so energetic, democracy, that invades everything, everything breaks this that dominates them, and shows that they want to dominate all humanity . Faced with this crisis of society, the Church should have no fear:That it is never to be forgotten that Jesus is the Word of God, Lord of the universe, who keeps chained to the feet of his throne the storms, and that it is from him that strength is given to every creature . And to give an adequate response to the rising people, that is aiming to build a democratic political system, we also need a similar response on the part of the Church of Christ, that is, a new religious congregation of a democratic style in the sense of ability to establish a lifestyle that comes into positive and constructive contact with this political option among the populations. Now therefore democracy prevails; and to moderate the excesses in which he transmits in his growing vigor, and reduce it to the service of our Lord God, a Democratic Congregation is necessary. It is a religious congregation that consciously takes all people's aspirations as their own.We want therefore to direct him to his goal a congregation that popularizes with it, he goes in every course of preserving with him, that with him he makes common cause, helping him to honestly achieve all the advantages that civilization presents in progress. Let this congregation, which was formed to make him enjoy the gains, work and work: so that the people look upon it as a society of generous friends who sacrifice everything for themselves; we will say that we want a Congregation that by incorporating itself with the people, assimilate in one life and pour into his great body in all the veins, so to speak, of his apostolic blood in his blood that boils to give existence to a society, which we want to regenerate to a form of new life: which if it is life, it is a thing of God, and we must sanctify it for God. This congregation is the Salesian.
According to historian Pietro Stella First successful biography can be considered the one entitled Dom Bosco by Charles d'Espiney, first published in Nice in 1881 . A similar opinion is written by the scholar Francesco Motto: In the years 1875-1880 various acclaimed booklets were published in Padua, Marseille and Rome. But Don Bosco's first real biographer was the doctor from Nice Charles D'Espiney, who intended "above all to highlight the prodigious intervention of the Madonna Ausiliatrice". The small volume, written in an anecdotal form, had an exceptional resonance: translated into many languages, it spread throughout Europe and Latin America. Another distinguished scholar Jacques Schepens defines it as the eldest of the "enthusiastic Biographie" (enthusiastic biographies).
D'Espiney, before publishing his work, sent the manuscript to Turin where he was read and he was noticed to be more precise, that is to say of the Star it was hoped for a recasting of the work . An idea more pertinent to the evaluation of this work by Don Bosco can be deduced from the answer he had to give to Count Francesco Viancino di Viancino (1821-1904) who protested that he was mentioned with an abbreviation in one of the chapters ( La Providence est une bonne caissière ). Don Bosco replied to the count, with the letter of December 18, 1881, in these terms:Mr. Doctor d'Espiney is a good Catholic, but he has in his book the purpose of counting large ones behind Don Bosco. So don't be surprised if you find inaccuracies and even errors in the display. However, next January I will see this Lord in Nice and I will not fail to remove or at least correct some large fanfeathers in his book. We note that it is significant that Don Bosco did not like the insertion of the episode concerning the resurrected youth (Carlo). This and more pointed out to D'Espiney during their meeting that took place in Nice in March 1882. So much so that the story with the resurrected Carlo boy was removed from the edition that appeared in 1883. However d'Espiney did not initially show himself foldable to the indications of the Salesians, including their Founder, and here is one of the explanations: because his work did not enjoy an immediate welcome in the official Italian Salesian world. The fact is that in Turin he did not immediately proceed with his translation into Italian; instead it was differently written with the writing of another Frenchman Alberto Du Boys, printed in 1883 in Paris and the following year on the initiative of the Salesian Society printed in Italian. And the Italian periodical "Bollettino Salesiano" reserved a catchy publicity for Du Boys biography, which did not happen in the case of d'Espiney's work.
However the biography of 1881, including the first editions, had the merit, according to Stella, of nourishing the atmosphere of sympathy and veneration that surrounded Don Bosco in France especially in 1883 . One thing to mention here and which arouses a certain wonder is that already in 1883, in Leipzig (Germany), the German version appeared, which was reprinted in 1886 in Münster (Germany).
His entry into the Italian-speaking Salesian world had its tenth edition, published in 1888: it was profoundly revised and also received approval from the Salesians. The first Italian version of the eleventh French appeared in 1890 in Genoa. On the title page we read: " Don Bosco for Doctor Carlo Despiney Cav. of St. Gregory the Great. First Italian version of the eleventh French edition. Newly revised and considerably expanded. Honorable work of a letter from HE Msgr. Balaïn Bishop of Nice and adorned with an authentic portrait and an autograph of Don Bosco. Praised be Mary. Help! S. Pier D'Arena. Typography S. Vincenzo De'Paoli 1890 ”. And this first Italian edition is examined here.
For a compression of this literary work it seems to us to be important to keep in mind the fact that the author, before composing it, had known Don Bosco and his apostolic work for some time. This was very likely after the opening of the Salesian house in Nice. The "Salesian Bulletin" informed that the Salesians had recourse to him, already in the year 1879, to have an authoritative certificate about the healings that had taken place through the intercession of Mary Help of Christians. We also learn from the Salesian periodical in the French version that the doctor of Espiney was even more than once in charge of the health of the Founder of the Salesians.
The volume is composed of two large parts. The first is entitled "Don Bosco" and has one hundred and twenty-two pages (pp. 1-122). The second, the most substantial, bears the title "Maria SS. Help of Christians and Don Bosco "which occupies one hundred and eighty-seven pages (pp. 125-312). He concludes an "Appendix" with thirteen pages (pp. 315-327). The introductory part has nine pages (V-XIV).
As far as the literary genre is concerned, there is the perplexity of sharing the opinion of the three aforementioned scholars (Stella, Motto and Schepens) who define this work as a biography. Perhaps the first part "Don Bosco", in a broad sense, takes on the features of a biographical script. This cannot be said of the second part, for a simple reason that presents a collection of episodes and stories that follow a rather strange chronological composition (one, two, sometimes more stories for a year). These episodes and stories are in themselves closed and complete. To this second part we can attribute an hagiographic genre to the fact that these stories are strongly imbued with the supernatural dimension. And it is not only a question of the active presence of the Mother of Jesus, Maria SS. Help of Christians, but of other facts that exceed the human capacity for explanation: events surrounded by the arcane. To some extent we can attribute to this book the apologetic style that aims to provide an empirical answer to the popularizing skepticism, to unbelief: here "here was the hand of God" and here is "man of God". Today this writing could be defined as a sort of historical novel, that is that its "substance" is based on what happened and the rest constitutes a free interpretation, using an engaging literary language; the author probably did not want to make the reading heavy either with the quotations of dates and places or with the names of the characters involved, etc. Therefore, literary fiction is not without a real foundation that historical science would not be able to confirm its existence,
In the book we will not find any bibliographical reference concerning the subject presented or a bibliographical reference concerning the historical European context of the time. An act, largely justified by the chosen literary genre, and the aim of reaching the emerging classes of society, ie the peasants, the workers, as well as the scholars who did not need a scientific apparatus. However the author confessed in his work, although not at the beginning (in the introduction), which for the drawing drew on the work of the Salesian Don Giovanni Bonetti (1838-1891), published in installments in the periodical "Salesian Bulletin" from January 1879 and onwards.
It is important to keep in mind, in the reading of this book, that for D'Espiney Don Bosco is not only a fascinating character for what he did, that is the great worldwide diffusion of religious congregations founded by him, but the very person that seems to be wrapped in a mysterious contact with God. This data also explains the fact because he gave a strong imprint to the "extraordinary and the supernatural" in the life of Don Bosco. It seems to us that the testimony of Don Giuseppe Cafasso, which the writer reports in the introduction, constitutes a kind of interpretation. It is a testimony of high credibility, because it is formulated by the spiritual guide and confessor of our protagonist. Don Cafasso, to the extremely delicate question: Do you know well who is Don Bosco??, he replied: For me, the more I study, the less I understand: I see it simple and extraordinary; humble and great; poor and occupied by vast designs, apparently not viable projects; and yet always traversed in his designs and as incapable of making his undertakings succeed. For me, Don Bosco is a mystery. If I were not certain that he works for the glory of God, that God alone guides him, that God alone is the goal of all his efforts, I would say that he is a dangerous man more for what he shows, than for what he manifests. I repeat: Don Bosco is a mystery to me .
We can admit that with this literary effort D'Espiney wanted to say to every possible reader that Don Bosco was not "a mystery" only for Don Cafasso, he remained so for him. The word "mystery" expresses an indescribable intimacy with God thanks to which Don Bosco incarnated and made active and actualizing the divine presence in the midst of the vicissitudes of this world.
Another purpose of this book is the intention to enter the cultural debate of the epoch branded by the wave of disbelief and by the refusal to recognize the events to which we want to attribute the supernatural, portentous character. Here was presented a character, of very humble social origins, who through his lifestyle and monumental works constituted a touching, empirical proof of the existence of God. D'Espiney expressed it in the following terms:After fifty years of a very industrious life, like those to which God is the center, Don Bosco reached the land of beatitude. Even during his lifetime, his name spread through the two worlds. To give pasture to the piety of a century, to which even it is said that almost no longer believe in the marvelous, it was necessary to outline this blessed existence, the warping of which is entirely supernatural . In this sense the chronicle of the meeting between Don Bosco and Victor Hugo (1802-1885), which took place in 1883 in Paris, is emblematic.
His acceptance by some Catholic cultural circles, including the expanding Salesian world, remains surprising. The scholar Braido noted: The book, biographical and celebratory, popular and inclined to legend and numinous, translated into Italian, Dutch, English, German, Spanish, Polish, Bohemian, Hungarian, Arabic, constituted an extraordinary instrument of knowledge in vast areas European, and not only, of Don Bosco, social worker and educator of poor and abandoned youth, even marginal. This popularity can be justified by the religious mentality of the time which, after all, did not show great interest in deepening doctrine and let itself be carried away by the personalities who transcended the horizontal dimension in giving an answer to the sense of living and working.
When Don Giovanni Branda, while he was in Spain to explore the opening of new Salesian works, he informed Don Bosco that he gave those interested to know the Salesian mission, the book of Ch. D'Espiney, he would have said: In this thing it is better to give Dubois ( sic ) [...] makes our system known and has guessed the spirit of our Company . [...]. The Dubois ( sic ) must be made more and more widespread, sell it, give it away, if it is necessary because it makes us know in our true aspect". This appreciation explains why the book "Don Bosco and the Pious Salesian Society for Alberto Du Boys", published in French in 1883 in Paris, was immediately translated into Italian and printed in 1884 by the Salesian typography and bookshop of S. Benigno Canavese. In addition, the periodical "Bollettino Salesiano" immediately reproduced an excellent review, published in the magazine "Eco di S. Giuseppe" so that it was promoted and publicized to its public. In the opinion of the historian F. Motto: The author celebrated Don Bosco as a brilliant poet of charity, a person who knew how to intuit the needs of the times and give them an adequate response .
Du Boys, following the direct knowledge of the person of Don Bosco and of what he did in the educational and scholastic field in favor of the youth world, did not hesitate to define it: He himself seems to be a pedagogical encyclopaedia personified . In my opinion it is one of the most intuited, guess descriptions of Don Bosco as educator, guide and apostle of youth.
The terms with which Du Boys describes some aspects of the Salesian educational system are the fruit of his personal visit to various Salesian houses in Piedmont, especially the stay at Valdocco. He reported the response that a Piedmontese nobleman received at Valdocco, who was struck by the order he found there and which, in his opinion, was the fruit of the recourse to "a strict discipline. To this noble was replied:No, sir; answered guide. Something wonderful, incredible, but true. The government that this little people obeys is a government of mild sweetness. I would say little by saying that punishments are rare; I must say that real punishments are not inflicted. The law here is observed without any other penalty than that of conscience. Everyone has accepted it, everyone observes it, precisely because Don Bosco has as a principle to encourage everyone, not to humiliate anyone; to always lift up, never to conquer. While the most ardent revolutionaries write volumes and enact unobservable laws to obtain progress, which most often is a chimerical utopia, here is a humble priest who has solved the great pedagogical problem without much fanfare; to make students willingly observe the rule without imposing it with the fear of punishment. In his schools corporal punishments are not used, not isolated recreation, not the darkroom. The ultimate remedy is expulsion; but when Don Bosco clings to that extreme he unites these admonitions that the unhappy man is not reduced to despair, but realizes that the door is left open for him to return. It must be confessed, however, that in the schools of the Oratory there is a punishment feared by the students more than the most severe punishments, and it is a sign of ill contentment given by Don Bosco.
With another exposition Du Boys evindenia the most important elements of the educational method, developed by Don Bosco. And we hear that in the background we are polemicizing with those who doubt the real success of this educational system. The wonders were made that a whole method of sweetness and love, always used in the different grades of education, can produce characters of such strong character. This is explained: The soul, not being compressed, acquires all its vigor and reaches all its moral development. According to Don Bosco , wisdom is the art of directing one's will . [...]. This method is based on a very solid philosophy; judge the reader. It embodies to develop regularly all the attitudes of a child similar to obtaining from him without forcing his intelligence, all the sum of activities of which he is capable. It then applies especially to form the will, teaching it to dominate itself and to always go according to reason, instead of letting oneself be surprised by a first impression and drawn by its own inclination ... [...]; and his whole method consists in procuring a perfect balance for the soul. Nothing is more contrary to the Enlightenment than this weight and this measure that you require in the conduct of life; nothing as opposed to a fantastic asceticism as demanding from every individual the greatest possible amount of intellectual and moral activity. Don Bosco, who recognizes as his teacher in theology the Angel of the schools of St. Thomas Aquinas, admits with him that it is necessary to elevate nature above itself, but not to destroy it .
The book, which has two hundred and fifty-six pages, is organized in three parts, preceded by a translator's note and the author's preface (pp. V-VIII). The first part (pp. 1-123) is entitled The Institutes of Don Bosco in Europe ; the second part carries the title Missions of South America (pp. 124-209); the third part is without subtitle (pp. 210-229); concludes an appendix (pp. 230-252) and the index (253-256). Each part is divided into chapters.
In the "Salesian Bulletin" the bibliographic source of importance was indicated, as well as the methodology applied for the collection of other data for the composition of the book. An ancient French magistrate, known in the literary republic for many books, the celebrated Du Boys, amazed at the great works he heard of Don Bosco in Paris, read carefully in the Salesian Bulletin the narration of the main things, which concern the establishment of the Salesians , then, in the thought of writing for his fellow countrymen around these same works, he came specifically to Italy. He visited the main Salesian Institutes, spoke with the directors of the houses, with friends and collecting what he could about the life and works of Don Bosco, he returned to France and began to write the book entitled Don Bosco and Pia Salesian Society, whose translation was made so that this great Father of youth and the poor might be known .
It should be noted that, unlike the writings of Ch. D'Espiney and Msgr. Antonio Belasio, the Du Boys text is accompanied by some footnotes in which the source from which the news was obtained is cited or where further information can be found about the described fact. One of the most cited sources is already considered the "Salesian Bulletin". Then follows the periodical "Harmony". By way of example we write that on page 86 (the second footnote in the page) is cited: Cesare Chiala, From Turin to the Argentine Republic published in Turin in 1876 in the Salesian typography. On page 90 (the first footnote of the page) the small volume Cenno biografico on the young man Magone Michele is quotedand it is the third edition of 1880. In favor of the seriousness of Du Boys also speaks the information concerning the knowledge of the volume by Carlo Conestabile Religious and social works in Italy , published in Padua in 1878, in which the work of Don Bosco, however, who himself could not read the original and confessed it. When he speaks of the first attempt at colonization he quoted the book of Émile Honoré Daireaux, Buénos-Ayres, les Pampas and the Patagonie . Paris, Hachette, 1881. Deliberations of the second general chapter of the pious Salesian Society held in Lanzo Torinese in September 1880 are also mentioned . When he speaks of education in relation to the preventive system practiced by Don Bosco it refers to the bookBiography of the young Louis Colle de la Farlede , chap. v. Turin, 1882.
With these words he describes the addressee of the formative action of Don Bosco and his disciples. Don Bosco will always have his starting point, the education of the poor, and above all of the abandoned poor, aimed at everything else. In this regard, the Salesians will continue their wonderful traditions. As our enemies increase efforts to wrest the children of the popular classes from religion and the Church, we must double our own to attract this new generation .
Du Boys places the Salesian Congregation and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the increasingly ruthless struggle between materialism and faith. There is a lot of talk about the struggle for existence in the material order. But there is also a struggle for moral life which is no less fierce. We want to tear away from our country everything that knows about religious faith .
The nineteenth century needed this kind of new religious congregations that would take concrete action to establish charitable works. Therefore Du Boys explains it to us in these terms: because, at this moment, what was doing more than trades and that was more urgent was to create religious communities that could consecrate themselves to the good of humanity and make visible and palpable services to human society .
A significant and conclusive note clearly guesses the purpose of the Salesians: Whatever it is, the spread of education in the working class, and progress in the moral and physical sciences through its priests seem to be the uniform of the pious Society and one of its principal reasons to be .
This juxtaposition to the three books of three different authors by origin and culture constitutes a first attempt that is considered rather as a kind of invitation to carry out specialized research on every single work and on the respective author. One of the important reasons seems to be this: that we are dealing with an image of Don Bosco and his work explicitly approved by him, apart from the initial perplexity on D'Espiney's work.
All three authors: Antonio Maria Belasio, Charles D'Espiney and Albert Du Boys were fortunate not only to get to know Don Bosco during a courtesy visit but, after having known him for a long time, to experiment and personally observe the development of its apostolic and formative enterprises, instituted for the good of the "abandoned and poor" youth, that is subjected to the risk of not being able to mature humanly and Christianly.
There is a fact not to be underestimated: that all these three writers were contemporary characters to Don Bosco, able to be able to fully share with him the most varied transformations of that turbulent nineteenth century. In a special way they were strongly interested in giving a convincing answer (which could only flow from faith in the Risen Jesus) to the increasingly secularized world and in real danger of yielding to the new atheist vision of the future. This situation was the result of rapid scientific progress and new philosophical ideas, policies that found practical applications in the social field. In fact by now atheism was not only present in high-culture circles, but became an inspirational and operational force for the lower classes, once belonging to the third state (old regime - antico regime).
To all the three authors Don Bosco appeared a "powerful and timely army" for new times and, moreover, entirely motivated by faith in the Risen Jesus, the beginning and fullness of true life. Access to this faith in Jesus Christ had to be assured to the youth, especially that of the lower classes. He was impressed and fascinated by his very humble origin and his lack of any economic means at the time of departure, as well as the continuous development of the formative works always in need of economic support (but never sought for himself!). His operative capacity, as well as his determination to bring the Salesian mission throughout the world, aroused in them an irresistible amazement, since it could not be explained except by a very special immersion in God. For which all three defined him " man of God ”.
It is difficult to classify these three works as biographies, even taking into account the period in which they were published. Their literary genre seems to be placed between a narrative, sometimes of a biographical nature, consciously imbued with an apologetic style, and at times hagiographic (especially the book by D'Espiney). Their literary products can be classified as a kind of sui generis "testimony". All three, even if to different degrees, have as their starting point the facts, the historical data; but without concern for accuracy, much less for a bibliographic indication, and even less for the archival one to which they drew. What is striking in these works is the fact that the reference to the cultural, social, political and religious context is missing: if any, it is extremely generic. Naturally we do not find a historiographical picture that could help us in reading. It seems that these gaps can be justified by the choice of recipients and of the literary genre: a literature that had to attract, convince and above all spur to get busy as don Giovanni Bosco did: modern Abraham (for Du Boys) and convincing Moses ( for d'Espiney) of the new times.
Obviously these authors demonstrate the traditional Catholic mentality of the Italian and French nineteenth century, but this should not be overlooked in the study of the knowledge of Don Bosco. Their image has its value not only for the study of the religious mentalities of the Catholic world, but it may have some for a contemporary reader; as long as it is compared with what recent research in historical sciences offers us, such as those of Pietro Stella, Francis Desramaut, Pietro Braido, Artur Lenthi, and compared with the critical publications of the sources, especially the one edited by Francesco Motto with the correspondence . In this way an ancient image will shine and become interesting.
Paola Cuccioli, fma
Sig.ra Monica Pacella
The desire to know better the association of the Past Pupils of Mary Help of Christians, today still very active all over the world, has led us to examine documents, essays and archives in the hope of unraveling part of the genesis. Existing research is few and of different types: the study of Grazia Loparco , of a historical / scientific nature; the popular text, Kaleidoscope ; some texts published on the occasion of Salesian or national anniversaries; while some aspects are deduced in biographies.
The archives consulted can be found in the communities of the FMA of Turin 27, Nizza Monferrato, Giaveno, Chieri, Novara Immacolata, Vallecrosia, Rome ExA, Rome Casa Generalizia. They contain varied and inhomogeneous material: circulars, chronicles, registers, newspaper articles, magazines; missing, apart from the two Roman Archives, documents showing the evolution of the choices. The documents are mainly descriptive of what happened or invitations to events. Relations with other congregations, institutions or individuals are also derived exclusively from the descriptions of the accomplished.
The historical context in which the Association is born and develops is characterized by the upheavals of the industrial revolution in which numerous women's associations are developed, many of which, not surprisingly, are affirmed in the German, French, English and American contexts where more deeply it is entrenched industrialization, with the consequent distortions of ways of life, of roles, but also of social collocation and values. In Italy the industrial revolution arises relatively late in the late 1800s and early 1900s, years in which the problems are linked to the unification of very different regions by economic and social fabric and by the difficulty of the governments that succeed in resolving the problems of illiteracy , poverty, difficult social and health conditions and housing.
With industrialization, the working class or industrial proletariat appears on the political and social scene. It gradually creates forms of social organization, whose achievements are concentrated in improving working conditions and social care situations. The Church that supports the right of workers to a just wage and the duty of the owners to a more social use of wealth also intervenes on the social question, engages in an intense activity of assistance and favors the growth of Catholic associations, in particular on 21 April 1909 the Union between the Catholic women of Italy (Udci) was made official during the pontifical audience of Pius X, which indicates its programmatic lines.
On the Italian scene, and in the "industrial" city of Turin, some associations linked to the Salesian Family appear, with the aim of cooperating in the mission of saving young people, including the associations of Salesian alumni. The first was that of Valdocco on 24 June 1870 born of the sense of gratitude of some young people to Don Bosco, officially founded in 1908 by Fr F. Rinaldi, Prefect General of the Salesian Congregation, with a special Statute.
The ExA association also arises spontaneously from young people who have come from Salesian homes who want to see each other again to strengthen ties, to express their gratitude to educators, and to remain good Christians and honest citizens . For this reason the remote origin has no specific date, but individual spontaneous episodes.
Sr. F. Fauda, director of the FMA community in Nizza M., former headmaster of the normal school and adjoining boarding school, maintains contacts with the Institute's ExAs, and understands the usefulness of establishing an association between them and proposes it to the superiors of the general council, residing there. Purpose: to keep alive the memory of the College and to ensure the benefits of education received ; ambition: to spread this initiative to all the houses of the Institute . The superiors consider it appropriate to involve Fr. Filippo Rinaldi, Prefect General of the Pious Salesian Society, director of the FMA Oratory in Turin . The local character would have favored the frequency, while athe only Union, having a center at our house in Turin, would have contributed to the unity. The unions of Nice and Turin will remain for a long time the beacon to which to be inspired and to ask for support.
The official start is March 8th 1908: following a Conference by the Most Rev. Don RINALDI to the Daughters of Mary , to introduce some news into the Oratory, the Association of Ancient Students of the Oratory was proposed. The association expands quickly with enthusiasm and involvement of numerous young women. The beginnings, however, present difficulties even in places where subsequently there will be a flourishing development, and the reasons are the most various: the difficulty of gathering the young; the presence of other associations, misunderstandings with priests and / or religious present in the area; internal regulations; contingent problems at the place; absence of suitable premises; religious indifference; business, political or emigration reasons; the mobility of young people; the disparity of class and state; the death of the Community Director; in boarding schools / the mobility of young people or the obstacles posed by the company. The opening will be made difficult if not impossible in the newly erected houses or in those where there is fear of the cessation of the work or where there are no educational facilities, or in particular places of mission. Sometimes the association arises, but is interrupted due to difficulties encountered; in other cases, especially from abroad, the arrival of a superior is expected to formalize the birth or knowledge of the regulation.
Still in 1933 we try to encourage in the face of failures aware of the many commitments they absorb, entertainments that attract, apathy that paralyze ... and if the enthusiasm of the beginnings becomes loose it becomes necessary to start again, to rebuild, patiently, tenaciously .
Identity consolidates over time. At first, the members are associated office between the cooperators, identifying in them the collaborators of the FMA. Diversification will take shape over time: the ExAllieva is more than a Cooperator, this brings financial and even moral help, the ExAllieva is the living thought of Don Bosco that spreads and expands, the Cooperator is a support, the ExAllieva is a wave of Salesian life that pulsates in every social class.
Don S. Trione on May 24, 1908 writes a circular in which he announces the establishment of the association and indicates three categories : effective members , to which the ancient pupils can belong; young aspirants , current students; honorary members , other pious ladies and young ladies. The answers to the questionnaire 1911-1912 delineate different ways of belonging: registered , attending , adherent , present in the territory or belonging to another association .
There is no discrimination: The Section welcomes, without distinction of social status, around their Educators, all the ex-students of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from any of their educational institutions ; However, registered women have an obligation to behave appropriately, on pain of expulsion from the association if this is not the case.
In 1915 the Central Committee gave a decisive indication to respond to the clarifications: the name "Union of Allied Students of the Mary Help of Christians" belongs exclusively to those regularly constituted, that is to say in the Unions of the Allied Students recognized as such by the Superiors of the Institutes where each Union has its headquarters, by the Revs of Salesian Superiors, and attached to the Central Committee of Turin .
In 1922 Don Rinaldi offers some rules for the association of Turin, outlining its identity: it is in fact ExA, because it is attended a Salesian house, of commitment if it belongs to the association.
Membership of other groups such as the Christian Mothers and Ladies of Mary Help of Christians is not ruled out , ... indeed it is solicited both by the FMA and by the leaders themselves, also to occupy their leading roles.
The association extends patient and tenacious with new sections from the small centers to the more populous ones, up to Palestine where in 1924 38 ExAs of different religions join, all grateful to their dear sisters . Already in 1911 the list of Unions was drawn up: 69 of Italy, 3 of Spain - two of Africa six of America [...] the Ex-Students who attend our Houses of Italy are 4221, those of Spain 144, of Africa 46 and of America 113 . The increase is exponential: in 1920 there were 255 sections and 66487 ExA; in the 25th anniversary of its foundation there are more than one hundred thousand! From the data extrapolated from the photo albums of the Foreign Federations of 1972 shows the geographical growth: in Latin America and in Europe the association grows steadily, while in Asia it will take many years before it begins.
The bases are common: sense of belonging, desire for sharing, spirit of solidarity. As stressed by Don Rinaldi without the external action the action of the sisters would be incomplete because it was forced to take place in the same environment : from aid to the sick to the maintenance of the premises; to support schools, laboratories, clubs (in Argentina the Agricultural Agricultural School in Moron and the Bahia Blanca Evening School; in Chile the Workers Academy in Santiago to teach embroidery, tailoring, singing, national and foreign languages and accounting; in Italy the free daily laboratory in Genoa).
Women, brides and mothers are the main recipients, so families, the sick, the elderly, the unemployed. Works of all kinds are organized to try to reach everyone, a delicate and appropriate penetration, in families and outside, that involves the woman of the people and especially the young girl; but also the peasant woman the worker, the professional of the manual art ... the Good Housewife .
To reach everything and everyone, to find means, anyone is asked, even beyond the circle of former students. Organizing committees are formed, networks are established starting from the fellow citizens. The industrialists are also involved in favoring the overcoming of social conflicts. The municipal administration financially supports or offers local; the parish priest, doctor, secretary and municipal teachers donate books and magazines for the library; the educated suggest suitable titles; the congregations, the sisters of the Cottolengo, the Little Sisters of the Poor or the Ladies of Divine Providence assist the sick; networks are woven with associations such as Catholic Action, San Vincenzo, the Ladies of the Sacred Heart, the Opera Pia San Paolo ...; specialists, doctors and pharmacists, farmers, cooks, ...
Good must be done well! in the selection of personnel, accurate findings must be made, such as the school of the good housewife, but can be extended to all types of activities.
While the wars loosen the path of the individual Unions, in Spain in some cases civil war activities are interrupted, new energies emerge and the ExA commitment becomes action: in El Salvador, where the then-existing Section only works to aid to men and women imprisoned for political and civil struggles in 1932; in Italy, where sporadic gatherings are impregnated and charity multiplies in favor of the military and their families.
After each war, a recovery is recorded. Among all significant, that of Nice M .: conferences are held by Fr L. Ricaldone to meet the needs of the times, [...] aiming at the serious preparation of women for the tasks to which this is called by current legislation . Themes: the female mission in today 's society of which they made propaganda between relatives and acquaintances and education on the practical way of voting and its programs of individual parties. The administrative and political elections demonstrated the effectiveness of propaganda, especially among peasants and workers.It was not wrong to accuse the Institute of the Madonna of having determined the victory of the Christian Democratic party.
Different activities for different "Unions", but with common objectives, as well as the awareness of belonging and its being "Union" are common in each member.
From the outset there is a need to organize and provide a structure for the association through regulations, statutes and organizational charts, essential elements that allow it to consolidate and develop. The basic text of the regulations will be that of Turin, leaving those present to leave to disapprove what would not have been possible to adapt from them . Expression of the will to make the associates protagonists, of adaptability to the needs of the place, safeguarding the principles of the Salesian charism. However, sometimes, instead of the Turin statute, that of another association is used; the drafting or knowledge is often subordinated to local priests to obtain greater collaboration, support or simply for information.
Besides a strong reference to the founder, Margherita Bosco is presented as a model until 1913; while M. Mazzarello has no trace either in the regulations or in the statutes.
The statutes composed of a few articles, from which the characteristics of the members and the structure of the Association are deduced, express a democratic form in the choice of the members of the council, elected directly by the associates, including councilor and president, for the latter, however the director establishes names to make the choice fall on a capable person close to the sisters. The FMA director is a born member and the President will have to confront and collaborate with her. The office of secretary and treasurer is carried out by the FMA, but little by little they are flanked and replaced by the ExA.
The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have a support function in the conduct of the Union's activities and work behind the scenes, encouraging the associates. They are recognized as our unparalleled Sisters, always Masters , spiritual mothers [...] of a whole holy activity of work, charity and prayer .
At the beginning the coordination is entrusted to the Director, then an FMA Delegate supports her and assumes the task, often they are teachers, principals or educators ... The Superiors spread information, involve in initiatives and solicit the spread of the work or collection of data and news and support the speakers in preparing reports for conferences.
The Ecclesiastical Assistant, as the representative of the Ordinary in the surveillance of the proper functioning of the Association, will have the right to approve or cancel any deliberation, both of General Meetings and of the Board of Directors . In most cases he is a Salesian, whose task, rather than control, is spiritual director, charismatic guarantor, discreet point of reference. First of all, considered the founder of the ExA, Fr F. Rinaldi, who being in charge of the FMA oratory in Turin, Prefect of the SF Sales Company and responsible for the former Students, is considered suitable to support the birth of the association. Does not workon its own there are figures of great importance such as the Salesians Don Trione, don Fascie, don Cane, don Gusmano, ..
Relations are also established with local ordinaries and parish priests both to create networks of collaboration and to have a support for them so as not to hinder the various initiatives.
The confessional and formative character of the association is also explicit, which takes the form of conferences, moments of prayer, sacramental life, political education, health education ... The spirit of Don Bosco and the charism of Mother Mazzarello, model of apostolic life , they are absorbed by osmosis in contact with the sisters and transmitted in turn into the family and into society ... to the ends of the earth through support for missions.
The house, the family and the community are in the Salesian charism the center and it is for the ExA. Immediately the meeting place is the chapel, the oratory room, the classroom, the laboratory, the theater, the gym ... this is to facilitate the meeting between the ExA and to maintain ties with the environment and between people and because it is a sign of integral education received to be preserved and transmitted to new generations. The only exception is the library: to encourage the reading of constructive texts, an external environment is sought that does not hurt the sensitivity of those who are far from the Church.
Practical way of transmitting the "guidelines" of the regulations / statutes are the Conferences, orientation in the work and in the apostolate of the Sections that become Unions!
The first is promoted in 1911 by the unions of Turin, Nizza M, Giaveno and Chieri; they form a organizing committee and ask Mother General, Mother C. Daghero, a former supporter of the Association, to be able to come together to share the good received with other ExAs. The answer is not long in coming and about 700 women of every class and condition join and participate in the Turin event.
The topics dealt with express the desire for consolidation: A practical way of establishing the Association of Ex-students and the characteristic spirit; Way of spreading in the family and in society the beneficial spirit of Don Bosco, especially for the religious, civil, economic and social education and assistance of youth. The speakers are the same ExA addressed and guided both by the FMA and by the Salesian superiors. At the end of each discussion they are called to express concrete commitments, votes . Each one intervenes freely in the dialogue and through a card on which it notes its observations. The enthusiasm and awareness of something peculiar emerges already in the planning: our Conference will be an eventgreat even in the face of the history of the women's movement.
We try to reconstruct the atmosphere breathed in educational environments: through academies, theaters, prayer, Eucharistic celebrations, motets ...
There are two proposals that will give new impetus to the association: to set up a central promoter committee, based in Turin and envisage a periodical to reach them. While the first proposal will go through, for the second one we will still have to wait, contenting ourselves with relying on Salesian magazines.
A couple of years later in Chieri another regional conference is at the door, the following year, 1914, in Nice and Catania, then follow each other, regional and local, at a frenetic pace, because from them the ExA are formed , draw guidelines and deliberate for the association to function.
Great value is attributed to the collection of data and to the preservation of documentary material: in 1911 with a census data is requested in all FMA houses; in 1912 short and frequent reports reach the headquarters . The purpose? Spreading news, keeping the association together, preserving the spirit of Don Bosco, keeping the data. The latter are always required and the guarantor is identified in the Director. A special archive for local and central level collection is hoped for.
To achieve maximum involvement, different strategies are chosen: local newspapers to get out of the Salesian world, the Salesian Bulletin for a more internal diffusion, the journal of former Federation students, local publications of single sections, unique numbers for events or conferences, biographical notes about ExA. The ExAs are urged to offer their contributions to catechetical or educational journals. This need to document and spread news develops over time with alternate situations based on forces, historical / political periods, ... The publication of a periodical really arises from the need to have a press agency that is autonomous and reaches the members. Fr Rinaldi, Fr Maccono, Fr Amadei and Fr Cane are involved in the reflection on a Periodical for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians whose Indole : "To unite the internal and external forces of the FF of M. Ausil. For special women's training. of the people".
A special mention deserves the collaboration with the CA, which is implemented to respond to a desire of the Pope, and is interwoven with personal relationships: Armida Barelli, the Sister Major has a strong bond of gratitude towards Mother E. Roncallo, so much to be published also on Squilli di Resurrezione .
Mons. Cavagna in the preface of a biography of M. Mazzarello for the Youth of Women of the Catholic Church argues that young women educated in Salesian circles have no difficulty in identifying with the principles of CA, so much so that it is natural to ask oneself , at certain times, if they read the life of Sister Maria Mazzarello or that of a female youth member!
Sometimes the double presence becomes an obstacle, but this, at least in the beginning, does not seem to create divergences, sometimes the director herself attends the meetings of CA absent herself from those of the ExA. The Union supports parish commitments or associations, does not take its place or bypass them, but facilitates and encourages participation.
Another significant place is the oratory, from which the Association rises: the directive council (not the promoter one) is appointed by the Director of the Oratory, the special purpose of the association is to keep alive the memory of the past years in the Oratory ; the ecclesiastical assistant will normally be the Director of the FMA Oratory . The oratory is also the natural place to which Salesian superiors and many diocesan parish priests also draw the attention of exAs for an educational collaboration, which completes the various activities carried out by the FMA. The ExAs are invited to send their daughters, to solicit their participation and to help their development in all ways.
Different places, meetings with different associations, but with the same starting point: an intent seeking the increasingly active participation of people.
All these elements that in our "Unions" act as a common thread to the desire for a common work, a social and Christian apostolate that helps the journey of individuals towards an ever greater knowledge of belonging to a precise and structured association, recognized both by its own community, both from all over the FMA world.
 Salesian coadjutor, RNA Inspectorate Doctor in History (National University of Cuyo) and Bachelor of Education Sciences (Catholic University of Córdoba), researcher at CIFFyH (Research Center "Maria Saleme de Burnichon", Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities) National University of Córdoba, Argentina . Text prepared for the Congresso Mondiale 2014 (Rome-Pisana: from November 19 to 23, 2014)
 Carlo Conci was born in Male (Italy) on March 18, 1877. He joined the 31st missionary expedition (1897) bound for Buenos Aires. He died in Rosario de Santa Fe (Argentina) on November 19, 1947, at 70 years of age and 50 years of profession. See ASCBA (Central Salesian Archive of Buenos Aires), Box 38.8: Conci. Cdj. Carlo. Various writings : Coad death certificate. Carlo Conci. Necrological data written by the Inspector Miguel Rapanti. In the obituary information is added to the biographical data. Bollettino Salesiano, year LXXII, n 3, February 1, 1948: "(...) Tempra characteristic of an apostle in the spirit of Don Bosco, was not only a model of Coadjutor, but an intrepid animator of Catholic Action in Argentina, where he spoke and with the organizing activity, precious services to the Church and to the Fatherland, capturing the sympathy of all classes to the Salesian Society ". La lista de los misioneros de 1897 puede verse en ARCHIVIO GENERALI (Rome), ASC 607, Missionary Lists. Registers (Folder 5 °) PETRIELLA, Dionisio y MIATELLO, Sara, Diccionario Biográfico Italo-Argentino , Buenos Aires, 1976, voz: Conci, Carlos, p. 362. VALENTINI, Eugenio y RODINO, Amedeo, Biographical Dictionary of the Salesians , Turin, 1969, voz: Conci coad. Carlo, sociologist, p. 94.
 Salesian coadjutor, RNA Inspectorate. Doctor in History (National University of Cuyo) and Bachelor of Education Sciences (Catholic University of Córdoba), researcher at CIFFyH (Research Center "Maria Saleme de Burnichon", Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities) National University of Córdoba, Argentina . Text prepared for the Congresso Mondiale 2014 (Rome-Pisana: from November 19 to 23, 2014)
 Carlo Conci was born in Male (Italy) on March 18, 1877. He joined the 31st missionary expedition (1897) bound for Buenos Aires. He died in Rosario de Santa Fe (Argentina) on November 19, 1947, at 70 years of age and 50 years of profession. See ASCBA (Central Salesian Archive of Buenos Aires), Box 38.8: Conci. Cdj. Carlo. Various writings : Coad death certificate. Carlo Conci. Necrological data written by the Inspector Miguel Rapanti. In the obituary information is added to the biographical data. Bollettino Salesiano, year LXXII, n 3, February 1, 1948: "(...) Tempra characteristic of an apostle in the spirit of Don Bosco, was not only a model of Coadjutor, but an intrepid animator of Catholic Action in Argentina, where he spoke and with the organizing activity, precious services to the Church and to the Fatherland, capturing the sympathy of all classes to the Salesian Society ". La lista de los misioneros de 1897 puede verse en ARCHIVIO GENERALI (Rome), ASC 607, Missionary Lists. Registers (Folder 5 °) PETRIELLA, Dionisio y MIATELLO, Sara, Diccionario Biográfico Italo-Argentino , Buenos Aires, 1976, voz: Conci, Carlos, p. 362. VALENTINI, Eugenio y RODINO, Amedeo, Biographical Dictionary of the Salesians , Turin, 1969, voz: Conci coad. Carlo, sociologist, p. 94.
 J. ESQUERDA BIFET, Dictionary of Evangelization , Madrid 1998, p. 190
 Salesian Central Archives (ACS), Box 125.3. Triptych "Propage devotion to Mary Help of Christians", s / f.
The first image of Mary Help of Christians who came to Argentina was taken to the third Salesian expedition (1877). According to the chronicles, the image was stolen by Santiago Costamagna of the chapel of the nuns in Mornese to be transported to the missions. Other sources specify that this picture was sent by Don Bosco to the daughters of Mary Help of Christians in 1886. Perhaps the first images of Mary Help of Christians were commissioned by Don Bosco, who after a long journey there is in the first house of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Almagro. The painting by Rollini was taken to San Nicolás de los Arroyos. Sor Ana María Fernández, studied that according to the testimony of Costamagna, or Don Bosco made two copies of the image of Lorenzoni and that one does not satisfy him or brought this picture to Mornese to pray there the first mass in 1860. That date was hidden under a ribbon that was then painted. Di Vicari says that there is no possibility that Rollini painted this painting in 1860, because it was the year in which he began his lessons at the Albertina Academy. The same story is reproduced for the painting that was left with the missionaries in Montevideo that Cagliero admits to having stolen from the sacristy of Valdocco. This painting is attributed to Rollini, although he has no signature and has been retouched for the sisters of Villa Colon. The "miraculous" painting by Fortín Mercedes, painted by Rollini, was blessed by Don Bosco and brought to Argentina by Cagliero in 1891. It was the first church, anche trasformata in a sanctuary nel 1920. Ana María Fernández, The Chapel of María Auxiliadora in Almagro. Cf Parish Weekly"The new Temple of S. Carlos" of September 5, 1903, p 552.cfr. Piero de Vicari, Giuseppe Rollini: the saving gratitude of the amparo, Buenos Aires, Yaguarón, 2009, pp.60-61; 68, 72 and Historical Archive of the Salesian Missions of Northern Patagonia (AHMSP) "Documented history of the painting of Mary Auxiliadora at Fortín Mercedes "
 P. FARIOLI, La Virgen de Don Bosco , Turin, Eledici, 2002. p.54-89.
 P.de VICARI, Giuseppe Rollini: the saving gratitude of the amparo , Buenos Aires, Yaguarón, 2009, p.2.
 AM RODRÍGUEZ and M. FUNKNER, "The Catholic mobilization in the Pampa. Ladies and priests on the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Toay ", IV Conference on Social History of Patagonia, 2011, pp.3 and 13.
 A.FRESIA, Urbanize the campaign, modernize customs. Rodeo del Medio, a town in Mendoza: 1900-1915 , Rosario, Prohistoria, 2012, p.176.
 M.CAÑIZARES, Sanctuary of María Auxiliadora , Rodeo del Medio. Separata from the Master's Thesis, Rodeo del Medio, 1999, p.14,24 and 25.
 A. FRESIA, Urbanize the campaign ... p.182
 I'm going, pp. 188,186,185.
 According to the chronicles, Rollini had recovered the sight of painting the picture with the guidance of Don Bosco, AHMSP, "Historia documentada del Cuadro ...".
 Historical Archive of the Salesian missions of Patagonia (AHMSP), El Santuario Votivo (1928, 1931,1932,1934,1936,1940). La Virgen del Fortín (1941,1942,1944; 1945 y 1947).
 The Votive Shrine of Mary Help of Christians , Fortín Mercedes, November 24, 1928.
 National Decree 26888/49.
 It is possible to address religious phenomena from multi-territorial or territorial areas whose borders share the same territory or political support. C. CARBALLO (coord.), Culture, territorios y prácticas religiosa, Buenos Aires, Prometeo, 2009, p.25.
 ACS, sacatola 125.2, Triptych Feast of Mary Help of Christians, 24 May 1952, Don Bosco Bahía Blanca School.
 the same.
 the same.
 ACS, sacatola 125.2 Supplication in memory of the blessing and placement of the fundamental stone of the Monument to María Ausiliatrice, Patroness of Agro Argentino, E.Castex (Eva Perón) 9/11/1952.
 ACS, sacatola 125.2 Prayer to Mary Help of Christians, Patroness of Agro Argentino, nominated for the Curia ...
 ACS, sacatola 125.2. Supplication in memory of the blessing and placement of the fundamental stone ...
 ACS, sacatola 125.2 Prayer to Mary Help of Christians, Patroness of Agro Argentino for Peace and the social equity of Our people. Prayer to Mary Help of Christians, Patroness of Agro Argentino.
 Spanish decree 2688 (27-10-1949). Giornale Il Popolo, Sunday 30 October 1949. "Officially declared the Patroness of the Argentine Agro to Mary Help of Christians".
 Martin is based on the characterization of the hierarchical, orthodox and integral sector of the Catholic Church which forms a homogeneous cultural matrix between Argentina, nation and Catholicism. E. MARTÍN, "The Virgin of Luján: el milagro de una identidad nacional católica". VII Jornadas sobre Alternativas Religiosas en Latinoamérica, 1997. Buenos Aires. http://www.antropologia.com.ar/congresos/contenido/religion/24.htm , p.2
 O. SOLBRIG, O, " Agriculture and Livestock (1945-83)", in: M DE MARCO, New History of the Argentine Nation , Buenos Aires, Planeta, 2002, p.57.
 F.MALLIMACI, Argentine Catholicism from integral liberalism to military hegemony, in AA. VV. 500 years of Christianity in Argentina . CEHILA- New Earth Center, Buenos Aires, 1992, p.327.
 E. MARTÍN, "La Virgen de Luján ...", p.11.
 Il Popolo, Tuesday 11/22/1949. "The image of Mary Help of Christians, patroness of the Argentine countryside, will be enthroned in the Ministry of Agriculture.
 P. de VICARI, Guiseppe Rollini ... note 20 of Chapter 2.
 M. A NICOLETTI y P. NAVARRO FLORIA, "A proyecto de colonización italiana in Patagonia: Domenico Milanesio y su opúsculo Advice and proposals to Italian emigrants to the Patagonian regions of South America (1904) ", Salesian Historical Research XXIII , N ° 2 (45): 2004, pp. 397-361.
 From the fourth century after Christ, the Christian communities and various outstanding figures of the Church between the 4th and 6th centuries AD in the Christianity of the East, gave the Virgin the name of "Auxiliadora".
 The resurgence of his dedication is linked to Don Bosco, hence the denominations of "Mary Help of Christians" or "The Virgin of Don Bosco" are practically cleavable. The Pious Salesian Society was born under the picture of Mary Help of Christians (1859) painted by a Salesian Oratory student named Giuseppe Rollini. The election of Don Bosco of this dedication, is related to the "difficult times" of the Catholic Church in Italy between 1860 and 1862. Moments that will also be lived in Argentina in 1880, when the Salesians, who had arrived in 1875, they faced a secular State to develop their Work.
 J. ESQUERDA BIFET, Dictionary of Evangelization , Madrid 1998, 190.
 Central File of Salesians (ACS), Box 125.3. Triptych "Propague devotion to Mary Help of Christians", s / f
The first image of Mary Help of Christians that arrived in Argentina was brought in the third Salesian expedition (1877). According to the chronicles, the image was stolen by Santiago Costamagna from the Chapel of the Sisters in Mornese to be taken to the new place of mission. Other sources point out that this painting was sent by Don Bosco to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in 1886. Perhaps the picture of Mornese was the first of the pictures of Mary Help of Christians commissioned by Don Bosco that ended his journey in the first house of the Sisters of Almagro. Rollini's painting went to San Nicolás de los Arroyos. Sister Ana María Fernández, studied that according to the testimony of Costamagna, or Don Bosco made two copies of Lorenzoni's painting and one did not satisfy him or else he brought this painting to Mornese when he prayed the first Holy Mass there in 1860 and that the date may have been hidden after the tape that was painted later. De Vicari argues that there is no possibility that Rollini painted this painting in 1860, since it is the year in which he began his classes at the Albertina Academy. The same story is reproduced for the painting that remained with the missionaries in Montevideo but that Cagliero admits to having stolen from Valdocco's sacristy. It is attributed to Rollini, although it does not have his signature and was retouched by the Sisters of Villa Colón. The "miraculous" painting of Fortín Mercedes, painted by Rollini, was blessed by Don Bosco and brought to Argentina by Cagliero in 1891. He took the first Church, also transformed into Sanctuary in 1920. Ana María Fernández, The Chapel of Mary Help of Christians in Almagro. Cf Parish Weekly"The new Temple of S. Carlos" of September 5, 1903, p 552.cfr. Piero de Vicari, Giuseppe Rollini: the saving gratitude of the amparo, Buenos Aires, Yaguarón, 2009, pp.60-61; 68, 72 and Historical Archive of the Salesian Missions of Northern Patagonia : "Documented history of the Table of Mary Help of Christians in Fortín Mercedes ".
 P. FARIOLI, La Virgen de Don Bosco , Turin, Eledici, 2002. p.54-89.
 P.de VICARI, Giuseppe Rollini: the saving gratitude of the amparo , Buenos Aires, Yaguarón, 2009, p.2.
 AM RODRÍGUEZ and M. FUNKNER, "The Catholic mobilization in the Pampa. Ladies and priests on the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Toay ", IV Conference on Social History of Patagonia, 2011, pp.3 and 13.
 A.FRESIA, Urbanize the campaign, modernize customs. Rodeo del Medio, a town in Mendoza: 1900-1915 , Rosario, Prohistoria, 2012, p.176.
 M.CAÑIZARES, Sanctuary of María Auxiliadora , Rodeo del Medio. Separata from the Master's Thesis, Rodeo del Medio, 1999, p.14,24 and 25.
 A. FRESIA, Urbanize the campaign ... p.182
 I go, pp. 188,186,185.
 Historical Archive of the Salesian Missions of Patagonia (AHMSP), The Votive Sanctuary (1928, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1936, 1940). The Virgin of the Fort (1941, 1942, 1944, 1945 and 1947).
 The Votive Shrine of Mary Help of Christians , Fortín Mercedes, November 24, 1928.
 National Decree 26888/49.
 It is possible to approach religious phenomena from the multiterriality or territories whose borders share the same territory or political support. C.CARBALLO (coord.), Culture, territories and religious practices, Buenos Aires, Prometheus, 2009, p.25.
 Triptych of the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, May 24, 1952, Colegio Don Bosco Bahía Blanca.
 The same.
 In the same.
 ACS, Caja 125.2 Prayer María Auxiliadora Patroness of the Agro Argentino, approved by the metropolitan Curia 24/12/1951. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has to print on 6/1/1952.
 ACS, Box 125.2 Prayer in remembrance of the blessing and placement of the cornerstone of the Monument to Mary Help of Christians, Patroness of Agro Argentino, E.Castex (Eva Perón) 11/9/1952.
 ACS, Caja 125.2 Prayer María Auxiliadora Patroness of Agro Argentino, approved by the Curia ...
 ACS, Box 125.2. Prayer in remembrance of the blessing and placement of the fundamental stone ...
 ACS, Box 125.2 Prayer to Mary Help of Christians, Patroness of Agro Argentino, for Peace and social equity of Our people.
 Presidential Decree 2688 (October 27, 1949). El Pueblo newspaper, Sunday, October 30, 1949. "Officially, Patron of the Argentine Agro, María Auxiliadora."
 Martín is part of the characterization of the hierarchical, orthodox and integral sector of the Catholic Church that forms a homogenous cultural matrix between Argentina, nation and Catholicism. E. MARTÍN, "The Virgin of Luján: the miracle of a Catholic national identity". VII Conference on Religious Alternatives in Latin America, 1997. Buenos Aires. http://www.antropologia.com.ar/congresos/contenido/religion/24.htm , p.2
 O. SOLBRIG, O, " Agriculture and Livestock (1945-83)", in: M DE MARCO, New History of the Argentine Nation , Buenos Aires, Planeta, 2002, p.57.
 F.MALLIMACI, Argentine Catholicism from integral liberalism to military hegemony, in AA. VV. 500 years of Christianity in Argentina . CEHILA- New Earth Center, Buenos Aires, 1992, p.327.
 E. MARTÍN, "La Virgen de Luján ...", p.11.
 El Pueblo, Tuesday 22-11-1949. "The image of María Auxiliadora, patron of Argentine agriculture, will be enthroned in the Ministry of Agriculture
 P. de VICARI, Guiseppe Rollini .... note 20 of Chapter 2.
 M. A NICOLETTI y P. NAVARRO FLORIA, "A proyecto de colonización italiana in Patagonia: Domenico Milanesio y su opúsculo Advice and proposals to Italian emigrants to the Patagonian regions of South America (1904) ", Salesian Historical Research XXIII , N ° 2 (45): 2004, pp. 397-361.
 Letter from the President of the Republic in response to the Bishop of Punta Arenas, Mons. Giovanni Cagliero. Salesian Bulletin, July 1892
 For the research, the author has used above all the materials available in the Central Salesian Archive of Rome, in the Historical Archive of the Propaganda Faith, and in the work of Joseph Thekkedath. A History of the Salesians of Don Bosco in India (2005).
 Per i nomi si veda Joseph Thekkedath, A History of the Salesians of Don Bosco in India (From the Beginning Up to 1951-52), Vol. 1, Bangalore, Kristu Jyoti Publications, 2005, p. 19.
 By name if you see Luigi Mathias, Forty-Fortune of Mission in India. Memories of His Excellence Monsignor Luigi Mathias , Vol. 1, Turin, Elle Di Ci, 1965, pp. 36-37; 65
 See Propaganda Fide Historical Archive (ASPF) nr. 3786, Stefano Ferrando at the Propaganda Fide, 11.10.1946, p. 500.
 See the Central Salesian Archive (ASC) B 709 Ferrando "Little Apostles" 18.5.1940.
 Cfr. ASPF n˚. 3078 Ferrando alla Propaganda Fide, 24.9.1936, p. 848; ASPF n˚. 3699 Ferrando alla Propaganda Fide, 25.9.1953, p. 29
 The first Indian vocation to Salesian life was that of Louis Karunai, sent to Italy in 1907, then to Portugal, for his novitiate. Unfortunately he fell ill and died in Lisbon in 1909.
 In 1947, Fr. Giuseppe Carreno, South Indian inspector, in his report to the superiors of Turin, declared that among the 121 Salesians (including the novices) of South India, the professed Indian Salesians were 37, of whom 11 were priests, and the 15 novices were Indians. He also said that the Indian element in the province consisted of the following groups: Tamils, Anglo-Indians, East Indians, Goani, Mangalorians, Telugu and Keralites. The vocations of Kerala were divided into vocations of the Latin rite and of the Syrian rite. See ASC F 187 Report of Carreno 1947, pp. 1-2.
 See ACS X, 24 October 1929, n,. 50, Themes discussed in the XIII General Chapter.
 Cfr. ASPF nr. 3936 Ferrando to Propaganda Fide, 24.8.1956.
 The original paper consists of a total of sixteen pages. For the research, the author has used mainly the materials available at the Salesian Central Archive, the Historical Archive of the Propaganda Fide, and work of Joseph Thekkedath. A History of the Salesians of Don Bosco in India (2005). In this summary the footnotes reduced to the minimum.
. For this presenttion, the author has used mainly the materials available at the Salesian Central Archive, the Historical Archive of the Propaganda Fide, and work of Joseph Thekkedath. A History of the Salesians of Don Bosco in India (2005).
 For their names see Joseph Thekkedath, A History of the Salesians of Don Bosco in India (From the Beginning Up to 1951-52), Vol. 1, Bangalore, Kristu Jyoti Publications, 2005, p. 19.
 For their names see Luigi Mathias, Forty-Fortune of Mission in India. Memories of His Excellence Monsignor Luigi Mathias , Vol. 1, Turin, Elle Di Ci, 1965, pp. 36-37; 65
 Cf. Propaganda Fide Historical Archive (ASPF) no. 3786, Stephen Ferrando to Propaganda Fide, 11.10.1946, p. 500.
 Cf. Central Salesian Archive (ASC) B 709 Ferrando "Little Apostles" 18.5.1940.
 Cf. ASPF no. 3078 Ferrando to Propaganda Fide, 24.9.1936, p. 848; ASPF no. 3699 Ferrando to Propaganda Fide, 25.9.1953, p. 29
 The first Indian vocation to Salesian life was Louis Karunai who was sent to Italy in 1907 as an aspirant. From Italy he proceeded to Portugal for his novitiate. Unfortunately he fell ill and died in Lisbon in 1909.
 In 1947 Fr. Joseph Carreno, provincial of South India, in his report to the superiors in Turin stated that among the 121 Salesians (including novices) of South India, the professed Indian Salesians were 37, of whom 11 were priests, and all the 15 novices were Indians. He also mentioned that the Indian element in the province consisted of the following groups: Tamilians, Anglo-Indians, East Indians, Goans, Mangalorians, Telugues and Keralites. The vocations from Kerala were divided into those of the Latin and Syrian rites. Cf. ASC F 187 Report of Carreno 1947, pp. 1-2.
 Cf. ACS X, 24 October 1929, n. 50, Themes discussed in the XIII General Chapter.
 Cf. ASPF no. 3936 Ferrando to Propaganda Fide, 24.8.1956.
 MB XV, 57
 "Whoever did not understand at least some of those who lived in the Oratory at that time cannot get an idea of the passion dominating therein for all that was music." Cf. Ceria, Annali (1941-51), Bd. I, 697.
 Pietro Ricaldone, Gregorian chant / Sacred and recreational music, in: "Proceedings of the Superior Chapter of the Salesian Society" 111 (1942) 1-47
 Cf. Yes, 17.
 Ivi 25.
 Lett. N. 7, 1905, in [M. RUA], Circular Letters ... , p. 490. As regards Don Bosco as a probable promoter of the reform of sacred music, see Josip Gregur, Don Bosco and the Cecilian Movement , in RSS 31 (1997) 265-306.
 Ricaldone, Gregorian chant / Sacred and recreational music, 18-19, quoted 18. Cf. also 22.
 Cf. Yes 28-47.
 Letter to the "Rev. Mr. Don Ricaldone of 12 July 1942, in ASC B955 envelope, Ranking 4630.
 Ricaldone, Gregorian chant / Sacred and recreational music, 21.
 Proceedings of the Superior Chapter, 91 (1939) 9.
 Ivi 27.
 Cf. iivi 35.
 Stefani, Salesian music, 55. Italic: Stefani.
 Ivi 54.
 Cf. Don Eugenio Riva, Don Dusan Stefani, in: http://www.salesianinordest.it/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1458:don-dusan-stefani&catid=87:vite-salesiane&Itemid=95 (5. 1. 2104).
 Cf. ivi (Riva, Don Dusan Stefani).
 Eugenio Valentini, Don Giovanni Pagella the greatest Salesian musician. Bio-Bibliography in: Salesianum 42 (1980) 351-374.
 Cf. „fb“, Artists who disappear. The Maestro Pagella, in Italy of 12 August 1944 (ASC 6771).
 Cf. his letter of 3. July 1908 to Don Rinaldi, in ASC, C 257 (6771).
 Giuseppe Oldani, Mortuary Letter, Rome 1950, in: ASC, envelope 3179.
 Bollettino del Clero Romano, September 1950, 187 (ASC busta 3179).
 Cf. Mortuary letter in ASC, envelope B 955 (4630).
 Cf. Antonio Marrone, Mortuary Letter of Alessandro de Bonis, in ASC, busta B 955 (4630).
 Cf. I went.
 Cf. the letter of presentation of his inspector dated 12 October 1952 in: ASC busta 808 (Virgilio Bellone).
 Remo Paganelli, Mortuary Letter dated 1 May 1981 in: ASC busta 808 (Virgilio Bellone).
 Ricaldone, Gregorian chant / Sacred and recreational music, 27.
 F. Dostojevskij, L'Idiota, P. III, chap. V, Milano 1998, p. 645.
 According to Plato, wonder is the beginning of philosophy.
 Ricaldone, Gregorian chant / Sacred and recreational music, 4-5.
 Ivi 10.