Don Bosco

Proceedings of the First International Study Congress


Proceedings of the First International Congress of Studies on Saint John Bosco

(Pontifical Salesian University - Rome, January 16-20, 1989)

Edition in Spanish directed by


The volume collects the papers and communications presented at the "1st International Conference of His San Giovanni Bosco," held in Rome from January 16 to 20, 1989. It is also published in Italian and English.

With these lines I do not intend to make a critical examination of such collaborations, nor present the theme, development and achievements of the Congress. The participation of well-known historians and scholars of the thought of Don Bosco and the reach of the subjects confronted already guarantee the interest and importance of this publication. Indeed, the "First International Congress of Studies on Saint John Bosco" was distinguished "by the clear overcoming of every hagiographic approach and by the high scientific level of most of the papers and communications".
These lines simply want to point out the main characteristics of the Castilian edition, in order to facilitate its reading and consultation.

The book substantially reproduces the works presented in the general sessions. The authors, in a second moment, have been able to complete the text of their collaborations and the necessary documentation. Only in a few cases - which are indicated once in a while -, the short bibliographic note added is the work of the person in charge of editing (nde).

The structure of the volume, however, does not strictly respect the order in which the various topics were read before the congressmen. Taking into account the specific characteristics of the collaborations, the Scientific Commission preferred to divide the publication into four homogeneous thematic blocks: I. Don Bosco in historiography; II. Don Bosco in the Church and in society; III. Don Bosco and education; TV. Don Bosco and popular culture.

The book completes the "conclusions" of the Congress and some "free communications", read in the Spanish language group. Due to editorial and space requirements, it has not been possible to publish all the collaborations, oral or written, presented in the three organized linguistic groups (Spanish, Italian, English). After an attentive examination, the members of the Scientific Commission have been forced to select only a small sample of said "free communications", according to the different linguistic areas, collected in each one of the different editions. The reader interested in knowing the "free communications" presented in the Italian or English language group should, therefore, consult the respective editions.

G. MARTINA, 111 International Congress of his studies S. Giovanni Bosco, in "History Magazine of the Church in Italy" 43 (1989) 274. Cf. R. AUBERT, Congrés, in "Revue d'Histoire Écdésiastique" 84 (1989 ) 1, 275-276.

The present Spanish edition has been prepared from the original manuscripts, following the criteria briefly indicated below.

The text prepared by the respective authors has been rigorously respected. Of these is the total responsibility of what they write. The interventions in the originals, by the person in charge of the edition, have been fundamentally of a "technical" nature: to complete, whenever possible, the bibliographic data; unify the presentation of the critical apparatus; correct certain material errors, which the authors, inadvertently, did not correct. When any of these corrections could have meant a change of direction or nuance of a certain entity, the opinion of the author himself has been taken into account.

If we consider the different topics and, above all, the diversity of the approaches and the documentary sources used, it is easy to understand that it has not always been easy to apply rigorously uniform criteria. The indispensable coherence and methodological correctness have been combined with respect for the preferences of the authors and the characteristics of different styles and contributions.

In the Castilian edition I have tried not to lose sight of the demands of the Spanish and Latin American cultural environment.2 For the translation, it has been possible to count on the valuable collaboration of Alberto García-Verdugo and Graciliano González. The suggestions of Santiago Arribas, Jesús M. García and Rafael Vicent, who have read several pages of the draft, have also been very useful. Juan Manuel Espinosa and Nicolás Merino have corrected the printing tests, correcting inadvertentities and introducing estimable formal improvements. To all, my cordial thanks.

Rome, June 24, 1989

2 In the critical apparatus, it has been preferred to reproduce the literal quotations in the language in which the author of the collaboration did it. Except in the case of family saints to the reader of the Castilian language, the original expression of the proper names of the authors and of the aforementioned persons has been conserved ordinarily. The denomination of some well-known institutions has also been maintained (Mendicitá istruita, Mujo, Convitto ecclesiastico de Torino), which is mentioned repeatedly in the volume. The works that were written and read in Spanish in the general sessions will be indicated, once at a time. The paper by É Poulat and the communications by F. Desramaut, G. Avanzini and J. Schepens were presented in French. The others, in Italian.


Acronyms and abbreviations of the most cited works 9
Organization of the Congress 11
Greetings to the congressmen (E. Viganó) 13
Introduction (R. Giannatelli) 15
Balance of the forms of knowledge and studies about the gift Bosco (P. Stella) * 21
How the authors of the «Biographical Memoirs» (F. Desramaut) 37 worked
The correspondence as a source of knowledge and study about Don Bosco.
Critical edition project (F. Motto) 67
The situation and use of the Central Salesian Archive (R. Farina) 81
Don Bosco and the Church in the world of his time (E. Poulat) * 93
The experience and the sense of the Church in the work of Don Bosco (JM Laboa) * 109
The conflict between Don Bosco and the Archbishop of Turin Lorenzo Gastaldi (1871-1883)
(G. Tuninetti) 135
Church and world in the «Storia Ecclesiastica »By Don Bosco (F. Molinari) 145
At the roots of the spirituality of Don Bosco (M. Marcocchi) 159
Don Bosco and the Catholic associations in Spain (R. Alberdi) 179
Don Bosco and Maria Dominga Mazzarello: historical-spiritual relationship (A. Deleidi) 207 The Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in relation to Don Bosco (ME Posada) 219
Don Bosco and civil society (G. Bracco) 231
Don Bosco and the world of work (S. Tramontin) 237
The option for young people and the educational proposal of Don Bosco (L. Pazzaglia) * 259
The pedagogy of St. John Bosco in his century (G. Avanzini) 291
Don Bosco and the Oratory (1841-1855) (G. Chiosso) 299
Don Bosco and the humanist school (B. Bellerate) 317
* The asterisk indicates the papers of the Congress.

Don Bosco and the professional schools. Historical approach (1870-1887) (JM Prellezo García) 333
Integration of school and school activities in the perspective of Don Bosco (C. Scurati) 357
Penance and the Eucharist in education according to Don Bosco (J. Schepens) 373
Don Bosco and the formation of ecclesiastical and religious vocations (F. Jiménez) 395
Don Bosco in the history of popular culture in Italy (F. Traniello) * 413
Don Bosco and the theater popular (S. Pivato) 429
Don Bosco and the press (F. Malgeri) 441
Don Bosco and music (G. Sforza) 451
Originality of the Patagonian missions in Don Bosco (J. Borrego) 457
The origin of Salesian literature in Spain during the life of Saint John Bosco (MF Núñez Muñoz) 475
Don Bosco, pedagogue of joy (B. Delgado) 505
A humanistic model of Christian education (A. Sopeña) 515
Presentation (Card AM Javierre Ortas) 525
Don Bosco and modernity (P. Scoppola) 527
Perspectives and initiatives of research on Don Bosco (P. Braido) 537
Names index of person 547
General index 561
ACG Atti del Consiglio Generale della Congregazione salesiana (after 1984)
ACS Atti del Capitolo (Consiglio) Superiore della Congregazione
Salesiana (before 1984)
AGFMA Archivio Generale delle FMA (Rome)
Annali E. CEIUA, Annali della Società Salesiana, Torino, SEI 1941-1945.

ASC Central Salesian Archive (Rome)
ASV Vatican Secret Archives
Bosco, Scritti sul G. Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system nell'educazione della
preventive system gioventú, a priest of P. Braido, Brescia, La Scuola 1965
Bosco, Scritti G. Bosco, Scritti pedagogici e spirituali, a cura di J. Borrego, P.

pedagogici Braido, A. Ferreira, F. Motto, JM Prellezo, Rome, LAS 1987
BRAIDO, Don Bosco P. BRAMO (ed.), Don Bosco nella Chiesa a servizio dell'umanitá.

nella Chiesa Studi e testimonisnze, Rome, LAS 1987
Cronistoria G. CAPEM (ed.), Chronicle of the Institute of the Figlie di Maria
Ausiliatrice, 5 vol., Rome, Istituto delle FMA 1974-1978
E Epistolario di S. Giovanni Bosco, 4 vol., per cure of E. Ceda, Torino, SEI 1955-1959
FMA Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice (Daughters of Mary Help of Christians)
ISS Istituto Storico Salesiano (Salesian Historical Institute) (Rome)
LC «Letture Cattoliche»
MB GB LEMOYNE, Memorie biografiche Don Giovanni Bosco, ..,
vol. I-VI, San Benigno Canavese, Scuola Tipografica e Libreria Salesiana 1898-1907; GB LEMOYNE, Memoria biografiche del venerabile Don Giovanni Bosco, vol. VII, Turin, Salesian Library Editrice 1909; (Vol VIII-IX: Torino, Tip SAE), "Buona Stampa" 1912-1917); GB LEMOYNE - A. AMADEI, Memoria biografiche di San Giovanni Bosco, vol. X, Torino, SEI 1939; E. CERIA, Memorie biografiche of Blessed Don Bosco, vol. XI-XV, Torino, SEI 1930-1934; ID., Memorie Biografiche di San Giovanni Bosco, vol. XVI-XIX, Torino, SEI 1935-1939
MO G. Bosco, Memorie dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales from
1815 to 1855, to priest of E. Ceda, Torino 1946:
nde note of the person in charge of the edition
OE G. Bosco, Opera edit. Prima series: Libri e opuscoli, Rome, LAS
RSS «Ricerche Storiche Salesiane»
SDB Salesians of Don Bosco
SE G. Bosco, Storia ecclesiastica ad uso delle scuole ..., Torino, Tip.

Speirani e Ferrero 1845
STELLA, Don Bosco P. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia della religiosità cattolica, vol.I:
III DI Vita e opere, Rome, LAS 1979 (1st edition, 1968); vol. II: Mentalitá
religiosa e spiritualitá, Rome, LAS 1981 (1st ed 1969); vol. III: Canonization (1888-1934), Rome, LAS 1988
GIANNATELLI Roberto, Rector of the Salesian Pontifical University (Rome)
MI: 0AL 'Mario and BERTONE Tarcisio, Vice Chancellors of the UPS
PILCA Juan, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of the UPS
PE-1E1 Michele, Dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the UPS
COLOMBO Antonia, Dean of the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences «Au
xilium» (Rome)
BRAMO Pietro, Director of the Salesian Historical Institute (Rome)
Scientific Commission
MIDALI Mario, Vice-Rector of the UPS (President)
ALBERDI Ramón, Salesian Center for Theological Studies (Barcelona)
BORREGO Jesus, Salesian Historical Institute (Rome)
DELEIDI Anita, Pontifical Faculty «Auxilium »(Rome)
DESRAMAUT Francis, Catholic University of Lyon
FARINA Marcela, Pontifical Faculty« Auxilium »(Rome)
Morro Francesco, Salesian Historical Institute (Rome)
PRELLEZO GARCIA José Manuel, Faculty of Educational Sciences of the UPS
SCHEPENS Jacques,« Centrum voor Kerkerlijke Studies »(Leuven)
STELLA Pietro, University« La Sapienza »(Rome)
Organizing Committee
BERTONE Tarcisio, Vice-rector of UPS (President)
SCHEPENS Jacques, Secretary of Congress
ARDITO Sabino, Law School of UPS
CHENIS Carlo, Faculty of Philosophy of UPS
COFFELE Gianfranco, Faculty of Theology of UPS
DAL COVOLO Enrico, Faculty of Letters Christian and Classics of the UPS
FIZZOTTI Eugenio, Faculty of Educational Sciences of the UPS
PUTHOTA Benjamin, UPS Administrator
BISOGNI Silvana, Secretary of the Rector of the UPS
Presidents of the General Sessions
SCOPPOLA Pietro, University «La Sapienza», Rome ( January 16)
AUBERT Roger, Catholic University, Louvain-La-Neuve (January 17)
POUPARD Card. Paul, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture (January 18)
MARTINA Giacomo, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (January 18)
TRANIELLO Francesco, University of Turin (January 19)
GALINO Angeles, Universidad Complutense, Madrid (January 19)
JAVIERRE ORTAS Card. Antonio, Librarian and Archivist of the SIR (January 20)
ALBERDI Ramón, Salesian Center for Theological Studies (Barcelona)
AVANZJNI Guy, University "Lumiére" (Lyon)
BELLERATE Bruno, University "La Sapienza" (Rome)
BORREGO Jesus, Historical Institute Salesian (Rome)
BRACCO Giuseppe, University of Turin
BRAMO Pietro, Salesian Historical Institute and Salesian Pontifical University (Rome)
CHIOSSO Giorgío, University of Lecce
DELEIDI Anita, Pontifical Faculty «Auxilium» (Rome)
DELGADO Buenaventura, University of Barcelona
DESRAMAUT Francís, Catholic University of Lyon
FARINA Raffaele, Salesian Pontifical University (Rome)
JIMÉNEZ Fausto, Salesian Center for Theological Studies (Madrid)
LABOA Juan María, University of Comillas (Madrid)
MALGERI Francesco, University «La Sapienza» (Rome)
MARCOUCA Massimo, Catholic University of Milan
MOLINARI Franco, Catholic University of Milan
MOTTO Francesco, Salesian Historical Institute (Rome)
NÚÑEZ María Fe, University of the Laguna (Canarias)
PAZZAGLIA Luciano, Catholic University of Milan
P1VATO Stefano, University of Trieste
PosAnA María Esther, Pontifical Faculty «Auxilium» (Rome)
POULAT Émile, «École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales» (Paris)
PREJ.F.70 José Manuel, Pontifical Salesian University (Rome)
SCHEPENS Jacques, «Centrum voor Kerkelijke Studies» (Leuven)
SCOPPOLA Pietro, University «La Sapienza» (Rome)
SCURATI Cesare, Catholic University of Milan
SFORZA Giulio, University «La Sapienza» (Rome)
SOPEÑA Andrés, Pontifical University of Salamanca
STELLA Pietro, University « La Sapienza »(Rome)
TRAMONTEN Silvio, Theological Faculty of Milan
TRANIELLO Francesco, University of Turin
TUNINETIT Giuseppe, Faculty of Theology of Turin



Eminencias Excellencies
Dear Rector and Academic Authorities.
Distinguished Congressmen:
It is my pleasure and honor to address my most attentive greeting and my gratitude for your presence, wishing a total success to this special university initiative.

This is the First International Congress of studies on the multifaceted figure of Saint John Bosco: it is a singular fact in the varied range of initiatives that have characterized the celebration of the centenary of his death.

The Congress, organized by the Salesian Pontifical University, is open to the international academic world. It is aimed at deepening, in the sphere of historical research with scientific rigor, the personality and the mark of Don Bosco in the vicissitudes of the last century.

It is proposed to focus on studies and other forms of knowledge about it, highlighting, at the same time, the reasons for the relevance of its message to contemporary society.

The importance of this initiative and its result is clear to those who, like me, have the ministry to encourage a great Family committed to caring for and developing their pedagogical-pastoral heritage.

I have been able to take part in the first row in many celebrations of different content and around the world. Don Bosco has overcome not only the borders of his century, but also those of his Apostolic Family. He has been for a long time a saint of the universal Church, accepted as an eminent teacher of Christian education and the origin of a peculiar spirituality, alive and current after more than a century.

His figure and his work have aroused and continue to arouse great interest in vast sectors of social life, from the world of education and school to work and leisure; from the area of ​​popular culture to that of economics and politics. And, in the same way, from a practical way of rereading the Gospel to the peculiar institution of forms of consecrated life.

There is an aspect on which the scientific production, especially the theological one, is, until today, still limited: the ecclesial aspect of its role as Founder. It is an aspect that, it seems to me, does not directly enter into the objectives of this Congress.

It is a delicate and complex aspect, felt very deeply by me, and in which I find myself vitally involved.

One researcher of the topic has rightly written: "The study of the Founders is not easy, although we have various scientific research methods available, because the founders resist any humanly historical, sociological and psychological explanation. When we approach them, we collide with something that escapes us; And even when we think we know them well, every time we study them, we discover something new. How can you explain this mystery, this inexhaustible wealth? Simply with the fact that when we meet a Founder, we see that it is God who acts through him ».
Thus, an important perspective that can also influence the meaning of the various investigations, but to which the other sciences can contribute precious lights, remains open.

It is, therefore, very important, not only for his disciples, but also for the vast world of culture, to have studies on Don Bosco and his work made with rigorous scientific criteria, indispensable basis for a presentation of his historical stature and of his message solidly walked in objective data, and free, the more, the better, of distorted optics, partial evaluations and approximate descriptions.

I strongly hope that the Congress can offer in this sense precious contributions that are added to other studies that are now available, in part, to researchers.

Thank you!
Grand Chancellor
of the Salesian Pontifical University
I T. GRZESZCZYK, 11 charism dei fondatori, Colima «Sanctitas in caritate», Rome 1974, p. eleven.



As Rector of the Salesian Pontifical University, I offer my greetings to the participants in the First International Congress of Studies on Saint John Bosco. And on behalf of the Promoting Commission, I would like to express our gratitude to all those who, in different ways, have made it possible for them: speakers, organizers, sponsors and all of you, the Members of Congress, who have responded to our invitation.

The vast and varied university community of the UPS, with its five faculties of Theology, Education Sciences, Philosophy, Canon Law and Letters, its thousand students from 65 nations, the 120 professors and assistants, welcome you with special interest and they are happy to offer you their hospitality which, although simple and austere, they want to be frank and cordial, in accordance with the inheritance received from Don Bosco, Protector and Inspirer of our University, defined by his Grand Chancellor as "University of Bosco for young people ».

The participation of the UPS in the Centennial event of the death of San Juan Bosco could seem a fact that is taken for granted. And, in fact, since November 1983, the academic Senate undertook to define the University's program for 1988. In the session of December 3, 1986, it voted a resolution that set the commitments of the university community in seven points. I remember them briefly:
1. Dedicate a special issue of the magazine "Salesianum" to the commemoration of the Centenary. This issue of the magazine was published in January 1988 with the title: Pensiero e prassi di Don Bosco nel 1 Centenario della morte (31 Gennaio 1888-1988)
2. Convocation of an International Congress of Studies on Juan Bosco in January 1989;
3. Promote academic courses on Don Bosco and Salesianity, even with the formula of the Visiting Professor;
4. Organize a contest to stimulate and reward students' research on topics around Don Bosco;
5. Publish a volume that presents the reasons why Don Bosco is proposed as "Doctor of the Church for Christian education";
6. Organize a pilgrimage of the UPS community (teachers and students) to the places of Don Bosco;
7. Project the new "Don Bosco Library" of the University and initiate the collection of the necessary funds for its realization. (I thank the Grand Chancellor who has always supported our proposal and who will bless the first stone of the "Don Bosco Library" on January 25).

Among the various proposals of the Centennial, that of the International Congress has been the most laborious in its genesis and definition. At first, a broad-ranging and up-to-date convention on the theme "Don Bosco educator" was thought of. To this end I had worked, since the spring of 1985, a mixed group of professors from UPS and the Faculty of Educational Sciences "Auxilium" of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. An investigation was projected that, starting from the educational demand of the new generations, went back to the historical memory of the "preventive experience of Don Bosco", and, if possible, to the tradition after Don Bosco, to find reasons valid and current for education in our time.

This hypothesis was immediately abandoned and preference was given to the idea of ​​a scientific Congress that was not limited to the pedagogical aspect, but capable of facing the rich and complex figure and work of Don Bosco.

The study of "Don Bosco educator" would be carried out by the Faculty of Educational Sciences with two notable initiatives:
The Salesian Pedagogy Symposium: "Prassi Educativo-pastorale e scienze dell'educazione" (Rome, September 1987) .1
And the seminar interdeological, promoted by the magazine "Orientamenti pedagogici": «L'esperienza pedagogica di Don Bosco: ereditá, contesti, risonanze, sviluppi» (Venice, «Fondazione Cini», 3-5 October 1988) .2
In addition, the Faculty of Law Canonical would promote a convention on "I diritti del minore" according to everything acted in this field by the Holy Educator (October 30 - November 2, 1988).

It was in May 1987 when the academic Senate of the UPS came to definitively specify the purpose and nature of the Congress: the Congress, which would be at the end of the centennial year of Don Bosco, had to address the international world and the objective of asking for a wider consideration on the part of the scientific world towards the figure and the work of San Juan Bosco.

The Congress had to be characterized by a double attention: to propose as a balance of one hundred years of studies and modes of knowledge about Don Bosco and to open, if possible, a new phase of studies on the Saint, richer in his structure and more critical in its methodology.

The Academic Senate also proposed to share the responsibility of the Congress with the Salesian Historical Institute and the Faculty of Educational Sciences "Auxilium" of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

JE VECCHI - JM PRELEZZ0 (eds.), Prassi educativa pastorale e scienze dell'educazione, Rome, Editrice SDB 1988.

2 C. NANNI (ed.), Don Bosco and his pedagogic esperienza, Rome, LAS 1989.

In this brief period of a year and a half of preparation, the Scientific Commission, speaking with the speakers to whom basic lectures and communications were proposed, defined the articulation of the Congress:
- the first day is dedicated to assess the balance of the forms of knowledge and studies on Don Bosco, proposed by prof. P. Stella and integrated by the communications of F. Desramaut, F. Motto and E. Farina;
- The second day deals with the relationship between Don Bosco and civil society, presented by prof. G. Bracco and S. Tramontin. I must excuse the absence of prof. G. Miccoli who, due to serious family reasons, had to renounce to present his lecture, although he intends to publish it shortly. Faced with this situation, which emerged very recently, the Scientific Commission asked the prof. B. Bellerate and JM Prellezo to anticipate their communications about Don Bosco and the humanistic and professional school;
- On the third day of the Congress, the relationship between Don Bosco and the ecclesial community is studied with two presentations: one more characterized by a historical-sociological touch (by É. Poulat), the other, more attentive to the educational and pastoral experience promoted by Don Bosco in the ecclesial sphere (JM Laboa). I wish to indicate that the communication of prof. G. Alberigo, who can not attend, will be replaced with the communication from prof. M. Marcocchi on the theme: «The sources of Don Bosco's spirituality»;
- On the 19th, Thursday, he will focus on the theme of «the option for young people and the educational proposal of Don Bosco», exposed by prof. L. Pazzaglia and enriched with numerous communications. On particular aspects of the educational experience of Don Bosco;
- On the last day, Friday the 20th, he will consider other aspects of Don Bosco's personality, such as those of Don Bosco, educator of the people (presented at the Fundamental Conference of Prof. F. Traniello), social communications (this topic is it will refer the communication of F. Malgeri), man and priest open to the world (J. Borrego will illustrate the originality of Don Bosco's missions).

The conclusions of the Congress are entrusted to prof. P. Scoppola, from the «La Sapienza» University, in Rome, and P. Braido, director of the Salesian Historical Institute.

Within the framework of the Congress the card's doctoral lesson will have a special meaning. Carlo Ma. Martini, archbishop of Milan, on the theme: "II Vangelo, Don Bosco, i giovani".

We are already in the wave after Don Bosco and the "history of the effects".

To conclude, I would like to remind you that the participation of the Congress members is planned in the following ways:
- brief interventions in the classroom with clarifications, contributions, even in the key of debate;
- participation in the sections by language (interested parties are requested to agree with the three animators of the sections);
- delivery of written communications, for publication in the Minutes (originals must be delivered to the Chairman of the Scientific Commission, Prof. Mario Midali).

Presented, finally, to the people with whom the Congressmen will have a greater contact in these days of the Congress:
- the President of the scientific Commission, Vice Rector, Mario Midali;
- the President of the Organizing Committee, Vice Rector, Tarcisio Bertone; - the Secretary of the Congress, Jacques Schepens;
- the heads of the Executive Secretariat, Enrico Dal Covolo and Mrs. Silvana Bisogni.

I now give the presidency of this first session of Congress to prof. Pietro Scoppola.



Pietro SELLA
«The" Don Bosco case "- Francesco Traniello has recently written, object in the past of often stereotyped and paradoxical images, is becoming a remarkable field of applications or verification of new research lines».
Author of important studies on Antonio Rosmini and specialist in the history of the Catholic movement, Traniello has been able to express himself in these terms, because he had in mind the themes and the quality of the studies published in the volume directed by him and entitled: Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare (1987). The authors of the various essays, most of them non-Salesians, used the materials and studies published in these last decades by the Salesians themselves.

But, along with the optimistic and stimulating impressions of Traniello, others have appeared throughout this year: more cautious, if not precisely contrary, founded more or less critically on what has been observed in the table of manifestations of the celebration of the centenary of the death of Don Bosco. '
We must ask ourselves if it is not premature to commit ourselves to more definitive forecasts even before the centennial year ends, and before the emotional halo dissolves that, whether we like it or not, has also settled on the Congress • of studies that we prepared to have. A series of precautions is suggested, first and foremost, by the examination of the interconnections that can be glimpsed between the forms of knowledge, still prevalent and well established, and the scientific production that, especially the Salesians, have managed to bring from within of its institutions.

1 F. TRANIELLO, Don Bosco and the problem of modernity, in: Don Bosco e le sfide della modernita (Quaderni del Centro Studi «C. Trabucco», 11), Bacon, Stabilimento Poligrafico Editoriale «C. Fanton »1988, p. 41. The general title of the notebook evokes that of J. RÉMY, Le défi de la modernité: the stratégie de la hiérarchie catholique en Belgique au XIXe et XXe sikles et l'idée de chrétienté, in «Social Compass» 34 (1987) 151 -173. The whole number of «Social Compass» contains various contributions under the common title: «Les églises et la modernité en Europe occidentale».

2 Cf. F. TRANIELLO (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, Tocino, SEI 1987, and the review made by miqmo L. Tamburini, in "Studi Piemontesi" 17 (1988) 1, 247-249.

1. The Salesian reflection on the educational system of Don Bosco suffices the post-Second World War period

One of the fields of reflection that has always been cultivated in Salesian institutions is that of the educational system put into practice and expressed in theory by the founding saint. From the brief and timid notes of Don Francesco Cerruti on the pedagogical "ideas" of Don Bosco (1883) 3 and from other more or less theoretical elaborations, in the climate of the beatification process (1890-1929), presentations were made that they emphasized the fundamental pedagogical principles set forth by Don Bosco himself in a lecture he gave in Nice in 1877 ("this system is based entirely on religion, reason and, above all, on kindness"); it has been passed to speeches and considerations that put the accent on the religious specificity of the educational system,

Between the two wars, with the fascist regime in power, the Salesians and certain Catholic groups obtained that Don Bosco was among the classics of pedagogy in the programs of the teaching schools. In the eyes of the promoters of this initiative and in the same speeches of Pius XI, Don Bosco appeared as a giant who stood out above the Catholic educators of the MCK century, as promoter of a complete education, all the more estimable the more opposed to the that proposed an education based on physical preparation and the myth of force as a means of conquest: things that led to predict the path towards a violent clash of peoples and a new and immense world conflagration1.6
Despite opposition and criticism, the inclusion of Don Bosco in the Olympus of pedagogues was made possible by the ambiguous climate of political commitment and religious emphasis in the field of the so-called civilization that proclaimed Fascist rhetoric. Fed with critical reservations and also poisoned by devastating criticisms made by prominent lay pedagogues (Ernesto Codignola and others), the debate over the figure and the pedagogical thinking of Don Bosco forced Catholic educators, and especially the Salesians, to to define better in what sense one could consider Don Bosco, as well as a respectable educator, a pedagogue worthy of that name.

• F. CERRUTI, Le idee di D. Bosco sull'educazione e sull'insegnamento e la missione attuale della scuola. Lettere due, San Benigno Canavese, Tip. e Salesian Library 1886.

• Inaugurazione of the patronage S. Pietro in Nizza a Mare. Scopo of the best husband dal sacer
dote Giovanni Bosco with appendice of the preventive system nella educazione della gioventú, Torino, Tip. e Salesian Library 1877; cf. critical edition of P. BRAIDO, in: Bosco, Scritti pedagogici, p. 125-230.

• On indications about the spiritual and religious dimension, cf. JM PRELLEZO, The stu
gave della pedagogía nella congregazione salesiana: alcuni momenti rilevanti (1874-1941), in: JE VECCHI - JM PRELLEZO (eds.), Prassi educational pastorale e scienze dell'educazione, Rome, Editrice SDB 1988, p. 61-71; ID., Studio e nflessione pedagogica nella congregazione salesiana (1874-1941). Note per la storia, in RSS 7 (1988) 35-88.

6 Cf. P. STELLA, The canonization of Don Bosco with fascism and universalism, in: TRANIELLO (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, p. 359-382; ID., Don Bosco III.

In the scope of this type of studies, the most significant work can be considered the book by Pietro Braido: The Preventive System of Don Bosco (1955) .7 The ideas and institutions of the Piedmontese priest appear in his approach; The conclusion that Don Bosco's works and ideas can appropriately be defined as a "system", whose peculiarities and originality are clearly seen through their comparison with the works and ideas of pedagogues and others, springs persuasively from his analysis. educators with whom Don Bosco himself was in direct contact. The volume of Braido, already classic, is like the summit of a whole cycle of studies, oriented, more than to the analysis of the development of the initiatives and the intuitions of Don Bosco, to the examination of its logical articulation and to the definition of its validity pedagogical But it can be added that Braido's book can be considered as an act of bravery (performed and may be that he also suffered), and as an act of confidence on the part of the then Rector Major, Don Renato Ziggiotti. The work on the "preventive system" came a few years after the death of Don Pietro Ricaldone (1870-1951), the superior who, with great capacity for government, had led the Salesian congregation and had guided its growth in the not easy period between the two wars. Don P. Braido was already teaching about the educational system of Don Bosco during those years in the Salesian Pontifical Athenaeum, in the Faculty of Philosophy. Don P. Ricaldone admired the vision of the future demonstrated when founding the Athenaeum; but his jealous attitude was also known before the supreme role of the magisterium in the congregation.

Meanwhile, the Athenaeum was introduced with a preeminent role in the network of houses of Salesian formation, which had been made necessary by the expansion phase that was being lived, and erected in various parts of the world, among other reasons, by the encouragement received of the, then, Sacred Congregation of Studies.

2. From philological-literary research to global reinterpretation

Precisely in the students, and especially in those of Piedmont, certain questions began to become more insistent on the authority of the hagiographical literary writer on Don Bosco and on the forms of knowledge that were derived from them. The restlessness of the younger generations tended to become distrustful of Don Bosco's biographical memoirs: the monumental work begun in his writing by Don Giambattista Lemoyne while Bosco lived and published little by little in nineteen volumes from 1898 to 1939. A gift Eugenio Cenia, author of the last nine volumes, was asked a series of questions that fully presented the problem of the value that should be attributed to the Memoirs: "It is said - they asked - that Don GB Lemoyne was not a historian, but a novelist of history. In biographical memoirs there are many facts that do not resist criticism. The same volumes written by Don E. Cenia are not fully historical, but praiseworthy and laudatory ".8
P. BRAMO, The preventive system of Don Bosco. Prefazione di E. Celia, Torino, PAS 1955 (2nd ed. Zürich, PAS-Verlag 1964).

The non-trivial problem of the credibility that had to be given to documents and testimonies that were for the Salesian congregation the literary foundation on which the major superiors and the general chapters (but also the popes themselves in their speeches) supported the structure of his teaching. For the non-Salesian culture, especially the secular one, it was perhaps marginal problems; but for the Salesians, on the other hand, questions were at stake, if not essential, at least of great importance in the vital plane of the congregation itself.

The first attempt at scientific response came from France. Fr Francis Desramaut, professor of ecclesiastical history at the Salesian center for theological studies in Lyon, elaborated and defended his dissertation as a thesis on the first volume of Biographical Memoirs at the Théologiques de Lyon Facultés Théologiques de Lyon. The work involved a highly documented reconstruction of the moral and intellectual figure of Don GB Lemoyne, seen as basic in a type of use of oral and written sources. Don F. Desramaut dissipated, first of all; definitively, the comment that Don Lemoyne had carelessly or naively destroyed the original documentation used by him to write the first redaction of the biographical memoirs: all the material existed and continues to exist, in its maximum part, in the Salesian Central Archive. He confirmed, in addition, the persuasion that Don Lemoyne had been an honest and scrupulous interpreter of the testimonies of others, transcribing them almost always or using them as an element of his literary warp. It was an important conclusion; but the documented work of Don Desramaut was still only a first step. It exceeded the concrete possibilities of the French scholar a meticulous investigation in Italy of other documentary sources, outside the Salesian scope, to confront them with those used by Don Lemoyne. As satisfactory as the writing about Lemoyne's honesty was, it remained to investigate all the attitude that had led him to weave forms of narration from which a certain supernaturality sprang up, according to schemes we might call medieval, in the first and even more in the following volumes of the Biographical Memoirs. In the small circle of Salesian historians, the merits and limits of Don Desramaut's work were noted: from purely philological-literary research it was convenient to move on to hypotheses of interpretation and to historical research models that would ensure a global reinterpretation of both documentary sources and the historical figure of Don Bosco. From the analysis of each piece adjusted in the writing of the Biographical Memoirs, it was appropriate to move on to the mentality with which they were placed and from which the sources that Don Lemoyne used came from the Memorie dell'Oratorio, which Don Bosco had written late. - not precisely with historical or chronicler and documentary criteria -,

8 Lithographed letter of 14 pages with the date: «Torillo 9.11I.1953»; cf. in this regard: P. STELLA, Le ricerche don Bosco nel venticinquennio 1960-1985: spinning, problemi, pros-pettive, in: P. BRALDO (ed.), Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 373-396.

9 Les Memorie I by Giovanni Battista Lemoyne. Étude d'un livre fondamental sur la jeunesse de saint Jean Bosco, Lyon, Imprimérie de Louis-Jean de Gap 1962. There is the Castilian translation of the MB (Madrid, Central Catechistic Salesiana 1981-1989). In this volume the original Italian edition (nde) is cited.

Already in 1965, when publishing fragments of the Memorie dell'Oratorio in an anthology of Don Bosco's writings on the preventive system, Don Braido warned of the need to be cautious in his reading, since in it, with a selective narrative, full of emphasis, familiarly happy in his episodes, he tried to affirm in the Salesians the conviction that his congregation, loved and protected by God, possessed an educational method capable of attracting sympathy and help to hundreds and thousands of young people.m Don Braido suggested in which affirmed that the Memorie dell'Oratorio posed no small problems to those who were looking for other messages in them.

In the precursor climate of the Second Vatican Council it was discussed in Italy, for example, if it was not opportune to corner the Giovane provveduto, the booklet of Don Bosco that had served for more than a century to frame the practices of piety in the Salesian institutions. It had been translated into French, and into Spanish (The Young Christian) at the suggestion of Don Bosco. Later it was translated to some languages ​​of Asia. And it had ended up being the normative code of the devotional and liturgical life of the oratories, of the colleges and even of cult groups organized from the first encounters with the Onas Indians of southern Argentina or with the tribes of Bororos in the heart of Mato Grosso. "
I" Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, p. 3s.

"Cf. on purpose, F. DESRAMAUT (ed.), The vita di preghiera of the Salesian religious, Lyon 10-11 September 1968 (Colloqui sulla vita salesiana, 1), Leumann (Lathe), Elle Di Ci 1969.

At stake was the interpretation that had been given to the motto launched by Don Ricaldone in one of his classic circular letters of the year of the canonization (Christmas bonus of the Rector Major for 1935): Fedeltá to Don Bosco santo.12 Se-trata, en the effect of questioning responsibly about the dangers of an immobilism attached to the repetition of the past with the risk of detaching from the pluralist society in which the youthful world entered frankly. The motto of 1934-35 had to be completed according to the needs of an update: «fidelity to Don Bosco santo and his risks». But it was not difficult to argue in favor of renewal:

Against the immobility and the crystallized repetition of gestures and sayings that seemed to produce almost "ex opere operato" wonderful educational effects, in light of the historical-philological analysis and beyond it, two important facts appeared. First of all, it was easy to see that the world of nineteenth-century thought and even the theological scaffolding, which had been of Don Bosco as well, were in fact surmountable or surpassed. Don Bosco himself, in the years of maturity and the greatest expansion of his work (which he propagated asking for help to all), had marginalized, without any problem for him, the rigid and somewhat elementary Antivalden controversy of the years 50. The salesians, in turn, and without traumas,

But they were realities of a world that was not ours, such as the organization of young people in vertical and paternalistic structures, and with social separation of the sexes. The opening of the Salesian oratories to the young, as they came spontaneously, boys and girls, was a solution that, by intuition and practical sense, the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians gave, precisely in the line of intuition and practical sense of their founder. "
12 The official edition is in: ACS (1936), 1-195, with the title: Strenna of 1935. Fedeltá to Don Bosco santo.It was printed shortly thereafter in a separate volume: Strenna del Rettor maggiore per il 1935. Fedelta to Don Bosco santo, Torino, SEI 1936.

13 The demands for renewal are included in the volume of collaboration (P. BRAIDO, L. CALONGHI and others), Don Bosco educatore, oggi, Rome, PAS 1960 (2nd ed., Revised and enlarged, Zürich, PAS-Verlag 1963).

Second, it was evident and clearly demonstrable in Don Bosco, more than immobility, his ability to adapt to changing situations: from the beginning of the Oratory for youth called poor and abandoned to the organization of colleges and expeditions of Salesians to Latin America.

Especially a radically renewed rereading of some elements more characteristic and suggestive of the hagiography of Don Bosco was deduced: the set of prophetic dreams, predictions of death and resounding miracles (like the resurrection for some time of the young "Carlo" in 1849) , that is to say, of facts and narrations that wove in a remarkable and spectacular way the biographical Memories as Don Lemoyne and Don Cenia were elaborating their writing.

These and other interpretative hypotheses were the thread of two volumes appeared in 1968 and 1969 with the title: Don Bósco nella storia della religiositá cattolica. "When the first volume appeared, the problem of the relationship between scientific research and tutelage of the healthy tradition of Don Bosco At the meeting of the provincial superiors of Europe, the Middle East, Central Africa, the United States and Australia that was held in Como in April 1968, the representatives of the German area expressed their concern about the new "modernist and incautious" research that was being done on Don Bosco in the Salesian Athenaeum.15 But the then Rector Major, Don Luigi Ricceri,and his advice allowed the historical study to continue and in some way contributed to the reflection and updating that was already being requested in the application phase of Vatican II.

In this sense, positive results were achieved with the creation, in 1973, of a "Centro Studi Don Bosco" in the Athenaeum, which had been recognized by the Holy See as «Universita Pontifical Salesiana». And later, in 1977, with the founding of the "Salesian Storico Institute" in Rome, in the General House. Since then, the contributions of study on Don Bosco and his works have multiplied with results of good scientific level, both in the UPS and in other parts of the Salesian world.

Fruit, in part, of openness to certain research techniques and certain historiographical sites oriented to the study of religious presence in the social fabric, and also, in part, to the questions raised in the Salesian Congregation about commitment to poverty areas in the world, it was the volume Don Bosco nella storia economica e sociale (1815-1870) (1980) .16 In it Don Bosco is placed - in the transition from the privileged and welfare tables of the Restoration to those of the liberal society - among those who tend to find forms of economic support and collective acceptance in their own initiatives, which are not essentially those of paternalistic real estate income; presents himself to Don Bosco, in a word, as an independent entrepreneur in the educational and philanthropic field within the schemes of the economy and the liberal society. The volume clearly shows a certain lack of mastery of statistical techniques and a somewhat hesitant competition in the field of specific historiography of economics and economic doctrines. However, as a whole, it is the result of a first-hand survey and opens interesting clues to studies in the field of the peasant world and its strategies.

"Don Bosco nella storia della religiositá cattolica, Vol. 1: Vita e opere, Zürich, PAS-Verlag 1968, Vol. II: Mentalitá religiosa e spiritualitá, Ibid., 1969 (2 'ed. Rome, LAS 1979-1981). degli ispettori salesiani, Europe, Middle East, Central Africa, Stati Unia, Australia, Atti (Como, 16-23 aprile 1968), Torino, Lit. E. Gili 1968, p.20.

16 Rome, LAS 1980.

The circle of Salesian scholars, for the most part of humanistic, philosophical and theological formation, is quite unprepared and devoid of this type of research. For this reason, in recent years there are outstanding studies that, for the most part, are more satisfactorily situated in the field of philological research or in that of ethico-political and pedagogical historiography.

It would take us very far the analytical and precise relationship of everything that the Salesians have published about Don Bosco in recent years.

As an example, among many contributions, those of Don Francesco Motto on the role of Don Bosco in the appointment of bishops in Italy after 1865 deserve mention; and on the steps he took, after the law of the guarantees of 1871, for the concession of the royal exequatur to the bishops on temporal goods in their dioceses. "Fruit of a passionate search in the Vatican Secret Archive and in other Italian archives public or private, these essays by Don Motto highlight the figure of Don Bosco in a somewhat emphatic picture, since, apparently, Don Bosco did not intervene in anything or almost nothing in the conversations for the appointment of bishops in venues that went from Lombardy and the Veneto to the Neapolitan provinces and Apulia.

The involvement of Don Bosco in the proceedings concerning bishops of Piedmont and Liguria can be considered in particular a fact of great importance for the development of the educational works promoted by him. Before then, in fact, the name of Don Bosco appears sporadically in non-Piedmontese Catholic publications among the benefactor and jealous priests who worked here and there in Italy. While the procedures for the exequatur were being developed, his name jumped to the scene in an unexpected way, like that of a character who had privileged entrance in the governmental environments and before the Holy See. It seems that in those years Don Bosco himself matured the awareness of a personal vocation, not only oriented towards Piedmont, but towards wider spaces in society and in the Church.

7 F. Motto, The mediation of Don Bosco for the Holy See and governorate for the concessione degli exequatur al vescovi d'Italia (1872-1874) (Piccola Biblioteca dell'Istituto Storico Salésiano, 7), Rome, LAS 1987.

If one pays attention to what Don Braido has recently emphasized, it could be said that the articles and tracts that began to appear in France and in Italy in the 1970s about Don Bosco and his miraculous educational system seem to have induced Don Bosco to try an outline of theorization of what, rightly or wrongly, he called the "preventive system in the education of the youth": with formulas that he himself and his most informed children (and this is a precision of Mr. José M. Prellezo) they varied without many formalizations and even exceeded. '
Along with the studies of Fr. F. Motto and the contributions of Fr. P. Braido and Fr. JM Prellezo, we should highlight the doctoral dissertation of Fr Jacques Schepens on the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist in the writings of Don Bosco. ' Also in this case it is a very thorough exploration of sources, edited or not, in the picture of the step from rigorism to benignism. What might have been more desired was, perhaps, a greater attention to the activities and religious ideology of Don Bosco; that is, a greater attention to the mentality and behavior of both the youthful world and the wider collectivities into which the message and work of Don Bosco penetrated. In this sense, it would have been opportune to investigate other sources, besides those used.2 ° The rite of confession, for example,

Research such as those of Fr. F. Mono and Fr. J. Schepens deepen or at least broaden the knowledge of aspects and moments of the life of Don Bosco located in his time. Other recent researches discover the open field to the development of the Salesian work after the death of the founder, more or less in connection with the image that he had cultivated. It is interesting in this aspect, both some points that Don Pietro Braido made when publishing the edition of Don Lemoyne's letters, as well as the suggestions that Don José M. Prellezo has advanced investigating the attitude of the first Salesians before the presentation that he made Bosco of his educational system.21

JM PRELLEZO, The preventive system riletto dai primi salesiani, in: C. NANNI (ed.), Don Bosco and his pedagogic esperienza: ereditá, contesi, sviluppi, risonanze. Atti of the 5th Seminar of «Orientationi Pedagogici» Venezia-Cini 3-5 ottobre 1988, Rome, LAS 1989, p. 40-61.

t9 J. SCHEPENS, L'activité littéraire de don Bosco au sujet de la penitence et de l'eucharistie, in "Salesianum" 50 (1988) 9-50.

20 On the meaning of confession and on the behavior of young people, see, for example, the testimony of Giovanni Roda, called to testify as an ex officio witness in the apostolic process for the beatification of Domingo Savio in October 1916 : Sacra Rituum Congregatio ac domino cardinali Vincentio Vannutelli relatore. Asten. et Taurinen. Beatifikationis et canonizationis servi Dei Dominici Savio adolescentis laici alumni oratorii salesiani. Positio super virtutibus, Romae, Typ. Guerra et Mirri (1930): Summarium super dubio: An constet de virtutibus * theologalibus fide, spe et charitate ..., p. 5. Bring the episode in a more schematic form M. MOLINERIS, Nuova vita di Domenico Savio, Cone Don Bosco, Ist. Salesian 1974, p. 134. Reference is also made to him in the study of A. CAVIGLIA, Savio Domenico and Don Bosco, in: Operate e scritti editi e inediti di Don Bosco, vol. IV, Torillo, SEI 1943, p. 146

Don Lemoyne, who became a Salesian and became a priest, tended - note Don Braido - to choose with special preference what appeared as prodigious, miraculous, supernatural manifestation of divine intervention; if on the one hand he tended to be a precise chronicler of the movements and sayings of the one who had conquered him as a spiritual son, on the other, Lemoyne was always attentive to writing what Don Bosco was exposing, like dreams and talks that he often made of night at the numerous collectivity of Valdocco. What Don Bosco counted as a parable or a dream that he had had during the night or day, as the listeners would interpret it, was for Don Lemoyne without more the faithful exposition of celestial revelations.

Don Cerruti was also moderately among those who considered Don Bosco's dreams as supernatural events. But his attention went with preference to the concrete and effective organization of education in the Oratory and in the other Salesian houses. Among the most faithful collaborators of Don Bosco is one of the most insistent that the foundations of the educational system be truly translated into reasonableness and rationality among educators and young people, in balanced and essential religiosity, in charity understood in fact as daily delivery and intelligent to the role of educators. In the statements for the processes of beatification of Don Bosco and after his former colleague of studies Domingo Savio, Don Cerruti places more emphasis on the virtues demonstrated in the life of the two servants of God than in the spectacularity of prodigious manifestations understood as an index of supernatural gifts. Don Bosco put Don Cerruti among the leaders of the Salesian work: as director of the municipal school of Alassio, superior of the Ligurian province and later as a general school counselor. Don Lemoyne, after management positions, ended up having the most consistent with his personality as secretary of the higher chapter, with ample time to write plays or in the "Letture Cattoliche", occasional poetry and history of the congregation . as director of the municipal school of Alassio, superior of the Ligurian province and later as general school counselor. Don Lemoyne, after management positions, ended up having the most consistent with his personality as secretary of the higher chapter, with ample time to write plays or in the "Letture Cattoliche", occasional poetry and history of the congregation . as director of the municipal school of Alassio, superior of the Ligurian province and later as general school counselor. Don Lemoyne, after management positions, ended up having the most consistent with his personality as secretary of the higher chapter, with ample time to write plays or in the "Letture Cattoliche", occasional poetry and history of the congregation .

Don Lemoyne's spiritual tendencies are due to the prominence acquired in the biographical memoirs of miracles and dreams, the latter delineated, each and every one, as celestial revelations of hidden things, present or future. He owes (although originally to Don Bosco) the oral tradition and the written tradition that eventually took root in the Salesians of the late nineteenth century and beyond, the idea, a little millenarian and apocalyptic, that its expansion in the world, its establishment in certain locations was the fulfillment of a future that Don Bosco had already seen in his dreams; seen - the Capuchin cardinal Vives and Tutó wrote at the beginning of this century, an enthusiastic speaker of the cause of beatification - "as in a cinematograph" .22 Don Cerruti, on the other hand, manifests a more discreet but not less enthusiastic attitude,

21 P. BRAIDO - R. ARENAL, Don Giovanni Battista Lemoyne attraverso 20 lettere to Don Michele Rua, in RSS 7 (1988) 89-170; by JM PRELLF70 cf. the articles cited above note 5.

Recent historical studies by Salesians are directed towards a re-reading of Don Bosco's experience from first-hand sources, beyond the diaphragm of biographical memoirs; They do not forget, however, that the nineteen monumental volumes of the Memoirs constitute an obligatory reference term, given the importance they have had and still have in the literary, visual and oral transmission of the image of Don Bosco.

In the range of watersheds that we have presented summarily and with forced gaps, are - in addition to the above - interesting works of Salesians from various parts of the world: Don Cayetano Bruno, Don Ramón Alberdi, Don Jesús Guerra, Don Jesús Borrego, Don Natale Cerrato, Mr. Reinhold Weinschenk, Mr. Antonio Ferreira da Silva; and among the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians: Sr. Giselda Capetti, Sr. Cecilia Romero, Sr. María Esther Posada, Sr. Piera Cavagliá, Sr. Anita Deleidi. And others and others.

More or less in relation to historical studies, or at least to his side, there are others that are oriented to a deeper and somewhat timeless reading of Don Bosco's personality, based on philosophical, psychological and psychoanalytic premises; Among these, we can distinguish: an extensive essay by Don Sabino Palumbieri, articles by Don Bruno Bellerate, by Don Pio Scilligo and by Don Xavier Thévenot.23
If we reread what we have said about the study production of the Salesians and the forms of knowledge in which the Salesians are situated, if we also want to go deeper into their analysis, I think that it is concluded that the trials of study done up to now are as a whole the answer to questions that exist between the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (that is, the most important nucleus of the area of ​​worship and memory of Don Bosco).

The findings of Francesco Traniello, from which we have left, are undoubtedly the result of his sensitivity as a scholar; but I would say that we should consider them generous and optimistic, if we take into account the still weak implication of the Salesians in the face of the questions of the scientific world, broader, surely interested or interested in the "Don Bosco case", as useful terrain for verification and analysis.

22 Cf. BS 41 (1917) 182 and STELLA, Don Bosco .W., P. 146

23 By the way, cf. the last years of «Salesianum», «Orientamenti Pedagogici», «Rivista di Scienze dell'Educazione», «Ricerche Storiche Salesiane» (RSS).

In a Salesian scholar it is clear that he has adopted models of knowledge and search techniques today in normal use (or, frequently, object of discussion): the study of the mentality and religiosity according to common modules in the school of the "Annuals" or in others, the recourse to cultural anthropology, the use of methods and models typical of economic and social history. Or, also, psychoanalytic, philosophical and pedagogical premises (the study, for example, of the preventive system based on the models of Lacan, the personality of Don Bosco investigated from personal philosophies or interpretative theories of Freud or di Lévi -Strauss)

But at this moment we have to ask ourselves if it is not just individual and sporadic attempts; and not yet consolidated choral work projects. We are all the more cautious the more we reflect on the difficulties that the "Salesian Storico Institute" still encounters in order to guarantee itself a nursery for young recruits. The "Centro Studi Don Bosco", in turn, in the UPS, manages to develop in some way its didactic task; but it does not arrive - and is an index of its fragility - to complete the anasthetic reprint of Don Bosco's writings begun in 1977-78 with the series of books and pamphlets. There are certainly technical problems; but, above all, whoever achieves or commits to remake the transmission belt among scientific designers (who have remained as generals without an army) is missing, technical executors and editors. Meanwhile, even in the course of this year, affective knowledge continues to drink with enthusiasm in the golden legend of the Memoirs; He frequently returns (in the film recently appeared, in books, in lectures and exhortations) the hagiographic legend printed in the minds of all. Overcome, like an imposing wave of foam, the few rock masses that historical research has managed to place here and there in these last thirty years. It shows the distance not completely overcome between Salesian popular culture - which is consumed as it was in the past when it was on the gap between young people - and scientific research. He frequently returns (in the film recently appeared, in books, in lectures and exhortations) the hagiographic legend printed in the minds of all. Overcome, like an imposing wave of foam, the few rock masses that historical research has managed to place here and there in these last thirty years. It shows the distance not completely overcome between Salesian popular culture - which is consumed as it was in the past when it was on the gap between young people - and scientific research. He frequently returns (in the film recently appeared, in books, in lectures and exhortations) the hagiographic legend printed in the minds of all. Overcome, like an imposing wave of foam, the few rock masses that historical research has managed to place here and there in these last thirty years. It shows the distance not completely overcome between Salesian popular culture - which is consumed as it was in the past when it was on the gap between young people - and scientific research.

3. Recent contributions of study and forms of knowledge in the non-Salesian sphere

In this state of affairs, one can not expect from scholars outside the Salesian sphere anything more than essays on certain points, general frameworks, particular or partial attempts at approximation. Such are, for example, the essay by Francesco Traniello on the Storia d'Italia written by the saint, that of Giacomo Dacquino on the psychology of Don Bosco, of Stefano Pivato on the popular press _and the theater, by Maria Luisa Trebiliani on the woman in the mentality and educational experience of Don Bosco. Or, equally, the interesting proposals of Piero Bairati on the "Salesian culture" and the industrial society between the 800 and the fascist age 24
Sergio Quinzio in a 1986 essay has returned to the theme of the place of Don Bosco in the history of the Catholic spirituality and in that of Catholicism socia1.25
Franco Bolgiani, in his speech in 1987 at a congress on the theme "Christians and culture in Turin", stopped over the "Salesian" in the broader picture of the most deeply rooted and most characteristic predominant cultures. Above all it would be that which was linked to the affirmation of the State of the Savoy from the middle of the century until the national unification, and which Bolgiani calls, to understand us, "military culture." It replaced it, especially after the industrial automobile take-off, as predominant and encompassing, the "industrial culture", with the "Fiat", as a major temple and as a reference for a way of thinking and living of the Turinese community. However, the secular culture of high and medium level, acquired its own space and its own and dignified autonomy, with a solid pillar in the university world and with effective dissemination poles in more active and more prosperous avant-garde publications. The Catholic culture was, according to Bolgiani, as a whole weak, repetitive and conformist from the Tridentine period to the «Risorgimento»; later, weakened and closed in on itself, it ended up moving to the level of the subculture. Within it, Bolgiani continues, one can understand how a kind of Salesian culture could flourish in the ecclesiastical and Catholic sphere; that is, a culture that originated and developed in the field of play and youth instruction, free time and sacred time of social strata almost always of rural origin, without pretensions of scientific soundness. A culture that today should come to light, but that was in summary irrelevant in the eyes of the secular culture of positivist or idealist, liberal or social, Gramscian or neo-luminist matrix; a culture that was fatally exposed to being used for its own ends by the dominant industrial culture. The "Christians and culture in Turin" congress was held in the Salesian center of Caboto 27, the headquarters of the Faculty of Theology of the UPS (Turin branch). Among those who listened to Bolgiani were, in addition to the professors and students of the UPS, secular priests and laity alumni of oratories and of Salesian colleges. There were very energetic reactions. Among them the "onorevole" Armando Sabatini (born in 1908) took the floor, that he had been a member of the National Liberation Committee established in the "Fiat" after September 8, 1943 and also a deputy in Parliament, a former member of the Caboto Street Oratory - as the youngest "onorevole" Carlo Donat Cattin (born in 1919) - before and after the fall of fascism. According to Sabatini, the picture drawn by Bolgiani was without more inadequate. Both he and other alumni were not recognized in the "culture" outlined by the speaker. The Oratory, in him as in others, had nourished religious faith. The debates on philosophical and social issues that had two professors of the Salesian Athenaeum, such as Don Gemmellaro and Don Mattai, had been, in his opinion, solid and rich, appreciated for their speculative and ideological structure by philosophers of idealistic and spiritualist inspiration such as Augusto Guzzo . But the Oratorian experiences remembered by Sabatini were circumscribed episodes. Or should we consider them as the index of a cultural reality that in its development was more complex, more articulated and less closed than what could be inferred from the necessarily schematic and intentionally provocative exposition of Professor Bolgiani? 26 Bolgiani did not speak, for example , from the Salesian Fr Paolo Ubaldi, who was the first professor of ancient Latin and Greek Christian literature at an Italian university (the "Cattolica" in Milan) from 1924 to 1934, founder of the "Corona Patrum Salesiana" edited by the SEI (the Salesian editorial of Turin), distinguished master, and as such venerated by Michele Pellegrino, the cardinal of the council and of the post-conciliar period in the archdiocese of Turin.27 Neither did Bolgiani point out that it was the SEI one of the first publishers in Italy to publish works by Jacques Maritain.28 His painting is undoubtedly exaggerated, perhaps cruel and drawn with a selective lens. However, it leads us to reflect on the characteristics of the ecclesiastical framework and the Catholic world in which the Salesians worked, carried away by the style of their charismatic and holy founder.

24 G. DACQUINO, Psychology of Don Bosco, Torino, SEI 1988; the other essays are in the collaborative work directed by TRANLELLO (see above, note 2).

n. S. QUIN710, Domande sulla santitá. Don Bosco, Cafasso, Cottolengo, Torino, Gruppo Abele 1986.

Pietro Scoppola, in the terms that allowed him a particularly important celebratory speech as he was speaking in Turin at the opening of the centenary year, showed his competence as a historian of the contemporary world and specialist in the political results of modernism in Italy to face the Don Bosco's theme "social saint" in the related and wider one of Don Bosco «modern saint». In the plot of the Scoppola exhibition, we can see some varied judgments about the theology and the mental schemas of Don Bosco, about his apologetic and spiritual writings: all elements that can be placed, as a whole, in zones of traditional Catholic conservative resistance, but in which we must not reject or lose sight of the conscience, which Don Bosco proves to be deeply rooted, of the Christian reality, perceived in its essence and its history. Conscience that the saint had and expressed in ways that he was refining and relativizing in the more mature years and in the framework of experiences profoundly different from those of his first priestly and educational experiments in Turin. So one could say a bit paradoxically (but one can doubtless argue about this) that Don Bosco's modernity must be sought in the connection between this essential Christianity, and almost only at a catechetical level that relativizes the rest (and that, however, it is always expressed in non-"modern" formulas) and the organizational options it took in the world of youth and technology.29 Conscience that the saint had and expressed in ways that he was refining and relativizing in the more mature years and in the framework of experiences profoundly different from those of his first priestly and educational experiments in Turin. So one could say a bit paradoxically (but one can doubtless argue about this) that Don Bosco's modernity must be sought in the connection between this essential Christianity, and almost only at a catechetical level that relativizes the rest (and that, however, it is always expressed in non-"modern" formulas) and the organizational options it took in the world of youth and technology.29 Conscience that the saint had and expressed in ways that he was refining and relativizing in the more mature years and in the framework of experiences profoundly different from those of his first priestly and educational experiments in Turin. So one could say a bit paradoxically (but one can doubtless argue about this) that Don Bosco's modernity must be sought in the connection between this essential Christianity, and almost only at a catechetical level that relativizes the rest (and that, however, it is always expressed in non-"modern" formulas) and the organizational options it took in the world of youth and technology.29
26 F. BOLGIANI, Proposte di lettura del retroterra storico, in: Cristiani e cultura a Torino. Atti del convegno Toritio 3-5 april 1987, Milano, Franco Angeli 1988, p. 34-53.

M. PELLEGRINO, A cinquantennio di studi patristici in Italy, in "La Scuola cattolica" 80 (1952) 424-452 (especially, pages 430 and 450).

29 J. MAErrAIN, Introduzione generale alla filosofía, trad. di A. Cojazzi, Torino, SEI 1922 (successive editions: 1926, 1934, 1938, 1946).

Norberto Bobbio's seemingly cutting-edge occurrences come to mind: "reformism" and "modern" are two words to be banished; as vague and ambiguous as they are in ordinary language, especially in the jargon of politicians.3 Bobbio reacted to a historical essay by Giovanni Aliberti on the modernization of the Mezzogiorno in the years of the Napoleonic reforms. Aliberti replied that the terms "reforms" and "reformism" can not be eliminated from the historical language in which, as regards the eighteenth century, they have a specific meaning that is well understood by those who study and write books. Still less can the term "modern" be used, used to define historical epochs and the structural transformations that occur in them. This was in substance what Bobbio precisely intended: an appropriate use, not oscillating and ambiguous, of instruments of knowledge and language; also a correct use of interpretive models.

As far as Don Bosco is concerned, it is precisely what is found, for example, in a conference full of irony that another Catholic historian, Maurilio Guasco, gave in Florence this centenary year.32
in the sense that they lead, to really situate the modernity of Don Bosco in his endeavor in the youthful world. Whence follows the opportunity and the need to explore this world more integrally, investigating the psychic and social movements of that time.

29 Fr. SCOPPOLA, Don Bosco nella storia civile, in: Don Bosco e le sfide della modernitá, p. 7-20. The theme of "modernity" of Don Bosco is also touched by P. Bairati in his essay: Salesian Culture and Societa Induslale, in: TRANIELLO (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, p. 351-355; but it is easy to understand that these are debatable readings. To that end, they come to mind, in addition to the articles of "Social Compass" 1987 already cited: W. RENHARD, Gegenreformation als Modernisierung. Prolegomena zu einer Theorie des Konfessionellen Zeitalter, in "Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte" 68 (1977) 226-252; J. HERF, II reazionario modernism. Technology, culture and politics nella Germanio di Weimar e del Terzo Reich, Bologna, 11 Mulino 1988; JA SCHMIECHEN, The Victorians, the Historian and the Idea .of Modernism,

3 ° Cf. the newspaper of Turin «La Stampa» (February 8, 1987).

5 'G. AMERA Sociopolitical system ed organizzazione dello Stato nel Mezzogiorno napoleonico, in «Ricerche di Storia Sociale e Religiosa» 17 (1988) 33, 25-43.

32 M. GUASCO, Don Bosco nella stork religiosa del suo tempo, in: Don Bosco e le sfide della modernitá, p. 21-38.

As I have had occasion to point out and emphasize (and, on the other hand, those who cultivate the demographic and social history know), youth, which appears as a class by itself, is already an element of modernity in the 19th century and XX.34
Meanwhile, Don Bosco can be considered a modern saint, for being one of the few who had the luck, within the religious and political structures, to organize as his own an offer of works and activities in accordance with the psychic movements, with the aspirations of insertion in life, with the utopias that young people fed in environments that were previously impregnated with religiosity of practices and that afterwards were increasingly "modern", in the sense that they were increasingly marked by the sign of geographic and social mobility in political structures no longer confessional.

In a wide view on a broad horizon that pretended to define broadly the Christian presence in history from the age of Constantine to what some tend to call neoconstantiniana, Don Bosco maybe placed in Catholicism that is committed to a social project ("make good Christians and honest citizens"), in an era that goes from the initiatives of the "Catholic Friendship" to the years that prepare the Rerum novarum. In that place it is distinguished by its delivery to young people from the popular classes that are beginning to appear. His final utopia was the dream that the education of the young, carried out in accordance with the system he practiced, would fill the world of Salesian Cooperators, that is, of an increasingly wide range of good Christians and honest citizens.

These are some small fragments of hypothesis that surely can be analyzed throughout our Congress with a reflection that is offered more attentively and orchestrated to several voices.

"Cf. especially the minutes of the study seminar that took place in Venice, from October 3 to 5, 1988, cited above, in note 18.

STELLA, The canonization of Don Bosco with fascism and universalism, p. 368ss; ID., Don Bosco, La, p. 278; The study and study of his Don Bosco e sul suo pensiero pedagogico-educativo: problemi e prospettive, in: VECCHI - PRELIE70 (eds.), Prassi educativa pastorale scienze dell'educazione, p. 26



1. Biographical Memoirs of Don Bosco

The nineteen volumes of Don Bosco's Biographical Memoirs, published over 40 years, precisely between 1898 and 1939, were signed in succession by three Salesian priests during the first half of our 20th century: Giovanni Battista Lemoyne in volumes I -IX, Eugenio Cenia in volumes XI-XIX and Angelo Amadei in volume X.1 The attentive study of its whole (about sixteen thousand pages), which the title of this communication seems to announce, would require an indeterminate number of volumes. In 1987, the critical examination of an account of Volume IX with a total of 80 lines, moreover complex, made me write a 24-page article for the magazine "Ricerche Storiche Salesiane" .2 This Salesian bible will be able to occupy generations of commentators in future centuries, if they find pleasure in doing so. Indeed, the problems posed are sometimes as arduous as those of the synoptic gospels. Personally I will limit myself here to make some general observations about the authors, their documents and their use of them.

2. The three authors of the Memories

The Memoirs were at the beginning, and in a way they continued to be until the end, the work of Giovanni Battista Lemoyne (1839-1916) .3 He went with Don Bosco to Turin in 1864, after his priestly ordination. He was immediately passionately attracted by his teacher and became his private secretary in Valdocco (Turin) from 1883 to 1888. He undertook in 1884 the writing and composition of the document that will later be the Biographical Memoirs. In 1885 this document was entitled Document per scrivere la storia di D. Giovanni Bosco, dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales e della Congregazione Salesiana, general title of a collection of 45 records containing printed forms pasted in columns and referring to all of Bosco's life, year by year, from his birth in 1815 until his death in 1888.

The volume of the Index, work of Don Ernesto Foglio, was published in 1948.

7 (1987) 81-104.

A very interesting study about this character is made in the article by P. BRAIDO - R. ARENAL LLATA, Don Giovanni Battista Lemoyne attraverso 20 lettere to Don Michele Rua, in RSS 7 (1988) 87-170.

Don Lemoyne was a writer: he was "biographer, agiographer, narratore, dramatist, poet", if we look at an enumeration that can be easily documented; he was a conscientious writer, a pleasant and amusing narrator of the "Letture Cattoliche" of that time, an author of moving theatrical dramas, a "courageous poet", according to Don Bosco's formula referring to him, a holy priest ... to his skills as a historian, the study of his method of work in the writing of biographical memoirs will reveal it to us immediately. From 1898, his first seven volumes of the Memoirs will come out at a rapid pace (1898-1909). His most important work was followed by a good biography of Don Bosco in two volumes.5 Before dying he was able to compose only two other volumes of the Memoirs and thus reach only the 70th year of the life of Don Bosco.

On the death of Don Lemoyne (1916), Angelo Amadei (1863-1945), who had been director for eight years of the «Salesian Bollettino», was commissioned to continue and complete the Biographical Memoirs. Don Amadei was a jealous apostle, very faithful to his confessional in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, which attracted all kinds of penitents, a true "venator animarum", as he wrote of him, 6 that he felt very comfortable in the celebrations festive and in writing edifying articles. He is also responsible for considerable work: a biography of Don Bosco; in which, in 1929, he tried to make the witnesses speak of his life: a work that he successively expanded into two volumes.8 It is an extensive biography of Don Rua, Don Bosco's first successor, entitled: II Servo di Dio Michele Rua .9 However, Don Amadei was not the follower of Don Lemoyne and this for several more or less identifiable reasons: his slowness and thoroughness in the work, according to some (the author of the article entitled Amadei Angelo in the Salesiani biographical Dizionario); the multiplicity of his commitments, according to a letter of his, read by the one who writes in the Salesian archives of Turin; the controversies about the sanctity of Don Bosco in the subjects of which he had to speak from 1871, if we stick to what the introduction of Volume X of the Memoirs says, which came out last in 1939 ... read by whoever writes this in the Salesian archives of Turin; the controversies about the sanctity of Don Bosco in the subjects of which he had to speak from 1871, if we stick to what the introduction of Volume X of the Memoirs says, which came out last in 1939 ... read by whoever writes this in the Salesian archives of Turin; the controversies about the sanctity of Don Bosco in the subjects of which he had to speak from 1871, if we stick to what the introduction of Volume X of the Memoirs says, which came out last in 1939 ...

4 Cf. Ibid., P. 100

5 Vita del Venerabile Servo di Dio Giovanni Bosco fondatore della Pia Società Salesiana, dell'Istituto delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice e dei Cooperatori Salesiani, 2 vol., Torino, Libreria Editrice Internazionale 1911-1913.

6 Cf. E. VALENTINI, Amadei Angelo, in: Dizionario biografico dei salesiani, Turin, Ufficio Stampa Salesiano 1969, p. 17

7 Cf. A. AMADEI, Don Bosco and il suo apostolato, Torino, SEI 1929.

8 Cf. A. AMADEI, Don Bosco and il suo apostolato, 2 vol., Torino, SEI 1940.

9 Cf. A. AMADEI, 11 Servo di Dio Michele Rua, 3 vol., Torino, SEI 1931-1934.

In the year of the beatification of Don Bosco (1929), the Salesian public noted, between surprised and scandalized, that the great story of the new Blessed had not left the waiting situation in which he had been since the death of Don Lemoyne. FA Blessed Don Bosco had been maimed in 18 years of life. The complaints were general. Only the then Rector Major, Don Rinaldi, remained silent, as don Cenia once told me. Finally, in the summer of 1929, Don Rinaldi sent from Rome to Turin Don Eugenio Cenia, a veteran writer, who remedied the situation. ' Don Eugenio Cenia (1870-1957) was a professor of classical letters. And he had been director of «Gymnasium», a didactic newspaper for secondary schools. In the course of his long career, he had published mostly comments by Greek and Latin authors: Lysias and Xenophon on the one hand, Cicero, St. Jerome, Caesar, Virgil and Livy Tito on the other. At the age of 60, this distinguished man of letters, a calm and fine person, began a second life. Between 1930 and his death in 1957, he devoted himself exclusively to Salesian history. Volumes XI to XIX of the Biographical Memoirs, which refer to the Aryan years 1875-1888 of Don Bosco, with a complement that covers his glorification, came out with laudable rapidity between 1930 and 1939. This admirable worker, once he took it Don Bosco liked to write, then wrote several biographies of the saint's disciples (Maria Mazzarello, Don Rua, Don Beltrami, Don Rinaldi), as well as precious news about the "Salesian capitulars" and about the Salesian coadjutors, a booklet well done on the Salesian cooperators and, finally, four thick volumes of Annali della Società Salesiana (covering the years 18411921) and the Epistolary of Don Bosco, whose last volume he could not see published because death overtook him. In the years of the canonization, while continuing the edition of the Memoirs, he had also composed a biography of Don Bosco in a volume of luxury, "which perhaps is the best life for the dissemination of Don Bosco written in this century." Don Cenia He was a basic humanist in the genuine sense of expression, he had the cult of measurement, so his phrases, of Ciceronian rhythm, were clear and fluid, he had a taste for simple and beautiful things and he described them with never-before-mentioned words. He was not at all a servant of erudition, and the literary form he gave to volumes XI-XIX of the biographical memoirs changed them positively.

1 ° On Don Ceria, cf. E. VALENTINI, Don Eugenio Ceda, Torino, SEI 1957; Ceria Eugenio, in: Dizionario biografico dei salesiani, p. 79-81.

"San Giovanni Bosco nella vita e nelle opere, illustrated by GB Gallizzi, Torino, SEI 1938.

3. The general title of the work

The title of the first volume of the Memoirs (destined to become later that of the complete work, with the only variants introduced as the cause of beatification and canonization of Don Bosco progresses) is the following: Memorie biografiche di Giovanni Bosco, raccolte dal sac Salesian Giovanni Battista Lemoyne, vol. 1.12 It revealed a certain modesty.3 As Don Bosco had composed, not a true history of his work, but of the Memorie dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales, that is, of the Memorie per ser-vire alla Storia dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales, Don Lemoyne, if we look only at the title of the first volume, he began to write about the founder of the Salesians, no longer a biography in the technical sense of the term, but a Memorie biografiche, that is to say, Memorie per servire alla biography of the Turin saint. But let's leave the facade to enter the monument. The true intention of its author and the genre of his work appear in the first sentences of the preface. The author writes in them: "Coll'affetto di fratello amatissimo I present to Cari Salesiani the biography of nostro venerato Father in Gesù Christ Don Giovanni Bosco." "We were thus better informed: with its thick volume on the youth of Juan Bosco, I wanted to offer to the Salesians the premises of a biography of Don Bosco.

4. The predominance of Don Lemoyne over the whole

The speed with which Don Cenia finished the Memoirs between 1930 and 1939 is explained only if attention is paid to the immense preparatory work of Don Lemoyne and the unreserved trust that Don Cenia had in him. GB Lemoyne gave the Memoirs his sources, his general architecture and, also for the ten volumes he could not write, the form of the story, at least to a certain extent. In this essay on the method of work of the three authors of the Biographical Memoirs, I will dwell preferably on Lemoyne, even if he is the author of only the first nine volumes of the collection.

5. The search and systematization of documents

The search, the understanding and, finally, the use of the documents, are the three stages of a work in which the historian of Don Bosco will reveal his professional quality. Don Lemoyne wanted to gather all the documents suitable to enrich, however little, his story about Don Bosco and his work. Although broad, it was nothing else, in the compiler's mind, than a "story" about Don Bosco. He took into account, therefore, only (or slightly less) the narrative elements. The construction plans, the photographs, the accounting books, the school records ..., which required special treatment, were almost always ignored. His preferences were always towards texts already written by immediate testimonies and, first of all, those of Don Bosco.

. Edic. extra-commercial: San Benigno Canavese, Scuola Tipografica, Salesian Bookstore 1898.

"You can see, on this question, my book: Les Memorie 1 by Giovanni Battista Lemoyne, Étude d'un ouvrage fondamental sur la jeunesse de saint Jean Bosco, Lyon, Maison d'études Saint-Jean-Bosco 1962, pp. 84-86 .

As director of the school of Lanzo (1865-1877), Don Lemoyne had collected with the greatest care the "Good Night", the platiquitas and letters of Don Bosco to his young people. When he became his secretary in Turin, in December 1883, helped by another passionate Don Bosco, who was also a determined archivist, Don Gioachino Berto (1847-1914), he collected everything he could find from him. He asked and sifted through the witnesses of his past life. The stories about the mother of Don Bosco, Margarita Occhiena, of whom he published life in 1886, interested him a lot. He had to clarify the content of agendas, notebooks, note books not sufficiently readable. And often, after an elaboration designed to make the story easy to follow, he began to classify his materials, with fragments almost always cut according to the chronology of Don Bosco, and to order them in the records of the Documenti per scrivere, which thus became an immense quarry for the use of the historian of the great man. The making of these records began in 1885, at a time when the collection of documentation was only in its infancy. In other words, the heuristic and the drafting work - indeed, the Documenti constituted a first redaction - were at the same pace for Don Lemoyne. As they came to his knowledge, he included the new pieces in his records. However, from the Don Bosco process, it was decided to move on to a new stage: witness statements, fragmentary as the chronicle, they became part of the files prepared more directly with a view to the writing of the various volumes of the Biographical Memoirs. Don Lemoyne, in fact, asked himself as diligently as possible about the testimonies produced in the informative canonization process carried out in Turin in the 90s. Contrary to what a note contained in his general introduction would make clear, he used the depositions of that process already in the first volume of his Memoirs, appeared in 1898 and which referred to the years of youth of our saint.

Every day we realize better than the Biographical Memories are an immense collection of mosaics of biographical documents, cut into pieces and introduced in a web of articles distributed in chapters and in more or less homogeneous books. Its history should therefore suppose the analysis of the mass of documents that accumulated then on Don Bosco, especially by Don Lemoyne. At this time of the study, I can not do more than list the main pieces and add some word about their interpretation.

They were written by Don Bosco himself: the Memorie dell'Oratorio that refer to the years 1815-1855, the spiritual testament, the circular or personal letters; the biographies published on Comollo, Savio, Magone, Besucco, Cafasso; the manuscript or printed accounts of the life of his work; the registers, the trip to Rome in 1858, the consecration of the Church of Mary Help of Christians, the «meraviglie» or «grazie» attributed to Mary venerated in Valdocco ...; the regulations and the constitutions of his local work (of Turin) and soon world-wide (the Salesian congregation, the union of the Salesian Cooperators ...).

The minor notes or the schemes interested Don Berto, who passed them on to Don Lemoyne.

After Don Bosco came those who had listened to him or at least his contemporaries, who had written things seen or heard of him. Probably it is convenient to start this series with the Storia dell'Oratorio, that Giovanni. Bonetti (1838-1891) published in installments in the "Salesian Bollettino" during Don Bosco's lifetime and which later became a thick volume entitled: Cinque lustri dell'Oratorio salesiano fondato dal Sac. Don Giovanni Bosco.'6 The deliveries of the "Bollettino" of the last years of Don Bosco on the Passeggiate autunnali will be added to the Storia. The minutes of the meetings of the Salesian directors, of the "higher chapter" and of the general chapters of 1877 to 1886 were also included in the documentation collected by Mr. Lemoyne. But he gave more importance to the diaries or notebooks of memories and the observations of the following testimonies: Domenico Ruffino (1840-1865), Giovanni Bonetti (of which we have just spoken), Antonio Sala (1836-1895), Gioachino Berto (cited before), Giulio Barberis (1847-1927), Francesco Cerruti (1844-1917), Giovanni Garino (1845-1908), Giuseppe Lazzero (1837-1910), Francesco Provera (1836-1874), Carlo Maria Viglietti (1864-1915) ), Pietro Enria (1841-1898), Giovanni Battista Francesia (1838-1930), Secondo Marchisio (1857-1914) ... In this list it is also worth mentioning Don Lemoyne, who, against a tenacious legend, did not undid himself at all systematically from your personal notes. Don Rua had composed a beautiful Libro dell 'esperienza, a Necrologio ..., and he had also written frequent notes on small pieces of paper.

'5 Cf. Memorie dal 1841 al 1884-5-6, which F. Motto has published in RSS 4 (1985) 73-130.

16 Cf. G. BoNETA Cinque lustri dell'Oratorio salesiano fondato dal Sac. Don Giovanni Bosco, Torino, Tip. Salesian 1892. It must be noted that Don Lemoyne collected in the Documenti the columns of the "Salesian Bollettino" and not the pages of the Cinque lustri, which, apparently, were not used, as such, in the composition of the MB.
Obviously it is not the case to make generous and valid judgments for all these witnesses, and even less for each of the episodes told by them and for all the phrases of Don Bosco transmitted by them, as if their proximity to the hero of the story had that to guarantee in an absolute way the objectivity, lucidity, accuracy ... of your notes. You have to "understand" these documents. The literary genre of the chronicles should be of interest to the commentator. The immediate report will be distinguished, from the more or less distant memory; the record, of the subsequent testimony; direct testimony, indirect testimony; the dream, of the dream parable; the same testimony, of his comment, authorized or not, and also the original formulation, of the elaborated formulation. Here the examples pile up to hundreds, maybe thousands. they were direct testimonies, although, on the other hand, very subsequent to the aforementioned facts and, therefore, exposed to all the fantastic reconstructions of the memory. But the same witnesses could also write stories that circulated in the environment, which others might have denied if they had come to know them. It was "cose ​​che si raccontano," as Ruffino wrote at the beginning of some anecdotes about Don Bosco. A notebook by Giovanni Bonetti (20 sheets, of which there are only 10 written) contains six surprising episodes, all of unknown origin: "Mirabile conversione di atheist"; 19 "II giovanotto risvegliato da morte"; "« 11 cane grigio ";twenty-one But the same witnesses could also write stories that circulated in the environment, which others might have denied if they had come to know them. It was "cose ​​che si raccontano," as Ruffino wrote at the beginning of some anecdotes about Don Bosco. A notebook by Giovanni Bonetti (20 sheets, of which there are only 10 written) contains six surprising episodes, all of unknown origin: "Mirabile conversione di atheist"; 19 "II giovanotto risvegliato da morte"; "« 11 cane grigio ";twenty-one But the same witnesses could also write stories that circulated in the environment, which others might have denied if they had come to know them. It was "cose ​​che si raccontano," as Ruffino wrote at the beginning of some anecdotes about Don Bosco. A notebook by Giovanni Bonetti (20 sheets, of which there are only 10 written) contains six surprising episodes, all of unknown origin: "Mirabile conversione di atheist"; 19 "II giovanotto risvegliato da morte"; "« 11 cane grigio ";twenty-one
"Le castagne"; 22 "Moltiplicazione delle ostie." "These are anecdotes that, authentic or not, were published only long after they had been registered." It would be good not to give them more credit than comic books deserve to prevent prejudice or prejudice. dominant ideologies in the various human groups.

"Cf. MB V, 9.

18 Indeed, Don Lemoyne did not keep it in mind when he composed his Documents *, therefore
until 1891; and internal criticism supports such late dating. "Cf. MB IV, 156.

20 Cf. MB lIL 495.

21 Cf. MB IV, 416.

22 Cf. MB 111, 576.

23 Cf. MB III, 441.

Analogous observations could be made about the depositions gathered during the canonization process of Bosco and that went to the Biographical Memoirs. As a whole they were very beautiful and very interesting. Demonstrated by Turin diocesan priests, Salesian priests, Salesian coadjutor and laymen: Giovanni Bertagna, Gioachino Berto, Secondo Marchisio, Giovanni Giacomelli, Felice Reviglio, Giacomo Manolino, Giuseppe Turco, Giovanni Filipello, Giorgio Moglia, Giacinto Ballesio, Angelo Savio, Francesco Dalmazzo, Giovanni Branda, Pietro Enria, Leonardo Murialdo, Giovanni Cagliero, Francesco Cerruti, Giovanni Battista Piano, Giuseppe Rossi, Giovanni Villa, Giovanni Battista Francesia, Luigi Piscetta, Giulio Barberis, Giovanni Battista Lemoyne, Giovanni Bisio, Michele Rua, Giovanni Turchi, Ascanio Savio , Giovanni Battista Anfossi, Domenico Bongioanni, Giuseppe Corno, Antonio Berrone and thirteen other people, men and women, specially called to clarify problems concerning miracles. Don Pietro Stella has tried to classify these witnesses to start weighing their testimonies. From an ideal point of view, it would be necessary to follow the meanders of each element of these depositions, going back to their sources of information and to the same mentality of the interested persons. It must be known that the most absolute affirmations about the ascesis of Don Bosco come to us - except for better information - from Don Berto, who was a scrupulous and more or less obsessed man. The same Berto and his brother in religion Giulio Barberis made long statements in the process from the Documenti of Don Lemoyne, They could consult and copy at pleasure in Valdocco. Sometimes they used them in a servile way. That is why the approaches, even the errors of their sources, reappeared, more augmented than corrected, in their depositions. They did it undoubtedly with the best good faith in the world. But it will be accepted that several testimonies of the process of Don Bosco could have behind them an already long history, whose knowledge is indispensable for those who want to understand them. Another warning rather of a general nature: the so-called "definitive" form of the chronicles and the minutes, made by the author of the Memoirs, is not always, or often, the one that came out of the writer's hand. As regards the chronicles, The most interesting case seems to me to be that of Carlo Maria Viglietti in his account of the last years of Don Bosco (1884-1888). Distributed in several notebooks, reviewed and copied several times, this story presents the commentator with a lot of special problems. It is discovered that the primitive chronicle is the safest. However, there are passages added later that are not without interest for the knowledge of Don Bosco. Regarding the minutes: usually the designated secretary takes note of what he hears or understands as the session unfolds. But then he has to compose an officially acceptable text. Added additions, modifications, deletions. Do this work usually alone, sometimes in the council. The forms taken from the minutes of the first session of the General Chapter of the Salesians of 1877, entrusted to Fr. Giulio Barberis, are - in my opinion - rich in teaching for the historian and, therefore, for the biography of Don Bosco. Indeed, the primitive version is full of crossed out phrases and additions, which must be read carefully because they allow us to know the development of the debate. It is true that several features of the mentality of the correctors (and of Don Bosco the first of them all) can be sought with preference: in this case, the retouching, which is not purely formal, deserves, too, a careful examination.

6. The understanding and use of documents

These reflections were not made by Don Lemoyne, compiler, nor by his successors Don Amadei and Don Cenia. It was enough for Don Lemoyne that the witness was "honest", a quality he valued according to moral criteria. He picked up his version in its most complete form, he glossed it, aligning all the details on the same plane, dividing, joining parallel passages, all the information that he did not yet know and distributing them according to a general warp of the work, which was rigorously , and as much as possible, chronological. For Don Lemoyne - and it will be recalled here that the Documenti written according to this principle cover the whole life of the saint and also affect the volumes of Don Amadei and Don Cenia - the best story of Don Bosco would be the one that gathered the greatest number of information about Don Bosco attested by the witnesses. Nothing seemed to him disposable, even if it was only a phrase or a word. This cult of quantity seems to me to denounce in him "substantialist" convictions that, together with others, are a sign of the "pre-scientific" mentality of our historian.24 "By an almost natural tendency - wrote Gaston Bachelard in the chapter of the Obstacle substantialiste the pre-scientific spirit piles on an object all the knowledge in which that object plays a role, without dealing with the hierarchy of empirical roles. It links different qualities directly to the substance, both a superficial quality and a profound quality, a manifest quality as a hidden quality. " He worries about "obvious external experience, but he runs away from criticism deep in his heart". "
Maybe some examples are not useless. When narrating his youth, Don Bosco, for reasons that are obscure to us, he never alluded to his estare et l'ordonnance de la matiére. "

24 I take, on this argument, the ideas and the terminology of G. BACHELARD, La formation de l'esprit scientifique. Contribution to a psychoanalyse of the connaissance objective, 13 "ed. (1" ed. 1938), Paris 1986, p. 131-133.

2 Ibid., P. 99

"See Les Memorie I by Giovanni Battista Lemoyne, pp. 213-266, the chapter on" Lectancia as a laborer on the Moglia farm in Moncucco, where he must have spent about 18 months (in 1828-29), when he was 13 At the age of 14. Now, the Salesian Secondo Marchisio during the summer of 1888 and afterwards the lawyers of the informative process in the 90s asked the people of the farm, starting with Dorotea Moglia, Giovanni Moglia, Giorgio Moglia even those who had been There was a lot of talk, and a trait of the adolescent Bosco had impressed these people: Juan had refused to remain alone with a girl from the Moglia, and this despite Dorotea's orders.To narrate this episode, Don Lemoyne was at less before seven pericopes, without counting other two that generalized the rejection? ' He considered that, in that case, one of the witnesses gave rejection a different form from the others and, therefore, separated from them.28 The answer was thus unfolded in the Biographical Memoirs. The boy said to Dorotea, according to most of the testimonies: "Datemi dei ragazzi, e ne go-yerno fin che chelete, ma bambine non debbo governarne"; and according to the particular testimony: "Io non sono destinato a questo! rispondeva pacatamente Giovanni ».29 This mechanism of inclusion also doubled Juanito's conversation with Don Calosso in November 1829 along the road from Buttigliera to the farm of I Becchi. The episode is known. Don Calosso, amazed by the ease of a boy he did not know yet, asked him to repeat the homily of the jubilee preacher. Juan did it. Don Lemoyne had three sources in this regard: a fragment of the Memorie dell'Oratorio by Don Bosco, a fragment of a chronicle by Domenico Ruffino and a fragment of the Annali by Giovanni Bonetti, parallel, on the other hand, to that of Ruffino. Each of these stories knew a single conversation repeated by the child. But their expressions do not coincide perfectly with each other: that of Ruffino-Bonetti had a form of his own that was not that of the Memorie Oratorio. In addition, in the Memorie the boy spoke "per piú di mezz'ora", while Ruffino made him repeat the sermon only for ten minutes. Faced with this problem, the "substantialist", avaricious even of the smallest services, believing that with it serves the truth, he does not doubt: he conserves everything. Don Lemoyne did not doubt that Don Bosco could have repeated 12 years away (in 1861 for Bonetti-Ruffino and in 1873 for the Memorie dell'Oratorio), with a different formula the sermon of his childhood, of which he remembered only that there was been on the latest. Did he speak, therefore, "per piñ di mezz'ora" on one of the sermons, and then for ten minutes on another, with a total of about three quarters of an hour?
27 Rossi testified: "Le madri di famiglia gli affídarono the custody of the bambino parrot and ilgiovane Bosco the faceva mold volentieri ad eccezione delle bambine" (G. Rossi, Processo ordinario ordina della Curia di Tormo, fol. 2511). Were there so many "madri di famiglia" in the Moglia?
28 This statement made, I believe, by Giorgio Moglia, was published by Don Lemoyne in Documenti XLIII, p. 3.

29 Cf. MB I, 199.

30 Cf. MB I, 177-178.

The two cures are the same for the paralytic lady on the occasion of the consecration of the Church of Mary Help of Christians in Turin in 1868. They were born in the same way in Salesian history. The first derives from a story of Don Bosco to Don Lemoyne in 1884, 31 the second, three pages later in the Memoirs IX, according to a compilation printed the year of the event.32 Other doublets, less easy to discover, are, however , almost equally true: the episode of the boys who were soaked during an excursion and were welcomed by the «cavaliere Gonella», referred to in volume VI of the MB, according to the biography of Magone written by Don Bosco, and repeated in the volume VII of the MB in another year - according to an anecdote collected in 1884;

7. Indifference in the understanding of documents

On this point it seems that the historian of Don Bosco confused two planes: that of life or that of lived history and that of the story of life or history and also of the document that witnesses that history. It is based on the hypothesis of its normal coincidence: one plane reflects the other. It is assumed that the mediations of the documents are transparent and their messages obvious. The understanding of the document, in its peculiar formality, never poses (or almost never) problems. Now, "it is not so easy to understand a document, to know what it is, what it says, what it means" 35 Don Bosco's hagiographer forgets that historical exposition (that is, his documents) form a body with people or people. groups of people who spoke or wrote at a certain time, chose their own perspectives, neglected details, they forged others to make themselves understood (to communicate, we would say today), at the moment they imagined in good faith, they colored the whole with their feelings and desires. The one who is a little familiar with history, glimpses the consequences of a method that economizes on systematic "comprehension" of the texts used. In effect, the text is a product. It has the weight of a manufactured object. It can never be used as a transparent glass, which "looks" over the real or the story that counts. Applied to the Bible, this "naif" method confuses didactic fragments and historical stories, legends and realities, popular anecdotes and official letters, etc. As for us, let's choose a random example: the story of the barber of the village of Castelnuovo. Don Bosco refused one day to let himself be shaved by a woman, at least it seems that way. The episode, today amusing for the commentators of his life, is an anecdote that Giovanni Bonetti introduces in this way in one of his notebooks: "otto giorni or sono - we are in February of 1862 - due to the suo paese, D. Savio and il Suddiacono Cagliero my raccontarono questo of Signor D. Bosco. A giorno D. Bosco was venuto to Castelnuovo. Avendo bisogno di farsi fare the beard [...]. He saw him if he raised, he presided over his cappello and greet him, saying: "Non permetteró giammai a dorna come to take my movie" .36 It is an enjoyable story, as the people of the town told it. As for the scene itself and the words it actually spoke ..., it is good to think twice - or more - before deciding whether the answer of Don Bosco, whose formulation will always elude us, was a sign of his "castitá selvaggia" »... The author of the Memoirs makes us believe in a kind of recent report: "D. Savio Angelo and Msgr. Cagliero ci raccontarono come egli, he returned to Castelnuovo e avendo bisogno di farsi radere el barba, near a bottega ... ", etc. By doing this, it economizes in fact in correct "understanding" of the document and therefore in its meaning.

3 'See the notebook of GB LEMOYNE, Ricordi di gabinetto, February 22, 1884; collected in: MB IX, 257.

32 Cf. G. Bosco, Rimembranze di una solennitá in onore di Maria Ausiliatrice, Torino 1868,
p. 49-50; Collected in: MB IX, 260-261.

33 MB VI, 54, according to GB LEMOYNE, Ricordi di gabinetto, February 22, 1884. The duplicate is
very safe here, although not absolutely true.

34 Se trata de la curación del hijo de Bouillé, contada según el Anden Magistrat en: Docu
menti XXV, p. 127; narración avalada por Charlotte Bethford, que figura en: MB XVI, 131-133. Se trata de la curación de un muchacho, del que no se dice el nombre, en una exposición de María Ortega a don Rabagliati, Documenti XLIV, p. 460, de donde pasó a MB XVI, 224-225. H.-I. MARROU, De la connaissance historique, Paris, Editions du Seuil 1954, p. 101.

The consequences of this omission can be serious. Don Lemoyne (and after him Don Ceria) should have undertaken to "understand" thoroughly the two accounts of "bilocation" of Don Bosco, the first in 1878 and then in 1883. While at that time he was in Turin, the Memories they make it appear in flesh and bone on October 14, 1878 in Saint-Rambert d'Albon, in France; according to a letter dated April 13, 1891, from Mrs. Ada Clément; and on the night between 5 and 6 February 1886 in Sarriá, next to Barcelona, ​​following the Salesian priest Giovanni Branda.37 The first testimony is a supposition without serious foundation. As for the second, it is only a sign of a "vision", not of a "bilocation" properly speaking. In the exercise of his mission, the judge knows that each testimony must be weighed. Unfortunately, the hagiographer of the pre-scientific era, attached to tradition, has been careful not to do so, especially if the reputation of his saint was in danger of being obfuscated in some way. The hagiographer who has become familiar with the human sciences and with the "scientific" method is obliged to critically evaluate the testimonies and, more generally, to "understand" the documents. If not, some magic wand strikes are easily exposed to the risk of making wonderful "spiritual castles" appear in the air. more generally, to "understand" the documents. If not, some magic wand strikes are easily exposed to the risk of making wonderful "spiritual castles" appear in the air. more generally, to "understand" the documents. If not, some magic wand strikes are easily exposed to the risk of making wonderful "spiritual castles" appear in the air.

"G. BONETA Annali, quaderno II, pp. 36s The trait reappears in: MB V, 161-162.

37 The fact of Saint-Rarnbert, according to Documenti XLIII, p. 335-336, corroborated by a letter from Mrs. Clément's daughter, Lyon 18 April 1932, in: MB XVI, 680-684; the fact of Sarriá, according to Documenti XXXI, p. 86-89, in: MB XVIII, 35-39.

It is not the case to look for excuses for this defective and criticizable way of proceeding of the authors of the Memoirs, and the first of all Don Lemoyne. It is not true to say that "they were men of his time." Speaking also only of hagiography - and not of history in general, which made great progress in modern times - the Bolandists had already worked 250 years before Don Lemoyne published his first volume of Biographical Memoirs. They studied the hagiographic documents according to methods increasingly refined by historical criticism. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the historians of Port-Royal had contributed to transform hagiography into true history. Le Nain de Tillemont, when lecturing on the saints in their Mémoires to serve l'histoire ecclésiastique des six premiers siécles, 38 had done it as a historian. The Memoirs to serve the vie ... of various characters of that time - whose titles announced, on the other hand, curiously the one chosen by Don Lemoyne to celebrate Don Bosco - were of good quality. The low general scientific level found in the pious biographies of current use in the eighteenth century and, even more so, in the nineteenth century, whose concern for building overlapped that of telling and explaining the truth, is incontestable. But, look where, the return to rigorous hagiography coincided with the end of the last century and, therefore, with the birth of the Memoirs, at a time when Louis Duchesne (1843-1922) and Hippolyte Delehaye (1859- 1941) attacked violently in the "Bulletin Critique" and in their specialized works the "hagiographic legends". The excellent initiation of the Bolandist Charles De Smedt, Principes de la critique historique, had been published in 1883. Others, along with them, were building on that line. In 1895, the authors of the Les Saints collection, published in Paris under the direction of Henry Joly, were convinced that their booklets should be rigorously historical. In many cases they were truly accomplished works. Delehaye himself published his Saint Jean Berchmans.39 However, in our case, this "scientific" current which, incidentally, was far from being imposed in our time and in the same French environments, such current, I say, it did not reach the Italian clergy. And the antimodernism of the early twentieth century even doubted its orthodoxy. Don Lemoyne had formed in Genoa around 1860. Now,
vente stranieri, fl livello della cultura ecclesiastica nell'ambiente dí tale secolo é assai mediocre. Ricerche pió recenti hanno precisato senza smentirle queste impressioni d'insieme [...]. Il livello degli studi, cui gravi insuffidenze erano state denunciate da Rosmini nelle anque piaghe della santa Chiesa,
nonostante qualche progresso, assai basso; i professori non sono, nell'insieme, selezionati secondo le paro competenceze. Except for alcune eccezioni, gli studi positivi sono trascurati ... "4 The positive studies were neglected, and our Salesian historians participated in the" pre-scientific "spirit of their nation's cultural environment, which, in the search for some data, did not it imposes the effort of valuing and contrasting its "experiences". It is necessary, then, to overcome a stage and enter the "scientific" era once and for all.4 Thus, progress has been made in physics and in biology; but also in history. In effect, the historian is, in his way, a man of experimentation. It has its collection of concepts. It raises questions. It makes hypotheses, contrasts them, verifies them and defines them from the documentation. The concepts are its instruments; the documents, the place of his «experiences», in which and with which he asks about the past of men.42
"Cf. LE NAIN DE TILLEMONT, Mémoires pour serve ..., Paris, Robustel 1693-1712.

33 Cf. H. DELEHAYE, Saint Jean Berchmans, Paris, Lecoffre 1921. See the article by P. POURRAT, Biographies spirituelles, in: Dictionnaire de spiritualité, vol. I, Paris 1937, coll. 1715-1719, the paragraph on «l'évolution de la biographie spirituelle à l'époque moderne»; and R. AIGRAIN, L'hagiographie. Ses sources, ses méthodes, are histoire, Paris, Bloud et Gay 1953, passim.

Don Lemoyne believed that he had laid the foundations of a totally "rational" work. "Non la fantasia, ma íl cuore, guidato dalla fredda ragione, dopo lunghe disquisizioni, corrispondenze, confronti dettó queste pagine. Le narrazioni, i dialoghi, ogni cosa che ho creduto degna di memoria, non sono che the fedele esposizíone letterale di quanto i testi esposero ».43 Unfortunately, he confused" rational "perfection and" substantial "accumulation, that is, accumulation of testimonies documentaries or expressive elements - not analyzed and systematically understood - of past history. His work ran the risk of being an enormous witness of history or of "pre-scientific" hagiography.

8. The use of documentation

It will be rightly said that what mattered to these authors of the first generation was to gather documents and make them readable. Our three biographers got it at least apparently, since they composed 19 volumes that the public they were destined to read without getting tired after its publication. They were translated into three languages ​​(English, Dutch, Spanish). Its volume is, at least, an index of the abundance of documents poured into this kind of primitive Salesian historical encyclopedia ... It is imposed here to pay tribute to Don Lemoyne, editor of private and circular letters, newspaper article collector or of small printed in his Documenti per scrivere ... He rendered a service without price to the story of Don Bosco. In turn, as is frequent after Don Lemoyne, Don Amadei and Don Cenia published in the volumes X-XIX a remarkable number of original pieces. The annexes that contain printed documents in small character in the volumes of Don Cenia, increasingly abundant as the life of Don Bosco was pouring from his pen, are already of great help to those who have consulted. (A very rare species, it is true, among those who disclose and comment on Don Bosco, who prefer the fluid story). The "documenti" reproduced with care (I have been able to verify it) in the Documenti of Don Lemoyne and in the annexes of Don Amadei and Don Cenia, respond to the expectations of Don Bosco's historians. Thus, for the story of Don Bosco's long journey to France in the spring of 1883, there is first-hand information and, therefore,

4 ° P. SCOPPOLA, Italie. Période contemporaine, in: Dictionnaire de spiritualité, vol. VII, 2nd partie, Paris 1971, coll. 2296-2297.

4 'This observation, like several others reproduced here, is taken from G. BACHELARD, La formation de l'esprit scientifique, cited in note 24.

42 Cf. the excellent book, already cited, by MARROU, De la connaissance historique, p. 146-168, the paragraph on "l'usage du concept".

43 MB I, p. IX.

But the rest remains, of what the best is inextricably mixed with the least good or rejectable, with the application of redactional procedures that perhaps begins to glimpse. Our authors adhered to a conception of the historical story produced, which I also qualify as pre-scientific. According to this conception, the documents were nothing but the tracing of a lived history and its specific form was indifferent. It was enough to organize them and present them in a coherent way. Only the originality (the singularity) of the detail interested the hagiographer. Without a doubt, I would have written - so I thought - the best story with the maximum of pieces aligned, arranged and inserted in a story that, thanks to them, would be extremely rich. We find again the avaricious "substantialism" of the pre-scientific spirit.

The neglect of the peculiar form, frequent towards the genre and always towards the "meaning" of the document, appears again in the same composition of the text of the Memoirs that, as will be remembered, began with the Documenti. To illuminate the reader, it is probably worth noting that this "compilation" work began, in terms of pieces such as the "dreams" of Don Bosco, even before the Documenti ... because of Don Lemoyne's interest (and also, I think, of Don Berto). The important thing, when composing the story, was to reflect the "reality" that emerged from the set of details of the facts, as it was believed, but wrongly. (The high precision, especially of the numbers, is, Gaston Bachelard tells us, other features of the pre-scientific mentality.) The man endowed with a scientific spirit has the modesty of the probable and the approximate, especially in historical field ...). Therefore, a testimony duly attributed to a character designated by his name can be enriched with parallel information; a discourse given as one night may be corrected and interpolated with the help, not only of complementary memories about the speeches, but also with features that refer to events (sometimes dreamlike) presented in them, and assume forms of extraordinary proportions, which They would have astonished people not warned. Or, if the genre of the testimonies is relatively unimportant, a story will be constructed in the first person and, if necessary, put on the lips or in Don Bosco's pen to color or dramatize a chapter or a paragraph. From the moment that the details are exact, and that they are all, the choice of a literary subgenre (quote from the text, personal testimony, "words" from the witness cited, speech in form ...) matters very little. It's just a matter of aesthetics, thinks our biographer.

To seduce your reader, he will gladly speak to his hero in the first person. For this reason, it will usually be enough to reproduce Don Bosco's texts or speeches taken by his disciples. Don Lemoyne was not content with "appointments" that, for short, we would call "authentic" (and that they were not always). To his writings and homogeneous stories he added, without prior notice, direct or indirect interventions of Don Bosco and that belonged to other moments of his life, as well as other people. He thus managed, without wanting to, to make Don Bosco assume an absolutely strange language on his lips and in his pen, of a simple and direct man. In the Biographical Memoirs, the story of the first Mass of Don Bosco, on Sunday, June 6, 1841, in the church of St. Francis of Assisi in Turin, is told unequivocally: «Nel noto suo manoscritto D. Bosco scrive ancora quanto segue ...» .44 Don Lemoyne was referring without doubt to the Memorie dell'Oratorio, in which we read: «... ed ho celebrato la mía prima messa nella chiesa di S. Francesco d'Assisi, dove was capo dí confessor D. Cafasso. I was anxiously aspettato in my motherland, dove da molti anni non si piú celebrata messa nuova; I preferred to celebrate it in Torillo, Senza Rumore, and Queso Posia Chiamarlo il phi bel giorno della mia vita. Nel Memento di quella memoranda messa ho procurato di fare divota menzione di tutti i miei professori, beneficiator spirituali e temporali, and then of the compose D. Calosso, che ho semper cordato como grande ed insigne benefattore. ".45 This little story of a day among the elders in the history of a saint appears petty and, in any case, insufficient to Don Lemoyne, who had more things to say on purpose. To the nine lines of the Memorie dell'Oratorio correspond, in quotation marks, more than 20 lines in the biographical memories.46 After having followed eight lines of the manuscript that we possess, with small variants, in addition (the addition of the name of Don Cafasso. ..), our Memories suddenly depart, to return after six other lines and, finally, to return again and finally to the end of the subject. The reconstruction of Don Lemoyne results in this way: "... La mia prima Messa l'ho celebrates nella chiesa di S. Francesco d'Assisi, dove era capo di conferenza D. Giuseppe Cafasso, my distinguished beneattore e direttore. I was anxiously aspettato in my motherland, ove da varii anni non if it was celebrated Messa nuova; I prefer to celebrate it in Torillo senza rumore, all'altare del S. Angelo Custode, posto in questa chiesa dal lato del Vangelo. In questo giorno la Chiesa universale celebrates the festa della SS. Trinitá, l'archidiocesi di Torino quella del miracolo del SS. Sacramento, the chiesa di S. Francesco d'Assisi the festa della Madonna delle Grazie, chevi onorata da tempo antichissimo, and quello posso chiamarlo il piu bel giorno della mia vita. Nel memento gave me the memorandum Messa ho procurato di fare devote menzione di tutti i miei professori, beneficiator spirituali e temporali, and following the compianto D. Calosso, che ho semper ricordato eat grande ed insigne benefattore. E 'pia credenza che il Signore grant infallibilmente quena grazia, che il nuovo priest gil domanda celebrating cousin Messa; io chiesi ardently l'efficacia della parola, per poter fare del has alle anime. My father che signore abbia ascoltato la mia umile preghiera ».

44 MB I, 519. MO 115. 46 MB I, 519.

The autograph fragment has been extended in two main periods, first in the Documenti and later in the Biographical Memoirs of 1898. It was lengthened from the Documenti II, that is, in 1885. The text of the Memorie dell'Oratorio: ". .. e ho celebrato la mia prima messa "is reproduced there until the phrase that refers to Don Calosso, that is, as a totality of the story of that day. The pericope on the grace of the effectiveness of the word - which is not without interest for the knowledge of the psychology of Don Bosco - then enters the scene. It reads: "... e ho celebrato la mia prima messa nella chiesa di S. Francesco d'Assisi dove era capo di conferenza D. Cafasso. He was anxiously [...] of the compianto D. Calosso che ho semper ricordato eat grande ed insigne beneficattore. É pia credenza che fi Signore grant infallibilmente quella grazia che il nuovo priest gli domanda celebrating the prima messa. Io chiesi ardently l'efficacia della parola. My father che signore abbia ascoltato mia umile preghiera. Lunedl ... "47 This addition, probably derived from a written testimony, which may appear some day, began to distort the original story of Don Bosco. The alteration worsened after the death of the latter. Don Lemoyne inserted in the first clean lines of the Documenti some formulas taken from the handwritten memory that we call Testamento spirituale de Don Bosco. He owes the turn: «La mia prima Messa l'ho celebrates», as well as, to designate Don Cafasso, the words: «Giuseppe» and «mio insigne benefattore e direttore». 48 He also took from the deposition made in the process by Don Ascanio Savio the circumstantial clause: "per poter fare del bene alle anime", subsection as a commentary on the sentence to obtain effectiveness of the word.49 Finally, on the various parties of June 6, 1841, he put in the text of Don Bosco the information that a liturgist had given him on December 11, 1891, on behalf of the rector of the church of St. Francis of Assisi, of Turin, Don Luigi Dadesso: «Ho fato le ricerche che the SV desiderava nei registri di questa Chiesa ed ho trovato che il MRD Bosco Giovanni celebrated appunto the prima sua messa i16 giugno 1841 and celebrated it all'altare del Santo Angelo Custode posto in questa chiesa dal lato of the vangelo ». Lorenzo Romano followed, apparently as his own thing: «And in questo giorno the Chiesa universale celebrates the festa of the SS. Sacramento, the Chiesa di S. Francesco d'Assisi the festa della Madonna delle Grazie onorata in delta Chiesa gives antichissimo tempo ... »5 ° This is the origin of the following scholarly lines of our Memoirs:« ... all ' altare del S. Angelo Custode, posto in questa chiesa dal lato del Vangelo. In questo giorno la Chiesa universale celebrates the festa della SS. Trinitá, l'archidiocesi di Torino quena del Miracolo del SS. Sacramento, the chiesa di S. Francesco d'Assisi the festa della Madonna delle Grazie, quivi onorata da tempo antichissimo ». His presence surprises in a letter from Don Bosco. The method of work of Don Lemoyne explains it. Indifferent to the nature (or "form") of documentary mediations: letters, direct testimonies, indirect testimonies, writings, referred "words", written speeches, speeches listened to or "referred", etc., he chose without any rigor the particular forms of his exposition. The details of the substance - the only important thing in his eyes - could be included in a commentary, in a speech or in quotation marks. The pretended appointment of Don Bosco's "noto manoscritto" on his first Mass in Saint Francis of Assisi is an amalgam of heteroclite fragments (although of good quality), which instruct on the fact, but deceive on the hero, on his style, his memories and their exact feelings ... Let us not imagine a lost or unknown manuscript of Don Bosco about the period, as almost all the readers of the Biographical Memories almost instinctively do. This text impudently attributed to the hand of Don Bosco was in fact a composition of Don Lemoyne 5 times they are faithful and are never safe. As the fact in question appeared in several parallel accounts, the document "quoted" had been retouched and interpolated.

47 Documenti II, p. 6

48 Cf. the aforementioned edition of Mono, Memorie da11841, p. twenty; and MB I, 519.

He applied this procedure dozens or, perhaps, hundreds of times in the set of his Biographical Memoirs. Quotations, even those of Don Bosco, are only rare
"The addition is certainly due to Ascanio Savio, ad 13um, to whom the other part of the text, not cited, of MB I, 519 is also due. It reads:« Posso only attestare, che egli, come disse, in occasione della sua ordinazione tra le grazie aveva domandato il dono della parola per far del bene alle anime.A mio giudizio egli ottenne abbondamente la grazia »... (Ascanio Savio, Processo ordinario della curia di Torino, ad 13um, fol. 4552).

5th Letter of Lorenzo Romano to GB Lemoyne, Torino, December 11, 1891, transcribed in: Document: * XLIII, p. 9

51 The last biographer who has allowed himself to be led by this apocryphal appointment is the prudent S. CASELLE, Giovanni Bosco, Chieri, 1831-1841 ... Torino, Acclaim 1988, p. 208
It is necessary to insist on this aspect of Don Lemoyne's work and, at the same time, of the other two authors of the Memoirs, who could base themselves on his already elaborated Document. Your appointments are more or less unusable as such. The commentator will have to stop over those who could offer a particular (and false) idea of ​​the characters staged. The story of the Sagra di S. Michele told by Don Bosco to his excursion boys with extreme precision, unexpected even in a narrator endowed with good humor, is another case that is strongly demonstrative, because it is very easy to identify the original text.

We read in volume IV of the Memoirs, in the account of a walk of 1850, these lines put on the lips of Bosco who speaks to his boys:
«Percio disse paroro: Sanctuary of S. Michele delle Chiuse detto commonly La Sagra di S. Michele, perché consecrate ad onore di quest'Arcangelo, é una delle piú celebri Abbazie dei Benedettini in Piemonte. Da semplice romitaggio che was verso l'anno 990, fabbricato ad ispirazione di S. Michele gives a certo Giovanni da Ravenna, uomo di santa vita, che era col ritirato, fu mutato pochi anni dopo da Ugone di Montboisier detto lo Scucito, gentiluomo dell 'Alvernia, in maestosa chiesa di stile gothic, with a large Anneso Convent per l'abitazione dei monaci ... ». The story continues for more than one page: Hugo de Montboisier entrusted the construction works to «Atverto or Av-yerto», abbot of Lusathe, in France. When the works were completed, he brought Benedictine monks to the new monastery; they chose Atverto as abbot. In the abbey, up to 300 monks became very soon. In 1383, when the primitive discipline decayed, it became an abbey commendacy under the protectorate of the Counts of Savoy until the French invasion at the beginning of the century. The narrator ends his erudite exhibition with the history of the Valley of Susa and the victory of Charlemagne over the King of the Lombards ... 52 And here the quotes are closed. Several readers and commentators, even veterans, were ecstatic at the erudition of Don Bosco! They fell into the trap of our biographer, who thought he could apply his dramatist procedures here. it became a commendatory abbey under the protectorate of the Counts of Savoy until the French invasion of the beginning of the century The narrator ends his erudite exhibition with the history of the Valley of Susa and the victory of Charlemagne over the king of the Lombards ... 52 And here the quotes are closed. Several readers and commentators, even veterans, were ecstatic at the erudition of Don Bosco! They fell into the trap of our biographer, who thought he could apply his dramatist procedures here. it became a commendatory abbey under the protectorate of the Counts of Savoy until the French invasion of the beginning of the century The narrator ends his erudite exhibition with the history of the Valley of Susa and the victory of Charlemagne over the king of the Lombards ... 52 And here the quotes are closed. Several readers and commentators, even veterans, were ecstatic at the erudition of Don Bosco! They fell into the trap of our biographer, who thought he could apply his dramatist procedures here.

By 1880, the "Salesian Bollettino" had narrated in a booklet the Storia dell'Oratorio, which was, as we know, one of the good sources of the Memoirs. The text reviewed above appears in chapter XXVIII of that Stork, published in the April 1881 issue of the "Bollettino." It reads the article entitled: Visit alía Sagra di S. Michele and in a note on page 15, a long historical review, probably copied by the author, Giovanni Bonetti, from an encyclopedia. It will be enough to reread the first lines to understand the mechanism that gave rise to the story attributed to Don Bosco in the Biographical Memoirs. «II sanctuary di S. Michele della Chiusa, detto comunemente La Sagra di S. Michele, perché consecrate ad onore di quest'Arcangelo, a delle piú celebri Abbazie dei Benedettini in Piemonte. Da semplice romitaggio che was verso l'anno 990, fabbricato ad ispirazione di S. Michele gives a certo Giovanni da Ravenna, uomo di santa vita che s'era ritirato ... »etc. Not even the episode of Charlemagne's stratagem in the Susa Valley is missing to defeat the Lombards. "As for Bosco, one thing is certain: during the excursion, he chatted with his boys with pleasure." Don Lemoyne took advantage of the episode to present to its readers the Sacra di S. Michele, a monument that interested - very far, in fact - the Salesian history. only one thing is certain: during the excursion, he chatted with his boys with pleasure. Don Lemoyne took advantage of the episode to present to his readers the Sacra di S. Michele, a monument that interested - very far, in fact - the Salesian history. only one thing is certain: during the excursion, he chatted with his boys with pleasure. Don Lemoyne took advantage of the episode to present to his readers the Sacra di S. Michele, a monument that interested - very far, in fact - the Salesian history.

32 MB IV, 118-119.

It is known that he had no scruples in calling Don Bosco's "testament" to his cooperators in a composition found - he said - among the papers of the saint immediately after his death, provided with the writing: "Da aprirsi dogo la mia morte". He put a printed copy in his Documenti accompanied by the presentation: "Ecco il prezioso documento". Don Ceria, very faithful to his principles, unfortunately followed his brother in the biographical memoirs: 55 free, however, to recognize one day the true story of such an autograph letter, which was, instead, a redaction of Giovanni Bonetti .56
Don Lemoyne gathered the fragments, juxtaposed them, interpolated them into each other in the name of what he believed to be the truth, and in some cases - infrequently, but infinitely annoying - a false characterization. The mosaic then came out in entirely new form due to the treatment to which the compiler had subjected the primitive documents, of which, when appropriate, he reproduced the references. The pericope on the first mass in the church of St. Francis of Assisi is a case. An amalgam among the most deceptive is that which refers to the story of the totally imaginary audience granted by Pius IX to Don Bosco on February 12, 1870. Each of his pieces is almost «substantially» authentic, but the reconstruction of the whole is completely free. It is a phantasmagoric audience. " The "faithful reasoning" of Don Lemoyne could, therefore, reproduce the same words of Don Bosco and reflect the spirit of the founder of the Salesians. It was, therefore, a laborious enterprise the organization of memories, the oriented selection, the small additions, from a symbolic universe in which our narrator, like every narrator, was rooted.

53 Storia dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales, in BS (1881) 1, 15.

54 Document: * XL, p. 324-332.

"MB XVIII, 621-623, with the introduction:" Don Bosco diceva ... "56 Cf. E IV, 393 note.

"Cf. F. DESRAMAUT, Le récit de Paudience pontificate him of 12 February 1870 in the Memorie biografiche of Don Bosco, in RSS 6 (1987) 81-104.

9. The "charismatic" explanation of Don Bosco by Don Lemoyne

According to his general intention, Don Lemoyne was thinking only of describing, with the help of a cloud of witnesses, the life of the extraordinary man Don Bosco had been. But, encouraged by admiration and at the same time by a natural movement of knowledge, he also tried to grasp that life in its delicacy and its infinite nuances, and penetrate the truth and its mechanisms to the depth of a soul placed in the hands of God . His description thus became an explanation. From the words and the facts rose to their causes. Thus, like all true history, that of Don Bosco became "intelligible". For this reason, he resorted to conceptual instruments, on which it will be necessary to reflect carefully on a rigorous study of our Salesian hagiographers. Indeed, the principal of the three placed Don Bosco an ideal image: the one Don Lemoyne had inside himself. Armed with that conception, of which he was not necessarily conscious and which he certainly did not try to criticize - in such a way it seemed to be imposed upon him - he began to explain the life of his hero. I think a long chapter could be written about this Idealtypus by Don Lemoyne. The historians of the salesian mentality could be interested in reflecting on it, because, through the Memoirs, it has impregnated that mentality to a point difficult to calibrate, but without doubt very relevant.

I am referring only to a major feature that we could call globalizing. For Don Lemoyne, Don Bosco was a charismatic man in the Weberian sense of the term. From his first encounter with him (Lerma's experience) he had attributed that power to him. This vision later influenced the interpretation he gave to the saint's life. As Xavier Thévenot wrote recently, precisely about our Don Bosco, "the charismatic power is seen as extraordinary and when the one who notices it is believing, as supernatural, that is, given by God. The one who owns it says that he feels himself invested with a mission that, in some way, forces him internally and strengthens him in his legitimacy. [...] From a psychoanalytic point of view it will be said that the charismatic leader establishes himself or lives as a supposed subject endowed with knowledge and power. Superidealized by his disciples, he is presented as gifted with perfection and capable of success where others fail. It ends up by attributing a certain fame of infallibility and omnipotence, as well as, very frequently, a unique capacity of dominion over their aggressive and sexual desires: to recognize, in effect, that the leader is moved by desires of that type would be to inflict a you lie especially hard to the desire of infantile omnipotence on which the process of idealization rises. "58
58 X. THÉVENOT, Don Bosco éducateur et le systéme préventif (Colloque universitaire de Lyon) 1988. Italian translation of the paper in "Orientamenti Pedagogici" 25 (1988) 701-730.

When he read his own life, Don Bosco felt, without a doubt, the feeling that God and Mary had led him, enlightened and sustained him in his laborious attempts, crowned in the end by success. If "superdetermination" is, for the psychologist, the "character of a behavior determined by several competing motivations," then he thought that he too had been "super-determined" by heaven. He affirmed, for example, having seen in a dream the Virgin Mary, who indicated to him, at the beginning of his priestly life, a plot of Valdocco (on which, in fact, the sanctuary that we know was built) and said: «Hic domus mea ... ». But he was very careful to go further. He never pretended to have received from the beginning a kind of divine programming, with a "vocation" in such a clear way that it would have been enough to understand and follow it throughout its existence. Such "superdetermined" reading (and characteristic, too, according to Gaston Bachelard, of a prescientific spirit), that went beyond the "second causes"; I could not stop slowing down and even reducing to nothing the "natural" explanations and, therefore, the properly historical intelligence of the saint's life. And it is precisely what happened with Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs. He had nothing of the skeptical historian, who refuses a priori to discover a meaning in his history. But that sense gave it prematurely in terms of a first experience never seriously verified. The good man thus fell into the opposite defect, also serious, which is called fantasy.

Indeed, the transposition of general formulas to personalized formulas attributed to Don Bosco is especially annoying, when it comes to the interpretative comments of the biographer, who thus acquire an undeserved authority. The recent article of the "Ricerche Storiche Salesiane" on Don Lemoyne as a historian of Don Bosco reproduces passages from his preface to a little book published by him in 1889 on the role of Mary in the life of Don Bosco. Here is one among several: "In a sol motto diciamo tutto.

Ogni volta che D. Bosco if accingeva ad un'impresa, parlava como sedesse chiaramente tutto the svolgimento piú or meno fortunoso di ciascuna [...] as a captain of a ship [...] conosce tuna the sua strada prima ancora di partire dal porto Oh how much the Madonna buona! "59 Four years earlier, Don Lemoyne had manifested more or less the same in the Documents about the year 1847 when, according to his text, Don Bosco had gone from Turin to Stresa next to Antonio. Rosmini, who wanted to be a disciple. We discovered in the midst of a period: "Da sua sua disposto ad essere obedientissimo to chiunque gli avesse comandato, to nzi avrebbe preferito poter condurre avanti il ​​suo piano sotto the condotta altrui, cioé guidato dall'obbedienza di un superioriore. Ma la Vergine Maria avevagli indicato in visione ii field nel quale doveva lavorare. Esso has a piano that is lacking, premeditated, dal quale non poteva and non voleva assolutamente staccarsi. Esso was in assolute mode responsible for the riuscita. Vedeva chiaramente le file che doveva tendere, i mezzi che doveva adoperare per riuscire nell'impresa, quindi non poteva mandare a vuoto ll suo dísegno with esporlo in baila di altri. In questo a volle solo osservare se poteva eseguire in qualche istituto giá esistente, ma no tardava ad avvedersi che no ... ».60 In the Biographical Memoirs the persuasive force of this reflection is accentuated when attributed to Don Bosco himself. This attribution may, at least in part, have a foundation. At least, one step of the calls Cronichette de Barberis, referred to the first days of January 1876, it contained, in fact, in the first person almost all the expressions, and put them on the lips of Don Bosco. But the saint himself did not intervene with Mary. The plane belonged to him. Only after the explanations of Don Bosco, the editor of the chronicle had written: "A me schíetto e netto che volesse dire cosi: - Maria Vergine my aveva indicato in visione the field in cuí io doveva lavorare. My fece vedere i mezzi da adoperarvi per riuscirvi ... »etc. Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs followed or imitated this chronicler. He took his text from the Documenti and began: "Ma la Vergine Maria, ci narrava piú tardi D. Bosco, my aveva indicato in visione il campo nel quale io doveva lavorare. Possedeva dunque il disegno di un piano ... "etc.61 The very human" plan "of the founder thus became a kind of revelation. in the first person almost all expressions, and put them on the lips of Don Bosco. But the saint himself did not intervene with Mary. The plane belonged to him. Only after the explanations of Don Bosco, the editor of the chronicle had written: "A me schíetto e netto che volesse dire cosi: - Maria Vergine my aveva indicato in visione the field in cuí io doveva lavorare. My fece vedere i mezzi da adoperarvi per riuscirvi ... »etc. Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs followed or imitated this chronicler. He took his text from the Documenti and began: "Ma la Vergine Maria, ci narrava piú tardi D. Bosco, my aveva indicato in visione il campo nel quale io doveva lavorare. Possedeva dunque il disegno di un piano ... "etc.61 The very human" plan "of the founder thus became a kind of revelation. in the first person almost all expressions, and put them on the lips of Don Bosco. But the saint himself did not intervene with Mary. The plane belonged to him. Only after the explanations of Don Bosco, the editor of the chronicle had written: "A me schíetto e netto che volesse dire cosi: - Maria Vergine my aveva indicato in visione the field in cuí io doveva lavorare. My fece vedere i mezzi da adoperarvi per riuscirvi ... »etc. Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs followed or imitated this chronicler. He took his text from the Documenti and began: "Ma la Vergine Maria, ci narrava piú tardi D. Bosco, my aveva indicato in visione il campo nel quale io doveva lavorare. Possedeva dunque il disegno di un piano ... "etc.61 The very human" plan "of the founder thus became a kind of revelation. and put them on Don Bosco's lips. But the saint himself did not intervene with Mary. The plane belonged to him. Only after the explanations of Don Bosco, the editor of the chronicle had written: "A me schíetto e netto che volesse dire cosi: - Maria Vergine my aveva indicato in visione the field in cuí io doveva lavorare. My fece vedere i mezzi da adoperarvi per riuscirvi ... »etc. Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs followed or imitated this chronicler. He took his text from the Documenti and began: "Ma la Vergine Maria, ci narrava piú tardi D. Bosco, my aveva indicato in visione il campo nel quale io doveva lavorare. Possedeva dunque il disegno di un piano ... "etc.61 The very human" plan "of the founder thus became a kind of revelation. and put them on Don Bosco's lips. But the saint himself did not intervene with Mary. The plane belonged to him. Only after the explanations of Don Bosco, the editor of the chronicle had written: "A me schíetto e netto che volesse dire cosi: - Maria Vergine my aveva indicato in visione the field in cuí io doveva lavorare. My fece vedere i mezzi da adoperarvi per riuscirvi ... »etc. Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs followed or imitated this chronicler. He took his text from the Documenti and began: "Ma la Vergine Maria, ci narrava piú tardi D. Bosco, my aveva indicato in visione il campo nel quale io doveva lavorare. Possedeva dunque il disegno di un piano ... "etc.61 The very human" plan "of the founder thus became a kind of revelation. The plane belonged to him. Only after the explanations of Don Bosco, the editor of the chronicle had written: "A me schíetto e netto che volesse dire cosi: - Maria Vergine my aveva indicato in visione the field in cuí io doveva lavorare. My fece vedere i mezzi da adoperarvi per riuscirvi ... »etc. Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs followed or imitated this chronicler. He took his text from the Documenti and began: "Ma la Vergine Maria, ci narrava piú tardi D. Bosco, my aveva indicato in visione il campo nel quale io doveva lavorare. Possedeva dunque il disegno di un piano ... "etc.61 The very human" plan "of the founder thus became a kind of revelation. The plane belonged to him. Only after the explanations of Don Bosco, the editor of the chronicle had written: "A me schíetto e netto che volesse dire cosi: - Maria Vergine my aveva indicato in visione the field in cuí io doveva lavorare. My fece vedere i mezzi da adoperarvi per riuscirvi ... »etc. Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs followed or imitated this chronicler. He took his text from the Documenti and began: "Ma la Vergine Maria, ci narrava piú tardi D. Bosco, my aveva indicato in visione il campo nel quale io doveva lavorare. Possedeva dunque il disegno di un piano ... "etc.61 The very human" plan "of the founder thus became a kind of revelation. - Maria Vergine mi aveva indicato i visione iI campo in cuí io doveva lavorare. My fece vedere i mezzi da adoperarvi per riuscirvi ... »etc. Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs followed or imitated this chronicler. He took his text from the Documenti and began: "Ma la Vergine Maria, ci narrava piú tardi D. Bosco, my aveva indicato in visione il campo nel quale io doveva lavorare. Possedeva dunque il disegno di un piano ... "etc.61 The very human" plan "of the founder thus became a kind of revelation. - Maria Vergine mi aveva indicato i visione iI campo in cuí io doveva lavorare. My fece vedere i mezzi da adoperarvi per riuscirvi ... »etc. Don Lemoyne in his Memoirs followed or imitated this chronicler. He took his text from the Documenti and began: "Ma la Vergine Maria, ci narrava piú tardi D. Bosco, my aveva indicato in visione il campo nel quale io doveva lavorare. Possedeva dunque il disegno di un piano ... "etc.61 The very human" plan "of the founder thus became a kind of revelation.

39 GB LEMOYNE, The Madonna of Don Bosco ossia Relazione di dame grazie concession of Maria Ausiliatrice ai suoi devoti, Torino, Tip. Salesiana 1889, p. 17s .; BRAMO - ARENAL LLATA, Don Giovanni Battista Lemoyne, p. 113

It would be necessary to find, throughout the volumes of the Memoirs, the phrases with which Don Lemoyne attributes in this way, without the slightest nuance, to God and Mary the plans that his disciple Giovanni Bosco made in his life. This shortcut in the youthful vocation of Don Bosco has seduced his biographers a lot. With regard to the vigil of his priestly ordination in 1841, it reads: "A questo punto non possiamo far a meno di fissare lo sguardo sul progressivo e razionale succedersi del surprrendenti sogni. On the ninth year Giovanni Bosco comes to know the great mission, che a luí sará affidata; ai 16 ode the promessa dei mezzi materiali, indispensable for housing and nurturing innumerevoli giovani; ai 19 an imperious command gli fa intentendere non esser libero di rifiutare la missione affidatagli; ai 21 palesata the class of 'giovani, della quale will be specially curare il bene spirituale; ai 22, gli é additata a great cittá, Torino, nella quale will give beginning alle alle apostoliche fatiche e alle sue fondazioni. Either way, it will come, if it does not happen, it will be mysterious and indicative, it will continue to be fine, it will compete with the opera di Dio. If dovran dir forse questi mere combinazioni di fantasia? ».62 Well, yes, dear Don Lemoyne: they are exactly« combinazioni di fantasia ». But they are yours and not Don Bosco's. Indeed, perhaps you have forgotten it when you wrote this conclusion about the «progressive and rational succedersi dei vari suprrendenti sogni» of youth; but if these stories of "sogni" dated by you to the 16, 19 and 21 years of Don Bosco were, in the previous pages of your volume,
60 Documenti III, p. 151

61 MB III, 247. The piece of the Cronichetta (ASC Barberis, notebook 3 without pagination), still
unpublished, has been reproduced in the microfiches of the FdB 796 E 8-10.

62 MB I, 426.

With these "superdetermined" interpretations more or less free, the biographical palette acquired wonderful tones. But the "comprehension" of the story of Don Bosco lost in the same proportions. And the advisable continuity between signifier and meaning was broken. In effect, the man who feels predestined and knows his way, sees and advances with a sure step. His search, his doubts, his companies, his mistakes, his discoveries and his provisional setbacks, until his triumph, reflect a kind of shadow theater. The paper, the real paper, is recited in another place. Is such an existence on earth possible? In any case, Don Bosco never expressed himself about his destiny (or about his super-determination) with the firmness that Don Lemoyne imprudently attributed to him. The grace of God and the intercession of Mary are undoubted for the believer, as in the case of Don Bosco. But the kind of superdetermination that Don Lemoyne believes to read in it damages a correct historical reflection on the life of Don Bosco. An initial prejudice deviates it. What becomes, in this case, the man who seeks and adapts constantly, as was the real Don Bosco?
The Idealtypus de santo, used by Don Lemoyne to "understand" the life of Don Bosco, implied other aspects, especially virtues: humility, sweetness, kindness ..., induced, on the other hand, by the charisma of leader His more or less conscious influence in the spirit of the biographer resounded even in the reproduction of the words and the written phrases of his hero. His aggressiveness was systematically weakened. For example, Don Lemoyne did not admit that Don Bosco had been angry [n. t .: in Italian arrabbiato] (the word rabbia is systematically replaced with sdegno) or violently assaulted a student, not even dreaming ... This was one of the serious limits of a colossal job otherwise.

10. The method of Don Celia

Don Amadei's construction and composition procedures, for the X volume of the Memoirs, were very close to those of Don Lemoyne for the preceding volumes. The climate of the story is almost the same. Then, from volume XI, the tone changes. Don Cenia's series of nine volumes is homogeneous. These books are well written and interesting. But those qualities do not meet the demands we have today. We would like to know if, with Don Cenia, the historiography of Don Bosco passes something or much of a "pre-scientific" stage, in which Don Lemoyne remained, to an era more in accordance with our learned (and legitimate) concerns ...

63 I extensively discussed this topic in: Les Memorie I by Giovanni Battista Lemoyne, p. 250-256.

As has been said several times, to get to make the history of the years from 1875 to 1888 of the life of Don Bosco in a record time, at a rate of one volume per year, despite the huge amount of documentation that had to dominate, Don Cenia followed step by step the Documenti ordered year by year in about thirty records (the XV record referred to 1875) and referred to the period that should describe. He did some supplementary research, but in total a small number. When he modified the Documenti, which were already, as we know, a more or less well-constructed story about Don Bosco, he never criticized or "weighed" ever, to put it in any way, the special constructions of his predecessor. He did not try to identify the sources he had had available. An example among a hundred. For volume XVIII copied without references, "Qualcuno dubited che fosse an agent esploratore della polizia francese, mandate to esplorare le idee politiche di Don Bosco" - especially on the possibility of a monarchical restoration in the country -. "In ogni modo le rísposte del Santo non potevano • destare sospetti né offiire appiglio ad accuse. It was sato sempre suo sistema di non entrare mai in politics. " Now, that ending existed almost identical in the Documenti. "Qualcuno dubited che fosse an agent esploratore della polizia francese, mandate to esplorare le idee politiche di Don Bosco" - especially on the possibility of a monarchical restoration in the country -. "In ogni modo le rísposte del Santo non potevano • destare sospetti né offiire appiglio ad accuse. It was sato sempre suo sistema di non entrare mai in politics. " Now, that ending existed almost identical in the Documenti.

However, he did not try, like Don Lemoyne, to include the smallest details in his story about Don Bosco. Immediately allowed to summarize paragraphs or extract significant periods, editorial freedom that Don Lemoyne had never been granted.

But the principles of reading and interpretation of our two hagiographers were very similar. Don Cenia, like Don Lemoyne, believed that all testimony is a reflection of life and, taken as it is, allows it to be reconstructed. He did not impose, therefore, analyze his journey through the world, in the spirit and, if necessary, in the witness's pen. This, in fact, could have left successive versions of his testimony and the last one (was the case of Viglietti) was not necessarily the best. However, the experience acquired with Greco-Roman literature led him, I believe, to distrust at times the dialogues and the direct style, which passed, therefore, to a linear narrative. Confronting the Memoirs with their sources, the Documenti, we are convinced of the fact that he insisted less than his most frequent editors (not only Don Lemoyne, but also Don Berto), on the predictions and prophecies, as such, of Don Bosco. Reproduced, in the same story, the original documents, without being allowed to touch them up. His inaccurate readings, sometimes annoying, were involuntary.65 Much more modern than Don Lemoyne, who approached Jacques de Voragíne with gusto, he did not systematically yield to the marvelous aspect. From our point of view, there was, therefore, progress from one generation to another. However, at this level of reading the documentation, Don Cenia, although more prudent or more suspicious than Don Lemoyne, did not really overcome the literary genre, described as "pre-scientific", of his predecessor. 65 Much more modern than Don Lemoyne, who approached Jacques de Voragíne with gusto, he did not systematically yield to the marvelous aspect. From our point of view, there was, therefore, progress from one generation to another. However, at this level of reading the documentation, Don Cenia, although more prudent or more suspicious than Don Lemoyne, did not really overcome the literary genre, described as "pre-scientific", of his predecessor. 65 Much more modern than Don Lemoyne, who approached Jacques de Voragíne with gusto, he did not systematically yield to the marvelous aspect. From our point of view, there was, therefore, progress from one generation to another. However, at this level of reading the documentation, Don Cenia, although more prudent or more suspicious than Don Lemoyne, did not really overcome the literary genre, described as "pre-scientific", of his predecessor.

64 The documentary source in: Documenti XXXI, p. 44s., Taken up in: MB XVIII, 28-29.

The very composition of the text of the Memoirs demonstrates Don Ceria's ability to write. In its volumes, the material of the years of Don Bosco's life is always organized, not simply juxtaposed in a random way for the sake of chronology. Each chapter had its own title that corresponds more or less to its content. The story is clear. The story runs smoothly. To appreciate Don Cenia's literary work it is enough to interrupt the reading of one of his volumes and take 50 pages of Don Amadei: you will seem to pass from a garden with straight and well raked walks to a forest of bushes in which one is lost. To the reader of the whole of the Memoirs, the two 1871-1874 of the life of Don Bosco (narrated by Don Amadei) appear enigmatic. It retains, however, characteristic memories of each
one of the years that go from 1875 to 1888 (narrated by Don Ceria), with the departure of the first missionaries, the foundations achieved or failed in France, the efforts of Don Bosco in Rome under mons. Gastaldi, the issue of Concord imposed by Leo XIII, the great trip to Paris in 1885, the trip to Spain in 1886, the last painful months of Don Bosco. He owes them to the clear and pleasant narration of Don Cenia.

In spite of everything, Don Cenia's options as editor of the Memoirs were sometimes debatable. He tempered the hard episodes, sweetened the proposals and, at times, suppressed some unpleasant traits of his characters. Diplomatic behavior most of the time! On the other hand, Don Celia himself told me once in Turin (exactly on August 12, 1952) that a canon of the local curia had denied him, in 1930, the imprimatur for volume XI of the Memoirs (the first signed by he), because Archbishop Gastaldi appeared under a murky light; I had discussed the subject with Father Rosa sj, from the "Civiltá Cattolica"; the latter had advised him to present his work as pro-manuscript, a legal device that dispensed from the approval of the Turin Curia. This is how the book was published. But I am convinced that Don Cenia learned the lesson of the incident, for example in the sense that he should avoid ecclesiastical characters. This explains several silences and
various deletions. Don Cenia's stories are always moderate: he avoids pointing out the laments and sighs of Don Bosco, like those of all those present in the Church of Mary Help of Christians when the missionaries left for Quito, 67 sweetens the proposals of Don Bosco referring to the tenants of Valdocco in a meeting of the Superior Chapter: "the" molti salesiani hanno nulla di spirito salesiano "of an intervention of his to his Chapter on November 5, 1885 becomes the Memoirs of Don Cenia in:" certi Salesiani hanno nulla di spirito salesiano »... 69 The strokes do not have, then, the vigor that we would like today.

6 Don Ceria tells Don Bosco, on the occasion of the General Chapter of 1883, that the "Salesian Bollettino" was to be "like a public newspaper" (see MB XVI, 412), while the records of Marenco, (ASC 046) , CG 1883, fol. 6) affirmed exactly the opposite: ... «not to promote it as a newspaper».

The problem of Don Bosco's understanding of Don Bosco's life would deserve many lines based on examples and weighted contrasts. But it is difficult for me to do it here conveniently. I think I can advance this observation: in his ordinary interpretation of the life of Don Bosco, Don Ceria, in spite of his habitual submission to the accounts and comments of his documents, avoided the excesses and systematizations of Don Lemoyne; He made little effort to get away from the religious and wonderful explanations to which he favorably inclined. He often followed his sources and explained (summarily) to Don Bosco as the latter had done.

11. Concluding remarks

To conclude this very brief series of observations on the working method of the three authors of the biographical memoirs of Don Bosco, it is convenient, I think, to think of two categories of persons whose intentions are far from the same. Those who seek to nourish themselves spiritually with reading will
... He told me on the same day a similar mishap, which had greater consequences. In 1883,
a reviewer - a cardinal, he told me, if I did not misunderstand him - had forced him to suppress the entire chapter on Mons. Gastaldi in the galleries of his beautiful book, San Giovanni Bosco nella vita e nelle
operate He accepted the order, but not without sadness. It is thus written in the last lines of chapter XXXEV on the church of St. John the Evangelist (p.283): "One was very unpleasant in the history of a tribolazione che per la sua natura, per la sua durata e per i suoi effetti fu certamente the serious piú sofferta dal Santo ", phrase that was probably the point of connection with the censored chapter. The text continues simply: "Ma considerarazioni di ordine superiore consigliano di rimettere tempo and luogo piú opportuno the narrazione di quelle vicende".

67 Cf. Documenti XXXVI, p. 77 and MB XVIII, 430.

68 Cf. Documenti XXX, p. 521-523 and MB XVII, 581.

69 Cf. Documenti XXX, p. 571 and MB XVII, 586.

"It jumps, for example, in the Documenti, the improbable assimilation of the epistolary relations of Don Bosco with the Parisian Marchioness of Cessac, those of San Francesco di Sales and the Chantal.

Cf. Documenti XLIV, p. 461: "Dwarf a riproduzione di quelle di S. Francesco di Sales alla Chantal", and MB XVI, 231: ... «sembra che abbia ricevuto da lui molte lettere di direzione spirituale. Cosi if it says; ma noi finora non ne conosciamo neppure una ». It must be understood: "If it says nei Documenti ...", which was in front of him while he was writing.

guide of the Biographical Memoirs, which are for them a book of devotion. And those who travel these thick volumes to extract elements of study (historical, psychological, theological ...). For them, they are a comfortable collection of documents about Don Bosco.

The former have, in the Memoirs, a "story" of Don Bosco, which is "true", no more or less than any other story in the popular sense of the word, picturesque, edifying, colorful (except volume X) , rich of facts and phrases apt to enrich the spirit. The benefits of a running reading of the Memoirs, controlled by an experience that is close to becoming centennial, seems by some aspects, obvious. You do not waste your time when you dedicate yourself to it; Unlike. Even admitting that, also at this level, there may be someone who prefers, precisely, Don Bosco readings more "true" and documented.

However, this communication is aimed above all at a second category of readers, those who dedicate themselves, little or much, to studi about Don Bosco. The council must be another. I would start with a reflection, among the most authoritative ones, that Don Cenia made me, as well as several others, at the end of his life. «A coloro - he told me more with his words - in color or intendono scrívere tesi his Don Bosco, consiglio semper di cambiare soggetto. Pin tardi, forse, guando le lettere di don Bosco saranno pubblicate ... ». He recognized that his Memoirs, in which many had found the only and definitive source of studies on Don Bosco, could not serve as a basis for rigorous studies on it. If the Documenti published as such by him and by Don Amadei are set aside at the end of his volumes, he was a hundred times correct. Indeed, if the thick volumes of Don Lemoyne and those of his two successors, since they depend on him, were built according to the "pre-scientific" criteria of composition and interpretation that I have tried to make clear, the authenticity of elements that are gleaned there with preference , that is, the saint's proposals and the observations of the most immediate witnesses of his life (the chroniclers ...), is never guaranteed. Moreover, there is no shortage of repeated readings, frequent apocryphal and stories turned into legends with the amalgamation of different outlines of perspective. If you have to do an investigation, do it preferably over the very sources of Don Bosco's story. The Opere edit alone have allowed Jacques Schepens to write his voluminous and interesting thesis: Pénitence et eucharistie dans el méthode éducative et pastorale de don Bosco. Étude from ses écrits imprimés.7 'That these investigators resort to the autograph writings, to the writings published, to the letters sent or received by Don Bosco, to the chronicles or minutes, edited or not, as Professor Luciano has done Pazzaglia in his excellent study on Apprendistato and istruzione degli artigiani to Valdocco (1846-1886) .72
Rome, Universitá Pontificia Salesiana, 1986, 2 vol.

n Cf. F. TRANIELLO (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, Torino, SEI 1987, p. 13-80.

They will thus avoid the misfortunes incurred by others who have used biographical memoirs. I will quote a single one, of which as a member of the Salesian General Chapter of 1984, which has given rise to the official text of the Constitutions, I feel, at least materially, guilty. In the first article of their Constitutions, renewed that year, the Salesians abused a formula attributed to Don Bosco by the Biographical Memoirs, quoted with precision in note: «... He formed in lui un cuore di padre e di maestro, capace di a dedizione totale: "Ho promesso a Dio che fin l'ultimo mio respiro sarebbe stato per i míei poveri giovani" »(MB XVIII, 258). In fact, the chronicle of Carlo Viglietti, source of the logion reproduced in the aforementioned place of the Biographical Memoirs, He would say to Don Bosco that he had promised God that "the end of my last breath" would be, no longer, as in the transcribed text, by his "poveri giovani", but by his "poveri orfanelli", that is, by the abandoned young people of whom he had become a father. There is a good difference between "vivere per i giovani" and "vivere per i giovani abbandonati"!


Critical edition project
Francesco MOTTO
Among Don Bosco's writings of special value, of which there are only inadequate or incomplete editions, his letters are undoubtedly placed. Precisely based on this consideration, the Salesian Historical Institute, from its beginnings, programmed, among the works to which priority attention had to be given, the critical and integral edition of the epistolary of the saint. "Four years ago I was entrusted with the task which is announced as a culturally important company that suffers any celebratory or ritual attempt, even if it coincides with the awakening of interest in the figure and work of the Piedmontese educator on the occasion of the centenary of his death.

This Congress offers me the opportunity to anticipate neither nuce nor extra operam the value of such epistolary, the archival-philological process followed and the hermeneutic perspective within which we want to frame the recomposition work of the epistolary corpus.

O. Preliminary observations

I begin by saying that if the Italians, according to a well-known topic, do not read epistlens, 2 that of Don Bosco should not stimulate the well-known inability to note immediately that the term "epistolary" is taken, simply, in the sense of "collection of all the letters ». That is, no distinction is made between letters written for a particular purpose, in specific circumstances, and effectively sent to a recipient (whose collation, the work of a scholar, should be called properly "collection of letters") and letters gathered for artistic purposes by the same author and, frequently, directed to a fictitious reader (usually defined by the scholars with the term "letters").

Cf. Proposte per un piano di lavoro unitario e comune, in RSS 1 (1982) 95. It agrees 2 On the other hand, in other countries, the publications of letters of writers, painters, musicians, politicians and other illustrious personages are increasing favor among the common readers. Studies on the epistolary phenomenon and on the nature and function of the letter are everywhere current. In France, for a long time, "colloquiums" have been organized on the subject, and documentation and research centers for modern correspondence and compatriots have been created, at least for four reasons that I briefly explain:
1) First of all, the new edition that is projected does not promise at all to satisfy the debatable taste for sensationalism or to reveal unknown secret lives of the writer. Don Bosco in his letters, which are also among the writings of immediate frankness and with the highest rate of sincerity, tends (and often succeeds) not to reveal his deep inner life, his dramas of conscience, his intimate feeling of every moment Apart from the fact that in "your closet is totally useless looking for skeletons».

2) Identical disillusionment would have the same, considering that it is the copiosísimo epistolario of a holy priest, an uncommon educator, a brilliant founder, a social instrument of vastly vast activity, expected comprehensive and exhaustive spiritual treatises, ascetic , pedagogical. Do not; only here and there, lost among expressions dictated by the innumerable preoccupations of daily living, one can find brilliant pearls of doctrine and wisdom, fruit of sanctity of life, of pastoral audacity, of correct pedagogy.

3) The possible expectation of sensational discoveries of a political, social or religious nature would not have a better fortune. It is true that Don Bosco, for living and working in that period strongly tormented and known as «Risorgimento», speaks explicitly or alludes to facts or historical characters of the very first line, gives judgments about political, social and religious facts of his life. weather; but politics, in the strict sense, the analysis of civil and religious society as such, enters its radius of interest only insofar as it comes to affect the ordinary fabric of its life, rhythmicized by its responsibilities as father, educator , entrepreneur, superior, friend, administrator of sums many times huge.

4) Finally, it would also be a disappointment for him to expect from Don Bosco's letters a work of art, an epistolographic model to which he attributes the dignity of "literary genre". Don Bosco did not write his letters as a rhetorical exercise or. instrument to pass to literary glory, custom, on the other hand, so beloved in his century. At the level of the formal review he did not submit his letters to special stylistic or lexical interventions. Write to the pope or the minister or address the humble provincial or the young schoolboy, his style is substantially the same: full of simplicity, frankness, familiarity, cunning, not without doubts in writing and spelling, sprinkled of Piedmontese and Gallicism, frequently nourished by grammatical and syntactic irregularities, on the other hand not important,
temporary. In Italy only recently there has been a strong quantitative and qualitative increase in "experts". Meetings of this kind have been held in Bressanone (1983), in Urbino (1984) and even more recently in Genoa. In 1986, the publishing house "Rosellina Archinto" appeared, publishing only epistolary. Appreciable articles of publication, published in magazines and newspapers, come to underline, from time to time, the remarkable interest that private correspondence can have as a historical and linguistic source.

Don Bosco's correspondence is a correspondence of «subjects», of «normal administration», we would say today, that is, written with the maximum speed and only to communicate a usable message for the one who receives it: concise sentences without emphasis, direct communications , brief, sometimes lapidary, measures in openness and intimacy by the use of the same patterns, typical of who writes under the pressure of many occupations and runs the risk of feeling at each moment wrapped by them.4 If you had at your disposal the telephone would have saved him hundreds of hours of work and we, the compilers, would have in our hands, instead of a rich treasure, a disappointing booty. He wrote because he was bound by the non-derogable demands of his priestly and educational mission, for the hard need to provide bread to the thousands of children welcomed in their works, for the duty to help, direct, sustain those who opened their hearts: letters of congratulation and announcement, of congratulation and thanks, of invitation and of excuse, justification and dismissal, of supplication and advice, of reprimand and recommendation, of presentation and encouragement, of few lines and of several pages, bureaucratic and circular. With foundation, it can be said that each epistolary category is represented by a copy. of presentation and encouragement, few lines and several pages, bureaucratic and circular. With foundation, it can be said that each epistolary category is represented by a copy. of presentation and encouragement, few lines and several pages, bureaucratic and circular. With foundation, it can be said that each epistolary category is represented by a copy.

a I do not believe that a profanation or revelation of the epistolary secret is made when the public is offered how much Don Bosco covered with the veil of intimacy. The letters written more than a century ago have ceased to be confidential and have become part of history. Among other considerations, it must be said that Don Bosco himself did not exclude an eventual publication, although with some caution. In fact, he wrote in his "spiritual testament": "I was accadesse di stampare qualche mia italian lettera if I use great attenzione nel senso e nella domina, perché la maggior parte furono scritte precipitously quindi with pericolo di molte inesattezze. Le lettere francesi poi si possono bruriare; ma se mai taluno volesse stamparne, my raccomando che siano lette e corrette da qualche conoscitore di quella lingua francese,

4 In the MBs, the haste with which Don Bosco wrote his letters is often emphasized: "Era anche ammirabile la sua attitudine nello scrivere con grande celeritá. Pió volte in valí anni Ch. Durando accompagnó D. Bosco to the Convitto di S. Francesco per aiutarlo nella speclizione delle lettere. Ed ecco che cosa accadeva. D. Bosco, a letter writer, the porgeva to Durando il quale h piegava, the suggellava and vi scriveva sopra l'indirizzo. Ma prima che il chierico avesse compete h suddetta operazione, ecco dinanzi a lui a seconda lettera finita. II chierico si affrettava, ma nor ne aveva ancor finito l'indirizzo, che sopraggiungeva a terzo foglio, e cosí via via per ore ed ore Quando finally comes to the moment di ritornare all'Oratorio, D. Bosco, ringraziato il Signore esclamava sorridendo, sen7a mostrarsi stanco: - Ecco il modo di sbrigar moltí affari! - E ff ectly il number di lettere ch'egli scriveva sembrerebbe ftavoloso se non vi fossero molti testimon di questa meraviglia »(MB V, 609-610). It seems that, in the last years of his life, Don Boscc confessed to Don Barberis: "Oggi, come quasí tutti i giorni, alle due a quarto dopo pranzo, erc gil al tavolino a lavorare; non mi sono mosso fino alle otto: eppure non ho potuto sbrigarmí d tuno. Ho ancora il tavolo coperto di lettere, che aspettano risposta. And if not, he says che io val adagio nello scrivere. Ne fo passare del lavoro sotto le mie dita! My accorgo che a forza di pratid e dell'incalzarsi gave a thing sull'altra, ho acquistato a celeritá, che no so se possa darsi mag giore »(MB XII, 38-39). egli scriveva sembrerebbe phtavoloso se non vi fossero molti testimonial di questa meraviglia »(MB V, 609-610). It seems that, in the last years of his life, Don Boscc confessed to Don Barberis: "Oggi, come quasí tutti i giorni, alle due a quarto dopo pranzo, erc gil al tavolino a lavorare; non mi sono mosso fino alle otto: eppure non ho potuto sbrigarmí d tuno. Ho ancora il tavolo coperto di lettere, che aspettano risposta. And if not, he says che io val adagio nello scrivere. Ne fo passare del lavoro sotto le mie dita! My accorgo che a forza di pratid e dell'incalzarsi gave a thing sull'altra, ho acquistato a celeritá, che no so se possa darsi mag giore »(MB XII, 38-39). egli scriveva sembrerebbe phtavoloso se non vi fossero molti testimonial di questa meraviglia »(MB V, 609-610). It seems that, in the last years of his life, Don Boscc confessed to Don Barberis: "Oggi, come quasí tutti i giorni, alle due a quarto dopo pranzo, erc gil al tavolino a lavorare; non mi sono mosso fino alle otto: eppure non ho potuto sbrigarmí d tuno. Ho ancora il tavolo coperto di lettere, che aspettano risposta. And if not, he says che io val adagio nello scrivere. Ne fo passare del lavoro sotto le mie dita! My accorgo che a forza di pratid e dell'incalzarsi gave a thing sull'altra, ho acquistato a celeritá, che no so se possa darsi mag giore »(MB XII, 38-39). eats quasí tutti i giorni, alle due a quarto dopo pranzo, erc gil al tavolino a lavorare; non mi sono mosso fino alle otto: eppure non ho potuto sbrigarmí d tuno. Ho ancora il tavolo coperto di lettere, che aspettano risposta. And if not, he says che io val adagio nello scrivere. Ne fo passare del lavoro sotto le mie dita! My accorgo che a forza di pratid e dell'incalzarsi gave a thing sull'altra, ho acquistato a celeritá, che no so se possa darsi mag giore »(MB XII, 38-39). eats quasí tutti i giorni, alle due a quarto dopo pranzo, erc gil al tavolino a lavorare; non mi sono mosso fino alle otto: eppure non ho potuto sbrigarmí d tuno. Ho ancora il tavolo coperto di lettere, che aspettano risposta. And if not, he says che io val adagio nello scrivere. Ne fo passare del lavoro sotto le mie dita! My accorgo che a forza di pratid e dell'incalzarsi gave a thing sull'altra, ho acquistato a celeritá, che no so se possa darsi mag giore »(MB XII, 38-39).

Put these premises, it seems more than legitimate to ask what sense then has to face the committed attention to an epistolary of this genre.

1. The constitutive reason of the epistolary and its critical edition

Why, then, take so much trouble? Because when a man has played a non-indifferent role in the «History» of his country, when his influence has reached, still living, several nations and in the next century practically the whole world, when the multiple facets of his personality have It has been and still is an object of reflection (and this Congress is a clear test) it is important to have the most complete and serious analysis tools available.

Now, for the knowledge of Don Bosco, of his moral figure, of the vicissitudes of his life, of his methods of action, what is more sure and complete than the thousands of letters he wrote over more than 40 years? ? So much more that we are before a character who made the epistolary commitment one of the main occupations of his days?

1.1. An irreplaceable service for the biographer and the historian

The biographer and the historian who are advancing in their task realize that you can not tell a life without the help of documentary materials, and the first of all, correspondence. It is true that anyone knows that the letters can not expect an exact history, but rather fragmentary reflections, which need integration and deepening. An epistolary should be screened with the critical rigor that is commonly applied to any other source: thus, for example, the intrinsic weaknesses in all correspondence can not be underestimated: the personal, subjective, singular nature of the testimony, the unavoidable transparency of the self that could lead to deception, the absence of context elements, etc.

Although some legitimate reservations must be accepted, here are some testimonies of the authors of the MB and of Don Bosco himself: «Le lettere da lui ricevute or spedite are incalcolabili. Tra the giornata e la notte ne scriveva and fine postillava to 250. Sbalordisce la moltitudine e la varietá delle materie sulle quali was obbligato a rispondere o tratare [...]. Ne ricevette da ogni part of the world, and siamo persuasi che vi vi quasi cittá in Europe nella quale non siano pervenute, qua poche, la moltissime, delle sue lettere "(MB IV, 540-541). In the letter of July 4, 1881, Don Bosco addressed the Cav. Carlo Faya in these terms: "Scrivere a Lei mi é di milho sollievo in mezzo alle mie lettere, cui vado in queto momento a cominciare la risposta". Already old, he confided melancholy to his people: "Certi giorni scrivevo anche piú di cento lettere" (MB XVII, 459). Cf. also previous note.

The correspondence of Don Bosco, as is obvious, does not escape this rule. Carefully considered, viewed with multiple methods of investigation, conveniently decoded, it constitutes a secure source in which security is obtained about facts and circumstances, reasons for their choices and, frequently, -the full expression of their convictions and their spirit. Letters written currenti calamo in the parenthesis of a serene rest or in the impetus of a cruel bitterness, in the impulse of a happy heart or under the oppression of an imminent danger, they almost allow to violate their privacy, to enter their room, to see it sitting at the work table, photographing him immersed in problems, difficulties, hopes, ideals. Positions, as I intend to do, in strict chronological order and, therefore, in the apparent disorder of letters of affairs or congratulations, of spiritual suggestions or requests for material help, they express at the same time the life and the commentary of the person who wrote them. If we think that for the most intense period of their educator activity there will be an average of one letter every 3-4 days, 'it is easy to deduce that biographers and historians can and should become assiduous students of an epistolary like this one.

I have purposely used the future time "may and shall", because, despite the vast literature published on Don Bosco in these hundred years that separate us from his death, historiography still suffers from the lack of safe, exhaustive and definitive data ( naturally in the sense assumed by these terms in historical questions). The long life of Don Bosco, the wide range of his activities, the complicated series of events in which he was protagonist or in which he was involved, still await today a simple verification work. The very facts that are referred to in the voluminous biographical memoirs require a systematic check, and the limited but promising current research in that direction has stimulated only the thirst for further searches.8 Once you really know "how things have gone",

6 "The correspondence is a material of a manicure délicat, a témoignage trompeur malgré les apparences et qui reste nécessairement lacunaire, par défaut of conservation des envois et des réponses, par volonté expresse ou negllgence de l'auteur, a causa de diverses formes of censure, par le fait that rarissimes sont le lettres "sincéres". etc. You correspond etant presque toujours tout sauf ce qu'on voudrait qu'elles fussent: a reliable material, a documentary value, au premier degré ... »(Préface di G. Ulysse to La correspondance 2 Actes du Colloque International, Aix-en -Provence, Université de Provence 1985, p.VI). In any case, it is true that situations, feelings, emotions of the daily and personal life of Don Bosco can be better located in his letters than in other writings,

7 From the decade 1830-1840, only one minute of a letter written in a notebook was kept during the school year 1835-1836. In the first quinquennium of the 1940s there are practically few letters, written at the end of 1845. The last holograph text is from the month of December 1887. It is difficult to make calculations, even approximate, about how many letters Don Bosco could have written during his life . Don Cenia affirmed in 1933: "Le lettere di don Bosco pubblica te sono assai meno numerose di quelle che or adarono perdute or giacciono nell'oblio" (ME XIV, 556).

So the main motive of interest offered by the correspondence of Don Bosco is precisely that of giving us a remarkable documentation to put it at the base of the future historical reconstruction, so that it makes less precise or, if we want, to complete the valuation of his complex personality: and this through the alive voice of his protagonist, recorded in an immediate and alive way.

I do not think that from the massive documentary contribution of the quarry correspondence, a radically "other" image had to emerge from the one already known in the circle of its best scholars, but it is certain that the Don Bosco that emerges from the letters departs more from what could be believed of that presents some literature still recent. One thing is Don Bosco of dreams, Don Bosco of miracles and wonders, Don Bosco of the "numinous" and another is Don Bosco "fair" of the epistolary letter, which is presented in the key of concrete life and full of problems, contradictions and uncertainties, in a very long wavelength of this earth. In his letters, Don Bosco shines, so to speak, with the light of the daily, without any enigmatic clothes, which, even unwittingly, would give rise to a rare atmosphere woven of ambiguous imprecision.

1.2. Instrument of work for many scholars

Another non-negligible element offered by the correspondence in question is the fact that the extraordinary richness of social relations that he lived with was
the result of the study. In this perspective, the article by J. KLEIN - E. VALENTINI, A chronological retention of the Memorie di san Giovanni Bosco, in "Salesianum" 17 (1955) 581-610. Analogous trials have recently been published in several RSS numbers. You can see, for this purpose, the communication of Desramaut in this same congress.

9 He presents an example of "revision" of past interpretations (in need of corrections), Tuninetti's communication in this same Congress about the long and painful controversy that Don Bosco had with Mons. Lorenzo Gastaldi

Don Bosco, offers us a panorama of the social, political, cultural, economic, ecclesial life of that second half of the last century so violently shaken by contrasts of all kinds. The letter, everyone knows, is a social instrument and therefore presents the figure of the writer and its correspondents in a given situation, against precise contingencies, both personal and collective; therefore, as a whole, it can give us in some way the taste of an era and elements to have a more accurate profile of the characters that moved in it.

Without wanting to assume here the useless task of apologist of letters, launched against its possible detractors and as proof of what has been said so far, it is enough to notice the enormous variety of its recipients: civil authorities, as heads of state and government (Vittorio Emanuele II , Cavour, Rattazzi, Ricasoli, Minghetti, Lanza, Emperor of Austria ...), ecclesiastical personalities such as popes, cardinals, bishops, superiors of religious institutes (Pius IX, Leon MI, Card. Antonelli, Rosmini ...), writers and men of culture (Tommaseo, Balbo, Pellico, Vallauri, parents of the "Civiltá Cattolica") aristocrats and exponents of the Piedmontese, Florentine, Roman, Nice, Paris, Marseille, Barcelona, ​​South American, humble benefactors, diocesan clergy, religious and religious, adults and young people of low social extraction, etc.However, although correspondence with these people is very often in a strictly pecuniary area, it nevertheless allows us to distinguish sometimes some aspects of their personality and their environment, emphasizes the relationship they have with Don Bosco and allows us to grasp their moral and spiritual situation.

If we ask ourselves what Don Bosco's letters can tell us, the answer may be "very much" or, at least, many more things than we could know without them. The correspondence of Don Bosco, in the critical form in which it will be published, gives us signs, not only of the direction of biography and history, but also of psychology and psychoanalysis, economics and sociology , of theology and spirituality, literature and language. of local history and politics, of genealogy and pedagogy.1 ° We can approach it according to criteria of multidisciplinary integration and thus become a revealing place of epistemological coordinates of culture and civilization, by using it synchronously and diachronically, by analytical or synthetic ways. And even more,

"The various meanings and aspects of a correspondence have been the subject of discussion in various contexts, for example in several" quaderni di rhetoric and poetic ", directed by G. Folena, very recent models are collected: see La Lettere familiare I, Padova, Liviana Editrice 1985, for the French area, see the aforementioned international colloquium in Aix-en-Provence (La correspondance) On some possible readings of the writings of Don Bosco, and, therefore, also of his letters, suggestions are useful by R. FARINA, Leggere Don Bosco oggi, Note e suggestioni metodologiche, in: P. BROCARDO (ed.), The permanent formazione interpella gli istituti religiosi, Leumann (Torino), Elle Di Ci 1976, pp. 349-404.

In this perspective, even hesitations in writing, errors in spelling and syntax, sentences crossed out but still decipherable, the frequency of idiomatic forms, once discovered, instead of hindering, can serve to give an idea of ​​the level of learning of the language by the writer, his ability to express himself in writing, but in the key of "spoken", the literary form of an era, an environment, a character.

2. The fundamental problems of method

Affirmed thus the usefulness of the critical edition in the workshop, the problems of method that have been raised to me are those common to all the publishers of epistolarios of wide content. Many steps have been taken in the science and in the art of editing letters, but even today editorial principles have not been set (and may never be fixed) with absolute certainty, given the peculiarity of each correspondence. "Anyway , there are three issues: the collection of texts, their transcription, the various critical and historical notes.

However, before briefly explaining the way in which each of these three problems has been solved in the edition we are preparing, I think I must answer a question: for whom have these letters been collected and published? And this, because defining the target audience means adopting one method instead of another. If, in fact, one intends to please specialists, it will be necessary to give them meticulous information and details, which the common reader does not find of any interest and which he will surely define as "pedantry" or "documentary idolatry". But if you remove those
Librairie Armand Colin 1969; Écrire publier Tire les correspondances. Actes du colloque international: «Les correspondances». Publications of the University of Nantes 1983. In English: F. Bowas, Some principies for scholarly editions of nineteenth-century American authors, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1964) 223-228; GT TRANSELLE, Some principies for editorial apparatus, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1972) 41-88. For German-language authors: S. SCHEIBE, Some notes on Letter editions: With special reference to German writers, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1986) 36-148. We recall that in Toronto (Canada) there have been "symposia" for "editing texts" for years, whose minutes are published regularly. Publications of the University of Nantes 1983. In English: F. Bowas, Some principies for scholarly editions of nineteenth-century American authors, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1964) 223-228; GT TRANSELLE, Some principies for editorial apparatus, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1972) 41-88. For German-language authors: S. SCHEIBE, Some notes on Letter editions: With special reference to German writers, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1986) 36-148. We recall that in Toronto (Canada) there have been "symposia" for "editing texts" for years, whose minutes are published regularly. Publications of the University of Nantes 1983. In English: F. Bowas, Some principies for scholarly editions of nineteenth-century American authors, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1964) 223-228; GT TRANSELLE, Some principies for editorial apparatus, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1972) 41-88. For German-language authors: S. SCHEIBE, Some notes on Letter editions: With special reference to German writers, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1986) 36-148. We recall that in Toronto (Canada) there have been "symposia" for "editing texts" for years, whose minutes are published regularly. in "Studies in Bibliography" (1972) 41-88. For German-language authors: S. SCHEIBE, Some notes on Letter editions: With special reference to German writers, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1986) 36-148. We recall that in Toronto (Canada) there have been "symposia" for "editing texts" for years, whose minutes are published regularly. in "Studies in Bibliography" (1972) 41-88. For German-language authors: S. SCHEIBE, Some notes on Letter editions: With special reference to German writers, in "Studies in Bibliography" (1986) 36-148. We recall that in Toronto (Canada) there have been "symposia" for "editing texts" for years, whose minutes are published regularly.

elements, the scholar may consider it as an attempt at "popularization" and "dissemination" which, therefore, totally escapes his interests.

This question I have already answered in part before: the editorial role that I have adopted is to offer a comprehensive and useful work tool, as much as possible, to researchers and scholars of the various disciplines. It will be said: But who needs all the annotations or explanations that precede or follow the text of the letter? Who demands that extreme scrupulosity to the text that, perhaps, prevents a fluid reading? The answer is: «nobody». But the text is not edited for a single person. It is published for a large number of people, including those who are not specialists in any discipline, those who know little or do not know anything about the history of Don Bosco and the origins of the Salesian Congregation, those who do not know much about the situation social, political, cultural, religious of Italy in the nineteenth century.

In other words, I will try to offer a critical, scholarly, scientific edition, but one that does not exude the access of the general public, reading followed by the honest reader, who is not necessarily a scholar or a bookworm. And since it is always difficult to resist the temptation to say everything, it is equally possible to write little for some and too much for others. As a general criterion for the writing of descriptive and explanatory notes, recourse will be had, more than to abstract rules, to the experience of others, to comparison, to the sense of measurement that arises from the purpose of maintaining even typographically in the foreground the document of gift Bosco and limit his illustration to what can be used to understand it.

But let's go back to the editorial principles we talked about.

2.1. The ecdotic recension

It is useless to stress that the ideal conditions of work, that is, all the autograph letters of Don Bosco, all the answers he received, and the documents that make it possible to understand the letters written and received well, have not been given to the correspondent in question. Although we have no right to raise any criticism of those who ventured to publish Don Bosco's letters before us, there is a fact: that both the compilers of the Biographical Memoirs and Don Cenia in the Epistolary published by him12 tried to ensure the content of the letters (and that was revealed, by
12 The 19 volumes of the MB gather in order, not always chronological, about 2360 letters. Of these, G. Luzi (SG Bosco, Lettere scelte, Torino, Paravia 1945) and the octogenarian E. Ceda served for the edition of the four volumes of the Epistolary of St. Giovanni Bosco (Torino, SET 1955-1959), in which 2845 texts are collected. Unfortunately, Don Cena, in spite of having had in his hands temporarily the originals of many letters by concession of the legitimate owners, almost in no case indicated the place in which said originals were found. That is why the person in charge of the critical edition, in many of the letters, will have to reproduce the
another part, not always philologically impeccable) without considering the continent's problem, that is, the archival support that is the only one that guarantees its authenticity and its value.

For this reason I have started with the rule that I do not believe that legitimacy can be doubted, that is, to see personally the autographs or, at least, their photocopies. Their search and collection has so far offered the abundant harvest of more than 3,000, "including those of few lines, to which must be added several hundred printed texts not supported by the manuscript meeting, but guaranteed by witnesses worthy of faith.

This is not the place to anticipate the archival history or the history of the handwritten or printed tradition of the letters. Suffice it to say that the laborious task of inventorying, the annoying classifications, the fruitful or disappointing investigations were made, for now especially in Italy, from indications of repertoires, lucky personal initiatives, exploratory surveys in hundreds of archives and public and private libraries , civil and ecclesiastical, in families that were reached thanks to social media. Obviously, it has not been neglected to resort to the announcement of this ongoing research in specialized magazines and the awareness of all the Salesian communities of the world. "
I also stop counting tasty or disconcerting episodes that I have witnessed, of mentioning acts of generosity and greed, of underlining the destruction of originals by the heirs' lack of care or by excessive devotion, of insinuating a bit of diplomacy to have the less copy of manuscripts kept by especially jealous collectors before the official publisher. I do not spend words to illuminate a non-secondary aspect of the investigation: the commercial one, made worse by the fact that many texts have passed the original borders and that the centenary has encouraged the career and the price of autographs by the antiquarians. A name for all: the famous London auction house, Sothebys, put a few years ago in the catalog and sold two original letters of Don Bosco, probably of not very notable importance.

text of its predecessor, without being able to verify the complete reliability of it. In addition, some letters preserve only a summary (due to a partial tradition) or a simple news of its existence. The dozens of letters published in: G. Bosco, Scritti spfiltuali, 2 vol., A cura di J. Aubry, Rome, Cittá Nuova 1976 (recently reissued in a single volume) were also taken from Don Cenia's correspondence.

13 With the conviction that the letters that should be published in the first volume (relating to the years 1835-1864) can hardly be found in foreign countries (which, on the other hand, are numerous, and not only in Europe), systematic search has been done, until now, only in Italian territory. Practically there has not been a newspaper or magazine of wide diffusion, that has not received the invitation to publish the news of the search in course. The celebrations of the centenary of the death of Don Bosco have also contributed to disseminate this news.


"The originals or the photocopies of the unpublished letters, conserved in the ASC at the moment more than a thousand, a certain number of which are of relevant historical value.

The still provisional census has evidenced, in any case, great chronological gaps, the final destruction or loss of important handwritten correspondence, 15 the seriousness of the damages that can be derived for the epistolary material and for the complete critical edition of a correspondence by private files of precise inventory.

The largest collections of originals are in the central Salesian file in the Vatican Secret file in the municipal archives of Turin in the central state archive in Rome, in some diocesan archives, especially the kingdom which was Saboya.16
The arrived documents offer a qualitative picture of remarkable diplomatic variety: it goes from numerous minutes to original holographs, apocryphal with handwritten signature in authenticated copies of different form, simple transcriptions of printed texts, unfortunately not irreproachable, to which the originals are missing, and that will have to be accepted for it.

2.2. The edition of the text

El objetivo de una edición crítica es dar al lector un texto auténtico y cuidado, de modo que lo pueda utilizar cualquiera que tenga algún interés por él. Si no fuese así, aun el más minucioso y completo aparato editorial resultaría falto de valor.

Think of the almost total lack of correspondence with mons. Fransoni, under whose jurisdiction Don Bosco worked for almost twenty years. Likewise, it has not been possible to consult, until now, the archive of Casa Saboya; that he should keep writings of great interest. Letters to central government authorities have been lost due to a series of circumstances. The transfer of the capital from Turin to Florence, and from Florence to Rome was one of those circumstances, and not precisely the most insignificant one. It would be an almost desperate attempt to recover the original manuscript of the dozens of missives sent to the Callori family (fortunately already published, in large part).

16 Regarding the search for Don Bosco's correspondence with the pope and the Roman curia, only in the secret Vatican archive should hundreds of fascicles be consulted scattered in a series of sources: Segreteria di Stato, Epistulae latinae, Epistulae ad princes, Spogli Cardinali, Nunziatura di Torino, Brevi etc. We must also add the archives of the Roman Congregations, whose funds have not come together in this secret archive: Congregazione dei Vescovi e Regolari, Propaganda Fide, Index etc. Bearing in mind the breadth and organization of the funds of the Vatican secret archive, the complexity of a thorough investigation can be understood. I have already given some. step in this direction; and some findings have been published in the magazine of the "Istituto Storico Salesiano" and in L ' azione mediatrice di don Bosco nella questione delle sedi vescovili vacanti in Italy from 1858 high morte di Pio IX (1878), in the volume: BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 251-328. The ASC is also in the reorganization phase and the possibility of discovering new letters or indications about them is not excluded. As regards the historical archive of the Turin City Hall, no special surprises are expected, since a somewhat large-scale investigation has been carried out in several funds: cf. the introduction of the recent study (in three parts): G. BRACCO (ed.), Torino e don Bosco, Torno, The ASC is also in the reorganization phase and the possibility of discovering new letters or indications about them is not excluded. As regards the historical archive of the Turin City Hall, no special surprises are expected, since a somewhat large-scale investigation has been carried out in several funds: cf. the introduction of the recent study (in three parts): G. BRACCO (ed.), Torino e don Bosco, Torno, The ASC is also in the reorganization phase and the possibility of discovering new letters or indications about them is not excluded. As regards the historical archive of the Turin City Hall, no special surprises are expected, since a somewhat large-scale investigation has been carried out in several funds: cf. the introduction of the recent study (in three parts): G. BRACCO (ed.), Torino e don Bosco, Torno,
Archivio Storico della Cittá di Torino 1989.

How to reproduce Don Bosco's letters? Exactly as such, without modifications or arbitrary interventions of the editor: that is, with the same philological criteria with which any other writing by an author would be published. If some error had to be corrected from the historiographical point of view, it would be necessary to resort to the "notes" of the footnote. The letter of the Piedmontese educator, as many know, is a reading problem: but for those who already have it as something familiar, the doubts are reduced almost only to the choice between a capital letter and a lowercase, to decipher a letter or a syllable that it seems (or maybe it is) one, but that it can not be more than another, to interpret a word that does not look good. Another thing is the problem, obviously,

In any case, our edition, which will not be of a diplomatic nature (but with modern photographic techniques and for nineteenth-century texts, does a diplomatic transcript still make sense?), Will reproduce the most philologically acceptable text of the letters, although "corrected" »With the minimum and indispensable punctuation and orthographic retouching, with the use of italics for the titles of the works or for expressions in other languages, with the inclusion of obvious lapsus calami (always indicated, on the other hand), and with a different division in paragraphs with respect to the original.

2.3. Editor's Notes

The articulation of the notes will be as follows:
1) The text of the letter will be preceded by descriptive notes. They will give all the information about the manuscript (or printed text) that is edited: file position, dimensions, possible color of paper and ink, conditions of preservation, special signs, postal stamps, diplomatic typology, previous editions appeared in the Biographical Memoirs or in the Epistolary published by Don Cenia, brief summary of the letter. Naturally, there is always the possibility that Don Bosco did not send the letter.

2) The device of the variants will be placed immediately after the text of the letter and the corresponding address. In cases where you have the minutes of the letter, it will be checked against the original autograph or the holograph, and therefore the critical device will present all the variants. Honesty demands that we say at once that in almost all cases, rather than interesting developments of ideas or substantial new contributions, these are additions or suppressions of limited interest, or formal corrections of evident little literary value. We hope that a set of variants of this genre does not constitute a solitary monument to the pedantic obsession of the editor, but that it could become a possible instrument of linguistic analysis and better knowledge of Don Bosco's character.

3) Finally, the historical annotations will follow, given the nature of the correspondence in question, will be placed above all in the line:
- of the biography, in relation to the many correspondents or characters cited, often unknown not only in national repertoires , but even in regional or local ones;
- of the archives, by the answers to each letter or for other documents referred to. It will help to note here that those who do not feel interested may overlook certain allusions, expressions or ways of speaking that, in turn, will interest those who are most aware of the "secret things" of those who belong to the spiritual family of Don Bosco ;
- of the chronicles or local historiography, by the events under way, their antecedents and consequences.

After the collation of texts, the most important problem is its timely and accurate illustration. The danger alluded to is to crush under the weight of excessive annotations the text of the letter, which is the moven of an edition. Subordinating, as is fair, my commitment to the writer, would like to systematically give all the necessary clarifications and nothing more. It is clear that, in relation to this indispensability, opinions are diverse. However, at best, the historical or explanatory notes will serve to identify the recipient, the characters and the places that are cited, to justify possible proposals of dates, to explain words or expressions of difficult understanding to a current reader of our days , to inform about some places, environments,

The linguistic and aesthetic analyzes, the historical interpretations, the judgments of value, the critical biography of Don Bosco will be left for those who are endowed with special competence. On the other hand, we will take advantage of these notes to give in extenso, in extracts or in synthesis, the letters to Don Bosco, in the case that they could serve to better understand those of Don Bosco. In the same way it will be done with many of the documents of a certain value, such as prommorias, bills, writings of diverse nature that, even without being letters proper, "it seems important to publish them with the correspondence. In the case of excessive extension, a documentary appendix may be used for this purpose.

'7 By' letter 'we mean a written communication from one individual to another, with a date and place of provenance, a place of destination, a characteristic beginning (incipit) and a conditional greeting, followed by the signature.

3. Conclusion

For some time I have raised a question of no small importance about the methodological plan: should I wait to collect all the letters before starting to publish the correspondence? Apart from the fact that no publication of this kind can ever be said to be complete, because the investigations will never be extensive enough, I am inclined to answer the question negatively by the fact that if I wait to have all the letters, I probably will not publish them. Never. The current difficult situation in dozens of libraries and archives, not to mention the impossibility of identifying the heirs or descendants of the recipients of hundreds of manuscripts, is the most tangible demonstration that Don Bosco's letters may appear in the way and in the place less thoughtful. "
Anyway, the fact should not create problem: it will always be possible to add supplements and, thanks to the indexes, place each letter in the same chronological sequence followed in the texts that were available at the time of the edition of each of the volumes . For the rest, I do not think there is better publicity than the publication itself.

The editor of the correspondence is perfectly aware of his lack of adequacy for this task, not easy, that has been entrusted to him and his recklessness in accepting it. The only special qualification that can show is that of age, which should allow him, Deo volente, to carry out the work in which he has embarked, and that he wishes it to become a precious contribution for a well-grounded interpretation of the meaning historical, in the Church and in society, of the personality and work of a man named Don Bosco.

18 Proof of this is that we have already received letters from different environments, and it is difficult to suspect the presence of Don Bosco's autographs: Madagascar, Canada, the United States of America, Guatemala, Czechoslovakia, etc. Not always the recipient of such letters resided in those locations; Sometimes the originals were taken there by missionaries who, in various ways, had come to take over them.


Raffaele FARINA

1. Brief historical news about the Archive from its beginnings until 1972 '

Among the first writings of Don Bosco we find a Regolamento per gli oratori festivi, composed between 1847 and 1852, of which the manuscript is conserved. The whole chapter IX is dedicated to the Archivist or Notary. ' He had, according to what he reads, the task of keeping the record books, keeping the music of the Oratory under lock, taking care of the small library of books chosen for youth, noting the name and address of someone who had borrowed some books and keeping an eye on them. so that no property of the Oratory would be lost. It is essentially a series of provisions taken from other regulations and which remained in Don Bosco's oratories, it seems, in a dead letter. The archives of the Salesian works arose, however, in an empirical way and with abundant documentation. Don Bosco used to keep what he considered important for the management and the memory of the events: his school folders, lists of young people, list of confirmed, of masses, settlements with printers; the theologian Giovanni Borel, his first collaborator already in 1846, carried and kept the accounts. Then Don Vittorio Alasonatti began to collect lists of acceptance, of catches and income, of school performance.

It is not yet the Archive of the Congregation, but it is insinuated already. To the papers that were produced by the official and social activity were added various testimonies about the activities of the Founder. Already in the years 1860-61, the young members of the nascent religious Congregation (among them, Ruffino, Bonetti, Francesia, Rua and others) felt obliged to form a commission to record the events that seemed extraordinary and the words of
Debo writing of this work to the generous and faithful collaboration of Don Vendel Fenyó.

Cf. P. STELLA, Archivio Centrale Salesiano, in: L. PASZTOR, Guida alíe fonti per la stork dell'America Latina negli archivi della Santa Sede e negli archivi ecclesiastici d'Italia, Cittá del Vaticano 1970, 521; V. FENYÓ, L'Archivio Salesiano Centrale, in RSS 4 (1985) 149-151.

See the 1877 edition in: OE XXIX, 49-50; cf. also: MB III, 104.

his superior and father, so that «nulla di quello che appartiene to Don Bosco cadesse im oblio» .4
The Archive follows the vicissitudes and development of the young Congregation and the Motherhouse of Turin-Valdocco. He was assigned a place on purpose, not always spacious enough, but good. The person in charge was from the beginning the General Secretary of the Congregation. There are no traces of any regulation or booklet that we illustrate about it. The fourth successor of St. John Bosco, Don Pietro Ricaldone, dedicates a number of the "Atti del Capitolo Superiore" to the archives. In it he talks about the archives of the Salesian houses. It stops at the provincial archives and limits itself to naming only the "Archivio Generale della Congregazione" .5
In the period after the last war, the idea of ​​a complete reordering of the Archive matured (it was an occasion for the name to be changed in "Archivio Centrale Salesiano"). It was equipped with metal shelves and especially a new title, inspired by the decimal system. The soul of the company was Don Tomás Bordas. He prepared the new classification plan, which had to be used interchangeably with the libraries and archives.6 Perhaps in view of its use in the libraries, many subjects, prepared with meticulous care, which compromised, were included in the new plan. less partially, the order essentially archivist, according to the nature of the contents: many materials, in effect, they were taken out of the enclosure in which they should have appeared and were placed in strange positions (files of each superior, different papers sent by the different dicasteries to the General Secretariat of the Superior Council, etc.). Thus, from the beginning, the criterion of file of provenance and even of chronology of the material of papers, which was deposited sometimes weekly in the Archive, was changed. This was slowly absorbing and confusing in one the Archive of "newspaper" and the history of a Congregation that already had world dimensions. that was deposited sometimes weekly in the Archive. This was slowly absorbing and confusing in one the Archive of "newspaper" and the history of a Congregation that already had world dimensions. that was deposited sometimes weekly in the Archive. This was slowly absorbing and confusing in one the Archive of "newspaper" and the history of a Congregation that already had world dimensions.

During its more than secular life, the Archive has had various denominations. At the beginning, the term "Archivio della Congregazione" or "Salesian Archivio" was used interchangeably. From the first decades of this century we have spoken of the "Archivio del Capitolo Superiore", an expression found in most of the papers preserved until 1972 From 1951 to 1985, it was called the "Archivio Centrale Salesiano" 7 and upon its entry into force the Rego
• MB VI, 861-863; VII, 129

• ACS (1943) n. 120, 279.

6 Cf. T. BORDAS, The decimal classification applied to the Salesian Congregation for its libraries and archives, in «Bulletin of the General Directorate of Archives and Libraries» 2 (1953) 14, 13-16.

• To tell the truth, the volume of Don Torras (see note 13) already bears the name "Archivio Salesiano Centrale". However, it seems that the change (which has been introduced in order to avoid confusion with the same acronym used by the periodic publication "Atti del Capitolo Superiore" [ACS]) became official only in 1985.

I regret, that of "Archivio Salesiano Centrale" .8
Under the dependence of the Secretary General of the Superior Council (today "General Council"), the following archivists have succeeded each other from the time of Don Bosco to the direction of the Central Salesian Archive. : 9
1. Don Gioacchino Berto (1847-1914): Secretary of Don Bosco until 1882. They helped him in his work as archivist Don Michele Rua, Don Angelo Lago, Don Giuseppe Lazzero, Don Francesco Dalmazzo and others. Also Don Carlo Viglietti (1864-1915), who succeeded him in 1882 as secretary of Don Bosco, was a collaborator in the careful collection and ordering of the writings that referred to the Salesian Congregation.

2. Don Giovanni Schlápfer (1884-1946): being a cleric student he helped Don Berto and, barely ordained priest on July 20, 1913, under the orders of Don Calogero Gusmano, secretary of the Superior Council (1912-1935), succeeded Don Berto as an archivist. He cataloged the Archive with the help of Mr. Giuseppe Balestra (1868-1942), private secretary of Mr. Rua. Don Schlápfer, even with empirical criteria, elaborated a careful ordering of the Archive, altered later by his successor. He was responsible for the Archive until

3. Don Tomás Bordas (1889-1968): worked at the Archive since 1926 and took the address in 1946, when Mr. Schlápfer died. He was assisted in the Archive by Mr. Johann Birkenbiehl and Mr. Luigi Tavano. He is remembered for the first systematic writing of a title holder of the Archive, inspired by the decimal classification of Dewey and for having collaborated in the transfer of the most important part of the Archive to the subways of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, to remove it from the possibility of destruction in the aerial bombings of the city during the Second World War.

4. Don Pietro Stella, a well-known scholar of Don Bosco, was with Don Bordas in 1961 and directed the Archive until 1965. He devoted himself especially to the organization and classification of the "Don Bosco Fund", from whose careful knowledge come his well-known historical works on Don Bosco

5. Currently, although with the degree of vice director since 1985, he has been managing the Don Vendel Fenyó Archive since 1965, with the help of, for some years now, Mr. Tarcisio Valsecchi and, recently, Mr. Jaroslav Polácek and Mr. Ambrogio Park. We should also remember here the address for two years (1980-1981), brief, but effective, of Don Ugo Santucci.i °
8 ACG 66 (1985) n. 314, 48-56.

9 A. MART / N, Jaén in the archives of Rome: Institutions of Geneva in the
Salesians Central Archive , in «Bulletin of the Institute of Giennenses Studies» 90 (1976) 6-7.

"Cf. Elenco Salesiani Don Bosco 1980/1981, vol.1, pp. 11-12 (Sectors and activities of the General

2. The problems that arise after the transfer to Rome (1972)

In 1972 the "Direzione Generale Opera Don Bosco" passed from Turin to Rome, in a new headquarters (via della Pisana, 1111, adjoining the "Grande Raccordo Anulare"), also carrying the Archive. The transfer and the new systematization took place, without problems, in a few months. Most of the documents were placed on metal racks, in "Resisto" containers, in a room, at least for now, large enough, heated with a temperature of 20 ° and humidity of 50 °.

The lack of space immediately forced an option that, after all, proved useful, as it was to remove from the Archive the so-called "Biblioteca storica" ​​of Turin-Valdocco, which he found, also, with the creation of the «Istituto Storico Salesiano» in 1982, and in 1985, with the systematization of the "Casa Generalizia" library, its definitive location. We must not silence here the deplorable fact that, in this separation, made without due control, some copies of works that were part of the so-called "Library of Don Bosco", that is, the library used by the saint, have been lost. during his lifetime. To this must be added the fact that a large part of this so-called "Library of Don Bosco" was still in Turin-Valdocco, separated from the other party transferred to Rome.

This has been one of the problems that the person in charge of the Archive, when arriving in Rome, in the years of the great crisis, had to face. The problem was repeatedly presented by Don Fenyii, especially in 1973, even with his characteristic discretion, in a memorandum and notes, which are known by those who in the last twenty years have had a relationship with the Archive or have dealt with it in some way. Studies on our Founder and on the Salesian Congregation ° Here we have some of the problems posed:
1. The decimal classification, made in 1951, had the merit of facilitating the search of the material by arguments and persons, but without adequately and adequately safeguarding the principle in archives, of the origin of the material. That is why it did not reflect the history, as it should have, nor the structures and competencies of the subject from which it collected and ordered the documenta1 material.
2. The classification plan, written with these criteria of decimal division, did not take into account the division that it was used in the Archives of the houses
"Cf. for example: V. FENYÓ, L'Archivio Centrale: difficoltá nella consulzione (15 aprile 1973); ID., I problemi of the titolario nell'Archivio Centrale Salesiano (2 maggio 1973). Cf. also:
J. HOMOLA, The Function of the General Segreteria of a General House in rapporto coll'Archivio, in a particolare mode with a current one (Lavoro di studio presentato nella Scuola di Archivistica dell'Archivio Segreto Vaticano 1973). This work, written by a Salesian, refers to the situation of the Archive of the General Salesian House.

Reading the work cited in note 6, it is clear that the criterion adopted by Don Bordas in the collection and arrangement of the material was that of a well-equipped "Press Office".

It is worth remembering that, when he assumed the position of archivist, Mr. Bordas came precisely from that type of office.

generalities, that is, the division into the three traditional nuclei of generalia, provincialia, personalia, although these could be deduced without great difficulty from the set of voices.

3. The consultation was difficult due to the lack of description and search tools. The only instrument was the owner, whose defects we have discussed before.

4. The material of the file was not divided with unique criteria. Much material of the same type was found in various sections.

5. The signing of the material was and is half done. In some parts or sections, it is well done. In others, less. For these reasons and for those mentioned in n. 3, the query requires that the archivist dedicate a lot of time to the search for the researcher-scholar service or that the scholar allows the direct search of the material, which is inadmissible.

6. The Archive regulations were missing and this created problems to which we have just referred; and others, such as the entry of material from the offices in the Archive and the classification of that material.

7. Some of the problems of the Archive were the result of the insufficient organization of the offices, which produce documents destined after the Archive.

3. The reproduction of the "Don Bosco Fund" on microfiches (1979-1980)

The section of the Archive that refers to the Founder, continuously consulted today, as it was from the beginning of the Congregation, requires the utmost attention. That is why it was thought to preserve its integrity by using microfilm. The work was carried out between June 1979 and June 1980 by the Spanish Salesian priest Don Alfonso Torras. It is 2,322 microfiches (150 x 104 mm.), Each of which contains 60 frames. Which means 139,151 pages of reproduced documents.

For an adequate use of this microfilmed Fund, the papers were numbered one by one, for vertical and horizontal placement on the microfiche: 5 rows of 12 frames per fiCha. Then it was imposed to make the index or catalog to identify each document located in the record. This last patient work of Don Torras was published afterwards printed in 629 pages. The consultation of this raicrofilmed Fund is possible, not only in the Central Salesian Archive, but also in many Salesian institutions of the world that acquired copies. "
13 ARCHIVIO SALESIANO CENTRALE , Don Bosco Fund, Microschedatura e descrizione, a cura di A. Torras, Rome, Direzione Generale Opere Don Bosco 1980.

"A. Torras, at the request of some Salesian Provinces, carried out, between 1980 and 1982, a second series of microfiche (149,090 photograms) of which, unfortunately, the guide has not published.

The realization of such a company, even with defects due to the non-complete organization of the Archive, deserves sincere gratitude. Not only has he achieved the end he intended to safeguard for posterity a precious treasure of the avatars of time (wars, fires, earthquakes, etc.) and daily use for consultation, but has made it practically available to scholars from all over the world, who do not always have the possibility to consult the originals in Rome.

Precisely an easier use of this microfilmed Fund suggests its second edition, when the computer programming of the "Don Bosco Fund" is done. It will then be possible to display on each card the signature of each document and provide a guide for the most intuitively accessible query. "

4. The recent systematization of the Archive (1984-1988)

The initiative of the reproduction of the "Don Bosco Fund" on microfiches is an example that shows a new climate.

The General Chapters, from the 1970-1971 Special, had made an invitation to renewal and given a stimulus to the study of the Founder's spirit and of the origins and, therefore, to the evaluation of everything that was received in writing . The refounding, in 1972, at the Pontifical Salesian University, of the "Centro Studi Don Bosco," which was a consequence of the Special General Chapter (see Acts No. 186), 16 and the foundation, can be recalled as more outstanding. 1982, in the General House of the "Istituto Storico Salesiano", in accordance with the deliberation of the General Chapter 21 of 1977-78 (Acts No. 105ff). "
The search and study requirement of the Salesian Historical Institute, just born, gave the definitive impulse to the recent systematization of the Archive, in whose preparation and implementation I have participated actively and directly. This was done in three stages: the preparation and promulgation of the Regulation, the preparation of its "computerization", the same "computerization".

15 Some indications on the organization of the "Don Bosco Fund" can be seen in: P. STELLA, Gli scritti a stampa di S. Giovanni Bosco, Rome, LAS 1977, p. 15-16.

16 Cf. Atti del Capitolo Generale Speciale XX, 457; R. FARINA, Leggere don Bosco oggi: note e suggestioni metodologiche, in: P. BROCARDO (ed.), The permanent formazione interpella gli istituti religiosi, Leumann (Torino), Elle Di Ci 1976, p. 356

17 Cf. the first issue of RSS 1 (1982).

4.1. The Regulations of the Central Salesian Archive (May 24, 1985) 18

Promulgated with a letter from the Rector Major, addressed to the Secretary General, 'the Regulation of the Archive contains its program of restructuring, which is being carried out for three years and which can be said to be substantially finished, if the fact that The inclusion in computer of all the material of the Archive will take a good number of years.

I think it is appropriate to highlight here some of the most important contents:
1. The constitution of a group of archivists, duly prepared, guided by a director and a deputy director, who are in charge of the organization, classification and inventory, codification and "computerization", besides the conservation of the documentation contained in the Archive (article 4-14). Up to this point, everything - responsibility and work taxed, almost exclusively, on the backs of a single person.

2. The division of the documentary material, made for practical reasons, into four sections: Historical file, Deposit file, Current file and File of reserved processes (article 15-16).

3. The detailed regulations for consulting the Archive (articles 17-27). In the letter of promulgation, the Rector Major determines the opening of the Archive to the consultation of all the scholars who request it, following the rules of the Regulation, until 1931, the year of the death of the third successor of Don Bosco.

4. The program of organization of the documentation contained in the Archive, which includes, above all: 1) census of all documents (registration and sealing); 2) collecting each document in numbered boxes and assigning a classification code, which refers to the classification plan of the Archive, and a placement number, which determines the identity of each document; 3) the entry of each document in the Archive; 4) the classification.

"Cf. ACG (1985) 48-49 The Regulation is following the letter (pages 50-56) When referring to this Regulation in the manual for the Provincial (L'Ispettore Salesiano: a minister per l ' animazione e il governo della comunta ispettoriale, Rome, Direzione Generale Opere Don Bosco 1987), Appendix 13 (p.547-558) confirms and updates the indications for provincial and local archives given by Don Ricaldone in 1943 (cf. note 5).

"However, as the problem of the single" protocol "for all sectors of the General House has not yet been fully resolved (nor is there, on the other hand, a Regulation prescribing, among other things, a more or less uniform to deliver the closed files), the Central Archive continues to have, in a contiguous place, a file that is, at the same time, a deposit and a current file (Reg., article 15, paragraph 3-4).

4.2. The preparation for the computer

This important work proceeded, with all the cautions due to being the first in this field, on three fronts at the same time. First of all, the Archive had to be prepared as such to such an important company. It was about solving the old problem of the separation of the historical Archive from the current Archive. This was done: 1) reducing the entries of the dispatches to the Archive to those established in the Regulation (Re g., Article 36) every six or twelve years and, in any case, when the processes are concluded and, therefore, not remove them again from the Archive or "inflate them"; 20 2) extracting, with a work that has lasted a total of about two years, all the folders and documentation of the Salesians alive, to form an ordinary Archive on purpose, completely new , located in an adjoining room and dependent on the General Secretariat and, in any case, completely independent and outside the Central Salesian Archive; 3) numbering all the boxes containing the documents, 2 'so that each of them can be assigned an individual number that refers to the box and the "shirt" or envelope in which it is.

The allocation of an individual alphanumeric abbreviation exclusive of placement to each document distinguishes the latter from any other and is the means to find it in the mass of documents preserved (about 2,500,000). The search should be done not as before, making local reference to the classification, but through the computer, making reference to the placement. Therefore, the procedures that have been entered will not be dismantled by placing the documents in different boxes according to the received classification, but will remain intact as they were deposited and will receive the initials of placement through which they can be found. This way it will be possible to consult, according to the usual norms and with the advantages that each historian knows the documentation exactly as it entered the Archive.

Meanwhile a system had been developed, unique for the Archive and for the General Secretariat, by assigning an alphanumeric code (with no more than six letters or figures) to both the houses and the Salesians since the beginning of the Congregation until today. It was the first step in the drafting of the document classification plan. This one received his last
20 This has required a long work of compulsation and revision of the names of the brothers, living and deceased, each of whom - to avoid all kinds of confusion and future misunderstandings - is contrasted with his own exclusive "alphanumeric code" (no more than 6 figures or letters). The "code" (eg 78A001) begins with two digits and a letter that refer to the year of entry into the Congregation (78A = 1878; 78B = 2078 etc.); they follow three figures, with which they are progressively indicated, from one onwards (001, 002, 003 etc.), the brothers who in that year entered the Congregation.

21 The numbering of the boxes goes from A000 to A999 in the first thousand; from Z000 to Z999 in the 25th thousand. In the numbering from 26 ° to 50 ° thousand the letter is passed at the end: 000A-999A, 000Z-999Z.

redaction on May 31, 1988 and constitutes the point of reference for the signing through the computer of the Central Salesian Archive.

While in the previous plan the titles were ten, now they have become twenty-three. They start with a letter of the alphabet, except those that refer to the brothers, who start, instead, by a number.

4.3. The process by computer

If the Archive had had the normal vicissitudes and difficulties in any other Archive, if it had been possible to have a sufficient record of it, perhaps we would not have embarked on the adventure of the process by computer. It is such that, at first, it discourages anyone. But we have not repented, although the road that has to be traveled is long. It would be even more so if we wanted to use traditional means to manage such a File.

Prepared the plan and fixed the placement and numbering of the documents, after a few months of filming, began the memorization (input) for each document (which can be a simple folio of notes or a set of sheets or pages), of the following information: Placement, Classification, Type of document, Date, Place of origin, Author (s), Recipient (s), Title / Summary, Support, No. of pages / pages, Presentation, Authenticity (Originals / Autographs), Publication (Yes / No), Search keys (refer to the classification plan: 32 possibilities).

The number of documents, calculated on the basis of 6,700 existing boxes in the Archive, each of which contains an average of 400 documents, is approximately 2,500,000. Calculating the number of voices for each document and the amplitude of some of them (eg, Title / Summary, search keys ...) one can make an idea of ​​the work and vastness of the task undertaken. The memorization of the "Don Bosco Fund" has been started: it is about 30,000 documents and it will end only in five years.

The advantages of this system are those presented by any signature (census,
ordination, placement, classification) and personnel savings, speed, accuracy and possibility of a type of search (univocal or crossed with two or more voices or fields) unthinkable with the traditional systems. It also guarantees the security of finding any document memorized by 99%.

While progress is being made in this task, the Archive remains open to the consultation of scholars, and archivists, even with this serious commitment, lend themselves generously to helping them find the documentation they need and, frequently, in their reading and interpretation. And in the meantime, I am pleased to reiterate from this prestigious rostrum that availability, and I ask for understanding for possible oversights and, above all, delays.


The Church lives and has lived in the present. But it is not a prey to it: the present is not its limit or its horizon; it is rather his condition. According to the formula of Vatican II, the Church is situated "in the world of this time," our contemporary, who walks at the pace of the men who model it.

To say Don Bosco is to say the last century, his time, difficult for the Church, and in that aspect very similar to ours and, nevertheless, very diverse. Another world, of which we can not give an idea of ​​truth. A world gone under the onslaught of two world wars and pressing technical transformations.

Don Bosco and the Church in the world of his time: I would not want to repeat here what historians know even too well, I mean, the vicissitudes of the great conflict between the Roman Church and modern society, the feeling of incompatibility puts one against the other with the same intransigence, without conciliation or reconciliation imaginable. The intelligence and generosity that a situation like that raises among Catholics so as not to be let down, to reconquer the lost ground and put things back where they can.

I intend to trace some clues to reflection and research at more modest levels, on which the research has still ventured too little.

1. The context

Political and religious history have shown themselves to be sensitive to the forces they were facing and to the internal and external conflicts that resulted from that opposition. Less attention has been paid, on the other hand, to the interests and all that constituted the putting into play of that struggle, except in their ideological translations. A category can help us, a term that is not new, which is, on the contrary, a current and classic category: that of culture, civilization.

Today we are already very sensitive to the pluralism of cultures and the history of civilizations. Anthropological curiosity and international evolution have helped us in this regard.

We remember that there was an era of Christianity and a dream of Christian civilization, updated from Lamennais to Maritain, if we can put it that way. The meeting of Christianity and these civilizations we see according to the mode of acculturation or inculturation; we think of Christianity as a meeting achieved within its limits and we think of Christian civilization as an increasingly problematic ideal. We deplore the clash of cultures that accompanies, with its destructive effects, the dissemination in the world of Western models. Christianity is not, however, certainly - or is not already - the image that the internal history of our European countries leaves us for two centuries until today.

And yet, that was precisely the time of a clash of cultures, like a frontal blow between two continents: a Kulturkampf It was the irruption that came to make a new civilization, based on reason, science, progress and democracy in the land of ancient Catholic civilization or, more generally, Christian.

This conflict is divided by us, or we interpret it. We evoke a climate of anticlerical hostility, a double process of secularization and dechristianization before which Catholicism reacts with a project of restoration of a Christian social order: a Church, in a word, with a look at the past and another in the future, but, in any case, strange and refractory to the present.

Our vision has been changing as the situation evolved and the figure of time, the relationship between the forces, the forms of struggle were modified. But this necessary realism has acted in our memory and our understanding of the past. And it is not just a night of memories that comes to lie on top, but it is the verdict of a trial. And severe. We ask the intelligence that we have now of the present and the surrounding world the key to understand what has preceded us. In such a game, one's own soul and one's identity are lost very soon. One becomes the color of the past. And it happens that this also worries us and then comes the time to accept a difficult lucidity.

I have had experience of this on the occasion of the centenary of the death of Fr. Emmanuel d'Alzon (1810-1880), founder of the Assumptionists, in the colloquium that I had to moderate on that occasion. A restricted colloquium, in which a hundred religious men and women of the Assumption met with about fifteen historians. An essential question - "How is it possible today to be a spiritual descendant of a founder like him, how can you be faithful to his spirit, to his message?" - hit the wall of university knowledge. And what congregation founded last century has not had to solve this question on its own account?
At that time it was reasoned by massive oppositions: Black Italy and White Italy, the two «Francias» (Voltaire and M. Homais and San Luis, Joan of Arc and the Crusaders). More profoundly, there remained an Augustinian interpretation of history, elevated above the two cities, an interpretation of which the Enlightenment maintained a secular controversy. The nineteenth century was more anti-Catholic, and even anti-Roman, than truly irreligious. Never before had there been such a proliferation of new Christianities, of prophets, of messiahs, of founders of religions, the greatest of the ephemeral times; their common inspiration was always the search for a religion of humanity, which could not appear to the followers of historical Christianity except as blasphemy, aberration and contradiction in its terms.

Within the Catholic Church, the response was generally ambivalent. On the one hand, he still felt in a dominant position, because of his position in the institutions and in the number of faithful that he had. On the other hand, however, he had gone through a revolution for which he had to pay a high price. The Church felt threatened by a protean and omnipresent enemy, who patiently undermined and corroded its influence; an enemy who acted in the open, but who also plotted in the shadow of sects and secret societies. How could you think of im commitment, a compromise, a conciliation? The cynical possible rule was intransigence, with the discipline and concentration that often accompany it.

Una intransigencia así se funda también en varías ambigüedades. La primera pone al descubierto una relación de incertidumbre. La Iglesia se siente todavía en posición mayoritaria, expuesta al riesgo permanente de perder un día — ¿próximo o lejano? — esa posición para despertarse en minoría; pero al mismo tiempo se siente ya aquí y allí minoritaria. La segunda es una cuestión de valoración. ¿Cómo se puede pertenecer al propio tiempo, a lin tiempo que parte de puntos inaceptables, rechazando toda nostalgia por lo que ya ha pasado definitivamente? ¿Y cómo tener en cuenta los hechos pasados sin legitimar al mismo tiempo el juego de la violencia y el derecho del más fuerte en la historia, sin sacrificar un pasado que fue grande y que sigue siendo respetable; sin, en una palabra, renegar de sí mismos?
De aquí las incertidumbres, las perplejidades, las divisiones y las contradicciones entre los católicos. En los extremos se encontrarán, por una parte, una intransigencia blanda, modulada — los católicos liberales que invocan la hipótesis oficial sin renegar de la tesis en marcha — y, por otra, una intransigencia paroxística, activada — los católicos «apocalípticos», que ponen la tesis común dentro de una hipótesis sobrenatural, más segura a sus ojos que la liberal: venganza divina, penitencia y arrepentimiento, profecías y visiones, grandes y pequeñas maniobras satánicas, catástrofes sangrientas y terribles.'
! Por ejemplo, la profecía de Prémol, que tanto se ha divulgado: «Quels sont ces bruits de guerre et d'épouvante qu'apportent les quatre vents? Le dragon s'est jeté sur tous les Etats et y porte la plus effroyable confusion. Les hommes et les peuples sont levés les uns contre les autres. Guerre! Guerre! Guerres civiles, guerres étrangéres. Quels chocs effroyables! ». Por «dragón» hay
Los segundos elevaban la voz, alzaban el tono, cargaban las dosis. Un clima de este género hacía cada vez menos posible la linea de los católicos liberales, reforzando la oposición católica a la modernidad, endureciendo la identidad católica, facilitando el cierre de filas y la movilización de las fuerzas católicas. En una palabra, hizo neta la división de los campos. Hizo sentir su peso en la relación de fuerzas, sin hacer avanzar la solución de los problemas y empujando al campo contrario a los católicos — numerosos — que veían de otro modo la sociedad moderna y lo que en ella podía ser una vida religiosa.

I make an allusion here to the henchmen of what I have called bourgeois Catholicism, different from liberal Catholicism in the fact that they did not admit their intransigent thesis. For him, Christian faith and life are, above all, facts of conscience, a matter of private and family order. Only the influence of the individual has the right to act in society. Thus, in the nineteenth century, two types of Catholicism, reciprocally irreducible, were established, of which the Roman Church recognized only one, while the second had to remain unknown to historians and sociologists, given the initial impossibility of identifying it. What was known about it casually is far from making us understand its real importance. '
At the antipodes of a testimonial religion and a conquering apostolate, this interior Christianity, dry and reserved, rather than defining a category, points out a temperament.3
It could even reach a mystical life, of which we have numerous testicles to understand the "revolution" » Cf. also the investigation initiated by PG CAmmiaz, 11 diavolo, Rome e la rivoluzione, in «Rivista di Storia e Letteratura Religiosa» 3 (1972) 485-516.

2 Is it necessary to repeat that this "bourgeois Catholicism" is not the religion of the entire bourgeoisie, nor of the bourgeoisie itself, but is the conception of the role and place of religion that appeared with the bourgeois spirit and was developed by this, in intimate symbiosis with your economic activity? Max Weber had associated the latter with the Protestant ethic: in this sense, bourgeois Catholicism is an authentic Protestantism from within. The Catholic rigorism that surpassed Jansenism was an expression and a vehicle of it, beyond its place of origin. Alfonsianism and Salesianism were a late antidote to the former in the very environment of its origin. Only a positive and biographical research can get us out of generic affirmations and give the model a historical and spiritual equivalent. B.

3 "Au plus profond et au plus pur de us coeurs fidéles, nous tendons tous a une religion sans église, sans sculpture et sans peinture": the observation is of the Dominican PA Couturier, precursor of the renewal of religious art. Cf. La vérité blessée, Paris, Plon 1984, p. 311. Of such externalities between two cultures we could look for a testimony in a recent best-seller of a rural parish priest of Normandy: B. ALEXANDRE, Le horsain, Paris, Plon 1988 (in the collection "Terne Humaine" directed by J. Malaurie) . He has spent his life in Pays de Caux, observing the customs and traditions of its inhabitants to his liking; but the "foreigner" always remains for them: a tradition that has not changed much as much as one can go back in time, a Catholicism that, on the other hand, has changed a lot since the last generation, and peasants who seem to have no inner life. Evidently, the author has not read Maupassant, which presents a completely different image of these peasants; but that he felt, between them, like at home.

raoníos. More frequently, it was a religion of silent convictions and practices marked between the cradle and the grave, in which, however, "the priest does not enter"; The priest was not asked to "play his part". And yet, it is this faith, shared, despite a background of divergences on the place that should be given, which explains the long persistence of a moral common to the "two camps". And it is precisely the acceptance of this morality that allows Jules Ferry in France, in 1882, to make lay programs of public primary education. He is convinced that it is possible to suppress the religious foundations of morality without impairing its imperative force and its social evidence. The teacher, after the same as before, will continue teaching "the good old moral of our parents, ours, yours,

A single identical moral? It would be necessary to begin to distinguish between a moral coming from the Enlightenment, not very widespread yet, privilege of a select social group, and the moral of the Decalogue, founded on the Judeo-Christian tradition, on which Le Play and Ferry were in agreement, adversaries in the rest: «Be obedient, do not tell lies, do not steal, do not kill». However, here too, Catholic morality and secular morality could be well distinguished (the French Parliament will soon make the experience by voting in 1884 on the laws that introduced divorce). The first, even abandoning the previous rigorism, certainly did not become less strict and demanding, to the point of distancing the faithful from the confessional. She wanted to be stern and austere, which allowed her to judge the other easier and more accommodating. This is, however, a unilateral point of view, that an investigation on the secular moral - Cinderella of our studies - will have to rectify. The latter, in fact, also had its sensitive points, on which it was not willing to give way and in which it could find pascalian accents to whip up the Catholic laxity. Each of the two has, in short, its particular profile. What else can we say?
On these issues, the lack seems general. We know well the various systems of moral philosophy formed throughout the past century. The history of customs, between modes of action and mentality, seems to attract vocations and begins to display its curiosity. But the intermediate space remains to be filled completely. Outside of any theorization, what ethical energies move those social groups that sometimes clash so harshly over ideas and interests? How do they feel indebted to the faith and morals of the Catholic Church? Do all descend from one and the same understanding of Christianity?
For a long time the divergence seemed subtle: one knew that one differed on the beliefs, but they felt to participate of the same moral one. Ethnologists and sociologists will not scratch this widespread conviction: it shows, it is true, that our moral is not universal, that we need to relativize it through the history of cultures and civilizations, but it still stands that has taught them the way He who does nothing but precede them. In fact, the divergence will be consolidated as this universality is ceded, as new situations make traditional schemes jump and new problems come to provoke conflicting answers, for example, between the morality of the Church and the legislation of the State.

Immorality and amorality (two recent terms: 1845 and 1907 for the French) are listed as perversions or singularities. Each man, his morality, according to the way he has to see the world, society, others; a mode more or less capable of analysis, more or less internalized. This morality can not be reduced, from above, to the ideology of which, on the other hand, it is inseparable. Very specifically, it is a deontology, a knowledge received about what should be done according to the moments and circumstances to behave in society according to the laws of common living. Belongs to the heritage of this community, its culture; In this sense, there is truly a moral culture that structures the personality of its members.

Like the Roman Church, modern states have cherished the dream of unifying the particularisms of every order existing within them. Neither that nor they have achieved it perfectly: they have had to reach agreements, channel this inner diversity. But this and these have had, in addition, to face an unforeseen problem: political, social and religious internal dissensions appeared after the great revolutionary storm that for forty years (1775-1815) shook the foundations of old Christianity, from the Americas to Russia. France was only the most dramatic epicenter. The Restoration failed to restore the past, and the Vienna treaty was the record of the events. Everything had changed, but nothing had been resolved, and the news kept reminding him,

In this game, the Church was implied by two titles: as Church, with its spiritual power, and as Papacy, by the temporal power over its own States. The Revolution, already situated in the most intimate and at the origin of modern society, presented itself at the same time as radical evil and as the absolute enemy. As Donoso Cortés will write, the Revolution drags blind blind humanity into a labyrinth from which no one knows the entrance or the layout. And Newman: "No medium between Catholicity and Atheism." The most serious and most worrying atheism is not then that of individuals who profess the denial of God; it is, on the other hand, the "social atheism", that of States and Governments that refuse to recognize the rights of God over society, the social kingdom of Jesus Christ and the public place without equal of his Church;

From this moment, history forces a decisive option. It puts everyone before an immense and inevitable «or ... or ...». Or Christ and his Church, or the Revolution with two literary variants: o Christ or the gun, or Christ or nothing. The Revolution ends in anarchy and nihilism. It began in liberalism and these have given rise to socialism; the "o ... o ..." is accompanied by a radical "ni ... ni ...": neither liberalism, nor socialism. The first is the error-father, who could drag the deception to the best, but today, crushed and submerged in the second, has no future. The great challenge, the decisive battle is now announced between socialism and Catholicism.

In 1866, Bishop Dupanloup, Bishop of Orléans, liberal of fame, had published a pastoral letter On the evils and signs of the times. Pius IX thanked her with a short compliment:
In your letter you have described and deplored, with strength that equals reason, the innumerable evils, worthy of all our tears, which in these calamitous times afflict and disturb the Catholic Church and human society so lamentably. You illustrate, strongly condemning it, the hateful war that the unbelievers of all places have declared to God, to his Church and to the holy doctrine. So have the condemned sects and the makers of revolutions. With pain you enumerate and stigmatize the guilty and innumerable maneuvers, the dangerous opinions, the errors, the perverse doctrines with which these enemies of God and of Humanity, daring persecutors of all truth and all justice, would want - if they could - to ruin the Catholicism, shake the foundations of civil society, corrupt the spirits,

Faithful picture of a state of mind and a perception of the situation very extended then. Four years later, the taking of Rome, the end of temporal power, will take place and the Pope will be "prisoner" in the Vatican. The following year, the commune of Paris. The Catholic conscience will be strongly marked by these two dramatic events that "also inaugurate a new phase of laicization of society." 4 Mons. Dupanloup is on the trail of a true and proper retraction, and manages to overcome Donoso Cortés in his criticism. to the new liberals, as attested by a second pastoral letter, the same year of 1866, on atheism and social danger:
I know you, you and your moral aspirations. If tomorrow becomes your advantage, it will be the principle that triumphs; if tomorrow it turns against you, it will be the enemies: let's throw on them without mercy!
He is accused of chaquetero, of burning what he had worshiped. And yet, it is not like that: he does not deny his hopes. He confesses his disappointment and explains the reasons he has for it, highlighting the misunderstanding about modern society. This is not for everyone what it has always meant for him: "civil equality and just liberty, respected power, European peace and its
It is the reaction of mons. Roncalli, future Pope John XXBIE, then nuncio in Sofia, in a letter to the sister, on February 24, 1929, after the agreements of Lateran, and of the Conciliation that put an end to the thorny Roman question: «Le Seigneur soit Béni! Tout ce la francmagonnerie, c'est-a-dire le Diable, ont entrepris depuis soixante ans contre l'Eglise et le Pape en Italie a été réduit à néant "(Lettres á ma famille, Paris, Ed. Du Cerf 1969, p 195).

fertile works, the moral and material improvement of the condition of the workers, of the peasants and the poor, the dignity of the customs, the approach of the spirits and of the hearts in the Christian civilization ». A Catholic liberalism is clearly seen, tempered by an intransigence of principle that remains intact and that the hard lessons of experience put again in the foreground:
No, I do not attack modern society, I tremble rather for the future society. .. We had all had a beautiful dream. Everyone, whatever our origin, whatever our inclinations might have been, we seemed to sail together towards a wonderful land, promised to our efforts and which we called 19th century, modern society ...

And I also accuse! I ask the powerful what they have done about freedom; I ask the sophists how they interpret it. I ask the enriched ones what they have done with the loan; I ask opulent youth and those favored by fortune what they have done to the dignity of customs. I ask the corrupting press what has become of the word, if it has been given to pervert or to enlighten. I ask the many who believe themselves to be representatives of modern society, why they make it supportive with their chimeras and their impieties ...

And I shout, and I accuse you, those who have changed my dream into a terrible nightmare ...

In this public space called society, a truly Catholic space is designed in such a way that it ceases to be identified with it as the principle of national confessionalism - cuius regio eius et religi o - has been yielding to the imperative of modern liberties. , the one of conscience and the religious one in the first place. This Catholic space is structured by a double polarity: one positive and one negative; a weak pole with weak attraction and a strong pole with strong repulsion. Between them, a permanent tension and a swinging oscillating movement. The Syllabus, of 1864, will symbolize the acme of the non possumus of the Church to modernity, and will constitute the great reference - the Magna Charta - of the Catholic social movement that will be developed under Leo XIII.

In its grand lines, this historical process is now well documented; and many monographs, of all kinds, have come to illustrate it. What remains dark is what happens along this continuous movement of attraction-repulsion that self-conserves without ever stopping; the transformations that take place in this great Catholic body without suffering its internal structure, nor its relative position, nor its doctrinal orientation. This time, motionless on the surface, has motivated for many years the equivocal feeling of an immobile Church, vulnerable in its earthly platform, but inaccessible in its substance to the accidents of history. Just as it has disguised the incessant elementary movement of action and reaction that animates in its own way each of its members and torments it in its own body, distracting us from the modifications in
rofundidad that sooner or later had to appear. What is changing in the Church little by little is the state of its culture: guarded, framed, protected whatever is wanted by the Catholic authorities, but also exposed to all the influences that soak the Christian people. The Catholic space is not a closed space in itself. No watertight compartment manages to isolate it. The negative character of the judgment given by the Church to the principles that govern civil and political society does not succeed in attracting it to a world flight or interrupting reciprocal exchanges with the world outside it. The Church gives and receives. I could not live in this world without that exchange because, first of all, I would betray its mission, its reason for being here below.

From this exchange it will suffice to remember only what derives from the initiative and from Catholic generosity or, on the contrary, the failures and crises that put the air to an imminent insufficiency, an exaggerated attraction for dangerous companies; an exchange that - authentic communicatio in culture - needs to be studied in itself. This communication supposes a pair in opposition: on the one hand, a common culture that allows communication; on the other, on that basis, two cultures that face each other, separated by their own character. Throughout the nineteenth century, if on the one hand the Catholic culture manages to maintain itself, there is a whole new culture that also manages to be constituted, outside and against it, the so-called liberal, secular or modern, depending on the case, waiting for that another third, the socialist, especially the workers, will develop

2. Don Bosco and the Salesians in France

All roads lead to Don Bosco, and this one in particular: I knew it since I undertook it, without suspecting that it was going to be so long. I chose it thinking about everything that the radiant personality and the great work of Don Bosco could make us forget: not so much the incomprehension and resistances that it had to endure, as its deep causes, this emancipated culture of Christianity, which was its land of cultivation . We are facing an important phenomenon, very neglected, undervalued and poorly studied. I will take a late, but suggestive example: the crime of congregation, in France, at the beginning of this century, in the climate of anticlericalism that in 1905 led to the separation of Church and State.

The Franco-Galician tradition in this matter goes back to the Ancien Régime: I
refer to my work Modernistica cap. 111: "Le Catholicisme commits culture", and chap. IV: «Catholicisme et modernité», Paris, Nouvelles Éditions Latines 1982.

every religious congregation had to be authorized. The Revolution sprouted the votes and suppressed the congregations. These begin to reappear in the Empire and, later, in the Restoration. But the rule follows: congregations have to be authorized. Five congregations were immediately approved: Lasallians (brothers of the Christian Schools), Spiritists, Vincentians, Sulpicians and foreign missions in Paris. Until today they are still the only ones authorized. The others remained de facto congregations, tolerated by successive governments.

After 1880, with the arrival of an anti-clerical republican majority, the open war continued with the tacit commitment: the "secular laws" follow each other, the congregations jump to the forefront. Two decrees of the government (1901 and 1902) oblige the congregations to regularize their situation with a request for authorization on which one of the two Chambers should decide. They decide on the behavior they must adopt: among men, 61 accept and 68 reject it. The prime minister, Emile Combes, forms two groups: 54 petitions are sent to the deputies, who reject them in block without examining them; 6 go to senators who undertake a thorough survey.6
In the then prevailing climate, being in the Senate to be heard by the senators was a privilege and almost a testimony of benevolence. Two missionary congregations (among them, the White Fathers), two contemplative congregations (the Cîteaux of Citeaux and de Lerins), a hospital congregation (the brothers of St. John of God) and, finally, the Salesians enjoyed the privilege. The president of the commission was Clémenceau. Before following the guidelines of the government, the commission expurgated, verified, made domiciliary records, discussed. A yes modulated to the first five, a non-global to the Salesians: 10 votes against 4 in the commission, 158 against 98 in plenary session.

The Salesians had been in France since the 75s, and had opened some twenty houses (of which two in Algeria). They had prudently secularized eight; They requested, therefore, twelve authorizations. As they appeared with the strength of almost 250 works in Europe and South America, the government saw them as "one of the most powerful congregations in the world", and "their spirit of expansion, which some call invasion and hoarding", inspired by a "cosmopolitanism foreign to the French soul" was a concern.

Historians will not be surprised at this rancid "chauvinism" in the face of Italian immigration (racism has taken its place and perpetuated its tradition), but because this fact at the state level is not an everyday matter. But it is but a feature of hostility towards the Salesians:
We are undoubtedly among those who believe that, like science, charity has no homeland and we would not put any obstacle to the development of a humanitarian work.
6 The 61 'congregation - one small provincial congregation dedicated to the care of the sick - had an unexpected destiny: their documentation was linked to that of the homologous female congregation.

just because it comes from a foreign country. But it should be an authentic work of charity; character that the work of the Salesians does not seem to have.

Much noise and few nuts: this is the secret of their pseudoorfanatos.

Each of them is in a building that, like everything else, comes from public charity: it is maintained, first and foremost with pensions, both those paid by the family, as well as by charitable people (lao gratuity is so exceptional, that it can be said that it does not even exist) and p the product of the work of the boys and, mind, of alms and subscriptions.

The child is exploited: it is demanded of 'é1 - and in deplorable conditions of hygiene and salubrity - an overproduction; In addition, he is specialized so that, when leaving, he does not have, in practice, any trade. Add that it costs almost nothing, because your pension is paid by third parties; and, therefore, it is a pure source of income. Thanks to the gratuity of the workforce, to the amount of work produced due to an exaggerated specialization, to the fiscal advantages obtained by its charitable association status, it is easy to understand the complaints that occur in all areas in that these works work. Depending on the occasion, typographers, publishers (and what about publishers! All their publications are directed against our institutions), wine merchants, liquors, pharmaceutical products, their economic activity is disastrous;

Affected by the gravity of these claims, the senatorial commission felt obliged to verify them. The religious who were heard failed to be sufficiently persuasive. The Treasury claimed the fees due and not paid. The prefects issued an unfavorable opinion or abstained. Ten municipal councils spoke in favor, but without discussion and without giving reasons. During the visit, the works offered an unequal situation: good in Paris and deplorable in three cases.

Two main complaints summarize the situation, one economic and the other political. «The charitable appearance» conceals «a commercial and industrial enterprise», at the same time encouraging a harsh incitement to civil war. «Many good people and among the least hostile to the congregants in general» gathered «to restore to the Salesians of Don Bosco their true face of monks who hide and nourish their appetites and their commercial instincts under the cloak of religion and disinterestedness charitable":
We must not be afraid to affirm it, because this is the pure truth. Yes, the Salesians of Don Bosco have opened workshops, works of Oratory where, under the skillful guidance of expert teachers, they teach the young people entrusted to them a trade. It is true that they manage to make these young people excellent workers. This is not what we reject. But we can also affirm with certainty that at the end of two or three years of apprenticeship or practice, these apprentices become workers capable not only of making the congregation recover the expenses that teaching has meant, but also of offering economic advantages. with the work they do on their own in the following years.

Saviors of lost childhood? Youth educators? Viewed closely, his aura dissipates. There remains his banal, ordinary aspect of industrialists who seek the benefit of the masters over the employees. With many advantages compared to the lay industry: the gifts of the pious souls, a regime of community life with reduced material demands, low salaries, wide tax exemption. «Do not be delusional, the Salesians! This situation of combat, of struggle, which they have adopted against the secular industry, in the world of work, has contributed not a little to alienate them the sympathies that, on the other hand, could accompany them today ».

On the political level, there would be no doubt for anyone reading a collection of "Lectures Catholiques", monthly booklets published by the Salesian Bookshop, and in Italy, for close to fifty years before. An example, from August 1899, after the acquittal of Fratel Flamidien, in jail for five months, under slanderous accusation, and subjected to "moral tortures that overcome the refined cruelty and physical torment of the ancient Neros":
Did he come by end the hour of God? Freemasonry is defeated by the war waged against the teaching of the congregations. The Great East falls down in the Great West !! Howl if you want, jackals: your defeat will not be less complete!
[...] Freemasons have suffered misfortune in their departure against the hyssop; Will they be less fortunate in their fight against the sword? They have not managed to start the sentence for Fratel Flamidien. Will they now be able to snatch an absolution for Dreyfus? Ah, what a deplorable thing! And how cleverly the Hebrews have managed to weave their woven ...

In this way of writing we can deduce the way in which the Salesians were defended by their friends. A combative style that called Combes «Tartufo», «treacherous priest», who saw in his bill nothing less than a defamatory libel, which had to be kicked, covered with ignominy for its perfidy ... If Dom Chautard, abbot of Sept-Fonds, had managed to convince Clémenceau and earn his esteem, that was certainly not denigrating his enemies, but extolling the secular work of the Trappists in favor of the country, in the most unpleasant situations. In these conditions, the verdict arrives. The great successes obtained by the Salesians in the exhibitions does not prevent his work from being "simply for profit motive", without deserving gratitude or favor, since "anybody" and "outside any congregation" could do the same.
We must recognize the senators the seriousness and loyalty with which they made that statement. Nothing allows to doubt it. To begin by disqualifying them as sectarian and perfidious is to radically prevent us from understanding what happened; it is to replace our good conscience - the conviction of being in the truth and of doing good - by attention to the world and the society that surrounds us; is to close ourselves to all possible and necessary analyzes; is to grant us undue and, after all, burdensome facilities.

Cf. Journal Projets de lois, propositions et rapports. Sénat. Séance du 22 juin 1903, p. 468-471 (annex n '. 192).

And yet, in this investigation, this debate and its conclusions raise questions. In the background missing valuation elements. There are no figures: neither of alms, nor of salaries, nor of expenses, nor of presumed benefits. Whether or not there was control of the accounting of the works, we totally ignored how that accounting was carried out. At the very least, the rapid expansion of the Salesians and the evident quality of their facilities can be interpreted as external signs of their prosperity.

The political interference is nothing more than an aggravating circumstance. The "congregants" have a solid reputation as opponents of the Republic. The accusation of employer exploitation of abandoned youth derives less from a real interest in it than from its immediate consequences: an economic competition that distorts market laws, penalizing industrialists and merchants who do not enjoy this advantage. The investigation has not discovered any other accusation: neither on the part of the families, neither on the part of the apprentices, nor on the part of the teachers of the workshop. If we are at what appears, the Salesians respond to needs and manage to give them satisfaction. If in it not all agree, it is due to the fact that they clash with interests. They could have been forgiven for the fact that they behaved like masters to their employees if the real masters had not had to suffer their disloyal effects. Salesian morality ignores and injures the deontology of businessmen.

Church and bourgeoisie: new episode of a never resolved dispute, of a periodically agitated history, of a sometimes tumultuous antagonism.8
Ideology versus ideology, principles against principles, it is clear; but also culture against culture. Political culture, with all evidence; but even more general culture, of a somewhat social genre, that is not learned in school, a culture that, on the other hand, is the concrete way of living the daily vicissitudes of existence and that must be reflected day by day. In our case, for the Salesians, the experience and the horizon of a popular environment steeped in tradition and Catholic spirit, at the antipodes of the secular republican ideals lived by an enlightened and progressive bourgeoisie.

The investigation revealed, outside Paris, "deplorable hygiene and sanitation conditions." It's possible; more likely. But according to what criteria? Not a single word is said. In contrast, perhaps, with public institutions, which are not even mentioned here? Or is it just a reflection of gentlemen who are accustomed to a better way of life? What could the young people who were staying there think, based on the experience they could have about it in their homes? And who cared for them and who cared best?
8 I must refer at this point to my book: Église contre Bourgeoisie, Paris, Casterman 1977.

These are very specific questions that our documentation suggests and we do not know how to respond to. Our focus is on the problems and conflicts that are generated and their development continues. But how are these great clashes gestated in the depths of the social body? This mysterious alchemy that operates in ordinary human relationships requires curiosities not yet sufficiently awakened.

One last question remains: the hostility that manifests itself here towards the Salesians, is it a typically French fact? Is it in Italy and elsewhere? Is it based on the same reasons? And if it has not happened in other countries, what is the reason? It seems that the reactions were everywhere complex and can not be summarized in Turin, Fiat and Agnelli. The same Catholic environments are not unanimous either.

«We have overcome a certain triumphalism, of other times», said recently the vicar of the Salesians of Lyon, author of a story of the Salesians.9 No doubt; was necessary. But, attention to the concomitant risk of losing their understanding, of judging anachronically or paradoxically, like the senators, without getting to understand them better.

Two mentalities of an era collided, each convinced of its own right. Our age is far from both, and we realize that it is better that way. But would not it be even better if we knew how to assume that past without complexes, without exclusions, without disqualifications, and integrate it into our present?
Today the passions seem already appeased, judging by the unanimous tribute that has surrendered to the founder of the Salesians in this year 1988. It would be very beautiful. Let's say that they have moved ...

«Saint John Bosco: a life full of boys» which is «an immense cry of the heart inspired by the Gospel». This was the title, on March 25, 1988, "Pélerin Magazine", a French Catholic weekly more than a hundred years old, of which Don Bosco could witness the first steps in the last years of his life. An example always alive and contagious at the service of youth, as witnessed throughout the world by his religious family. Numerous, impressive, efficient performances ...

What voice out of tune would dare to spoil this concert of praise? And yet, what an infinite distance separates us from what Don Braido described as the operative project of Don Bosco and l'utopia della societa cristiana (1982)! Utopia, precisely, like that of Leo XIII, like all perspectives of "new Christianity" whose historical ideal was still flourishing. And also, eschatological utopia by nature.
9 Cf. M. Wirth in «L'Actualité Religieuse dans le Monde», February 1988, p. 36

The utopia of Don Bosco, with his conquering optimism, cut short the catastrophism that was nourished then a whole apocalyptic Catholic position. It was also distinguished from the model built by the Catholic movement since the 1970s. Without a doubt, all this was due to the personal choice that he had to make internally between the rigorism of his clerical formation and the Salesianism of his personal vocation.

Hence the new spirit that he instills in the heart of the Catholic world, to which he belongs with all its fibers. From his "intransigentismo" as from his modernity - false debates, pioneering perspectives, necessary distinctions - everything has already been said, and well said, F. Traniello, M. Guasco, P. Scoppola, P. Bairati. And I'm not going to go back on it. But it is precisely the new spirit of this Salesianism that we will never finish scrutinizing, in its secrets, in its virtues: a new, open and attractive face, of the traditional Catholic intransigence.


Juan María LABOA

1. Don Bosco in the context of the Restoration

Don Bosco was a man who clearly reflected the characteristics and peculiarities of the Restoration, anti-Jansenism and anti-Calicanism. Sufficient, probably, this shallow judgment, repeated by some of his best scholars to fit the figure and his edesiological thinking; But what does this statement mean, in fact, not only too general but, above all, susceptible to qualifications and interpretations of different caliber?
There are various factors that contributed to focus on the issue of authority the discussion of the acute problems posed to the Church by the postulates of the Enlightenment and the ravages caused by the Revolution in the various Churches. I will point out two that seem fundamental to me:
one. The realization that the Revolution left behind a lot of ruins, and the conviction that the chaos produced was a consequence, above all, of the rejection of the principle of authority or, at least, of having cast it into oblivion.

two. In the face of political, social and religious disorder, the man of the nineteenth century longed to obtain new guarantees of security in the cultural and religious field. From this approach it was easy to conclude with the conviction of the need for submission to the authority of the Church, and with renewed interest in an edesial centralization that would annihilate centrifugal movements. I would like to recall here two distinguished representatives of this position.

José de Maistre presented the papal authority as an inescapable postulate of the European restoration. His ecclesiological conception can be summarized in these two theses: first, the Church must be understood in total analogy with political society, and, second, the Church finds its full concentration and fulfillment in the Pope, and this infallible.

* This paper was written and read in Spanish by the author (nde).

Don Bosco cites this step in his Simia d'Italia and points out: "Nelle sovrania teniporali l'in
" There can be no human society without government, nor government without sovereignty, nor sovereignty without infallibility ". ' Probably, his approach was much more political than theological, and his interest in emphasizing the pontifical authority had clear antecedents in his rejection of whatever he remembered popular sovereignty, but his influence on the ultramontane ecclesiology was decisive.

I want to recall two of his statements which, one way or another, were to be repeated frequently throughout the century: "Pour faire court, voici mon sentiment: aux conciles le moins possible, aux papes le plus possible" .2 And this other: «Plus of Pape plus de souveraineté, plus of souveraineté, plus de foi» .3
Lamennais, for his part, considered that among other human societies, Christianity was the only perfect society, with its supreme authority, its dogmas and its laws. The denial of this supreme authority led necessarily to reject the Church and with it God himself. For him it was absurd to speak of an infallible Church if one does not admit, at the same time, the infallibility of the Pope, since only through a Pope who has to be infallible is he also. Here Lamennais endorsed the well-known phrase of St. Francis de Sales: "Le Pape et l'Ég, lise c'est tout un."

We could say that he summarized his doctrine of that early period with the statement repeated so often afterwards: "Point de Pape, point d'Église; point d'Église, point de christianisme; point de christianisme, point of religion, au moins pour tout peuple qui fut chrétien, et couple consequent point de societé ».4
Obviously, we could continue, but it seems sufficient in my attempt to delineate a point of reference for the ecclesiological formation of Don Bosco and those who in his time studied in most of the Italian seminaries. It was the traditionalism of the Restoration, of the sought-after and desired interpenetration between society and religion, religion and Church, Church and papacy. It is an ecclesiology that presents the image of the Church, paradigm of an organized society, governed by the hierarchy. Don Bosco writes: "La chiesa é la societa dei credenti governata dai propri pastori, sotto direzione del Sommo Pontefice", a definition parallel to that of the diocesan catechism of Turin of 1844; and in another occasion he summarizes his thought in an idea that will appear in a thousand different ways throughout his work:

Failure to do so supposta umanamente, the spirituale of the pope is divinely promessed "(G. Bosco, Opere e scritti editi e inediti, vol.If, Torino, SEI 1935, p.435).

2 Cited by C. LASTREILLE, Joseph de Maistre et la Papauté, Paris 1906, p. 170

3 J. DE MAISTRE, Lettres et opuscules inédites, vol. II, Lyon, A. Vaton 1851, p. 296. FR LAMENNAIS, Oeuvres complétes VII, Paris, Pagnerre 1844, p. 122. 132. 141.

Don Bosco used to recite the following prayer: "Father nostro, che sei ne 'cíeli, sia santificato il tuo nome, come il tuo regno, if dilati e trionfi la chiesa cattolica, the only vera chiesa di Gesu Christ, tutte le nazioni riconoscano i suoí diritti e quelli del suo Capo e dei suoi vescovi, tutti gli intelletti a lei aderiscano teacher as the only depository delle veritá rivelate, testimone divina della autenticitá ed autoritá del libra sacri, teacher infallibile degli uomini, giudice supreme inappellabile nelle questioni dottrinali. A lei tutte volontá obbediscano nell'osservanza delle sue leggi morali e disciplinari, anché Jopo le vittorie sulla terra entri to trionfare eternally nei cieli, colle moltitudini delle anime salvate ".5
As was common in the theology of the time, which ignored the eschatological significance of Jesus' preaching, it is taken for granted that the earthly Church is identified with the Kingdom of God. From this identification is born the spirit of triumph that constantly proclaims the victory of the Church over its adversaries. The vision of a Church without sin arises, neither errors nor historical failures.

For Don Bosco the edesial institution is absolutely solid and without fissures, characterized by its normativity. His guardianship extends not only to religious life, but also to social life, both in the diocesan sphere and in that of each parish.

The Church is presented as a monolithic group that proposes the immutable truth, without historical variations, transmitted in pure and uncontaminated form throughout the centuries. Other men and groups are in error and, therefore, do not have the rights enjoyed by the truth. The same Pius IX, in a phrase that can disconcert, but cinema expressed this dominant mentality affirmed that he wanted the freedom of cults where Catholicism was a minority, but could not admit it where it constituted the majority.6
It was the edesiology of the perfect societas, dominated by the center. doctrinal and disciplinary of the Roman Curia and closed to any opening or integration with the modern currents that were then represented by Rosmini, 7 Dupanloup, Manzoni, Newman, Sailer, Montalembert or Scheeben. Intransigent in political, religious and ecumenical matters, with a strong piety generally devotional type and with the theology of Roman schools as the only recognized interpreter of Catholic thought. On the whole, it seems to be about what we might call popular Catholicism, which, on the one hand, develops the devotional expressions of the faith more directed to fantasy than to reason, and, on the other hand, feeds the practical-social forms of ecclesiastical belonging. educational and assistance

• MB II, 272.

• "The Pope wants freedom of conscience in Russia, but not as a general principle" (G. MARTINA, The Church of Luther to our days, vol III, Madrid 1974, ID., Pius IX (1851-1866) Rome, Universitá Gregoriana 1986, page 329

'«D. Bosco, che venerava riel Rosmini the santitá of the priest, non condivideva neppure go minimum part that enthusiasm per il suo philosophical system »(MB XIII, 20).

For this reason, Don Bosco was clear on the issue of belonging to the Church, developing in his explanation the analogies of road, house, mother, ship, flock, body.8 That is, a compact, well organized, pyramidal, hierarchical And in this same direction, can help us in the understanding of this conception if we look at the images used to describe the Church: kingdom, monarchy, family.8 Bellarmino also used this approach: "ecclesia quasi status," and its influence it has lasted in some way almost to this day. A few years before his death, Don Bosco wrote: "Siccome nei regni della terra vi ha ordine, per cui si parte del sovrano e si segretaria a grado a grado but all' ultimo del sudditi, cosi nella Chiesa Cattolica esiste ordine, detto gerarchía ecclesiastica,
This Catholic Church constitutes the "only arca di salvezza", the only place where the doctrine of Jesus is maintained in its entirety, "the place where salvation can be found in an absolute and exclusive way, the only place where virtue is possible and Holiness.

The tendencies of rationalism, liberalism and pantheism, which exalted the value of the individual, and the various individualist postulates of pantheism opposes the Church "as the only ark of salvation", and as representative of God and endowed with divine authority. "No, outside this Church nobody can be saved; just as those who were not in the ark of Noah perished in the flood, so, says Jerome, inevitably perish who persists in living and dying separately from the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church, the only Church of Jesus Christ, the sole depository of the true religion »."

Cf. STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 125

9 «P. Suppose a famiglia che debba durare but alla fine del mondo, eat filler conservarsi? F. Questa famiglia conserverassi guando abbia semper un buon capo che la governi. P. Comprendete ora chi sia questa famiglia e chi ne sia il Capo? F. Enough, enough; I abominated capito ottimamente. Questa grande famiglia é la Chiesa, questo capo é fi Romano Pontefice "
(G. Bosco, II cattolico nel secolo, Trattenimenti famigliari ..., Torillo, Tip. E Libreria Salesiana 1883, page 138).

Ibid., P. 163 ss.

"" Voi dite che credete a Cristo ed al Vangelo, ma non é yero perché non credete a tutto quello che c'insegna Gesù Christ nel suo Vangelo, non credete alla sua Chiesa, non credete al Pontefice Romano stato da Gest 'Christ stesso stabilito per governare la Chiesa Inoltre permettendo voi ad ognuno la libera interpretazione del Vangelo di Gest 'Christ, aprite con ció a largo via all'errore, nel quale é quasi inevitabile fi cadere guidato only from his own Jume. Perció voi, or Protestanti, seven Come membri d'un corpo sena Capo, eat pecorelle sena pastore, eat discepoli sena maestro, separati dalla fonte della vita che é G. Christ »([G. Bosco], La Chiesa Cattolica-Apostolica-Romana and the only vera Chiesa di Gesú Cristo, Torillo, Tipografia Speirani e Ferrero 1850, pages 17-18.

Don Bosco wrote a lot about the Church: he dedicated twenty-two books and pamphlets to this theme, in addition to the twenty-four writings of history in which the edesial argument occupies an important place, "but I think we would be wrong if we were to place ourselves in the music of the letter without going beyond. His insistence shows the importance given to a religion-institution-hierarchy Rome, which is the Catholic Church, but his life drop by drop indicates the centrality granted to grace, to Christ, to Mary, to the sacraments. There is no confusion, but perhaps specialization: the writings emphasize one aspect and the pastoral activity another.

This holy and divine Church is the only one that can lead men to God. This conviction explains his struggle against the Waldensians and against Protestants in general. In his writings we read that "only one will see Religione", that "Chiese degli Eretici non hanno i caratteri della Divinitá.", That "Chiesa degli baby. Eretici non c'é the Chiesa di Gesú Cristo. "14 For these and other reasons, he concludes that" I chimed with the Pope, and imitated with Gesù Christ, and chi breaks that legame fa shipwreck in the mace burrascoso dell'errore e if it hangs miserably », Or, in another place,« pronti a patine qualunque male, fosse anche la morte, anziché dire or fare alcuna contrary to the Cattolica ReliIone, you will see only Religione di Gest.) Christ, fuori di cuí niuno puó salvarsi ». "

3. A pyramidal and authoritarian society

Shortly before Vatican I, Turin had become a living center of conciliar and anti-infallibilist opinion. In 1869 the book of Dóllinger, 11 pope and il council is translated; Pasaglia wrote and acted in Turin, and in the Faculty of Theology the most critical authors with ultra-montanism and pontifical infallibility were well known and used.

However, despite this environment, one of the most known, significant and commented aspects of Don Bosco is his unlimited devotion to the pontificate and his tireless defense, so that, in a certain sense, we could summarize and synthesize his ecclesiology with this trait. '' All the authors, from the first years, have highlighted this characteristic.18
u J. Bosco, Fundamentals of the Catholic Religion, in: R. FIERRO TORRES, Biography and writings of
San Juan Bosco, Madrid, BAC 1955, p. 535

"Cf. E. VALENTINI, Don Bosco e la Chiesa, in: In Ecclesia, Rome, LAS 1977, pp. 215-234.

"[G. Bosco], Avvisi al cattolici, Torillo, Tip, Dir. Da P. De-Agostini 1853, p.

12 G. Bosco, I Centennial of S. Pietro Apostolo, Torillo, Tip. dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco
di Sales 1867, p. IV.

16 [Bosco], La Chiesa Cattolica, p. 6

On his deathbed he confided to the Archbishop of Turin: "Tempi difficili. Eminence! Ho passato tempi diffícili ... Ma l'autoritá of the Pope ... L'autoritá of the Pope ... L'ho detto qui to Monsignor Cagliero who gives it to the Holy Father who is Salesiani sono per la diffesa dell'autoritá del Papa , dovunque lavorino - dovunque si trovino, "19 and Cardinal Alimonda recalled shortly afterwards at the funeral that" his whole life, private and public, known to the whole world as a papal testament. "

John XXIII summed up this aspect with a beautiful phrase: "Per chi sa leggere in depth nella vita di D. Bosco, Egli appare insieme il priest della giovinezza and il priest of the Pope", and Don Bosco, often, in his talks and writings It united both aspects: «Pertanto, figliuoli miei, nella vostra vita non dimenticate mai che il Papa vi ama, and quindi dalla vostra bocca non esca mai parola che possa essere a lui d'insult, le vostre orecchie non ascoltino mai with indifferenza ingiurie e calunnie contro the Sacra sua persona, i vostri occhi non leggano mai giornali or libri, che osino vilipendere l'altissima dignità of the Vicar of Gesù Christ ».2 °
For him to inspire love for the Pope was an infallible means and remedy against the activities of sects and dissidents, and for this reason we believe that it can be said that his favorite subject as a writer was, without doubt, the Pope, until the point that their numerous lives of different popes were an occasion and a way to keep alive the love of the papacy and to refute the errors and animosities then so widespread. In fact, he thought of writing a history of the popes when he verified that "certi autori pare che abbiano rossore di parlare dei Romani Pontefici e dei fatti piu luminosi che directly alla S. Chiesa riguardano" .21 But it was not just an approach doctrinal and theoretical,

"Already in 1845 he asked Gregory XVI for a plenary indulgence in articulo monis for himself and his family." Later he explained that "non le indi gent gli stavano a cuore, ma che non vedeva I'ora di mettersi in relazione diretta with the Holy See e con le Congregazioni romane »(EI, 11).

18 There are all kinds of testimonies. I choose the following from Ballesio: "In D. Bosco l'amore the Pope was il pió bel frutto della virtó della fede. "Clearly Catholic priest of federation and opere, D. Bosco aveva l'amore, director of the Santi, for the Chiesa e per il Papa" (L. TERRONE, The spirit of San Giovanni Bosco, Torino, SEI 1934, p. 64).

19 MB XVIII 491.

20 MB VIII, 720.

21 F. MOLINARI, The "Storia ecclesiastica" di Don Bosco, in: BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 204. Let us also remember his testimony: «Pió volte ho tra me pensato to the mode of calm and hatred and l'avversione che in questi tristi tempi such a manifestation in control of the Papi e contro autororo parrot. Mezzo molto efficace my sowed the conosc> nza dei fatti che riguardano the vita di quei supremi pastori stabiliti a fare le veci di GC sopra la terra ea guidare le nostre anime per la via del Cielo »(G. Bosco, Vita di San Pietro. .., Torino, Tip, di GB Paravia e Comp.1856, p.3).

Obviously, this approach went beyond mere devotion to the person of the Pontiff since, in reality, he raised his conception of the Church and his idea of ​​ecclesiastical organization, so indebted to the then prevailing theology.

Lemoyne summed up his thought thus: "Don Bosco sustained the bolt of an ecdesiastic estate, attentive to that doveva aggirarsi, was the Pope, and quindi vera storia della Chiesa dover essere essenzialmente a Storia dei Papi. Il Papa non é egli il Capo, il Principe, il Supremo Pastore? says D. Bosco. [...] Non é forse necessario che si sappia doversi tutto to Papi, onore, gloria, obbedienza eat a center d'unitá, senza del quale la Chiesa non é piú Chiesa? It is a great errore scrivere della Chiesa e lasciar transcorrere lunghi periodi senza far menzione del suo Capo ».23
We certainly could not attack Don Bosco for his conception of history, since it was then dominant and, in large part, the current one. It is easier for historians to speak of popes and their relations with States than of the internal life, of the presence of divine grace in the community of religion. Could we imagine, given his sensitivity, a history of the Church written by Don Bosco and centered on the holiness present in the congregation of the Christian faithful? But, in fact, in him, beyond a then dominant focus, there was, as we see, a decided ecclesial approach centered on the Roman Pontiff.

. In the treatment of the figure of the Pope, no exercise of discernment or hermeneutics of his prescriptions is allowed. You have to defend it in everything. Moreover, the will to identify with the Pope must lead to thinking, feeling, speaking as he wants. The reason for such a serious demand is that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ; who is with the Pope, is with Christ and with God. On one occasion he confided to Pius IX: "Holy Father, i miei figli Vi arcano! I saw hanno nel cuore! Il vostro nome the portano intrecciato with quello, di Dio! »...

And, in reality, the figure of the Pope that is deduced from his writings is that of a superman around whom everything revolves in the Church: «Come to the tempo della vita mortal of the Salvatore gli Apostoli raccoglievansi attorno a Gesu e a centro sicuro, e master infallibíle: cosi noi tutti dobbiamo schierarci intorno to deno successor di Pietro, intorno al grande, to the coraggious Vicar di Gesu Christ, to the forte, all'incomparabile Pio IX. In ogni dubbio, in ogní pericolo, ricorriamo a luí, eat ad ancora di salvezza, eat ad oracolo infallibile. Né mai alcuno dimentichi che in questo portentoso Pontefice sta il fondamento, il centro d'ogni verità, the salvezza del mondo. Chiunque raccoglie with lui, builds fine to Heaven; chi non edifica with lui, disperde e distrugge fino all'abisso. Qui mecum non colligit disperdit ».24
n "Non si pués essere buoni Cattolici is not if it lends anche in questo obbedienza pratica to the Pope. Although the piglia was caught, it was poached and lost. [...] Se ti parlo del potere temporale del Papa non lo fo che sotto il punto di vista della religione e della coscien7a, que invano si vorrebbe restringere alle cose invisibili »(MB VI, 481). 23 MB V, 575.

From some statements it could be deduced that the existence of the clergy in its different levels is only due to the impossibility of the Pope being able to do everything alone and reach everyone: «Ma questo Capo, ossia il Romano Pontefice, non potendo da sé solo attendere ai bisogni particolari di ciascun fedele, and necessario che vi siano altri ministri inferiori, dal Pope dipendenti, i quali colla preazione della parola divina, e coll'amministrazione dei Santi, Sacramenti promuovano domina e santitá negli uomini ».25 The actual performance of Don Bosco and the consideration given to the priesthood will resize this first impression.

The ecumenical councils are considered by Don Bosco as supreme acts of the Papacy. This statement, in itself, does not mean much or, at least, does not depart from the general feeling. But it gives the impression that councils are merely a more solemn framework of the ordinary than usual pontifical performance. In fact, although they are useful, they do not seem necessary: ​​"perché il Papa supreme pastore di tutti i cristiani puó fare da se tutto quello che puó fare una council anche generale", since in his opinion "é sol-tanto il Papa che colla sua conferma communicates to the Council nelle cose di fede e di morale l'infallibilitá e gli fa godere nella Chiesa a supreme authoritá ».26
Actually, today we could say that Don Bosco considers the Church as a single immense diocese whose effective bishop is the Pope, an image reinforced in a large part of the Catholics after Vatican I. It would not be daring to affirm that particular churches are considered simply as parts or portions of the universal Church, governed by the Pope.27 In this sense, it sometimes manifests itself with affirmations that are surprising to us today: "I vescovi accolgono le suppliche, sentono i bisogni dei popoli e li fanno pervenire fino alla persona of the supreme Gerarca della Chiesa. Pope, poi, secondo il bisogno, communicates i suoi ordini ai vescovi di tutto il mondo ed i vescovi li partecipano ai semplici fedeli cristiani ».28 And to what are the bishops reduced in this perspective? A useful and necessary intermediaries. «Ecco in brief il motif per cui coneto to Rome and in generale ció che ho fano coa. Abbiamo ottenuto esenzioni e privilegi, ma noi saremo sempre obbedientissimi ai Vescovi ed ai parroci, e non ci serviremo delle nostre facoltá, it is not esaurití tutti gli altri mezzi anche di umile deferenza ».32
24 MB XII, 641.

"G. Bosco, II Cattolico istruito nella sua religione, Trattenimenti ..., Torino, Tip, Dir. Da P. De-Agostini 1853, p.

26 GM MEDICA, I Concili generali della Chiesa cattolica nel pensiero di D. Bosco, in «Riviita di Pedagogia e Scienze religiose» 1 (1963) 2, 22.

27 Cf. P. RIFA, L'argomentazione delle «note» della Chiesa nell'apologetica popolare di San Giovanni Bosco, Colle Don Bosco, Ist. Sal. Art. Grafiche 1971, p. 33

28 F. DESRAMAUT, Don Bosco e la vita spirttuale, Torino, LDC 1967, p. 93

Passaglia and other theologians with him, insisted that the bishops were not mere delegates of the Pope. This was the center of unity in the Church, but only Christ had to be a source of power in his mystical body. For them, between the primate and the episcopate there is a relationship of reciprocal complement that leaves intact the rights of each one. Don Bosco, in fact, does not make a strictly theological reflection on the pontificate or on the episcopate, but his anti-Catholic position leads him to emphasize the subordination of the bishops to the Pope, subject of the supreme authority over the universal Church, as well as teacher and supreme judge in matters of faith.33
Faced with the permanent insistence on the role of Peter, the almost total absence of the corresponding responsibility of the bishops is evident. Don Bosco grants space and importance to the conciliar assemblies not because of sensitivity to the principle of collegiality but because the councils, thanks to the pontifical approval, which makes them infallible, pulverize the heresies and determine the truth.

It is not, of course, a lack of respect for the bishops, or a failure to consider or value their position in the Church, but rather the fact that the centrality of the papacy was conceived in such a way that automatically the raison d'être of the bishops it was devalued. On February 13, 1863, he wrote to Pius IX: "La morte, l'esilio di non pochi Vescovi has messo in diffidenza i meno fervorosi e fece si che il clerro si strinse vie piú tra sé, exclusively carrying the pen to the center della veritá, to the Vicar of Gesù Christ [...]. He will say something strana ma che credo vera. In that moment he sows che and Vescovi facciano maggior bene dal parrot esilio or dalle parrot carceri, che forse non farebbero nella parrot headquarters; giacché col fano pubblicano, differentiating the principle dell'autoritá divina nel suo capo visibile,

29 STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 133. In fact, in the proposals he made to Pius IX for episcopal appointments, he always chose candidates who were docile to the Pontiff and clearly infallibilist, incapable of creating difficulties for the Pope in ecclesiastical government.

"STELLA, Don Bosco 11, P. 122.

"MB XIII, 456. In volume X, 931, Amadei writes:" Gli premeva soprattutto che i salesiani si prestassero in aiuto of the parish priest of Luogo ove esisteva la casa. "And in 1861 he wrote:" Of the rest She sa che da vent 'anni ho sempre lavorato e tuttora lavoro e spero consumare la mia vita lavorando per la nostra diocesi ed ho semper riconosciuto the vote di Dio in quella del Superiore ecclesiastico'.

32 MB IX, 565-567.

33 The Holy See "is a Supreme Authorita- tion that grants and limits the power of the esercizio dei medesimi" (E IV, 59).

34 EL 258.

It seems hard that the centralization of the Church has acquired faster rhythms throughout history as the doctrinal difficulties or the political persecutions demanded a more consistent support from Rome, generally stronger and more supportive, to the bishops individually or collectively considered, generally weaker and more easily dominated or blackmailed by the civil power. This is indirectly referred to by Don Bosco in the aforementioned paragraph, but it can also be deduced from his reading that typical division of the last century between docile bishops to Rome and, therefore, good, and more autonomous bishops and, consequently, worthy of reform and conversion.

The author of the Biographical Memoirs responds to this simplistic mentality when he points out that "in France i giornali cattolici liberali si schierano decisamente coi gallicani, coi Giansenisti, contro la definizione dell'infallibilitá. The sciagurate stampe of the Janus, of the Gratry, of Mons. Maret, or of the Dupanloup facevano il resto. "35 The reason for the trial and the division between good and bad was not so much that of doctrinal orthodoxy but that of defense more or less. less enthusiastic of ultramontanism. This explains that surprising and unfair amalgam of names that are not comparable. For the ultramontans convinced and determined a Maret, a Dupanloup or a Gratry were as dangerous as Dóllinger.

In this ecclesiastical organization, what part and what role did the laity fulfill? Obviously, rather little. It is true that Rosmini in his work The Five Wounds of the Holy Mother Church finds one of its fundamental pillars in the discovery of the laity and their active participation in the edesial communion. Rosmini called for greater collaboration between the clergy and the people, claimed the priesthood of the faithful and assigned the laity an active participation in the appointment of the bishops.36 Rl had collected the most acceptable instances of the reformist groups, some of them quite radicalized, who, certainly, they were not listened to or taken into account by the Roman Curia or by the majority of the bishops. In fact,

35 MB IX, 777.

36G MARTINA, L'atteggiamento della gerarchia di fronte alle prima iniziative organizzate di apostolato dei laici alla meta dell'Ottocento in Italy, in: Spiritualitá e azione of the Italian Cattolica laity, Padova, Ed. Antenore 1969, p. 317

Father Curci, founder of the "Civiltá Cattolica", for his part, defended a more active participation in the life of the Church, recalling the first centuries, when «The multitudo fidelium ed i viri fratres vi avevano a part notevole e maggiore Arganizing it from the prevalue system modernly, "37 but this position maintained it in its most conflictive period, outside the Society of Jesus.

Cardinal Antonelli's attitude was more common when he recalled that the Pope considered "sorely painful [...] essere l'Italia ridotta to sustain the catholic religion coi mezzi proposti", that is, with the organized action of the Catholic laity. And Pius IX himself declared with energy that «to the Pope ed all'Episcopato [...] spetta only the tutelage of Religione», 38 and it is the Pope himself who emphasizes the adverb, which excludes any pretension of the laity in this field .

What was the thought of Don Bosco?
At first glance, when one reads his abundant correspondence, largely addressed to the laity, he concludes that fundamentally he was interested in his pockets, that is, his money, so necessary for the works he was carrying. On the other hand, his insistence and almost obsession for the priesthood, for the role and the need for priests, may imply that the laymen are mere passive subjects of the edesial action. What was the role of the laity in the Church? Actually, we should ask ourselves what is the function, the raison d'etre of the priests. It was to sanctify the laity, direct them towards salvation. The laity were in the Church to be sanctified by the action of the clergy and to obey.39 "Earthquake even though docili alle voci dei sacri ministri, as pecore debbono essere alla voce del parro pastore. Dio ce ha ha .dati per nostri maestri nella scienza della religione; dunque andiamo da essi ad impararla e non dai maestri mondani. Dio ce ha dati per guida nel cammino del cielo, dunque seguitiamoli ne 'loro ammaestramenti ».46
Obviously, the issue is complex and should not be simplified. Desramaut, with his usual balanced mood, considers that "interesting rilevare che thought to crístiani, in the mode di esistenza che parro conveniva, parrot compete missionary nella chiesa e alla parrot sanificazione nella vita corrente e nell'apostolato diretto", 41 but it seems It is evident that on this subject, too, Don Bosco was closer to Pius IX than to Newman, 42 and to those who advocated a more renewed and less clerical ecclesiology.

37 G. Mucci, Il primo direttore della "Civiltá Cattolica". Carlo Curci tra la culture dell'immobilismo e la cultura della storicitá, Rome, Ed. La Civiltá Cattolica 1986, p. 193

38 MARTINA, L'atteggiamento della gerarchia, p. 3. 4. 5.

39 "Nella Chiesa devonsi will consider her classi di personae, quelle cioé che insegnano e comandano, e queste sono nella Gerarchia, e form it; e quelle che obbediscono e queste sono sotto la Gerarchia. And this last was all tutti i semplici fedeli, ricchi e poveri, re e principi "(G. Bosco, La Chiesa cattolica e la sua gerarchia, Toririo, Tip dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales 1869, page 67). Let us remember in this regard the well-known paragraph of the Pious DI encyclical Vehementer: "Only in the pastoral body resides the right and the necessary authority to move and direct all the members toward the end of society. As for the crowd, he has no other right than to allow himself to be led and, meek gray, to follow his pastors. "

40 G. Bosco, Il mese di maggio consecrated to Maria SS. Immacolata ad uso del popolo, Torino, Tip. GB Paravia e Compagnia 1858, p. 46

This deeply pyramidal, hierarchical and centralizing approach was, as I have already stated, typical of an ecclesiology and a mentality that is well known and has been sufficiently studied. "In Don Bosco I also find some arguments of its character and peculiarity , that reinforce the previous argument, but with a less doctrinal and more existential mood.

Don Bosco is very convinced that the structure was loved by Christ and that it served for the salvation of souls, but I think that, more or less explicitly, he considers the Church as a great family where authority is necessary above all. as it is useful and beneficial to achieve its objectives: 14 It is a close and substantial image in its pedagogical conception, 45 in its approach to the new religious congregation, 46 and, certainly in the image that lives and transmits the ecclesial community .47
In the manner in which his religious congregation conceives and governs is "the tendency to feel a father who goes to confide the trusteeship of the figli associati in tutto alla sua opera", so that the first redactions of the Rules were extremely centralized and autocratic. In fact, for example, the fourth Chapter or General Congregation, after
41 DESRAMAUT, Don Bosco e la bita spirituale, p. 209

42 MARTINA, Pio IX, p. 176

"Cf. A. ANTÓN, The Mystery of the Church II, Madrid, BAC 1987.

44 "Prayer Father and the Pope, the suoi figli sono i cristiani, fi regno e la Chiesa, il Re supreme e invisibile e Gesù Christ, il Re visibile n'é Il suo vicario, i1 Romano Pontefice" (Bosco, cattolico nel secolo, page 173).

45 "The pupil will always have great respect for his educator, will remember the address received and will always consider his teachers and superiors as his parents and siblings" (The preventive system in the education of youth, in: Sj. Bosco, Fundamental works, Madrid, BAC 1979, p.565); cf. Letter on family spirit, in: Ibid., P. 612-620.

46 Cf. MB IX, 572-573; cf. G. BOSCO, Scritti spirituali, vol. II, a cura di J. Aubry, Rome, Cittá Nuova 1976, p. 128. 159.285-286.

47 «I pray I consider tutto il clerro del mondo eats a vast seminary rispetto to the Pope. [...] Of the rest I notice ancora eats the Pope, anche eat Dottore privato, if I should avere molta deferenza e it would be convenient to conform to the suo modo di pensare. Cosi i buoni figliuoli usano di portarsi verse il parrot father »(MB XIII, 21). P. Stella also emphasizes this aspect: «Eat format in the primo quarantennio dell'Ottocento agisce in forza di a religiositá, the cui ossatura di base é familiale e paternale, te tende a vedere n rapporto Padre-figli; I gave command, di obbedienza (or consacrazione: darsi to Dio) and di esecuzione »(STELLA, Don Bosco I, page 253). These expressions are repeated frequently in his works: "Questa great famiglia é la Chiesa, questo Capo é il Romano Pontefice" (Bosco, II cattolico istruito, p 41-42). He, «a guise di padre universale,

48 Cf. STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 159

work, reflect and measure, after determining and ruling ..., decided that Don Bosco could change and modify everything he wanted.49 This characteristic, which is also found in other Institutes of the time, responds to an ecclesiology that will lead to Vatican I .

In this family, as in any organism, authority was necessary and, in this case, it was essential to channel salvation. Sometimes, probably, because of its strict theological approach, it gives the impression that its defense of authority is fundamentally utilitarian in the sense that it considers that only a homogeneous, compact Church under a single leader is capable of responding effectively to the existing difficulties. In this sense, his insistence on the definition of infallibility appears, often, motivated by the continuous attacks inflicted on the Church, by the conviction of the need for a centralized guide "like an army in war", and by the desire of Do not repeat past evils: «La definizione dommatica avrebbe posto conclude agli errori del Gollicanesimo in Francia e del Febronianismo in Germania: mentre era necessaria per le missioni e qua-lora il Sommo Pontefice venisse a trovarsi nene dolorose strettezze di Pio VPI»? ° To underline, without a doubt, the reason for more effective work in the missions as a requirement of the definition. And this desire for efficiency also made him ask for a unique, universal, obligatory catechism, composed and promulgated by the Roman See. "This motivation, not theological but of convenience, extends to the civil sphere: (The definition of infallibility)« it is of great use to the sovereigns and to the whole society, since, making itself heard to the towns with more authority the infallible voice of the Sovereign Pontiff to inculcate the duty of submission to the princes,

4. Practical and utilitarian mentality

I think it is important to emphasize and highlight the utilitarian mentality, practice of Don Bosco. P. Stella, as a happy description, that sums up what I mean: it is the theology of the peasant who becomes a cure, of the practical man who is very clear about his goal and who uses all the honest means at hand to achieve it . This attitude, in fact, relativizes, to a large extent, its defense of ecclesial centralism. Don Bosco in his daily practice relativizes absolute theology.

49 "My scriveva a salesian only ieri: My enough a thing sia disposta dai Superiori, I raise my piace e non vado to cercarne il perché. Io vorrei che proprio tutti poteste dire cosi »(MB XIII, 91). Lemoyne will confirm that Don Bosco "sapeva far valere la sua autoritá, né tollerava impunita la resistenza" (MB VII, 118); cf. DESRAMAUT, Don Bosco e la vita spirituale, p. 91

50 MB IX, 779.

51 MB IX, 827. The theme of the unique catechism raised in Vatican I the various ecclesiological directions. In fact, often those who opposed this project belonged generally to the conciliar minority (see L. NORDERA, Ii catechism di Pio X. Per un storia della catechesi in Italia [1896-1916], Rome, LAS 1988, p. . Four. Five).

Bosco, Fundamentals of the Catholic Religion, in: FIERRO TORRES, Biography and writings, p. 541

In the ecclesiology of some Italian and German theologians the people of God in which the hierarchy is inserted played a decisive role. In Don Bosco it is the hierarchy that has and exercises this role. However, in practical life, it gives the impression that it is the good of the Christian people that obtains the prevalence, even at the cost of semi-deceptions or subterfuges.

In the Biographical Memoirs I find a delicious paragraph that could be judged by some as cynical, but in Spanish it can be synthesized with the classic expression: To God begging and with the mallet giving: «Don Bosco aveva eziandio riflettuto sull'importanza di potersi giovare in certe occasioni dell'influenza che l'Abate Rosmini esercitava in Torino sugli uomini nuovi rivestiti di autoritá, and quindi convenienza di averío amico and protettore. It was his system premunirsi diligently with ogni mezzo umano, lasciando poi with fiduciosa rassegnazione, that the Divine Provvidenza guidasse stitches him to his beneplacito >> 53
"He is a docile son, obedient son, but also skillful," says P. Stella: "Egli sa scegliere i momenti, i morfi e anche le persone a cuí parlare. It has il seno della Gerarchia, mache queche del charisma singolare donato a luí e alle sue opere. Ardisce presentarsi talora como portavoce del Signore ".54 It must be taken into account that this skill is also developed with the hierarchy and the Roman Curia, and it is in this sense that I want to insist. Belardinelli goes so far as to say that «D. Bosco non mancó di collegare l'impégno "infallibilista" al sostegno delle sue opere: nell'udienza of 12 febbraio presented to Pio IX the collezione delle "Letture cattoliche" e della "Library" ottenendo il plauso papale, e con ció stesso a powerful avallo per la diffusione, anche a dispetto delle diffi denze di molte curte piemontesi,

53 MB III, 248. In this sense «furbo», of skill, I find incomparable his defense of the Jesuits using words and judgments of Gioberti (MB III, 310).

54 STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 138

55 M. BELARDINELLI, Don Bosco and the Vatican Council I, in: BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa,
p. 249

56 He wrote to Don G. Cagliero: "Mi scriverai for the visit che farai coll'Arcivescovo to Carmen or Patagones; dirai al medesimo che il Santo Padre desidera so much nuovi esperimenti pei selvaggi ed applaude al nostri sforzi per aprire case di educazione sui loro confirú »(E III, 95).

Asked why he favored the appointment of Gastaldi as archbishop of Turin, he answered: "Oltre a questo io aveva tutte le ragioni di credere che egli ci sarebbe stato semper largo del suo favore. Che vuoi? Appena divenne Arcivescovo di Torino, changed register ».58 This one, for his part, complained bitterly of Don Bosco:« Diminuisce assai Pautoritá dell'arcivescovo di Toríno, and introduces the scisma nel clerro [...] maio sono costretto a I will invoke the protection of the Holy See against the ecclesiastical conduct of the Church, which has the full mind and the joy of the spirit of autonomy and indipendency. "" Let us not forget that his predecessor, Bishop Riccardi, had had strong and prolonged contrasts with Don Bosco for his desire to achieve full autonomy for his Institute.60
For his part, Don Bosco invoked successively various protections depending on the various circumstances. In the process of approving the constitutions, he used all the arts to be accepted as he had written them. He told Pius IX about an imminent foundation in Hong Kong, which, of course, would require early approval; The Secretary of the Congregation spoke to him about the Prefect and this one about the Pope. In connection with this approval he realized that the way of the bishops could be complicated, so he strongly supported Rome. «To the Holy Father D. Bosco aveva mandate 11 book with a speciale attempt: Desiderava che Sua Santitá vedesse with quale alacritá and salesiani lavorassero e quanto fosse il paroro attaccamento alla Cattedra di Pietro e che sforzi facessero per istillare negli altri l'ossequio el ' amore verso il Vicario di Gesó Christ. Gli paree gave yesterday ottenuto il suo scopo e santamente se ne compiacque ».61
Of course, this absolute and sincere acceptance of the meaning of the Roman Curia did not prevent him from accepting without further ado the corrections of the Rule made by the corresponding Roman Congregation. Don Bosco told his sons to be calm because his Congregation had been approved by the infallible authority, but he immediately tried to "manipulate" or change some articles of those approved constitutions that he did not fully satisfy.62

57 Letter to Mr. M. Rua in: E III, 305-306.

58 MB 23.

59 MB XIII, 336. Naturally the reality was much more complex and these difficult relationships manifested not only two ways of being and acting, but also the objective difficulty existing in the accommodation of the episcopal authority with the exemption of the religious. As a counterpoint to the archbishop's opinion, we could recall the following phrases of Don Bosco: "Tuttavia, sebbene io sia persuaso di non yesterday ecceduto the fattami concessione nel la accent accennato, per l'avvenire I nee asterró assolutamente, poiché tale se é gradimento al superior ecdesiastico »(E II, 405); and Lemoyne was convinced that "questi fascicoli delle vite dei Papi, prime cousin of Don Bosco palpito salt, ispiravano nel suo giovane uditorio a large rispetto e sottornissione alle prescrizioni non solo del Pontefice,

60 Cf. GG FRANCO, Appunti storici sopra il Vatican Council, a priest of G. Martina, Rome, Gregorian University 1972, p. 104

61 MB XIII 517.

I do not know if I can bring up the following text as an explanation of their way of being and acting in this matter. Talking with Pius IX about the performance of Pope Honorius - a performance widely used by anti-Fascists as a demonstrative argument for the existence of dogmatic errors, he would say: "Io peró ritengo che se cunctavit, se temporeggido, egli l'abbia fatto per prudenza, e siccome if it was temporargiare sena mancare, cosi peno che Papa Onorio non abbia commesso neppure peccato veniale ".63
In any case, it is also worth remembering his claim to achieve total economic autonomy not only in relation to the diocesan authority, but also in relation to the Holy See."
P. Stella seems to relate the Roman rejection of these pretensions to the later condemnations of Catholic liberalism or Murri's Democracy. There is no doubt that this is an interesting historical site, but it is more suggestive for me in this panorama to ask myself if this claim did not reveal a resizing of Roman authority. In fact, in our day there has been some similar case in relation to some more recent ecclesial institution.

On the other hand, this man knew how to manage and instrumentalize the various authorities according to their needs. He relied on Rome to obtain the approval of the Salesians, but, when he encountered difficulties in the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars on the subject of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, he did not hesitate to rely on the Bishop of Acqui and other ordinary diocesan They approved according to their wishes.

It was not so much Machiavellianism or surprising ability to manipulate as an innate sense of commitment in order to achieve its main objective. For example, in another order of things, in those same years Fr. Curci, in Il modern dissidio della Chiesa and 'Italy defended the need for an agreement, while Manning, in The Independence of the Holy See, proved absurd any probability of agreement. For his part, Don Bosco wanted the agreement, "ma in modo tale che innanzituno si assicurasse l'onore di Dio, l'onore della Chiesa, il bene delle anime." Faced with two doctrinal mentalities, a practice that helped him to remain in good relations with both banks of the Tiber, at a time when this seemed impossible.65
62 MB XIV, 229. On this subject it is essential to consult: P. BRAMO, Don Bosco per i giovani: L '«Oratory». A «Congregazione degli Oratori. Documenti, Rome, LAS 1988. Also: P. STELLA, Le Costituzioni salesiane fino al 1888, in: J. AUBRY - M. MIDALI (eds.), Fedelti e rinnovamento. Studi sulle Costituzioni salesiane, Rome, LAS 1974, p. 52

63 Mg IX, 817.

64 P. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica e sociale (1815-1879), Rome, LAS 1980,
p. 399. See also: EW, 505-508.540-544.

65 He wrote to G. Lanza, President of the Government, on February 11, 1872: "I scrutinize with confidenza and l'assicuro che mentre my professed catholic priest ed affezionato Capo della Cattolica Religione, my sono pur purémpre mostrato affezionatissimo al Governo, per i sudditi of the quale ho constantly dedicate him deboli mie sostanze e le forze e la vita "(E II, 195).

66 BRAIDO, Don Bosco per i giovani, p. 10

67 MB I, 89.
68 EI, 88-89.

69 See, for example, the case of Count Gays (E 111, 352-354.364).

70 STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 155-156.

In relation to the bishops, it is evident his intention to collaborate with them in the diocesan pastoral, but also his desire to carry out his work according to his spirit and inspiration, and, therefore, with the necessary autonomy. In fact, with regard to the ordination of Cagliero, it seems evident that with a respectful and submissive tone, Don Bosco maintains his approach to autonomy intact.67 In 1854 Rosmini asked him to inform the Vicar General about the common projects on a typeface, project that he was already well advanced. Don Bosco replies: "As soon as I will speak to the next. Vicar general giudicherei bene differire ancora: e forse sará meglio cogliere Poccasione che qualcheduno dell'Istituto passi a Lione per parlare verbalmente all'arcivescovo medesimo; ma il parlare di ció al nostro Vicario (che é un sant'uomo; ma pochissimo pratico delle cose del mondo) forse sarebbe suscitare difficoltá dove io credo non ci siano ".68 Obviously, it is only an unimportant anecdote, but probably it also constitutes an indication of how he acted by avoiding those authorities he considered problematic to lean on those that were affected in the specific case. I think it can be said that Don Bosco always thought that the care of souls should prevail over organization and administration. but it probably also constitutes an indication of how he acted bypassing those authorities he considered problematic to rely on those that were affected in the concrete case. I think it can be said that Don Bosco always thought that the care of souls should prevail over organization and administration. but it probably also constitutes an indication of how he acted bypassing those authorities he considered problematic to rely on those that were affected in the concrete case. I think it can be said that Don Bosco always thought that the care of souls should prevail over organization and administration.

As for ecclesiastical juridical ties and complications, I am not sure that Don Bosco granted them the importance that they were habitually given.69 The students who left the Congregation seem to be able to remain as external. Could this indicate that in fact he did not attribute so much transcendence to legal ties? P. Stella asks herself: «What was it that Don Ducco was doing? A studio house? A semenzaio di vocazioni per i Salesiani e per qualsiasi altro istituto nella Chiesa? A way per far prendere contatto with the Salesian Opera, with the ecclesiastic and religious quello stato? [...] Leggendo necrologie di salesiani vien da chiedersi se piú d'un sapesse esattamente a quale titolo si trovava en casa di D. Bosco ». 7 ° It manifests the same freedom of spirit in relation to religious of contemplative life. Convinced as he was that the most important thing was the salus animarum, he did not hesitate to say that these religious should extend their zeal to other areas by explaining catechism to children, religiously instructing adults and listening to their confessions. For him, the rules and customs were not above the good of souls but to serve them. In this sense, the following narrative is significant: "A porporati che gli movevano difficoltá per il obtenimento di favori necessarí a rendere stabile e operosa la Congregazione, soleva dire: Io ho bisogno che mi aiutino a superare le difficoltá e non a farne. Vorrei che if you considered not so much the person diD. Bosco, ma il has the vantaggio della religione e delle anime:

There is no doubt that he knew perfectly the situation of the Roman Curia and the various parties and influences in it, knowledge that gave him grounds and occasions to successfully bang in the difficult and complicated Roman world. Concerning the quasi-condemnation of his work Centenario di S. Pietro, he wrote to a friend: «... di questo ne minacciato in Roma ed anche Jopo la mia partenza, ed a person mold to mica ne diede la ragione principale: perché in Rome ho avuto di preferenza molta familiaritá coi Gesuiti. Qui peró prudenza somma e silenzio ".72 Without a doubt this is a golden rule of action, but it denotes, in any case, its capacity for navigation and movement in the stormy waters of the Roman world and its distinction from the various levels existing throughout the world. authority."
That is to say, and finishing this section, I think we can emphasize the empirical, practical sense of the ecclesiology of Don Bosco. Roman Curia, Bishops, Parish Priests are more cultivated or marginalized in terms of the help they give to the work of young people. Don Bosco was totally convinced that this work was of God, and in function of this conviction and of this reality, he applied the hierarchy in order that his work could go forward. We are faced with a man, a saint, who in practice relativizes absolute theology. In this sense, we should affirm that Don Bosco approaches the reformists in practical action, as he resizes the authority of the hierarchy in his performance, in the daily life, in his relations and immediate determinations.

5. Don Bosco and Pius IX

7 'MB XIII, 504. n EI, 461.

73 As soon as Leon XIII was elected, he sent him a letter that "giudicava venire dal Signore" in which, among other things, he advised him: "Queste novelle istituzioni hanno bisogno di essere giovate, sostenute, favorite da coloro che lo Spirito Santo pose a reggere e governare the Chiesa di Dio »(E DI 304).

On the relationships of these two characters so suggestive and suggestive there is a lot of material and I think that enough has been written. I would just like to point a question. Given the benevolence and obvious sympathy of the pontiff for the founder, why did he encounter so much difficulty in approving the Rule? Does not there seem to be a certain contradiction between the conversations of both, between Don Bosco's insistence that his mana was almost an initiative of Pius IX, on the one hand, "and the reticence of the Roman Curia, on the other hand? to the Pope: «Societas Salesiana quam Tu, Beatissime Pater, opere et consilio fundasti, direxisti, consolidasti, nova benefits Magna dementia Tua postulat», Did you consider that the papal protection would be sufficient to overcome the existing difficulties? For this reason, will he underestimate the animosities that he was sent from Rome?
Were the Pope's promises and concessions real? So he believed, at least his biographer: «... piú di una volta noi abbíamo avuto occasione di remember e as per the internal governo della societá Pio IX l'osse munito orally di facoltá amplíssime, both Egli si fidava della sua prudenza». 75 In fact, Don Bosco affirmed on more than one occasion to have received "vivae vocis oraculo" dispensations from Pius IX 76
I fully agree with the judgment of P. Braido: "Lascia, semmai, perplessi il fano che la conclamata benevolenza verse Don Bosco non li abbia indotti to a temperate chiaro and peremptory discitor; a meno che non ne siano stati dissuasi dalle adamantina persuasioni del Fondatore torinese, agreed so much della bontá della causa quanto delle proprieto di manovra e delle potenti amicizie ".77 One may wonder, surely, whether Pius IX promised as much as Don Bosco imagined or if he interpreted the pontiff's words with too much optimism. Probably Pius IX acted with the Turin saint as he acted in politics: he was enthusiastic about what the Saint told him and promised him the gold and the Moor, but later he had to back down. Perhaps this is the explanation that, on the one hand, the Pope promised to Don Bosco (or,
There is no doubt that they had many points in common, and that is why their meetings were joyful and convergent. "For them the devil was very present in his activities and in the life of the Church, 8 ° they defended a wide personal infallibility, 81 they trusted the one in the other.

74 "In continuation of quena udienza (e altra or altre) Don Bosco will tend ad accentuare soprattutto an aspetto: the part avuta da Pio IX, rievocato come colui che traccia quasi ad un quanto mai improbabile ignaro fi profilo di una" nuova "Congregazione religiosa , che d'altra part coincides point per point to which Don Bosco will continue to differ in the contrast with the religious spirit of the common accettate "(Bram, Don Bosco per i giovani, page 96).

75 MB XIII, 237.

76 E II, 126; III, 347. 361.

77 P. BRAMO, L'idea della Societa Salesiana nel "Cenno istorico" di Don Bosco of 1873/74, in
RSS 6 (1987) 304.

78 It must also be borne in mind that it was not uncommon for Pius IX to fall into contradictions (cf. MARTINA, Pius IX, page 605).

79 Don Bosco wrote on the same day of the death of Pius IX: "Entro brevissimo tempo sará certamente sugli altari" (E lit, 294).

Regarding the issue of infallibility for which both fought and moved, Don Bosco uses a curious argument: "Il Signore has data rinfallibilitá alla sua Chiesa: remains only to vedere dove risstada questa. Ogni vescovo (gives only) é per certo fallibíle, quindi non nei singoli if it has given near questo dono; e ciascuno é fallibile anche radunati tutti insieme i Vescovi non potranno divenire infallibili per il solo fatto di essersi radunati. Che cosa li rende adunque e da paroro ció che non hanno? É l'essere collegati col Papa ».82
At the same time Newman wrote that, after the Council of Nicea, the great majority of the bishops had fallen into error, but that the correct doctrine had been maintained thanks to the laity. Evidently, at this point too the sensibility of Pius IX was much closer to that of Don Bosco than to that of the English clergyman.

6. A holy and sanctifying Church

All those who know Don Bosco better and better insist that it is necessary to read and understand his writings as an inseparable part of an experience.83 Often, in pure theory, he is not original, he copies with self-confidence, he repeats what he has studied and it is appropriate His genius and his true personality appear in his life, in his continued performance, in his experience made life.

On the subject of sanctity, a key and determining point in his conception of the Church, we also find this dual approach. In its strictly doctrinal conception, the confession of the sanctity of the Church, publicly pronounced in the Symbol of the Apostles, is understood in a way that leads not only to deny that the Christian community is a collective subject of common sins, infidelities and offenses to the Gospel, but even to reject historical failures and errors, or simply that the Church would have been late to respond to certain problems or human needs.

In this approach the sins of Catholics and the attitude of the Church were distinguished. With this distinction, an ideological consideration was introduced that sought to save the Church, that is, the institution or the hierarchy, from its historical failures and responsibilities. But it is done at the cost of an unfolding by which certain Christians, alone or in groups, who commit errors and infidelities to the Gospel, do not seem to be Church. That is, on the one hand, there is a subliminal identification between Church and Hierarchy: and on the other it is unknown that the sins of believers make the Church less apt to be an effective sign of salvation in every moment of history.

8th G. CANATAN1, II diavolo, Rome e la rivoluzione, in «Rivista di Storia e Letteratura Religiosa» 8 (1972) 485-516; MB V, 694; Bosco, Scritti pedagogici, p. 301

81 As when he declares that everyone should accept the opinion of the Pope even in matters of free opinion, as a private doctor (see MB VIII, 277-278).

82 BELARDINELLI, Don Bosco and the Vatican Council I, p. 246

"« The veto Don Bosco and quello che risulta gives a global considerabaione, unitary and vitale, di tutti i suii scritti, di tutte le realizzazioni e scelte operative e di tutta la sua vita »(R. FARINA, Leggere don Bosco oggi. Note e suggestioni metodologiche, in: P. BROCARDO (ed.), La formazione permanente inteipella gli istituti religiosi, Leumann [Tormo], Elle Di Ci 1976, p.351).

In Don Bosco this generalized attitude was probably mediated and complemented by the fact of not using the analogy of the mystical body but that of family and mother, "that is to say, once again, for its ecclesiological conception, vertical and not horizontal and, above all, for its broad and complex concept of Church.

Indeed, Don Bosco identified Church with Religion, 85 and this with sanctity. Sanctity in Don Bosco is the most theological of the four notes of the Church. From the apologetic point of view, it manifests itself through the presence of effective means of sanctification, of the numerous cases of sanctity and of the extraordinary miracles present in it.86 It seems to me that its fundamental concept, the criterion that inspires its actions, in fact, also his theories and formulations, is that of the sanctity of Christians. To this holiness it subordinates everything and in its function conceives, more or less explicitly, the ecclesiastical organization in its different aspects. The Church was founded by Christ, writes our saint, "mentre viveva his questa stubborn, and perché da lui formata within the suo sacratissimo costato, consecrated and sanctified col suo sangue. Essa é da luí ripiena del suo Santo Spirito, who sent him perché rimanga with lei e le insegni ogni veritá but at the end of the secoli ".87
«Ció che che stava a cuore di D. Bosco - says the author of the Biographical Memoirs -: salvare anime» or, in another place: «The salute delle anime scopo della sua vita», or, also in another page: «Le anime I am a treasure affidated to the priest "88 For this reason, as I will indicate right away, the priesthood was one of the obsessions of his life.

In the historical-salvific dimension, the Church is, according to Newman, the people of God.
«11 fatto poi che nella Chiesa vi siano peccatori non suscita nei suoí scritti gravi problemi dottrinali. Don Bosco infatti, piú che alla analogy of Corpo Mistico, allorché discorre of the peccato e dei peccatori, if rifá a quena di famiglia e di madre. Mother Chiesa é santa, sen7a macchia e sena ruga. Tale rimane, anche se molti suoi figli siano peccatori, anche se suii figli la combattano e la rinneglun 'o »(STELLA, Don Bosco II, p.140).

85 «Catholic peoples, open your eyes; there are very serious snares when you try to get away from the only holy religion that is the Church of Jesus Christ "(Bosco, Fundamentals of the Catholic Religion, in: FIERRO TORRES, Biography and writings, p.545).

86 RIPA, L'argomentazione delle «note», p. 36

87 MOLINARI, The "Storia ecclesiastica" di Don Bosco, p. 221-222.

88 Don Bosco writes in his memoirs: "il prete non va solo al cielo, non va solo all'inferno. He has andré to heaven with anime da lui salvate col suo buon esempio; he is male, he is going to scan it andrà alla perdizione colle anime dannate pel suo scandalo »(Bosco, Scritti pedagogici, page 314).

Naturally, the people of Christ also have a social organization, but at all times they recognize the priority of their spiritual reality. The fundamental equality of all the members of this people by virtue of faith and of the other supernatural goods of Christian existence takes priority over the distinction between the various categories of persons by reason of the specific functions they are called upon to exercise in the bosom. of this town. For Newman - says Congar - "the Church was not primarily a system of doctrine, nor an institution. It was constituted fundamentally by the gift of grace that God offers to men, and these, accepting it, unite with each other and form a single Body ".89
I have the impression that Don Bosco, although he has never written anything like it, has acted throughout his life on this same wavelength, although there is no doubt that in his writings he accentuates and develops fundamentally and almost exclusively the Individual character of salvation: "Ogni parola del prete deve essere sale di vita eternal e ció in ogni luogo e with qualsivoglia persona. Even though a priest may be a priest, he will always receive a veritable chei rechi vantaggi all'anima ».9 Salvation remains, also related to the figure of the Pope:« Fortunati that 'popoli che sono uniti to Pietro nella person of' Papi suoi successori . I am camminano per la strada della salute; mentre tutti quelli che si troyano fuori di questa strada e non appartengono all'unione di Pietro non hanno speranza alcuna di salvezza;
In his Ecdesia Storia, holiness appears as an objective of life and, above all, as a distinctive of the Church. In fact, it is not difficult to notice the predominance of the life and action of the saints in their history that has just become an implicit claim of the ecclesial characteristic of holiness. In other churches, he says, there are no saints, 92 saying that immorality and heresy go together. "" Dai Valdesi, Don Bosco, nel corso della sua Storia alle luride, empe e sanguinarie figure di Lutero, di Calvino e di Arrigo VIII , parrot contrapponeva the celestial visione dei figli della Chiesa Cattolica che vissero ad essi contemporanei: San Gaetano da Thiene [...] e cento altri The santitá is one thing with the veritá ».94 Following this argument it will relate teaching and religious practices with morality 95
89 Quoted by ANTÓN, The mystery of the Church, p. 275.
90 11113 VI, 381.

91 Bosco, Vita di San Pietro, p. 164-165.

92 "Egli é proprio della sola Religione Cattolica yesterday of the Santi e degli uomini segnalati in (MB XIV, 229).

93 E II, 23.

"MB W, 307. On other occasions, he will associate Protestants with immorality: ..." yes sono purtroppo stabiliti i Protestanti che in mille modi fiaudulenti minacciano il costume e credenza degli adulti e dell'incauta gioventá "(E III, 30).

95 "Le povere ragazze [...] non avendo né luogo né comoditá di frequentare la scuola, nemmeno di intervenire alle funzioni religiose, versano in grave pericolo per la moralita" (E III, 30).

«Or Religione Cattolica, religione santa, religione divina! How much do you grandiose your research to chi ti pratica, to chi in te epera and in confida! Quanto sono fortunati quelli che si troyano nel tuo seno e ne praticano i precetti ".96 Don Bosco was so sure of this that he dedicated his life and founded a congregation in order that young people and, in general, all people were capable of getting these goods. This conviction spurred his interest and constant concern for the missions. «Nei almost poi di esercizi spirituali, tridui, novene, preaching, catechismi, if faccía 1-I will bring the beauty, the grandezza, the santitá di questa religione that proposes the mezzí cosi facili, cosi 'mili alla civile societá, alla tranquillitá del cuore , alla salvezza dell'uomo, eat appunto sono i santi sacramenti ».97
So convinced was he of this reality that he dared to write to Pius IX: "Vostra Santitá secondi l'tall pensiero Iddio Le ispira nel cuore proclaiming ovunque possa la venerazione al SS. Sacramento e la divozione, alla Beata Vergine, che sono le due ancore salute per la misera umanitá ».98
All his life will be centered on this desire: that all live the religion, stay in the Church, that is, in the truth, be sanctified with the sacraments, be devotees of Mary. For this to be possible, priests are essential, and the task of obtaining and training priests will dedicate their efforts permanently: "Ricordiamoci che noi regaliamo a great treasure alla Chiesa guando noi procuriamo una buona vocazione: che questa vocazione or che questo prete vada in Diocesi , nelle Missioni, or in a religious house does not matter. And always a great treasure, if he gives away Chiesa di Gesu Christ. "99 His whole life consisted of a palpable manifestation of his conception of the priesthood, of the greatness of the priesthood, of the total dedication that must characterize the priest."
96 STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 139. This author asserts that "the riflessione sulla santitá della Chiesa e dei fedeli s'inserisce consapevolously in an accentuately Christological and soteriological mentality" (Ibid., P.140).

"P. BRAMO, Il Progetto Operacional di Don Bosco and the Utopia of Christian Society, Rome, LAS 1982, pp. 16-17 It is striking and worthy of note their devotion and their insistence on the plenary indulgence in articulo mortis.

98 EI, 259. "Tell as much as you like about the various systems of education; but I do not find a secure base except in the frequency of confession and communion; and I do not think I exaggerate, stating that, without these two elements, morality is discarded "(BOSCO, Fundamental Works, p.306). It is worth remembering the influence of St. Alphonsus Maria de Ligorio in G. Bosco, G. Cafasso, L. Guanella through the "ecdesiatic Convitto" of Turin. Saint Alphonsus was the saint of poprolar missions, of Eucharistic and Marian devotion, of devotion to the Roman Pontiff (see G. ANGELINI, The religious realm in eschatology e storia, in: Coscienza civile ed esperienza religiosa nell'Europa moderna, Brescia, Morcelliana 1983, page 379).

99 MB XVII, 262.

100 Don Bosco said to B. Ricasoli: "Eccellenza, sappia che Don Bosco and prete all'altare, prete in confessionale, and prete in mezzo al giovani, e come to Torino, cosi prete a Firenze, prete nella casa del povero, prete nel palazzo del re e dei ministri »(MB VIII, 534).

It could be said, in some way, that the most important thing for Don Bosco is the priests because they are dedicated directly to evangelization, to the sanctification of the people. The bishops, in general, were not leaders of evangelization since, in fact, their task was more administrative, more legal. In this sense, with all the imprecision of the meaning, perhaps it could be affirmed that for Don Bosco the priests were, in fact, more important than the hierarchy and that the structure in the task of sanctifying, evangelizing and edifying the people of God.

7. The experience of the Church

In the complex activity of Don Bosco, in his multiple apostolate, in his total dedication to the sanctification of souls, we can find a sense of the Church that is more complex, freer and more dynamic than it appears in his theoretical formulations. It is in this area of ​​experience and action that he surpassed the existing ecclesiastical structures, initiating new paths. "
Don Bosco knew and wanted to commit himself to all the social problems of his time, in his activity as catechist and confessor, in his daily educational action youthful and popular, in his projects, behaviors and attitudes, in his theological, historical and didactic writings, he manifested his personality as a priest visibly committed to the problems of the local and tiníversal Church. "
The reason for the total dedication of his life is found in his experience of the Church: "Tutti i suoi pensieri, tutte le sue opere miravano essenzialmente alla esaltazione della chiesa e godeva de sue gioie e delle sue glorie, e soffriva dei suoi sentimenti e delle persecuzioni che l'angustiavano. Perce if adoperava with ardore ad accrescere you dream contentezze e sue conquer, lenire i suoi dolori e compensaare sue sue perdite, col ricondurre at suo maternal womb great number di pecorelle smarrite, accrescendo cosi la sua famiglia di nuoví figli. [...] Percio non lasciavasi sfuggire un'occasione di dare a buon consiglio, di ascoltare a sacramentale confessione, I preached, di ammoníre, I gave part to a preghiera, riguerdando tutte queste azioni quali opere of supreme importanza », affirms in the Biographical Memories.

101 Cf. E. ALBEIUCH, respects the sine della chiesa nell'educazione salesiana, in: R. GIANNATELLI (ed.), Progettare l'educazione oggi with Don Bosco, Rome, LAS 1981, p. 258-278.

102 P. BRAIDO, Pedagogia ecclesiale di Don Bosco, in: Ch. Cim - A. MARTINELLI (eds.), Con i giovani raccogliamo the prophecy of the Council. Atti della XIII Settimana di Spiritualità della Famiglia Salesiana, Rome, Dicastero per la Famiglia Salesiana 1987, p. 24

He wrote to Don Fagnano: "Ricordati che i tuoi sforzi siano semper indirizzati a provvedere al bisogni crescenti di tua Madre. Sed Mater tua est Ecclesia Dei, says S. Girolamo »(E IV, 334).
In this it was not traditional and restorative. He was aware that not all of the above had been good and refused to return to the state of affairs of other times, arguing that the freedom of the Church, despite having been conquered by so many hardships, had been an extraordinary achievement.

Don Bosco did not live in the calmest or brightest period in the history of the Church, but his optimism and confidence in the future manifested itself at all times very firm. Neither the Protestants nor Freemasonry, nor the constant activity of the devil, would prevail: "In ogni tempo la Chiesa fu sempre col ferro or cogli scritti combattuta, ie she always trionfó. She has veduto i regni, le repubbliche, e gli imperi a sé d'intorno crollare e rovinar affatto; essa sola é rimasta ferina ed immobile. Run il secolo nineteenth dacché fu fon-data, and if it shows tutto giorno nella piú florida eta. Verranno altri dopo di noi, and the Vedantic will always be faithful, and the Divine hand will surpass glorious tutte le vicende umane, vincerá i suoi nemici, and if it will move forward with a cross in the secoli e dei rivolgimenti but at the end of the tempi, nn turbine, nn uragano, coprono il nostro orizzonte; ma saranno di brief durata. Dopo will compare a sole che parí non risplendette from San Pietro to Pio IX ».107 nn turbine, nn uragano, coprono il nostro orizzonte; ma saranno di brief durata. Dopo will compare a sole che parí non risplendette from San Pietro to Pio IX ».107
For many theologians of that time, and perhaps of ours, to believe in the Church meant accepting its authority more than its mystery. Don Bosco also insists, as we have seen almost exclusively in the authority and in the ecclesiastical institution. Desramaut affirms that he insisted much more on his earthly, social and organic aspect than on his mystical essence: "If it will cost che, dopo tutto, nell'universo spirituale di Don Bosco, gli esseri concreti occupano a posto notevole, mence invece le profonditá di Dio , l'ami 'na della chiesa e per-fino lo Spirito Santo vi compaiono ben poco ».108 However, throughout his life he will talk about what, in reality, constitute the mysteries of grace, and will devote his life to stoking this life of grace in the soul of the faithful, that is, the presence of the Holy Spirit in believers.

We have to conclude affirming that its educational praxis leads in a thousand different ways to inculcate the meaning of the Church through a strong experience of the Church, as opposed to a common praxis that more or less consciously identified Church with structure. Experience of Church that is life, sacraments, sanctity and relationship with the Trinity.109 Ecclesial pedagogy that condenses into schools, oratories, churches, hospices, professional institutes, associations, works for adult vocations, press, publishers, bookstores, schools. Don Braido thinks that "l'iniziazione al sensus eclesiae, with radicale accentuazione papale, spontanea sponntanea forma quotidiana del suo essere educatore", "and recalls a recommendation that can be considered emblematic:" Continuate ad amare la religione nei suoi ministri, continue to praticare questa santa cattolica religione, che possa renderci felici her questa terra, alone che valga to renderci eternally beati in cielo ». It was a universal conception, capable of overcoming capillismos and sectarianisms: «Fra cattolici non vi sono né opere nostre né opera di there. Siamo tutti figli di Dio e della Chiesa, figji of the Pope ", 111 even in situations in which a spontaneous feeling could have moved him in another direction. For example, when he discarded and destroyed the libels written against mons. Gastaldi figji of the Pope ", 111 even in situations in which a spontaneous feeling could have moved him in another direction. For example, when he discarded and destroyed the libels written against mons. Gastaldi figji of the Pope ", 111 even in situations in which a spontaneous feeling could have moved him in another direction. For example, when he discarded and destroyed the libels written against mons. Gastaldi

"" I saw, "he said to the Jesuits of Piacenza," a trionfo della Chiesa l'essersi potuta svincolare dei trattati con i Governi, who pretends to choose not only the vescovi per le dio diocese, but also the parish for the singole parrocchie "Adesso é piú libera di prima." If they are "rotti i concordad que ne inceppavano la liberta especialmente nelle elezioni dei vescovi" (MB X, 464).

"SE, 388.

"MB IX, 920. 107 E II, 118-119.

'"DESRAMAUT, Don Bosco e la vita spirituale, p.95.

It seems clear that the most important thing in his life and in his works was the purity of religion - hence his constant opposition to Protestants - and the sanctity of the people. These two objectives, which can be identified in the sense explained in these pages, with religion and the Church, constituted the raison d'etre of his life. He was not a theologian in the technical sense of the word and less an ecclesiologist, although he manifested and represented a dominant current at that time. In fact, as P. Braido affirms, his theological vision of the Church had been modeled in the diocesan catechisms and in the modest theological and historical literature then dominant in the ultramontane sector. He lived and felt the ecclesial community, understood what was the vital nerve of the life of the Church and acted accordingly. Perhaps we would have preferred that their ecclesiology correspond more with their praxis, which, at times, does not seem to agree at all, since the first is legal, legal, institutional, while the second is existential and experiential. In fact, Don Bosco is convinced that only in the Catholic Church can the sacraments and holiness be found and produced.

Don Bosco in this ecclesiological theme clearly represents a paradigmatic example of what most of the Italian clergy of that time thought and wrote, and in this sense it is not original even in its universality and ultramontane exaggeration, but, at the same time, it manifested his life and his performance the urgent need for adaptation and evolution, if the message of the Gospel was to reach more people, especially the most remote and marginalized.

109 Defined in the 1870 edition of his Stork ecclesiastica: "La Chiesa and manifestly the figlia di Dio Padre, the sposa di Gesu Christ and the living tempio dello Spirito Santo," and later he states: "La Chiesa non nulla a temere , e anche tutti congiurassero per gettarla a terra, I saw it always Spirito Santo to sustain it ».

110 BRAIDO, Pedagogia ecclesiale di don Bosco, p. 24

BS 6 (1882) 81.


Giuseppe TUNINEM

1. Elements for the explanation of a known contrast

The title of this communication is not intended in any way to emphasize, in a journalistic way, a special fact: it reflects the real relations that took place between Don Bosco and the Archbishop of Turin, Lorenzo Gastaldi, in the years 1871-1883.1
It is true that the The history of the Church is furrowed by frequent conflicts between the so-called charisms and ecclesiastical authority, both that of the Pope and that of the bishops. But not only that.

However, it would be banal to resort to that historical constant or illustrious historical precedents to try to explain satisfactorily, or, worse, dismantle the conflict that took place between Don Bosco and Archbishop Gastaldi.

It undoubtedly belongs to the genre of conflicts between episcopal authority and religious charism, but it has an incontrovertible specificity, which is one of the keys to reading the rich and complex personality, as well as the activity, of the two protagonists.

Faced with the gravity and the continuity of the conflict, one feels an inevitable stupor that becomes greater if one thinks that, for at least twenty-five years - that is, until the spring of 1872 - the two protagonists had been in relations of optimal friendship, esteem and collaboration.

If we resort to geometry, the lives of the two characters can be imagined as two lines that, starting from the same year of birth - 1815 - remained parallel for thirty years. From 1844 to 1872 they approached in close collaboration, to oppose themselves suddenly and literally in the years 1872-1883. His social extraction was diverse: poor peasant Giovanni Bosco, wealthy bourgeois Lorenzo Gastaldi. No less different their cultural and ecclesiastical formation: after primary studies not regular, Don Bosco had attended the courses of philosophy and theology in the diocesan seminary of Chieri; mons. Gastaldi, on the other hand, had received a regular and good level instruction, given the times, first, at the Collegio dei Nobili (or Carmen) run by the Jesuits, then at the University of Turin, where,

Everything presented in this communication has been widely presented in my monograph on Gastaldi, to which I also refer for sources, bibliography and documentary references: G. Tu. ~ ni, Lorenzo Gastaldi 1815-1883, vol. I: Theologian, pubblicist, Rosminian, vescovo di Saluzzo: 1815-1871, Rome - Casale Monferrato, Edizioni Piemme 1983 (especially p.122-135); vol. II: Arcivescovo di Torino: 1871-1883, Rome - Casale Monferrato, Edizioni Piemme 1988 (especially pages 259-290: "Il Conflitto con Don Bosco").

Ordained priest in 1841, Don Bosco had completed his pastoral formation in the Ecclesiastical Convent of St. Francesco d'Assisi, the school of Don Luigi Guala and of Don Giuseppe Cafasso, at the same time starting the activity among the abandoned youth; Don Gastaldi, a priest in 1837, had been added in 1838 to the Collegio dei Teologi de la. University, dedicating itself, therefore, to the academic activity, to the study and publication of works of moral theology, introducing itself in the cultural debate, especially in the Rosminian question.

The fact that Don Bosco belonged to the clergy of the Convitto di S. Francesco and Don Gastaldi to the university formation meant that they belonged to two different priestly schools and in many alternative aspects: the first and the second, with rigorist and moderately philogical tendencies, the second , with all the corresponding ecclesiological, spiritual and pastoral implications.

This diverse formation will have its weight in the conflict in question; but at first it did not condition the meeting, the understanding and the collaboration in the activity that took place in the Oratory of Valdocco, already from 1844 or shortly after.

Canon Gastaldi lent his help to Don Bosco in catechesis and preaching, while his mother, a sister and then a niece helped Mama Margarita.

Admirer of the priest of Valdocco, Canon Gastaldi, on April 7, 1849, wrote in the columns of the "Conciliatore Torinese", of which he was a director, a true panegyric of Valdocco and his director, exalted as the "new Filippo Neri" .

And when in 1853 he left for England as a Rosminian missionary, in his secret testament he bequeathed to Don Bosco and his Oratory a considerable sum of money. From England he maintained an epistolary relationship and started collaborating in the collection of the "Letture Cattoliche".

Made bishop of Saluzzo, also thanks to Don Bosco, he wrote the most enthusiastic and commendable commendatory letters to obtain from Rome the approval of the Society of San Francisco de Sales. Finally, his transfer to Turin in 1871, in addition to the appreciation of Pius IX for the open support he gave to the cause of infallibility in Vatican I, must also be attributed to the advice of Don Bosco to the same Pope.

2. The causes

Obviously, Don Bosco, after the serious difficulties he had had with Archbishop Riccardi di Netro for the approval of his congregation, had caught on the plane the possibility of having at the headquarters of St. Maximus a friendly bishop. And with Lorenzo Gastaldi the most promising perspective seemed to be given.

The calculations were wrong. In addition, not only was the dream help lacking, but the opposition came immediately.

What were the causes?
Meanwhile, the role of Gastaldi had changed: he was no longer the friendly bishop, but the direct ecclesiastical superior, therefore committed in the first person to the problems of the Salesian congregation, which had its cradle and its maximum presence in Turin.

Without adding that precisely the role of bishop could bring out the contrasts of his diverse mentalities, matured in remarkably different formative processes. In addition, the bishop had to take into account the attitude of the diocesan clergy in relation to the Salesian congregation, recently recognized by Rome.

Indeed, Don Bosco's conflict with the Archbishop of Turin was not born with Gastaldi, but had already occurred with his predecessor, Alessandro Riccardi di Netro, transferred from Savona to Turin in 1867. That is to say, Gastaldi came across the inheritance of an existing contrast situation.

The real and proper conflict with the Turin Curia had arisen with the arrival of Riccardi di Netro. And the reason is quite simple. The Turin diocese, from 1850 to 1867, had in fact been vacant: from 1850 to 1862, because of the forced exile of Monsignor Fransoni in Lyon, the diocese had been governed by letter through the vicar general; from 1862 to 1867 he had had the guidance of the vicar-capitular Giuseppe Zappata. And all this in a stormy period for relations between State and Church, especially in Turin.

The new archbishop had to face an easy situation, also in ecclesiastical discipline, even though the clergy of Turin was a good clergy as a whole.

In that long period Don Bosco had also become accustomed to a certain freedom of initiative, favored by two other factors: the undisputed confidence of Archbishop Fransoni and the role of substitute lived in the Oratory of Valdocco after the closing of the Turin theological seminary in 1848 by the well-known manifestations of seminarians.

With the arrival of Riccardi di Netro in 1867, a long period of exception was closed. Trying to put order in the things of the diocese, the archbishop found himself in front of the oratory of Valdocco by the presence of the seminarians of the diocese in him.

On September 11, 1867, the archbishop ordered the diocesan seminarians who were in Valdocco to return to the seminary to follow the courses regularly, if they wanted to receive the sacred orders.

The order caused many difficulties for Don Bosco, because he was deprived of a precious staff for his Oratory. More serious still was the negative judgment expressed by the archbishop on the constitutions from which Don Bosco asked for Rome's approval. In addition to the reservations expressed about it, Monsignor was not in favor of the transformation of the Society of San Francisco de Sales into a religious congregation. If not strictly diocesan, I wanted it at least very embedded in the pastoral of the diocese for the purposes for which I was born.

The Holy See on March 1, 1869 did not grant the approval of the constitutions, but only the recognition as a congregation of sim votes. ples to the Society of San Francisco de Sales. However, Don Bosco obtained from the Pope the privilege for ten years of granting the dimissorial letters to the seminarians who had entered their schools or oratories before the age of fourteen; and later he also gave it to those who had entered after that age.

It is evident that from this moment on, when Don Bosco saw that he did not obtain from the archbishops what he thought useful for his purposes, recourse to privileges became a constant in his behavior.

Therefore, when Gastaldi arrived in Turin in 1871, the dispute between the archbishop and Don Bosco was already on the table: the formation of the Salesian seminarians and their sacred ordinations, the privileges obtained from Rome (especially the dimissorial ones), the approval of the constitutions, under examination in Rome. At stake was not only the episcopal jurisdiction, but the very future face of the Salesian congregation.

3. Two types of formation and two ecclesiological conceptions

In this context of already rather tense relations, he got involved with all the strength of his personality and his acute conscience as a bishop, formed in the Turin theological faculty and matured in the school of Rosmini, the archbishop Lorenzo Gastaldi.

The clear beginning of the conflict was given by the letter of October 24, 1872, in which the archbishop, according to canon law, established that the Salesian seminarians should present themselves forty days at least before ordination, with a declaration of Don Bosco on the curriculum of life, formation and study; In addition, each time, the clergy had to suffer, in the curia, the examination of two theological treatises. For the moment, the archbishop refrained from demanding - as was his right - duty - that he attend seminary classes.

Confronted with the understandable resistance of Don Bosco, the archbishop not only did not alleviate the demands, but added that, without a serious novitiate, there was no good organization for religious life and the archbishop would not support the approval of the constitutions. Finally, he pointed out that he believed timely exemptions, but not beyond certain limits, as was the examination of the suitability of the ordinands.

It was the dispute already known, but aggravated by the approval of the esiana, already obtained, and the privileged obtained by Don Bosco's congregation, which the archbishop tried to empty by appealing to common law. and to the fact that the congregation was of simple votes and, therefore, not in this legal uncertainty, full of incomprehensions, will be overcome only in 1884, after the death of Gastaldi, with the granting of the exemption.

The incomprehension was also born from the different way of conceiving the religious congregation and, therefore, the novitiate. The archbishop thought of her in the traditional way, considering the novitiate of the Jesu coitas the model in which to be inspired. Don Bosco, who, among other bears, had no legal training, so it seems he did not want to found a traditional religious congregation, but something more elastic and more adapted to lostitut master made him necebientes juvenilsaes.- This put him before the following dilemma: the novelty of the unusually more dependent of the bishops (which, given the situation, he did not want); autonomy from the bishops was only possible if he obtained privileges from Rome; but the path of privilege was that of the traditional religious congregation.

In order to get out of the impasse, Don Bosco entered with greater determination, porestimating the path of privileges; and he obtained them easily from Pius IX, who much preferred him to the archbishop of Turin.

For his part, the archbishop, feeling overwhelmed by Don Bosco and writing that Pius IX had a predilection for Don Bosco - and he openly admits it in the letters to Roman congregations - more than once he threatened to deny the dimissorial as compelling, with the threat of a striking gesture, to the Pope, so that he had the due consideration with the Archbishop of Turin. And because he felt a certain obsession with the subject of privileges, in his conduct with Don Bosco and his congregation, he always resorted, thanks to his legal training, to canon law, often finding sympathy, if not legal harmony, in congregations. Romans, who tended to the common law. For this purpose, it was significant the approval of the constitutions, closed with the decree of April 3, 1874.

The archbishop had sent his comendaticia letter on February 10, 1873, but raising six precise conditions on the points already mentioned and also asking that the subdiaconate be conferred after the perpetual vows.

Don Bosco, for his part, asked the Pope on March 1 "the definitive approval of the constitutions and full power to grant the dimissorial ones".

Both parties pressured the Holy See to accept their own views.

Among other things, the archbishop, in a letter to the prefect of the Congregation of the Council, declared himself convinced that the Salesian congregation would not survive the death of its founder if the precautions he proposed were not taken into account. Indeed, the consultant of the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars welcomed substantially the observations of Gastaldi on the novitiate, the studies of the clergy and the collation of the subdiaconate after the perpetual vows.

In the meantime - showing what his fundamental concern was - Gastaldi, on July 26, still proposed to the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars the question about the exemption or not of the Salesian congregation. The reply of August 18 clearly revealed that there were two lines in Rome regarding the approval of the constitutions: that of the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars and that of Pius IX. Indeed, the reply stated that, because the Salesian congregation was a congregation of simple vows, it could not be considered exempt from episcopal jurisdiction, "except for the Constitutions when they were approved by the Holy See and the particular privileges obtained by the Holy See. same ». In this regard, he pointed out that if the constitutions were still under examination, it could not be ignored "that more than one particular privilege has obtained the Priest Bosco of His Holiness on the dimissorial to be granted to a certain number of students; and lately in the Audiencia of the 8 of the present one it has obtained another similarity by six years ».

Y la política de la doble vía se verificó en la aprobación de las constituciones. Aprobadas por la Congregación de Obispos y Regulares con decreto de 3 de abril de 1874, acogieron en la sustancia las observaciones de Gastaldi sobre los puntos cruciales que tanto le preocupaban. Pero se concedía por vía de privilegio lo que se excluía en la normativa de las constituciones: con un rescrito del mismo día se concedía a don Bosco por diez años la facultad de conceder las dimisorias a los salesianos que debían ordenarse. Además, el 8 de abril, don Bosco obtenía de Pío IX, vivae vocis oraculo, la exención del tipo de noviciado sancionado por las constituciones.

It became clear to Gastaldi that Rome, in fact, with the weight of Pius IX, was with Don Bosco. But the objective ambiguity of the solution - constitutions on the one hand and privileges on the other - made it even more humiliating. Everything would have been settled, with not too much difficulty, if the archbishop had accepted it without blinking. But this kind of resignation did not suit his character, especially because he was convinced of his legitimate reasons. Stubbornness? Lucid awareness of the rights-duties of a bishop?
The fact is that everything that happened afterwards - when everything became more difficult in the relations between the archbishop and Don Bosco - must also be attributed to Roman ambiguity, oscillating between legislative provisions and personal privileges.

4. The most critical period

The most critical period of relations between the archbishop and Don Bosco was that of the years 1878-1879, when five anonymous libels were published against the archbishop, in which the conflict we are dealing with occupied a remarkable space. They were truly years of fire for the archbishop, because the publication of the libels coincided with the most delicate moment of the Androscan controversy, in which the archbishop, increasingly alone in front of Rome, was the target of the contumelias of the intransigent.

The first booklet came out at the end of 1877 and had the title: Lettera sull'arcivescovo di Torino e sulla Congregazione di S. Francesco di Sales. A po 'di luce, in which heavy accusations were made to the archbishop for his treatment of Don Bosco.

The fact that the author declared himself "Salesian Cooperatore" guided the suspicions in one direction: the archbishop was convinced of Salesian paternity. In fact, in the ad limina relatio of March 18, 1878, he accused the Salesians of having published the booklet and of having disseminated it everywhere. The author, as it became known later, was the canon Giovanni Battista Anfossi, who had been a Salesian and was later a diocesan priest and who had close relations with the Salesians. The echo of the first libel had not yet died down when, in May 1878, the second one appeared, equally anonymous (the author was, as he himself confessed, Fr Giovanni Turchi, a Salesian alumnus, a friend of Don Anfossi and also he in relation to next with the Salesians). It had the title: Strenna pel clerk ossia rivista sul liturgico calendar dell'archidiocesi di Torino per l'anno 1878 scritto gives a cappellano. The libel was a supposed process to add it against the archbishop, who was accused of being: persecutor of the clergy, especially of Don Bosco; liberal; guilty of having caused Pius IX to die of displeasure; paranoid and unworthy of the episcopal office.

The document was in fact also an incitement to rebellion directed at the Turin clergy. And in a part of the clergy - perhaps remarkable - there was no lack of dissatisfaction: the archbishop was severe and demanding, sometimes authoritarian and easy in repressive procedures.

From the same corporation, formed by Turchi and Anfossi, with the collaboration of the Jesuits Ballerini (from 1841 Adversary of Gastaldi in the Rosminian question) and Rostagno, the other three anonymous libels were published: Piccolo saggio sulle dottrine di monsignor Gastaldi arcivescovo di Torino; La questione rosminiana e l'arcivescovo di Torino. Strenna pel Clero compilata dal Cappellano (do not forget that it was in the middle of an anti-romanian bagarre, in which the archbishop was involved in the first person); and, finally: L'arcivescovo di Torino, Don Bosco and Don Oddenino, ossia fatti buffi, seri e dolorosi raccontati da chierico, born in the context of a violent local controversy
around the Salesian oratory of Santa Teresa de Chieri.

The painful avalanche of anonymous libels, which had wide echo among the clergy and the secular and anticlerical press, not only damaged the image and pastoral prestige of the archbishop, but also did not serve Don Bosco well. The libels definitely undertook, even on a personal level, their relations with the archbishop, who was convinced that he was involved in the defamation orchestrated against him.

At that moment, in the absence of reciprocal trust, things could not get worse; the archbishop more and more convinced of having them to do with a disobedient priest, everything less holy; and Don Bosco convinced that he had a persecuting archbishop.

Several parties tried to bring themselves to conciliation. This came, indeed, by the work of Leo XIII with the act of concord on June 16, 1882. A commitment that was desired and timely, but that was more formal than real, so much had tangled the skein of ideas and of feelings.

The unexpected death of the archbishop, the Easter morning of 1883, on March 25, was what put an end to the conflict, with the tear and questions still open.

5. In summary

What assessment can be expressed about the conflict?
Without pretending an impossible Solomonic sentence, which would be out of place, I think it appropriate to suggest, without pretending to say it completely, some reasons.

First, the temperamental motives: both strong and sure characters of their own reasons, not exempt from a certain stubbornness, more impulsive (but sometimes also authoritarian) that of the archbishop, more tenacious (as in a good peasant) that of Don Bosco In fact, neither one nor the other ever made a substantial concession with a view to a superior pastoral good, beyond what there was of one's own reason, true or presumed.

Second, the reasons for the mentality. The ultramontane formation received in the Convitto di S. Francesco by Don Bosco (also capable, however, of pragmatic and elastic behaviors in certain circumstances of opposite direction) led him to a topological edesiological vision, in which the true authority was that of the Pope , of whom the bishops were, above all, spokesmen. This explains his tendency to pass over the diocesan authority in a systematic way. The moderately Episcopalian formation of Gastaldi, enriched by the patristic lessons of Rosmin. i, which emphasized the centrality of the bishop in the diocese, had not been absorbed by his adherence to pontifical infallibility, personally sustained at the Vatican Council.

Third, the reasons inherent to the collaborators and entourage, which inevitably influence who has government responsibilities. They had excellent collaborators, but there were also people who were not well-lit, pastorally myopic and morally unclear (some easily identifiable, others less, but undoubtedly present), which complicated, whether or not they wanted, the already difficult relationships.

Finally, how can we not attribute a non-indifferent weight to the already recalled Roman ambiguity by producing in the diocese of Turin uncertainties of conduct with painful consequences?
Of all this issue, not exactly luminous, it is worth underlining, as a final, its historical importance, which surpasses its protagonists: the day after Vatican I, which had defined the primacy and papal infallibility, leaving in the shadow the office Episcopal, the conduct of Archbishop Gastaldi and that of Don Bosco also appear as a symptom of a certain edesological distress in the face of a dominant edesiology, the ultramontana, which tended to ignore, we would say with excessive ease, episcopal authority.



1. Introduction

The Church-world dialectic over the centuries has had alternate and contradictory vicissitudes.

In the age of the martyrs, the Gospel exerts a revulsive and revolutionary charge. In the so-called constantiníana age, one arrives at the confusion of the powers and to the identification of the two spheres (Ecclesiam et Imperium esse "unum).

After the fracture of the sixteenth century, the process of secularization began in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which was accentuated on the occasion of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Risorgimento.

The modern and contemporary age pose a line of tendency hostile to Revelation: the Enlightenment launches the attack against the divinity of Christ and against the Church, because it is considered as a teacher of intolerance. The nineteenth century shows the upward movement of disbelief to atheism, which will become social atheism. In this last phase, Catholicism is considered as a city besieged by hostile forces, such as Noah's ark, the only one that offers salvation. The frontal opposition is followed by the Church's competence with the world through Catholic structures, until the Second Vatican Council launches dialogue and service.

The pontifical documents (from the Roman encyclicals to the diocesan pastorals) trace with ardor and controversy the itinerary of modern civilization. Luther rebels against the Pope, the Enlightenment rejects supernatural Revelation, until atheism explodes, which initially is a bourgeois phenomenon and then transmitted to the working class.

In the field of ideas, the Maritain of the three reformers unites and situates. in the same descending plane the free examination of Luther, the methodical doubt of Descartes and the free education of Rousseau; and it is significant that until the young Montini translated into Italian in 1928 the Three Reformers, 'with the merit of
1 J. MARITAJN, Tre riformatori, Brescia, Morcelliana 1938 (2nd ed. 1964). Maritain considers contributing to the deprovincialization of Italian culture and the success of a preface open to dialogue, but with the serious disadvantage of contradicting the cliché launched, among others, by Cornoldi, who affirmed around 1870 that the history of modern thought does not it is more than the pathology of reason has. mana.2
What is the reading that the young man does? Bosco of that question in the stork ecclesiastica? Note that he publishes this remarkable youth work at the age of thirty years, with the desire, not to put himself in the line of scientific histories to
scientific still immature in the Catholic field, 3 but to contribute to the formation of young people in the total and enthusiastic fidelity to the Holy See. The leitmotiv of the volume, which is modeled on Loriquet, Soave, Bercastel, is well defined in the apologetic end about the triumphs of the Church described in the closing part of the Ecclesiastical Storia.

And yet, some scholar places Don Bosco next to Father Curci, among the famous conciliators crushed and reduced to silence by the supremacy of intransigent combatants; and the reason is that he had many friends among the influential politicians and acted frequently as an intermediary between the government and the Holy See.4
This thesis of the Englishman Seton Watson has a kernel of truth, that is, that Don Bosco acted as a mediator5 in the appointment of the bishops for the countless vacant dioceses and for the exequatur (see the exemplary and documented studies of Francesco Mono). But having made a bridge between the government of Vittorio Emanuele II and the Holy See does not mean that
Luther, Descartes and Rousseau as three great of the modern civilization, initiated in the Renaissance, arrival at the apex with the Enlightenment and with the French Revolution. Maritain grants too much to the apologetic genre, tinged with Manichaeism, which separates good and evil with a clear cut, and issues a sentence of global condemnation of modern thought, which has had, however, the great merit of defending the dignity of the human person, brutally trampled on the Anden Régime.

2 CM CORNOLDI, Lezioni di filosofta ordinate alio studio delle altre scienze, Firenze 1872, p. XXIII. Such a global disqualification of the modern mentality is not something typical of Cornoldi, but rather a commonplace of Catholic culture, and appears as a programmatic component of the "Civiltá Cattolica." Cf. CM CURCI, II modern giornalismo and il estro programma, in "Civiltá Cattolica" 1 (1850) 5-24 (here speaks the intransigent and temporalist Curci).

F. TRANIELLO, Ecclesiastical culture and cattolka culture, in: Chiesa e religiositá in Italy dopo l'Unitá (1861-1878), Relazioni II, Milano, Vita e Pensiero 1973, p. 3-28; Also, Cursi in the second phase of his thought denounces the poverty and scientific backwardness of the edesiá.16cos studies: CM CURCI, La nuova Italia ei vecchi zelanti, Firenze 1881; GD MUCCT, Carlo Maria Cura fondatore della "Civilta Cattolica", Rome, Studium 1988; ID., II cousin direttore della «Civiltá
Cattolica». Carlo Maria Curd tra la culture dell'immobilismo e la cultura della storicitá, Rome, Ed. Civiltá Cattolica 1986.

SE, 387-388. (This acronym refers, as indicated in the "Acronyms and abbreviations," to the edition of 1845. The following editions will be quoted indicating, after the acronym SE, the year of edition and the corresponding page). About conciliatory Catholics and the various currents: F. TRANIELLO, Cattolkesimo conciliatorista, Milano, Marzorati 1970.

5 C. SETON WATSON, Stork d'Italia from 1870 to 1925, Bari, Laterza 1967, p. 73. 813.

halfway between Rattazzi and Pius IX and even less that he worked for reconciliation between the Church and the modern world; indeed, on the one hand he was a fervent faithful of the Roman pontificate6 and a convinced asserter of the temporal era, of the Syllabus, of papal intransigence; on the other hand, he enjoyed the power of the liberals for his selfless philanthropic action in favor of dispersed, socially dangerous trust and for his vertiginous dynamism and the spirit of sacrifice manifested in the negotiations. And it is precisely his total surrender to the papal cause that allowed him to overcome formidable obstacles such as the final hostility of Archbishop Gastaldi and wrest from the Vatican summits the approval of a revolutionary work such as the creation of the Salesians: revolutionary because of the atmosphere that unleashed , for the atmosphere that he was trying to reach, for the new figure of a priest in the chaotic and noisy mass of young people who played and shouted in a courtyard; a figure so different from the Tridentine priest, conceived as a man of the sacred, separated from the people even in the mass (and the walls of separation were the Latin language, the balustrade, the cural house, the lack of familiarity and the total separation of the laity , so warmly inculcated by San Carlos in the Acta ecclesiae mediolanensis). Precisely because of that boldly innovative character, Don Bosco will be forced to repeatedly modify his rule, before it was acceptable to official demands, concerned to contain new initiatives in formulas approved in the past.

• F. Morro, L'azione mediatrice di don Bosco nella questione delle sedi vescovili vacanti in Italy from 1858 alla morse di Pio IX, in: BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 251-328. Motto, who is currently preparing the critical edition of Don Bosco's correspondence, thinks that an unpublished manuscript can be found.

• M. BELARDINELLI, Don Bosco and the Vatican Council I, in: BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 239-250; among other things, it is known that Don Bosco was one of those who convinced Gastaldi to unconditionally vote for pontifical infallibility in Vatican I; and that the Saint had met the future Bishop Scalabrini when he was rector of the Seminary of Como.

• R. AUBERT, La Chiesa Cattolica dalla crisi del 1848 alla prima guerra mondiale, in: Nuova Storia della Chiesa, 5/1, Torino, Marietti 1977, p. 156: about the novelty, in a certain revolutionary sense, of the image of the Salesian priest, cf. the cidostilado: P. STELLA, II prete piemontese dell'800 in the French rivoluzione e rivoluzione industriale, Torino 1972 («Center of Studi sulla Storia e la Sociologia Religiosa del Piemonte»).

9 You can find more extensive news in: F. MOLINARI, The "Storia ecclesiastica" di Don Bosco, in: BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 203-238; very interesting volume: M. MIELE, Tommaso Michele Salzano (1807-1890), separate "Campania Sacra" 1986.

This book was published in 1845 and belongs to the youth phase with all the merits and all the defects of age.9 Among the positive aspects of the work is the immediate and communicative clarity, facilitated by the catechetical form of questions and answers (with Saint Augustine, Don Bosco thought: I prefer that the learned correct me so that the rudos do not understand me). The book received applause and had several re-editions, not only for the popular and luminous style and for an adequate and benzine lcugua, free of archaisms and chalectal piamontesismos, but also for its scholastic use, especially among the brothers of the Christian Schools. reediciones did not please the author, because this. were plagued by typographical errors. Yes it was reflected, however, in the 1871, which is presented as an improved fourth edition. The review is undoubtedly positive: the virulent controversies of the first edition are filed and the matter is distributed more organically. Disputable and debatable, on the other hand, is the abandonment of the catechetical form of questions and answers and the transformation into a purely narrative text by the work of Don Giovanni Bonetti, who were a faithful collaborator of Don Bosco. It would be interesting to know the reasons for these two metamorphoses. Of course it is curious and singular that, while the Catholic polemic raises and exasperates towards 1870, the new edition of Don Bosco, even through the intervention of Bonetti, moderates the previous tones, for example, on the «Divine vendetta »against the heretics. But not much more. instead, it is the abandonment of the catechetical form of questions and answers and the transformation into purely narrative text by the work of Don Giovanni Bonetti, who were a faithful collaborator of Don Bosco. It would be interesting to know the reasons for these two metamorphoses. Of course it is curious and singular that, while the Catholic polemic raises and exasperates towards 1870, the new edition of Don Bosco, even through the intervention of Bonetti, moderates the previous tones, for example, on the «Divine vendetta »against the heretics. But not much more. instead, it is the abandonment of the catechetical form of questions and answers and the transformation into purely narrative text by the work of Don Giovanni Bonetti, who were a faithful collaborator of Don Bosco. It would be interesting to know the reasons for these two metamorphoses. Of course it is curious and singular that, while the Catholic polemic raises and exasperates towards 1870, the new edition of Don Bosco, even through the intervention of Bonetti, moderates the previous tones, for example, on the «Divine vendetta »against the heretics. But not much more. Of course it is curious and singular that, while the Catholic polemic raises and exasperates towards 1870, the new edition of Don Bosco, even through the intervention of Bonetti, moderates the previous tones, for example, on the «Divine vendetta »against the heretics. But not much more. Of course it is curious and singular that, while the Catholic polemic raises and exasperates towards 1870, the new edition of Don Bosco, even through the intervention of Bonetti, moderates the previous tones, for example, on the «Divine vendetta »against the heretics. But not much more.

2. Church and world

It is necessary to point out a fact. Write the schematic Storia ecclesiastica in the years 1844-45, under the poritificado of Gregorio XVI, a man so open in the missionary aspect as closed and conservative before the modern civilization (he said "no" to the railroad and the illumination in the Papal State, for fear that they would serve for the circulation and nightly meetings of the liberals). That is why it is understood why the continuo is the De Triumphis Ecclesiae published by Cappellari in 1799 and whose echo seems to be heard in these paragraphs: "At all times was fought with the iron and the sword, and triumphed. She has seen the kingdoms, the republics and the empires crumble completely and ruin themselves around her; she alone remains firm and immobile. The nineteenth century has run since it was founded, and it is shown today in the most flowery age ».
Among all the greats of history, Napoleon was the symbolic character whose history, full of alternatives, teaches the unwavering strength of the persecuted Church, the uselessness of descending to compromises with the world (see Napoleon's ingratitude towards the pope, who had crowned Emperor in Paris), the penalty of the stumbling that God applies against the reprobate.
I ° The work is dedicated to Brother Hervé de la Croix, Provincial of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, friend of Don Bosco.

"SE, 387-388, the formula used in 1871 is less controversial, which states:" Finally commune Vedism the Chiesa perseguitata, nulladimeno dobbiano rimanere fermi nella fede; having per ceno the war will end col trionfo della Chiesa e del suo supreme Pastore "(SE 1871, 371) As can be seen, the paragraph on the fall of the kingdoms, republics and empires was crossed out, perhaps because the previous year the Pontifical State had disappeared.

When PIO VI died, the revolutionaries of France declared: «The last country has died» «But it is God who founded and governs the Church, that is why all the efforts of his enemies are futile»
Napoleon is waiting for a sweeter and less bloodthirsty government. "That is why Pius VIL, who had been elected in Venice despite the auguries of misfortune, stipulates with him the Concordat, which he hastens to violate. crowned emperor, but he "rewarded the condescension of the pope with the most monstrous ingratitude, letting himself be carried away by excesses against him, of which until then there were no examples." Napoleon laughed and mocked the papal sanctions, exclaiming: "Does the pope believe, perhaps, that his excommunications will drop the weapons from the hands of my soldiers? ".16 But he had to experience that to favor the Church is a principle of greatness, and to pursue the principle of ruin. '
The insolent emperor "is taken by force and taken prisoner, he is taken to Fontainebleau, in that same palace in which he held the Holy Father in chains, and waters with the tears of his despair those same places, where he shed the tears of the Vicar of Jesus Christ ».18
The world, for Don Bosco, as for San Agustín and San Alfonso, is dirty. The good and the bad are divided by towering walls, like poor Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham and the rich Epulon in the fire of hell. But, while the author of the De civitate Dei finds "in the powerful and illustrious Roman empire the preciousness of civil virtues, though without the seal of true religion," Don Bosco does not find any true soul outside the Catholic perimeter, or seminal reason, as affirmed by the line opened by the philosopher Justin who, although persecuted and martyred by paganism, had a deep understanding of the Christian values ​​that were also in paganism as scattered seeds of the full Truth.

In this psychology of rejection, Don Bosco follows the school of the counterrevolutionary and romantic current (De Maistre, Chateaubriand, Donoso Cortés, etc.), from San Alfonso de Lígorio, the Popes of the Restoration. No new expression or nuance is missing.

The well-wishers, like the Catholic Mason Joseph De Maistre, consider the revolutionary and Jacobin events as "disorder, madness, impiety, ruin of all principles and all political supporters and dwells. of all civil coexistence ».

2 SE, 371; in the 1871 edition (p.330) the phrase is omitted and replaced with an expression that is limited to narrating the facts.

"SE, 359." SE, 360.

15 SE, 361.

16 SE, 366.


"SE, 367: identical to the wording of 1871 (page 335).

"Patrologia latina, 33, 533. Agustín continues:" so that it would be understood that with the addition of it [the true religion] men become citizens of another city, in which the sovereign king is the truth, the law is charity and the measure of life is eternity ».

Catholic apologetics denounces the deaths, the anarchy, the assault on property, the persecution of the Church in the non-sworn clergy and in the pope. Also the immortal principles "freedom, equality, fraternity", sunk in the land of the Gospel, are rejected in block that even, because they violate the rights of the authority of divine origin, favor religious indifference, deform freedom and transform it into license.
Don Bosco, lacking historical perspective and cultural solidity, does not share the position of Rosmini who thinks that impoverishing the Church means saving it. The Church emerges from the impoverished revolution and stripped of political power. But was that a serious damage?
Rosmini compares the riches of the Church with the armor of Saul that made David powerless, and exclaimed: "In what part will we find an immensely rich clergy, who has the courage to become poor? Or that it has at least the light of untamed intelligence to realize that the hour has sounded, in which to impoverish the Church is to save it? "" Although aligned in counterrevolutionary intransigence and in traditional moralism, Don Bosco , perhaps in the name of practical experience and contact with reality, attenuates certain positions of St. Alphonsus, who had written: "Non sei nato né per vivere, né per godere, per farti ricco, per mangiare come bruti". The founder of the Salesians softens this rigorist conception and adds: «Non sei al mondo only per godere, per farti ricco, per mangiare». 22 Reproduces in the Giovane provveduto the Alphonsian song "mondo piú non sei per me", understanding by world, not the creation that came out of the hands of good God, nor the collaboration of human work with God, but the world dragged by sin original and possessed by Satan. But he softens Saint Alphonsus with the spirit of Saint Philip Neri, who recommended his students: "Be cheerful: I do not want scruples, nor melancholy; It is enough for me not to commit sins. "23 Here is the historical origin of the Salesian saying: Servite Domino in laetitia. But he softens Saint Alphonsus with the spirit of Saint Philip Neri, who recommended his students: "Be cheerful: I do not want scruples, nor melancholy; It is enough for me not to commit sins. "23 Here is the historical origin of the Salesian saying: Servite Domino in laetitia. But he softens Saint Alphonsus with the spirit of Saint Philip Neri, who recommended his students: "Be cheerful: I do not want scruples, nor melancholy; It is enough for me not to commit sins. "23 Here is the historical origin of the Salesian saying: Servite Domino in laetitia.

20 G. MARTINA, La Chiesa nell'eta of liberalism, Brescia, Morcelliana 1979, p. 8; As regards the counterrevolutionary mentality breathed by the young Bosco, one can see: C. BONA, Le Amicizie Societá segrete e rinascita religiosa (1770-1830), Torio, Societa Subalpina 1962; L. MEZZADRI, La Chiesa e la rivoluzionefrancese, Milano, Edizioni Paoline 1989.

21 A. ROSMINI, Le cinque piaghe della Chiesa, a cura di C. Riva, Brescia, Morcelliana 1966, p. 163; the opposite mentality, that is, the one that detects in an ecclesiastical patrimony an attack to the faith, emerges with force in the ecclesiastical journals of the Restoration: Encyclopedia ecclesiastica (Napoli 1821-1823), Memorie di religione, morale e letteratura ( Moderator 1822-1823), Amico d'Italia (Bacon 1822-1830).

STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 41; the different nuances, perhaps, are not explained as much by different theological approaches (Don Bosco follows the benignist line of San Alfonso) as by the different times and contexts in which both operate: Alfonso addresses the man of the 700, Don Bosco is in contact with young people of the 800.

23 Ibid., P. 56-57 (Don Bosco also uses various resources such as gymnastics, music, declamation, the "teatrino", the walks, as, on the other hand, he had done since childhood).

As for the popes of the Restoration, his presence in Don Bosco is attested by the harsh negative judgment he makes of the French Revolution, Freemasonry and secret societies, to which he attributes the constant objective of wanting to demolish at the same time the throne and the altar, 24 of the liberal and socialist society, which opposes all kinds of obstacles to the Catholic school and to the social exposure of religion, while opening the dams to the blasphemous and obscene press, to anti-educational shows, to pagan fashion.

The itinerary of modern dechristianization in the pontifical documents as in the Ecclesiastical Storia proceeds through some fundamental stages, which are: Luther, Freemasons, Encyclopedists (Voltaire, Rousseau), Jacobins (Robespierre). These characters are nothing but disguises of Satan. The identification of the devil with the Revolution will be a leitmotif of Pius IX after 1849 and is already in our author, who claims that emonio "under the mantle of secret societies, modern philosophy, excites rebellions, arouses bloody persecutions ». In homage to free examination, Protestants must say: "Do whatever you want: steal, disobey, kill the king."
After Luther and Calvin °, whose "monstrous" life was punished by the "Divine vendetta" with a horrific death, 26 the other black beast is the Máso
24 F. MOLINARI, Massoneria nei documents pontifici dell'Ottocento (in press); JA FERRER-BENIMELI - G. CAPRILE, Massoneria e Chiesa cattolica ieri oggi domani, Rome, Edizioni Paoline 1979, p. 17 (the anti-Masonic documents are very repetitive: the Providas constitution of Benedict XIV reproduces practically the constitution In eminenti of Benedict XIII and defines the objective of the masonic associations with the formula, later repeated always by the Popes of the Eight hundred: machining against religion, the State, the laws, the French Revolution, as a Masonic plot, is part of the Catholic heritage of the nineteenth century, but is "resized" by the convergence of many facts: Freemasonry is progressive and preaches the constitutional monarchy, but not the Jacobin terror supports the programmatic trinomial "freedom, equality, fraternity ", but it walks in the direction of the reforms, not of the revolution; among the guillotined ones of the Revolution many were Masons, among whom the priest Jean Marie Galot (1747-1794), beatified by Pius XII. You can see his profile in: Liberi muratori di ieri e di oggi, Rome, Camelo Editore 1986, p. 219; On the other hand, Napoleon was very close to Freemasonry, and probably he himself was a Freemason (see F. Collaveri, Napoleone imperatore e Massone, Firen7e, Narclini 1986). In Italy the best-informed historian is: A. MOLA, Storia della Massoneria italiana dall'Unita alía Repubblica, Milano, Bompinni 1976; the thesis of the Masonic plot is attributed to A. Barruel, who, however, distinguishes some freemasons from other lotteries; therefore, neither does Barruel accept the thesis of the Masonic plot, which was emphasized after him.

2 'SE, 278s; the phrase is repeated identically in: SE 1871, 267; the "Ri mentalidad di of Pius IX is illustrated with vigor in: PG CAMMANI, diavolo, Rome e la rivoluzione, sight Storia e Letteratura Religiosa" 8 (1972) 485-516; identical themes resonate in the article by the same author in: Chiesa e religiosita in Italia dogo? Unita (1861-1878), Relazioni II, Milano, Vita e Pensiero 1973, p. 65-128; very well informed is: C. BRE221, Orientationi della Massonetia intorno al 1870, in: Ibid., Comunicazioni II, p. 307-340 (Brezzi analyzes the Masonic anticlericalism through the microscope); it should be noted that in the 1871 edition, the Eminence of Don Bosco greatly enlarges the presence of Freemasonry in Italy; the Saint probably received the influence of the climate that formed after the «Breccia di Porta Pia».

26 SE, 301.306; in SE 1871, 285, the disappearance of Luther is described identically;
He felt that, according to him, it was the one that unleashed the French Revolution.

The responsibility of Masonry over the apostasy of the modern world reaches such a point of simplification and violence that Pope Benedict himself (1740-1758), of whom the openness to culture and correspondence with Voltaire is well known, is for the gift Bosco almost only the champion of the anti-Freemasonic struggle: «he used the eighteen years of pontificate fighting the heretics, repressing the plots that Freemasons and philosophers tended to religion» .27
Our author says that Freemasons receive their doctrines from Manes and that they caused all the evils that derived from the French Revolution "to conspire with implacable hatred against kings, popes and priests, and against the God of Christians, to destroy God and the religion, and with this same religion they are forced under oath before that God that is tried to destroy; Later, the Freemasons also received the name of Jacobin from the temple dedicated to S. Jacobo, where they had met ".28
The Freemasons, the enlightened philosophers, the Jacobins are twin brothers, united by the same thought that the freemasons cultivated in secret, the philosophers made known and the Jacobins transformed into ruthless slaughters. Don Bosco writes: "The secret societies, some fanatics called enlightened, united with the philosophers, with the pretension of wanting to reform the world, producing in all equality and freedom, provoked a revolution, which having begun in 1790 lasted 10 years and it was the cause of the shedding of much blood ».29
Resistance and survival of the Church as a stone, against which the efforts of the impious were broken, the infamous death of these ungodly: those are the constants of history, in which the gates of Hell do not prevail. Voltaire, even having confessed, died desperate; Rousseau took poison and then killed himself with a pistol; Robespierre, anthropophagous monster (in the literal sense of the term) "to avoid the embarrassment of a public death like another Nero, a pistol shot is fired in the mouth, the upper jaw is destroyed and does not die. He is left to agonize for a long time in the midst of them, but the phrase from the previous edition that said "cessó di vivere qui per adar nell'inferno to give birth to a demon, i quali aveva pio volte implorato in suo aiuto" is omitted. corrected the date error, that he killed Luther in 1545 instead of 1546); in the 1871 edition, "Divina vendetta" was removed, which, in the first edition, caused Calvin to expire amidst atrocious tortures.

27 SE, 334; SE 1871, 314-318 (antimasonism is a constant, which is maintained, is more, is accentuated in the second edition, which repeats and emphasizes the inaccuracy of the first, for example, that the Masonic doctrine is that of Manes and that masonic laws are schools of atheism).

28 SE, 335-336; SE 1871, 321-322 (also in this edition repeats the well-known thesis of the French Revolution Masonic plot and the atheist and materialist Masonry: just read the Constitution of Anderson [1723], to realize that the atheist is not admitted in Freemasonry, whose ultimate goal is to build the «Universal family of loving brothers» and not to be carried away by Manichaeism or by classical «fractionism».

29 SE, 343.

sharp insults of the plebs, and already very close to abandon this life, is driven on the box and cut his head in 1794 »
lustrado, the socialist
The atrocious death of the heretic, of the persecutor, of the saint-Simon, 3 'which corresponds to the classic canon De mortibus persecutorum de Lactando, does not reveal to the God-Love, cuius proprium est misereri semper et parcere, but rather to the God Justiciero that manifests the "Divine vendetta", not only with hell, but also with despair on earth. Non est pax impiis is the counterposition of the Domino in laetitia servite. On the other side of this infernal corner with all evil without any good, which is the sinful world, the Catholic community is opposed to all good without any evil. One could speak of historiographical monophysitism, in the sense that Don Bosco puts in parentheses and silences the human material only the Church and the inevitable weaknesses of the creatures, to underline any,

The apologetic-polemic strategy, together with the aim of keeping young people away from the Waldensians of Piedmont and the corruption of modern civilization, means that in the interpretation of the great ecclesial fractures of the 11th and 16th centuries and even of abuses of colonialism, the responsibility is attributed exclusively to the "dry branches" and never to the Catholics. With regard to the Eastern Church, the bitter comment links it with the fall of Constantinople (1453), during which the soldiers of Mohamed II devastated churches, desecrated convents, martyred the people: «That Greece - comments the intransigent historian - who gave the Church great saints and distinguished doctors, now lies debased in the midst of vice and ignorance.
The dark page of the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors is the weakest sotica was always that of paradise); the historian Delumeau, fervent Catholic, tells that the root of his research on fear in the West is in the traumatic effect of the litanies of good death, recited in the Salesian College of Nice Maritime, to which he was taken, at thirteen years, after the death of his father (see J. DELUIvIEAU, La peur, in Occident [XIV-XVIII], Une cité assiégée, Paris, Fayard 1978, pp. 25-27).

"SE, 338-339.345-346; SE 1871, 317-318,323 (identical version of the death of Voltaire, Rousseau and Robespierre, about the latter, the" Divine vendetta "is repeated, with abundant distortion of facts real).

33 SE, 375s (in the 1871 edition the life and death of Saint-Simon is omitted); the pedagogy of fear, which is implicit in the entire SE and emerges, above all, from the motif "de mortibus persecutorum" resonates throughout the catholic education of the Eight hundred, which in the spiritual exercises always includes the description of death, judgment, hell , purgatory, paradise p

"SE, 275, SE 1871, 258-259 The absolute lack of ecumenical spirit is a sign of the times rather than a characteristic of Don Bosco, the hegemony of the reciprocal and bitter controversy over fraternal dialogue in Catholic-Waldensian relations emerges in the booklet of: ML STEANIERO, Don Bosco ei valdesi, Torio, Claudiana 1988. It is a booklet poor from the scientific point of view, but interesting as a mirror of mentalities.

brevolada and almost eliminated by the benevolence of the missionaries.
Our author writes : "And in spite of the fact that the travelers, who by the mere thirst for money
went there, have carried out many cruelties, not in a lesser degree in the teachers of the Gospel, moved by the sole desire to win souls for God,
they made many conversions ».33
In the etiology of causes, there is no shadow of critical doubt. If Pope Adrian VI in the institutions to Nuncio Chieregati had recognized with courageous humility that the ecclesial crisis was due to the sins of men and especially those of priests and prelates, Don Bosco, instead, instituted a process of directing unique: demonization of the "others", which are the bad, hagiographic exaltation of the saints, as if Catholicism were an association of angels and not a community of sinners saved by the pure and gratuitous mercy of God. The "others" can be Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII, who by their dissolute behavior or by their perverse doctrine have led crowds to hell, or the enlightened and socialist philosophers, who die desperate or even suicidal,

The painful fracture of the sixteenth century is not, according to Don Bosco, more than the arrogance, ambition, petulance, impudence and all the vices of Luther who "formed a doctrine that contaminates all sacred things, violates the sacraments , destroys the freedom of man, saying that good works are useless, awakens the license to sin, places in God the cause of all evils, rejects in the end all law and reduces man to the state of brutes ".34
In turn, Calvin wanted to take revenge on the Catholics, because he had not received a benefit and fled so as not to pay the penalty for a crime that Don Bosco defines as a nefarious one, he taught the arbitrary predestination of most men to hell, acted as He was a true tyrant and condemned Michael Servetus to the penalty of fire.33 The King of England, Henry VIII, rebelled against the pope, because he was vicious and wished to repudiate his legitimate wife, Catherine, to marry other women, all of which he abandoned afterwards or came to kill.36
Even more horrifying is the end of the coryphaeans of the contemporary world, as we have seen.

Faced with this hecatomb of anger in punishment, with the dark background of the Revolution incarnation of Satan, shines, in contrast, the epic of saints and martyrs. Don Bosco emphasizes the presence of holiness to which he attributes four roles: 1) it is the proof of the nine of the monolithic solidity of the true Church; 2) infusion of the Holy Spirit; 3) expression of fraternal love inculcated by Christ; 4) adequate response to the demands of the time and the hostility of the enemies.37 I will pause briefly on the last two aspects. Holiness as an expression of fraternal love has, above all, an autobiographical value, from the moment Don Bosco is the saint of charity put into action, in the same way that Cafasso can be defined as the saint of charity Silent (and all the saints are Cottolengo, Cafasso,

33 SE, 282; SE 1871, 262 (the version is almost literally identical).

34 SE, 290; SE 1871, 269

35 SE, 291-293; SE 1871, 271.

36 SE, 294-295 (on page 296 a small slip appears: Tomás Moro is killed in 1534, instead of 1535, the same small error is repeated in SE 1871, 273).

All the heroes of Christ are geniuses of charity: Pier Damiani attends a crowd of poor people every day; Sunday is animated by a spirit of charity only; Francisco de Asís imposes the norm of not rejecting anyone's alms; Brigid of Sweden founds a hospital next to her palace; Francisco de Paula performs prodigious prodigies in favor of the poor; Amadeo de Saboya goes in person to perform the lowest services for the good of the sick; Juan de Dios creates the holpitalaria order; Luis Gonzaga is a martyr of heroic charity towards the plagued; Felipe Neri puts his cheerful joy at the service of the poor and the sick; Vincent de Paul is, par excellence, the saint of the poor.

By putting the accent on the principle of love, Don Bosco kills several birds with one stone: he presents the young with the ideal of oblativity, throws licatora rays of light on the social benefits of the Gospel, presents the cism under a sympathetic light, correcting the negative effect of the angry and indignant God, as it appears with the "Divine vendetta".

Holiness, in the view of Don Bosco, also represents the divine response to the crisis of the world totus positus in malignant. I mention two cases. The Iron Age gave the "pornocracy" of Marocia and Theodora: "But there is no other century that has given such a conspicuous number of saints to the Universal Church." Pity that of that so conspicuous number only it names two names: San Bernón and San Romualdo.
Thus, in the face of the deluge of Protestantism, the true Catholic reform was the century of the saints: "It was a special disposition and Providence of God that at a time when the heretics tried to ruin the Church, squads of religious, of holy doctors, arose. , that with many glorious events "On these aspects, see: F. MOLINARI, I santi nella Storia Ecclesiastica di Don Bosco, in:" Credere oggi "8 (1988) 5, 45-46, on the psychology of the Saint: G. DACQUINO, Psychology of Don Bosco, Torino, SEI 1988 (the volume, valid from the psychological point of view, has the defect of relying on critically debatable documents, such as the Memorie biografiche, which are currently the object of careful analysis from the point of view of philological view: F. DESRAMAUT, Les Memorie I by Giovanni Battista Lemoyne. Étude d 'a livre fondamental sur la jeunesse by Jean Bosco, Lyon, Maison d'études Saint-Jean-Bosco 1962.

SE 38, 197; SE 1871, 205-206 (the exhibition of the iron century is more positive than in the previous edition).

They would make a number, a very phalanx of saints, flourish for the Church in all parts of the world. "39
Follow the list, which begins with Cayetano Thiene and closes with Carlos Borromeo.

Don Bosco speaks and writes of Catholicism as the homeland of the Saints with a hagiographic emphasis of equal strength as its polemic severity when it stigmatizes the world. Very different is the attitude of other eminent Catholics, whom Traniello calls "conciliatoristi", such as Manzoni, Rosmini, Curci, Newman.

Manzoni expresses the dialogical relation with this famous observation: "When the world has recognized a true, magnanimous idea, to contrast it, it is necessary to vindicate it to the Gospel. [...] What religion can condemn in those ideas is all that is not reasonable enough, not quite universal, or rather disinterested. " And he points out that not only is Christianity the source of true freedom, because it imposes on man respect for others and self-control, ensuring inner freedom and overcoming despotism.
Manzoni was united in intimate friendship with Rosmini, whose activity had a precise objective, the reconciliation of the Gospel with modern ideals through a renewal of the Church and society, as it augurs in the two works Delle tinque piaghe della Santa Chiesa and La constitution secondo la giustizia sociale (1848). The active and active participation of the laity in the community is lived through the vote, even if it is a census; and in the ecclesial community, through lay participation in the election of bishops. This makes Rosmini, like Newman, though by different titles, two pioneers of the theology of the laity. "
The most active and audacious, however, remains Carlo Maria Curci (1809-1891), who in 1849 had founded the "Civiltá Cattolica" with a program of temporary intransigence; but afterwards he was not afraid of the "terribile sonaglio", that is, of the liberal Catholicism that, as Gian Domenico Mucci demonstrates, he embraced with audacious reformism. And in the one that saves the infallible authority of the Pope and all the Catholic doctrine, but maintains that the renewal of Christianity is the premise for the political renewal of States. And in such internal reform of the Church, the participation of the laity in the ecclesial life, including the election of the parish priests, the acceptance of the breach of Porta Pia as a providential purification of the Church, the spiritualization of the Roman Curia, which is too politicized, the passage from the closed and immobilized synagogue church to the dialogue phase; the pastoral dialogue with the world, whose positive values ​​must be appreciated; it is the new life of evangelization that must be realized through the laity and that produces the true nature of the Church, which is the incarnation of divine love on earth.42
39 SE, 297; SE 1871, 274-284 (a happy feature of the 1871 edition is the division into chapters, in which the positive values ​​of Catholicism through the saints and the orders appear more underlined, in the titles and in the contents, religious.

4 U. COLOMBO, Alessandro Manzoni, Rome, Edizioni Paoline 1985, p. 263-280; A. MANZONI, Osservazioni sulla Morale Cattolica to cura di U. Colombo, Rome, Edizioni Paoline 1965, p. 319-354 (the chapter is entitled: "Degli odi religiosi").

41 On Rosmini, cf. Delle cinque piaghe, already quoted, and on Newman: HF DAVIS, Le rôle et l'apostolat de la hiérarchie et do larcat dans la theologie de l'Eglise chez Newman, in: L'ecclésiologie au XIX siécle, Paris, Ed du Cerf 1960, p. 329-350.

3, Final considerations

The Storia ecclesiastica of Don Bosco stands at the opposite extreme of these Catholics from dialogue. But his intransigent mentality is linked to an extraordinary practical ductility, which makes him a sincere friend of the "compromising" bishops Scalabrini and Bonomelli, 43 as well as co-curate, the confidant of many anticlericals such as Rattazzi, Lanza, Vigliani, Ricasoli, C.Crispi. "That is why it does not cause surprise that in our author I was able to obtain the participation of Prince Anadeo in the co-location of the first stone of the sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians." They were the Aryans in which Vittorio Emanuele II tried to close the asperities with the Vatican. for Pius IX Don Bosco was a very faithful priest, prudent and active, for the anticlerical media he was a jealous priest who, despite his outdated ideas, contributed to the education of the people.49
A final difference points out the distance of the Turin Saint with respect to integrisnium: the contact with the concrete of the daily history that facilitated not so much the study of the past as the ability to read the present (for example, his attention towards the young «object» , exploited by the nascent industrial civilization, the sensibility towards the professional school the opportune perception of the problem of the press). His love for history was not inferior to his passion for the Church and to the desire for his own personal sanctification.

42 MUCCI, II primo direttore della "Civiltá cattolica"; ID., Carlo Maria Curci il fondatore della "Civiltá Cattolica"; C. PiccuuLL0, Le idee nuove del p. Curci sulla questione r ore omana, p. in: Cbiesa e
Stato nell'Ottocento Miscellanea in onore di Pietro Pirri, Padova, Ed. Anten 1962, 607-658.

"On Bonomelli e Scalabrini, see G. GALLINA, II religious problem in the Risorgimento and il pensiero di Geremia Bonomelli, Rome, Ed. Universitari Gregoriana 1974, C. MARCO (ed.), Carteggio Scalabrini-Bonomelli (1868-1905), Rome, Studium 1983, on the emigration, the studies of Rosoli are fundamental, in our case it is especially useful: GF ROSOLI, Impegno missionario e assistenza religiosa agli emigranti nella visione e nell'opera di don Bosco e del 28 salesia, in: TRAMELLO (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, Torino, SEI 1987, page 9 - It should be noted that the subject of emigration frequently appears in the pages of the SE, especially in relation to missions STELLA, Don Bosco II, pp. 90-95.

Many young people were entrusted to Don Bosco by the same civil authority, which was obviously considered bound and grateful to him.

As the basis for all the Storia ecclesiastica of Don Bosco, there is a doctrinal concept that underlies the story, conditions the choice of facts and appears as a reference in the interpretation of documents.

The idea-mother is the idea of ​​the world, 46 as a totally negative pole in opposition to the Church as a totally positive pole and is expressed in the motto Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. The world is totus positus in malignant: it is the typical concept of intransigence, in dialectic with the doctrine of conciliatory and dialoguing Catholicism, which, outside the closed circle of the Church, knows how to find the soul of truth, the germs of the positive , the seeds of the logos.

The world as an anti-divine reality, the nest of vipers hostile to God, knows the Fourth Gospel, the tradition of Plotinus with manqueous veins, a counterrevolutionary mentality, typical of the Restoration, when one dreamed of an era in which the Church pronounced itself, only on matters of faith, but also on norms and customs, in which he promulgated disciplinary laws, established hierarchies and deposed them, corrected the faithful and removed corrupt members from their
womb.47 "R. GUARDINI Mondo e persona, Milano 1964, F. GOGARTEN, L'uomo tra Dio e il mondo,
Bologna 1967, HU Von BALTHASAR, Cosmic Liturgy, Rome 1976, JB METZ, Sulla theology of the world, Brescia 1969.

47 B. PLONGERON, Archetipo e ripetizioni di una Cristianita, in: «Concilium» 7 (1971) 1366.


These pages intend to shed some light on the historical climate in which Don Bosco lived and acted, about the essences of those who nourish their spiritual guidelines and their educational action. I think that to understand Bosco, it is necessary to confront his time, even knowing that he has an outstanding personality and very original features.

1. The historical climate in which Don Bosco lived and acted

Don Bosco was trained in the climate of the Restoration. Although this term usually assumes a politico-social meaning. (it evokes the Congress of Vienna and the Holy Alliance, the repressive policy of governments, the postrevolutionary situation), it also has relevance in the picture of culture and religious life. Typical of the Restoration era is the work aimed at rebuilding the Christian fabric of society, torn apart by the French Revolution (the "flood", according to Cardinal Consalvi, "the desolation of the universe," according to Brunone Lanteri). There was the conviction that a great diabolical operation aimed at destroying the designs of God, of which the Church is the guardian, was in operation and that it was necessary to contain the assaults of the evil one and reconquer society for God and for the Church.

The Society of Jesus, restored by Pius VII in 1814, becomes the center of the movement of religious revival in Piedmont. It counts on men of great prestige, like the father Roothaan, rector of the school of San Francisco de Paula of Turin, later prepósito general of the Order, like Francesco Pellico and Antonio Bresciani. '
P. PIRRL P. Giovanni Roothaan XXI Generale della Compagnia di Gessi (1785-1853), Isola del Liri 1930; I. RINIERI, Il padre Francesco Pellico ei suoi tempi, vol. I: The Restaurazione e l'opera
della Compagnia di Gesti, Pavia 1934.

1.1. The "Friendships" and the Oblates of Mary Virgin

New religious orders are born, such as the Oblates of Maria Virgen de Brunone Lanteri and the Institute of Charity of Antonio Rosraini. The nuns of the Charity of Antida Thouret are introduced. New lay associations emerge. Among these stand out the «Christian friendship», an expression of aristocratic and bourgeois environments with a philo-Jesuit orientation, which proposes the spiritual formation of the associates and the fight against the spirit of the encyclopaedists through the systematic diffusion of works of Catholic inspiration (« good books »), carried out through loans or free distributions. ' The central motive of the "Friendship" is constituted by the devotion to the Heart of Jesus, according to the orientation supported by the Jesuits, by frequent communion and by daily meditation:

Disappeared in the Napoleonic era, the Christian friendship reappeared in 1817 under the name of "Amicizia-cattolica" on the initiative of Brunone Lanteri. Some of its members (Cesare Taparelli d'Azeglio, Rodolfo and Giuseppe de Maistre, Luigi Provana di Collegno, Pietro Pallavicino, Renato d'Agliano, Giovanni Carlo Brignole) occupy important positions in the politics and administration of the Savoyard State. Also the Catholic Friendship was concerned with the free dissemination of the «good press». Since the legitimist, ultramontane, Demaistrian inspiration dominates, the books disseminated defend the alliance between throne and altar, profess an unconditional devotion to the Holy See, defend the personal infallibility of the Pope, refute the "modern errors", favor the theological tendencies and spirituals animated by the Jesuits, they preach a moral orientation modeled on benign probabilism. It was precisely the Catholic Friendship that promoted in 1825 the edition of the works of Alfonso de Ligorio in the Giacinto Marietti publishing house of Turin.3. In 1828 the Catholic Friendship was suppressed by the Piedmontese government
2 The first circle of the "Amicizia" was constituted in Turin in the years 1779-1780 at the initiative of a former Jesuit, Nicolaus Joseph von Diessbach (1732-1798). Cenacles later emerged in Milan, Vienna, Florence, Rome, Paris. The members were committed to secrecy, according to the taste of time and also not to expose themselves to the sarcasm of "strong spirits" and to the annoyances of the police. To the «Christian Amicizia», secular, was added in 1782 a «priestly, anti-Janissary and Alphonsian friendship», which promotes spiritual exercises according to the method of St. Ignatius and retreats, the practice of mental prayer and the examination of conscience. Cf. C. BONA, Le «Amicizie». Societá segrete e rinascita religiosa (1770-1830), Torillo 1962. See the recensiones of this work made by P.

Cf. C. BONA, Le «Amicizie», p. 361-371. Works of Lamennais, De Ronald, Von Haller, Bossuet, Gerdil were disseminated. Among the spiritual authors include the Jesuit Pinamonti, the barna-bita Quadrupani and especially Alfonso de Ligorio. Don Bosco also understood the possibilities because of his philo-Jesuitism. Some of its members (for example, Provana di Collegno and Renato d'Agliano) joined the conferences of San Vicente de Paul, founded in France by Federico Ozanam and introduced in Turin in 1850.4
Many of the aims of the Friendship were assumed by the institute of the Oblates of Mary Virgin of Lanteri (1759-1830), who as a cleric had been part of the Christian Friendship and had founded, as we have said, the Catholic Friendship. The Oblates promote the preaching of spiritual exercises according to the method of St. Ignatius, developing the missions among the people, preparing the new priests for the healing of souls, spreading the "good press". The pastoral activity of Lanteri and his Oblates is inspired by the doctrine and spirituality of Alfonso de Liguori. Jean Guerber traces the beginning of the penetration of the Alphonsian theology in France to 1823, when the Réflexions sur la sainteté et la doctrine du bienheureux appear in Lyon A. De Ligouri de Lanteri.5 1.2. The ecclesiastical "Convitto"
On the initiative of Lanteri and one of his disciples, Luigi Guala, "Christian friend", the ecclesiastical Convitto arose in Turin in 1817 for the pastoral preparation of novice priests. The Convitto was one of the crucibles in which the ecclesiastical and religious style that prevailed in the second half of the 19th century was expressed. In the Convitto some eminent figures of priests were formed: Cocchi, Borel, Cafasso, Bosco, Murialdo, Bertagna, Allamano. Don Bosco, who after his priestly ordination (1841) spent three years there (1841 1844), defines the Convitto as "a wonderful seedbed, from which the Church comes very well, especially to eradicate some jansedes roots from the" buona stampa " for the evangelization of the popular classes, and promoted numerous editorial initiatives (see Malgeri's communication in this volume).

4 F. MOLINARI, Le conferenze di San Vincenzo in Italia, in: Spiritualitá e azione del italiano laicato, vol. I, Padova 1969, p. 67

The Rules of the "Oblati di Maria Vergine" were drafted by Lanteri in 1816. Suppressed in 1819 by the archbishop of Turin, Colombo Chiaverotti, they were reconstituted in Pinerolo in 1825 under the protection of Bishop Rey. R. Romeo recalls that the Marquis Michele di Cavour, father of Camillo di Cavour, was several times in Santa Chiara di Pinerolo to do the spiritual exercises under the direction of Lanteri (see R. ROMEO, Cavour and il suo tempo, vol. I, Bari 1971, p.94-95). On Lanteri, cf. P. CALLIARI, Pio Brunone Lanteri (1759-1830) and the controrivoluzione, Totino 1976, but above all: P. CAIDAR1 (ed.), Carteggio del venerabile father Pio Brunone Lanteri (1759-1839) fondatore della Congregazione degli Oblati di Maria Vergine, 5 vol., Torillo 19751976. On the Reflections of Lanteri and the penetration of the Alphonsian morality in France, cf. J. GUERBER, Le ralliement du clergé franqais à la morale liguorienne. L'Abbé Gousset et ses précurseurs (1785-1832), Rome 1973. On Lanteri and the spirituality of Saint Francis de Sales, cf. T. LUDO, Il come. Pio Brunone Lanteri and the Salesian spirituality in Piemonte of the cousin Ottocento. Aspetti storico-ascetici, in «Palestra del Clergy» 61 (1982) 1236-1247.1308-1320.1366-1373.

nism that were still preserved among us », and in which« one learned to be priests ».6
The ecclesiastical Convitto spread the doctrine and spirituality of Alfonso de Ligorio, considered by Guala and Cafasso as the author capable of mediating between rigorist currents and a certain benignist superficiality, 7 but it was also a center of irradiation of Salesian and Filipino spirituality. The Convitto was presented as a counterpart to the diocesan seminary and the Faculty of Theology of the University of Turin, which were characterized by adherence to rigorous morality and a critical ecclesiology with respect to the infallibility and primacy of jurisdiction of the pope. In short, the Convitto wanted to uproot Jansenist Gallican tendencies or, strictly speaking, rigorists. that still meandered among the Piedmontese clergy.

A red thread unites, then, the Friendships, the Oblates of Virgin Mary and the ecclesiastical Convitto, but with a difference worthy of being underlined. If the Friendships had been aristocratic and elitist and had played a limited role, the Oblates of Mary the Virgin and the Convitto broaden the radius of action with a rich range of initiatives promoted between the clergy and the people.8
It is not without meaning in this painting, as Francesco Traniello has pointed out, the fact that the first spiritual treatise, the Massime di pelfezione, in which, according to Rosmini himself, the spirit of the Institute of Charity was condensed , had a Turin edition in the Marietti in 1832. The Massime di peocezione was founded on abandonment in Providence ("the principle of passivity") and were, therefore, suitable for tempering the typical regime of Piedmontese spirituality.9
6 Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, p. 80

P. BRAMO (ed.), Esperienze di pedagogía cristiana nella storia, vol. II, Rome, LAS 1981, p. 305s.

8 On the ecclesiastical Convent of Turin, cf. G. USSEGLIO, Il theologo Guala and il Convitto ecclesiastico di Torino, Torino 1948; G. TUNINETII, Lorenzo Gastaldi (1815-1883), Casale Monferrato, Piemme 1983, p. 179ss. The ultramontane currents did not limit themselves to founding the ecclesiastical Convitto, but also tried to influence the same theological faculty of the University of Turin. They obtained a triumph with the dismissal, in 1829, of Giovanni Maria Dettori and his substitution with Luigi Massara, repeater in the Jesuit school of San Francesco di Paola. Dettori, who occupied the chair of moral theology from 1814, professed antiprobabilist and antialfonsian ideas. Cf. F. TRANIELLO, Cattolicesimo conciliarista. Religione e cultura nella tradizione rosminiana lombardo-piemontese (1825-1870), Milano 1970, p. 25-27; P. STELLA, Giurisdizionalismo e giansenismo all'Universitit di Torino nel secolo XVIII, Torino 1958. Luigi Guala was influenced by the Jesuit spiritual tradition. It is significant the epistolary correspondence that, between 1831 and 1847, maintains with the general prepossess of the Jesuits, Father Roothaan, on the way of doing the exercises. Guala, aided by Lanteri, had restored the sanctuary of San Ignacio on the mountain of Lanzo, and in 1808 had established there the "Opera degli Esercizi spirituali" for priests and laymen.

9 TRANIELLO, Cattolicesimo conciliarista, p. 30

There has been talk of Alfonsian moral doctrine, of rigorist attitudes, of Jansenism. The issue is important and requires some clarification. It is necessary first of all to avoid an excessive use of the term Jansenism: Who is anti-imperialist is not necessarily Jansenist, who is anti-Jesuit is not necessarily Jansenist, who holds jurisdictional positions in political-ecclesiastical field is not necessarily Jansenist. Who is rigorist in morals is not necessarily Jansenist. Jansenism in the strict sense can be considered in decline in the first decades of the eight hundred; The same can not be said of the rigorism that, on the contrary, appears widespread in pastoral praxis. It is known that Jansenist or Jansenizing circles cultivate a severe ideal of Christian life. They recommended the conversion of the heart, they fought against the routine Christianity made of exterior devotions, of transient enthusiasms, of caramelized traditions; they reproved the abuse of mechanically repeated formulas in prayer. The ideal is a pure religiosity, free of incrustations, alien to accommodations, nourished by biblical and patristic sources, fleeing contact with the world involved in sin. The delay or rejection of absolution to penitents whose perseverance was not sufficiently certain and in any case who had not fulfilled the imposed penance, were considered as normal means to provoke the psychological shoc and in this way favor a true conversion and lasting. The grace of the sacrament of penance is conceived as a reward, rather than as a healthy and comforting aid in the fight against evil. It can be received only if the soul has reached a convincing degree of purification. For Alasia, author of a treatise on moral theology widely spread among the Piedmontese clergy and well known by Don Bosco in the seminary of Chieri, to defer absolution was a medicinal remedy that the confessor could adopt when he considered it appropriate.
Also the withdrawal from the community for a certain period was considered a practice of penance imposed on those who easily fall into sin (the so-called "recidivists"). It was based on the assumption that the Eucharist was not a medicine for the weak, but a reward for the saints, and that the faithful had to acquire before communicating an inner strength that would make him fit to receive Christ the Lord.

"Cf. P. STELLA, Giurisdizionalismo e Giansenismo, ID., Crisi religiose nel primo Ottocento piemontese, Torillo 1959, ID., Giansenisti piemontesi nell'Ottocento, Torino 1964. Even on the conditions for the validity of the sacrament of penance boiled a lit debate: Is enough the attrition, which is the pain of having offended God for the pains that have been deserved, or is necessary contrition, that is, the pain of one's sins, because God, good, is worthy of To be loved above all things For the rigorists, the attrition was insufficient to obtain the forgiveness of sins, Indeed, the pain of guilt, inspired only by the fear of hellish pains, belongs to the logic of selfishness.

There is a lack of adequate fundamental research on the sacramental practice in Piedmont in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but it seems that it can be affirmed with sufficient certainty that the sacramental pastoral, which was on the rise in parishes and seminars, was, in general, marked with rigorous lines . Giuseppe Cafasso writes, and his testimony is significant, that according to the pastors of the time it was "difficult to observe the commandments, difficult to receive holy communion, difficult, even to hear a mass with devotion, difficult to pray as it should be, difficult, everything, to be saved, and that very few were saved »."

1.4. The figure and the doctrine of San Alfonso

The exaltation of the figure and doctrine of St. Alphonsus, who was given prestige by both the beatification, which took place in 1816, and the beginning of the process of canonization that was concluded in 1839, as well as the edition of the works begun in Turin in 1825, is characteristic not only of the diverse currents of the Piedmont ultramontane movement that was grouped around Roothaan, Lanteri, Guala, Cafasso, Bosco, but, in general, of the activity of the missionaries engaged in the rural world and the clergy in healing of souls. Alfonso de Ligorio and the congregation founded by him exercised a decisive influence on the orientations of moral theology, favoring the abandonment of rigorist attitudes in sacramental praxis. Saint Alphonsus, in the first phase of his priesthood, He was a rigorist because he had trained in rigorist manuals (for example, in Frangois Genet). The conversion took place, according to his own confession, when he dedicated himself to the missions among the people, that is, when he confronted the reality of the man involved in misery and a superficial Christian life. St. Alphonsus understood that southern Italy could not be conquered with a sullen and oppressive pastoral, centered more on a God-judge than on a God-father, more on sin than on forgiveness, more on hell than on paradise . Rooting in popular reality made St. Alphonsus a more human theology, marked by the reference to the goodness and mercy of God, to trust in him, to hope. ' two when he dedicated himself to the missions among the people, that is, when he confronted the reality of the man involved in misery and with a superficial Christian life. St. Alphonsus understood that southern Italy could not be conquered with a sullen and oppressive pastoral, centered more on a God-judge than on a God-father, more on sin than on forgiveness, more on hell than on paradise . Rooting in popular reality made St. Alphonsus a more human theology, marked by the reference to the goodness and mercy of God, to trust in him, to hope. ' two when he dedicated himself to the missions among the people, that is, when he confronted the reality of the man involved in misery and with a superficial Christian life. St. Alphonsus understood that southern Italy could not be conquered with a sullen and oppressive pastoral, centered more on a God-judge than on a God-father, more on sin than on forgiveness, more on hell than on paradise . Rooting in popular reality made St. Alphonsus a more human theology, marked by the reference to the goodness and mercy of God, to trust in him, to hope. ' two centered more in a God-judge than in a God-father, more in sin than in forgiveness, more in hell than in paradise. Rooting in popular reality made St. Alphonsus a more human theology, marked by the reference to the goodness and mercy of God, to trust in him, to hope. ' two centered more in a God-judge than in a God-father, more in sin than in forgiveness, more in hell than in paradise. Rooting in popular reality made St. Alphonsus a more human theology, marked by the reference to the goodness and mercy of God, to trust in him, to hope. ' two
11 Quoted by F. ACCORNERO, La dottrina spirituale di S. Giuseppe Cafasso, Torillo 1958, p. 110. On this problem, cf. STELLA, L'Eucaristia nella spiritualita italiana gives Seicento goal to the prodromi of the liturgical movement, in: Eucharist, memoriale del Signore e sacramento permanente, Torillo 1967, p. 157-159; J. SCHEPENS, L'activité littéraire de don Bosco au sujet de la penitence et de l'Eucharistie, in "Salesianum" 50 (1988) 9-50.

Th. REY-MER / vIET, Holy II of the secolo dei lumi. Alfonso de Liguori (1696-1787), trans. it., Rome 1983 / ed. France, Paris 1982; G. DE ROSA, S. Alfonso and il secolo dei lumi, in "Rassegna di Teologia" 28 (1987) 13-31; G. ORLANDI, S. Alfonso de 'Liguori and l'evangelizzazione del Cilento nel Settecento, in: La societa religiosa nell'eta moderna. Atti del convegno di studi di sociale sociale e religiosa, Napoli 1973, p. 845-851; G. CACCIATORE, S. Alfonso de 'Liguori and it Giansenismo, Firenze 1942.

The missionaries, who preached among the rural populations, the most abundant, while the cities were supplied with clergy, secular and reguda preachers and catechists, followed St. Alphonsus in the desire to delar, adapt their own pastoral action to the concrete situations of life of the poor people. The Redemptorists of Alfonso de Ligorío, the priests of the Precious Blood of Gaspare del Bufalo, the priests of the Mission of Vicente de Paul, the Passionists of Pablo de la Cruz, the Oblates of Rho de Giorgío M. Martinelli, the Jesuits, were aware that in relation to the penitent the application of the norms was not enough, but it was necessary to evaluate, in addition to the internal dispositions, also the situation in which he was.
edsepsirdeituf802, in Pietro Leonardi, in Vincenzo Pallotti, in Luigi Biraghi, in Giuseppe Frassinetti) move in the same anti-reinforcement line. "The success of the Alphonsian moral doctrine with a tendency towards availability and understanding parallel to the march is a growing interest of the Church by the rural populations and with the increasing sensitivity towards the living conditions of the faithful.'5
The comparison with Vicente de Paul is obvious to the historian, who
discovers in the south of Italy the atmosphere of the France of the sixteenth century. Paul, Eudes, Olier, had opposed Jansenism for pastoral and spiritual reasons, they, in contact with the peasants of the French camps,
"St. Alphonsus and the Redemptorists, from the 30s of the 18th century, work among the rural masses of southern Italy and Sicily On the missions of the Redemptorists, see G. ORLANDI, Missioni popolari e drammatica popolare, in" Spicilegium " Hist. Congr. SS Redemptoris »22 (1974) 313-348; S. GiAmmusso, Le missioni dei redentoristi in Sicily dalle origini al 1860, in Ibid., 10 (1962) 51-176; 0. GREGORIO, Contributo delle missioni Redemptorist alfa-socio-religious tradition dell'Italia meridionale, in Ibid., 21 (1973) 259-283 On the anti-Janissary and anti-Renewal conception of the Redemptorists, see G. ORLANDI (ed.), Apostolic Directory ossia metodo di missione, Rome 1982, G. DE ROSA, Linguaggio e vita religiosa attraverso le missioni popolari del Mezzogiorno nell'etá moderna, in "Orientamenti Sociali" 36 (1981) 24.

"On Gaspare del Bufalo (1786-1837) and the missionaries of the Most Precious Blood, see G. DE LIBERO, S. Gaspare delBufalo, Roman, Rome 1954, A. REY, Gaspare delBufalo, 2 vol., Albano Laziale 1987, 3 on the Passionists, see E. ZOFFOLI, S. Paolo della Croce, Critical Storia, 3 vol., Rome 1963-1968 On the Oblates of Rho, see G. BARBIERI, A prete of the Lombard Settecento. Martinelli fondatore degli oblati di Rho, Milano 1982. R. RUSCONI (Predicatori e predicazione (secoli IX-XVIII), in: Storia d'Italia, Annali, vol.4: Intellettuali e potere, Torno 1981, p.10061018) observes that the missions of the Eight hundred are inserted in the channel of the missions of the Seven Hundred, but with some novel aspects, like the importance given to the catechetical instruction and the attention devoted to a more profound renovation of the town.(At this point, it refers to the Italian edition, to have broader bibliographical references on figures of preachers and missionaries in various regions of Italy [nde]).

15 G. VERUCCI, Chiese e societa nell'Italia della restaurazione, in "Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia" 30 (1976) 25-72; G. MICCOLI, Vescovo e re del suo popolo, in: G. CPATTOLINI G. MICCOLI (eds.), Storia d'Italia, Annali, vol. 9: La Chiesa e il potere politico dal medioevo all'etá contemporanea, Torino 1986, p. 919-922.

oppressed by famine and war, brutalized by helpless despair before the powerful, they realize that they can not preach, to the suffering people, the doctrine of a God, who from the "masca dannata" chooses a group of privileged . The message of the Jansenists, so peremptory and radical, so elitist and aristocratic, could be suitable for bourgeois devotees, not for the poor country people. The French spiritualists saw in Jansenism an obstacle for the consolidation of the reform in the popular classes. "Alfonso de Lígorio, Gaspare del Bufalo, Vincenzo Pallotti discovered, like Vicente de Paul, the same reality and opted for the same solution.

1.5. Alfonsian influence in piety

The influence of these pastoral orientations is also reflected in the field of piety. In the nineteenth century, a warm, human, popular piety prevails, which tends towards feeling, toward affectivity, towards fantasy, towards a taste for the marvelous, which values, sometimes to the detriment of depth, sensitive, palpable, carnal elements, which is based on a frequency more assiduous to the sacraments, which is nourished by a consistent number of devotional practices. Marian devotion, which is one of the most significant expressions of the piety of the nineteenth century, flourishes with processions and pilgrimages, with a vast literature on the month of May, on the rosary, on the prerogatives of Mary the Virgin and Mother, and they fall, sometimes, in sweet, affected and tender tones. "
Also the devotions to the passion of Christ, to the Sacred Heart, to the Precious Blood, to the five wounds, to the three hours of agony with their reparative and expiatory inspiration stimulated the affective and sensitive motives. Alfonso de Ligorio knew the mystics (for example, Santa Teresa and San Juan de la Cruz), but he values ​​them in a spiritual perspective that is meant to be available to everyone. St. Alphonsus interpreted the demands of simple souls better than any other Italian spiritual writer. His works full of affection, responded well to the sensibility of the time. Here lies the reason for its immense success. It should also be noted that they are not alien to
such an orientation of romantic climate piety with their taste for fantasy.
Yes, the affectivity, the sentimental emphasis, the reasons of the heart. The Church,
then, as a reaction to the austere, demanding, elitist character of Jansenist spirituality, steeped in spiritual refinement, and as a reaction to the cold rationalism of the eighteenth century, favored a warm, kind, popular piety, accessible, above all, to the masses. This spiritual orientation has its weak sides
16 L. MEZZADRI, Fra giansenisti and antigiansenisti. Vincent Depaul and the Congregazione della Missione (1624-1737), Firenze 1977.

"R AUBERT, Il pontifiCato di Pio IX (1846-1878), Torillo 1964, pp. 694-707.

in the insistence on the multiplicity of devotional exercises, on the excessive emphasis given to the praxis of indulgences, on the proliferation of debatable and secondary devotions, on the condescension to sentimentality. The proliferation of pious exercises increased the distancing of the Bible and the
Liturgy, leading to a poor piety in theological contents.18
Don Bosco promoted some standing practices in the Oratory
dad (the visit to the Blessed Sacrament, the Via Crucis, the devotion to the Virgin and the Guardian Angel, the monthly exercise of the Good Death, the novena in honor of San Luis Gonzaga and San Francisco de Sales), but did not yield the typical devotional exuberance of nineteenth-century Catholicism for fear of irritating or tiring young people. The devotions, for example, to the Sacred Heart and the Most Precious Blood, which played an important role, along with the devotion to Mary, in the Catholic spirituality of the nineteenth century, do not seem to have for Don Bosco that importance they had, however, for other ecclesiastics, such as Gaspare Bertoni, Gaspare del Bufalo, Vincenzo
Maria Strambi. "

1.6. The success of San Francisco de Sales

In this painting we can understand the success of San Francisco de Sales and San Felipe Neri. In Piedmont, for historical and geographical reasons, the environment was-impregnated with Salesian essences. Effective vehicles of the diffusion of Salesianism had been the home of the Visitation of Turin, founded in 1638 by Juana de Chantal, the wide circulation of the works of Francisco de Sales, who had had numerous editions during the eighteenth century, and the life of the saint, written by the Piedmontese priest Pier Giacinto Gallizia (1662-1737), published in Venice in 1720 and reprinted many times. "They also circulated in Pia
According to G. Lanza, his best biographer, the Marquise Barolo had a very special devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, to the Sacred Heart, to the Blessed Sacrament, to the Three Hours of Agony, to the consoled and painful Virgin, to the Guardian Angels, wings Souls of purgatory, to San Jose, Santa Teresa, Santa Julia, Santa Ana, Santa Maria Magdalena, Santos Cosme and Damián (La marchesa Giulia Fallen: di Barolo, cream Colbert, Torino 1892, p 178). P. Stella notes that "non doveva essere a case singolare quello della marchesa Barolo" (Don Bosco I, page 89).

"In the Giovane provveduto (second part), appear among the particular exercises of Christian piety the" crown of the S. Cuore di Gesu "and the" Orazione al sacratissimo Cuor di Maria. "On the other hand, the devotion to the" Preziosissimo "is absent. Sangue », that had its maximum diffusion in Rome and in the region of Lombardy-Venice.

20 Nor in Piedmont are editions of the works of San Francisco de Sales lacking. It should be noted a devout introduction olla vita ..., Torillo, Guibert and Orgeas 1779. They also circulate: Massime ricavate dalle opere di S. Francesco di Sales ..., Torillo, Marietti 1837; Massime distributes U3, cavate dalle opere di S. Francesco di Sales, Torillo, Paravia 1838; Brief dizionario delle massime di S. Francesco di Sales ..., Torillo, Paravia 1838. Cf. V. BRASIER - E. MORGANTI - M. DURICA, Salesian bibliography, Torillo 1956. La Vita de Francisco de Sales written by Gallizia (16624737 ), who had been chaplain of the monastery of the Visitation of Turin, is work of ultramontane orientation mount small works impregnated with Salesian spirit as L '
The success of Francisco de Sales is more citizen than rural, it touches more on the Introduction to the devout life than on the Treaty of the Love of God.22 In fact, the Francis de Sales received in Piedmont is the one who affectionately indoctrinates about the way of life Christianly in the world, for which the "devotion", which consists of love of God and neighbor, is not a privileged condition, prerogative of religious and cloistered, but an objective that can be achieved by all Christians with the fulfillment of the duties of the state itself.

Francis de Sales had affirmed, against Calvinist pessimism, the continuity of nature and grace, the balance of the relations between God and man, and had suggested a spiritual perspective characterized by a great rich concretion of psychological wisdom, free from worry, nourished by sense of measure, founded on dialogue with God, who wants the salvation of all, and for this he has sent a Redeemer, and who has guaranteed a universal redemption.

Brunone Lanteri, Guala, Cafasso, Cottolengo, Bosco, - the biography of Pier Giacinto Gallizia, the panegyrics, disseminate an image of the Bishop of Annecy made of sweetness and charity. If throughout the 17th century Antonio Arnauld and Étienne Le Camus, Bishop of Grenoble, had carried out a rigorist reading (more jansenístico) of Francisco de Sales, presented as a severe pastor, a reading that had also been disseminated in Piedmont, the Piedmontese spirituals make in the first half of the nineteenth century a reading of Francisco de Sales in an anti-reinforcement key, which discovers his sweetness and his reasonable piety and without excesses. "
and benignist. In 1839 the publisher Marietti published the Compendium delle vite di S. Francesco di Sales e di Giovanna Francesca Frémiot di Chantal scritto da barnabita, Torillo 1839. It is about the Alessandro barnabite. Gavazzi Circulated also the work of CA SACCARELLI, Vita della S. Mother Giovanna Francesca Frémiot fondatrice dell'ordine della Visitazione di Santa Maria, Rome, Komarek 1734, reprint: Venezia, Simone Cocchi 1785.

2 'P. STELLA, Valori spirituali nel «Giovane provveduto» di san Giovanni Bosco, Rome 1960.

22 P. STELLA, Don Bosco and Francesco di Sales: incontro fortuito or identitá spirituale ?, in: J. PICCA - J. S'FRUg (eds.), San Francesco di Sales ei salesiani di don Bosco, Rome, LAS 1986, p. 139
159. It is necessary to emphasize that the Trattato dell'amore di Dio, because of its speculative and
mystical density , is less accessible than the Introduzione alía vita devota. Don Bosco himself preferred the
latter. "
23 STELLA, Don Bosco and Francesco di Sales, pp. 144-146.

1.7. The Filipino spiritual tradition

With the Salesian thread, the Philippine spiritual tradition is interwoven, maintained in Piedmont by the Oratory of Turin and by the extraordinary figure of viva enValfré (t 1710), 24 by the biography of the saint written in the seventeenth century by Bacci "and by a series de Ricordi ai giovinetti, which Don Bosco knew well.26
The osmosis between the Salesian reef and the Philippine reef should not be surprising. In the harmonious relationship between nature and grace is also founded, in effect, the spiritual program of San Felipe Nerí, which is nourished by trust in human nature and love of art (the musical oratorio was born in the context of the meetings promoted by Felipe Neri), shuns the sullen and sad tones, is illuminated with a festive spirit and joy. Alfonso de Ligorío, although open to the suggestions of Teresa de Ávila, is the spiritual son of Felipe Neri and Francisco de Sales. He matures, in effect, his spirituality under the guidance of the Oratorian Tommaso Pagano, then passes under the direction of Mons. Falcoia, imbued with Salesianism. ' Francisco de Sales was one of the most read authors in the field of the Oratory. ' The young Rosmini was attracted to the Salesian readings thanks to the oratorian influences.29 Cottolengo breathes the air of the spirituality of Felipe Neri (his spiritual director was the Filipino Michele Fontana) and Francisco de Sales, although he discovers his vocation reading life of Saint Vincent de Paul. For Don Bosco, Francisco de Sales and Felipe Neri are the models in which he is personally inspired.

24 Cf. SE, in: OE I, 489.

"G. BACO, Vita di S. Filippo Neri, fondatore della Congregazione dell'Oratorio, Rome 1622. He had numerous Italian editions and in other languages.

26 P. Stella has emphasized that the Ricordi ai giovinetti of San Felipe Neri are in the anonymous work, which Don Bosco knew well, entitled: A mazzolino di ftori ai fanciulli e alie famiglie ..., Torillo 1836 (cf. STELLA, Valori spirituali, p 41s.). I ricordi generali di san Filippo Neri alta gioventit were edited by G. Bosco, Porta teco cristiano (1858), in: OE XI, 34-36.

27 G. CACCIATORE, Fonti storico-letterarie dell'insegnamento ascetico di S. Alfonso M. De 'Liguori, in: AM DE' LIGUORI, Operate Ascetiche, Introduzione generale, Rome 1960, p. 127

28 The Salesian influence is very strong in Antonio Cesan (1760-1828) of the Veronese congregation of the Oratory, and is mixed with Ignatian and Vincentian motives, as well as Filipinos. This framework is especially present in: Lezioni storico-morali sopra the Sacra Scrittura, Milano 1815-1817 (see A. VECCHI, La dottrina spirituale di A. Cesad, in: Chiesa e spiritualitá nell'Ottocento italiano, Verona 1971, p. 173s.).

29 VECCHI, La dottrina spirituale, in: Ibid., P. 185; A. VALLE, Momenti e valori della spiritua
litá Roma 1978, p. 43s. An enthusiastic portrait of San Felipe Neri was sketched by
Rosmini, when he was little more than twenty years old: Delle lodi di S. Filippo Neri, Venezia, G. Battaggia 1821.

The case of Cottolengo reveals the wide attraction also exerted in Turin by the Vincentian tradition, kept awake by the religious of the congregation of the Mission, which in 1827 had six houses in Piedmont, by the Congregation of the Daughters of the Charity and for the foundations that, although broken off from the trunk of the Daughters of Charity, conserve their spirit and adopt their Rule? ' If the paules promote the popular missions in the towns of the Piedmont, the Daughters of Charity dedicate themselves to the care of the poor, the sick, the soldiers admitted to the military hospitals?
This interweaving of spiritual currents encourages the extraordinary era with initiatives oriented to the spiritual and material needs of the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the endangered and straying women, which characterizes the first decades of the 19th century in Piedmont. The small House of the Divine Providence arises in 1832 under the auspices of Vincent de Paul and welcomes the sick rejected in other hospitals because of their deformities. The spirituality of Cottolengo is characterized by total abandonment in Divine Providence and by dedication to the poorest brothers. Charitas Christi urget is the motto that Cottolengo leaves for his «Piccola Casa» .32
Giulia Barolo, penitent of Lanteri, of Guala and later of Cafasso, promoted works for the assistance of the incarcerated, for the rehabilitation of the strayed women, for the care of sick youngsters.33 Don Cafasso is dedicated to the assistance of the chimney sweeps come to Turin from the valley of
3rd Animator of the Vincentian works in Piedmont was Father Marcantonio Durando, friend and adviser of Cafasso, Cottolengo, Bosco, Murialdo, Allamano. Superior of the house of Turin (1831), introduced in 1833 the Daughters of Charity and founded in 1836 the association of the Ladies of Charity, noble extraction, dedicated to the assistance of the poor and the sick. Cf. L. CHIEROTTI, II p. Marcantonio Durando (1801-1880), Sarzana 1971. In 1842, the Daughters of Charity had twenty houses in Piedmont and forty in 1848 (see CHIERarn, II p. Marcantonio Durando, p.122). Among the foundations that, despite having separated from the Daughters of Charity, retain their spirit and adopt, their rule, we must remember the Daughters of Charity of Antida Thouret and the "Suore di Carità dell'Immacolata Concezione", founded in 1828 in Rivarolo Cana
see (Turin) by Antonia Vema (see F. 'TROCHO, Saint Giovanna Antida Thouret, fondatrice delle Suore della carita, Milano 1961, A. PIERot n, La vita e' opera della serva di Dio Mother Antonia
Maria Venza, fondatrice delle Suore di Carita dell'Immacolata Concezione d'Ivrea (1773-1838), Firenze 1938).

"The initiative to assist the sick soldiers caused confusion in the Turinese church world, and an influential representative said that if Father Durando went to confession with him, he would not have the courage to give him absolution, for this his Audacity (see CHIEROTH, Il P. Marcantonio Durando, p 276).

32 V. DI MEO, La spiritualita di san Giuseppe Cottolengo studiata nei suoi scritti e nei processi canonici, Pinerolo 1959.

33 RM BORSARELLI, The Marchesa Giulia di Barolo e le operation assistenziali in Piemonte nel Risorgimento, Torillo 1933. In the month of October 1844, Don Bosco became chaplain at one of the institutes of the Marquesa Barolo, «l'ospedaletto di Santa Filomena »for sick girls.

Aosta, consoles the imprisoned, accompanies the condemned to death, implying in this experience the young Bosco, a priest of 26 years, who was strongly impressed. 34 The poor quarter of Valdocco became the heart of this operative charity, welcoming the Little House of Cottolengo, the works of the Marquesa Barolo and in 1846 the stable Oratory of Don Bosco.

From the picture that I have tried to delineate, a significant piece of information emerges. In the Piedmont of the Restoration a spiritual milieu is formed in which diverse elements converge, but whose common denominator is constituted by the humanistic dimension. Using an expression that is pleasing to Bremond, we can say that Piedmontese spirituality moves in the line of devout humanism.

Devout humanism realizes in the field of spirituality the principle of Catholic theology, according to which grace does not suppress nature, but rather heals it, elevates it, perfects it. The basic intuition is that nature, despite having been wounded by sin, remains fundamentally oriented towards God, grace acts on such a disposition of nature. If the Jansenists had claimed the primacy of grace over nature, the action of God over the action of man and had established a dichotomy between sinful man and the God of grace, devout humanism affirms the continuity between nature and grace. , the harmonious relationship between nature and supernature.

It is significant that there are missing in Piedmont echoes of the French spirituality of Augustinian orientation (think of Berulle and the Berullians) with its theme of the Christian life as adherence to Christ in his death on the Cross, as «annulment» (anéantissement), that is to say , abnegation, inner death, mortification of nature contaminated by sin (Bérulle), as oblation, sacrifice, immolation, so that the creature renders honor to the Creator not through adoration, which is the recognition of his nothingness, but through sacrifice, which is the destruction of oneself as an immolated victim (Condren, Maria de la Encarnación, Beméres, Mectilde of the SS Sacrament). The same Murialdo, who was influenced by French spirituality and in particular by Olier, because he lived in Saint-Sulpice,
"In the MO Don Bosco uses the verb" inorridire "(see Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, p.81) In this picture of active charity, we must point out a lay charitable institution, called" Mendicitá Istruita ", regia pia turinese work, created in 1771, which during the period of the Restoration exercised a renewed commitment in the field of education and education of the poor youth, its schools were entrusted, in the masculine section, to the brothers of the Christian Schools, in the female section, the so-called "suore di San Giuseppe".

"Footprints of the French oratory tradition are in Lombardy and in the region see
2. Attitude and mentality of Don Bosco
Don Bosco deepens his roots within this spiritual humus, from the language of essences and lymph, 36 but, above all, an inspiration, an attitude, a mentality. Priest of the rural class feels with a lively sensitivity the new reality of the young people who, out of prison or emigrated from the countryside to Turin in search of work, had badly integrated into the city in the co. the beginnings of industrialization. Don Bosco bases his educational action on "poor and abandoned" young people on "kindness" (amorevolezza) and on "charity," adapting the same pastoral methodology to them, characterized by the sweetness that had guided the preaching of the missionaries of Alfonso de Ligorio, of Vicente de Paul, of Gaspare del Bufalo in the midst of rural populations? ' Young people would be led to God not with the rigor, but with the sweetness. In a letter, which dates back to August 31, 1846, a few months after the Oratory was established in Valdocco, and therefore at the beginning of his educational experience, Don Bosco recommends that "oil spice up all food in our Oratory" .38
2.1. Priestly training in rigorist climate
Let us try in this sense to specify some points. It is necessary, first of all, to point out that Don Bosco had acquired his philosophical and theological formation in the seminary of Chieri (1835-1841), in a climate of great austerity. The young cleric had approached the theses favorable to rigorism through the study of the treatise on moral theology of Aphasia, which was the text used in the seminary. Don Bosco recalls that relations between clergy and superiors were characterized more by fear than by familiarity. "The Lima () with such rigorous guidelines induced Juan Bosco to walk the canauna undertaken with a strong ascetic commitment, led to the exercise of abstinence and fasting, Don Bosco reproached, in addition, to the training of the miner his abstract approach, the taste for the captious syllogism,

net Cf. P. STELLA, Giansenismo e Restaurazione in. Lombardy Problemi storiografici in marginé de lettere di mons. Pagani vescovo di Lodi (f 1835) to mons. Tosí vescovo di Pavia (t 1845), in: Chiesa e spiritualita nell'Ottocento italiano, p. 335s. Berullian motives cross the Vita di Gesit Christ of the oratorian Antonio Cesari (see VECCILL La dottrina spirituale di Antonio Cesan *, in: Chiesa e spiritualitá nell'Ottocento italiano, pp. 195-198). On Murialdo can be seen: A. CASTEL, LANI, Leonardo Murialdo, vol. Tappe della formazione. Prime attivitá apostoliche (1828-1866),
Rome 1966; D. BARSOTTI, San Murialdo and the vita di fede, in: D. BARSOITI, Nella comunione dei santi, Milano 1970, p. 373-394 (in particular, page 377s.).

36 P. Stella has shown, through specific collations, that San Alfonso de Ligorio is the author in whom Don Bosco was most inspired. In the elaboration of the Giovane provveduto and the Mese di maggio, Don Bosco valued the Massime Eterne and L'Apparecchio alla Morse. The Glorie di Maria nourished the Marian piety of Don Bosco. Visit the SS. Sacrament, La pratica di amare Gesù Christ, were works recommended by Don Bosco: cf. P. STELLA, 1 tempi e gli scritti che prepaono il "Mese di maggio" di Don Bosco, in "Salesianum" 20 (1958) 648-694.

37 Do not forget that the idea of ​​the Oratory was born, according to the testimony of Don Bosco, of the visit to the prisons of Turin (see G. BOSCO, Cenni storici intorno all'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales [1862], in : BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, pp. 60s).

"EI, 18.

decisive influence of Don Cafasso
2.2. After the priestly ordination (June 5, 1841), Don Bosco entered the ecclesiastical Convent of Turin and received a decisive mark on him. He breathes the Alphonsian climate, but, above all, he finds Don Cafasso, repeater of moral theology, serene and sensitive man, who becomes his confessor. Don Bosco sees in Don Cafasso the image of the solicitous and fervent priest who works for the glory of God and the salvation of souls with a sweetness that attracts and conquers. To the idea of ​​a solitary and severe God, Don Cafasso contrasts the image of God the merciful father. For Cafasso perfection consists in perfectly doing the will of God, but the will of God must be sought in the actions of common life. Holiness does not consist in the fulfillment of exceptional gestures, but in fidelity to the duties of the state itself. Don Cafasso, and in this he was extraordinary, practiced with fidelity the ordinary virtues. Cafasso condemns the forms of austere mortification, which are often a temptation of the devil. True mortifications are manifested in the sacrifice required by fidelity to duties. '
Don Cafasso is at the root of the fundamental choices made by Don
Bosco: Ordained priest, he should have been sent to some parish of the diocese, but on the advice of Don Cafasso he entered into the ecclesiastical Convent. "In 1844 at the end of his pastoral perfection , he was induced by Don Cafasso to take care of the abandoned youths, who often ended up in jail or on the gallows.43 In the Convitto, the image of God Judge (angry and severe), which Don Bosco had conceived in the seminary of Chieri In the Convitto, Don Bosco was persuaded that not with rigor, but rather with
Cf. Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, page 59.

40 Stella himself, despite the lack of documentation, has reconstructed the intellectual and spiritual itinerary of Giovanni Bosco at the seminary in Chieri (see STELLA, Don Bosco I, pp. 51-83).

'G. CAFASSO, Meditazioni e istruzioni per esercizi spirituali al clerro, 2 vol., Torino 1892
1893; F. ACCORNERO, The dottrina spirituale di S. Giuseppe Cafasso, Torino 1958; A. PEDRINI, St. Giuseppe Cafasso nella scia della dottrina del Salesio, in "Palestra del Clergy" 62 (1983) 625-637,

42 Cf. Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, p. 79

Ibid., P. 88s.

con la bondad llevaría las almas a Dios. Es significativo que tres años después de haber dejado el Convitto don Bosco compusiera para la marquesa Barolo, entonces penitente de don Cafasso, el Esercizi() di divozione alla misericordia di Dio (1847). El libro revela la actitud fundamental de don Bosco: La confianza en un Dios Padre misericordioso que «ha creado a todos para el Paraíso». Don Bosco habla del amor con el que Dios acoge al pecador y usa por primera vez la palabra «amorevolezza» que le iba a ser tan querida y que iba a llegar a ser tan salesiana." Dios es un «padre tan amoroso» que perdona los pecados más graves y fortifica al hombre débil y pecador con su cuerpo y con su sangre, preservándolo de este modo de los asaltos del demonio." Llama la atención en esta obra juvenil de don Bosco la importancia que da a la confesión y a la comunión, «las columnas» de su «edificio educativo».46
2.3. La importancia central atribuida a San Francisco de Sales
Don Bosco atribuyó una importancia central a San Francisco de Sales eligiéndolo como modelo y apropiándose de alguna de sus características importantes. El interés por San Francisco de Sales germina en el seminario de Chieri, ya que en los apuntes redactados la vigilia de la ordenación sacerdotal, en mayo de 1841, don Bosco escribe: «La caridad y la dulzura de S. Francisco de Sales me guíen en todas las-cosas»." El binomio caridad-dulzura resulta familiar a Juan Bosco en virtud de aquella robusta y consolidada tradición hagiográfica a la cual me he referido. Pero el interés por Francisco de Sales concebido en Chieri, se desarrolla en el Convitto eclesiástico y en el ámbito de las obras de la marquesa Barolo." La elección de Francisco como ejemplar no es casual. Francisco de Sales encarna en sí la tradición tridentina en los años en los que se efectúa en Piamonte una creciente influencia valdense, pero, sobre todo, encarna la «amabilidad», la «caridad», el equilibrio, la discreción, el optimismo." Don Bosco aconseja la lectura de la Introduzione alla vita devota,
44 L'Esercizio di divozione alla misericordia di Dio, in: OE II, 71-181. The terms "morevole", "lovingly", "amorevolezza" are used so frequently that they become keywords.

"Cf. Ibid., P 170.175.

46 Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, p. 295; SCHEPENS, L'activité littéraire de don Bosco, p. 9-50.

4 'Bosco, Scritti pedagogici, p. 315

"The Marquesa Barolo - remember Don Bosco in MO - had the image of San Francisco de Sales painted at the entrance of the premises for the priests who worked in the" Opera Pia del Rifugio ", because" aveva in animo di fondare una congregazione di preti sotto questo
titolo. "In this place Don Bosco began the Oratory he called" San Francesco di Sales "(Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, p.93s.).

49 To characterize the attitude of Saint Francis de Sales, Don Bosco uses a range of expressions: "amabilitá", "calma", "mitezza", "buone maniere", "mansuetudine", "dolcezza", "amorevolezza", "carita" » In the Storia ecclesiastica, composed in 1845, a year after having spent it, it is a book that teaches to serve God with familiarity and confidence. 50
It could be objected that Don Bosco makes a restricted reading of the saint
a boy, whose spirituality does not end in the dimension of sweetness, but Don Bosco values ​​the authors that which is in accordance with their educational perspective. Francisco de Sales, model of pastors of souls, becomes a model of educators, kindness becomes an educational style and, more generally, a Christian way of life. Kindness has its foundation in the theological virtue of charity, which "is benign and patient, everything is sure, but everything awaits and supports everything." Don Bosco recognizes in the hymn to the charity of the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians the foundation of his educational method?
2.4. The reference to San Felipe Neri
Don Bosco lives his own presence among young people as a religious mission focused primarily on the salvation of their souls, but he understands that young people are reached only through understanding, trust, friendship, kindness, emphasizing joy , creativity, valorization of human realities: work, study, music, theater, singing, games, gymnastics, walks. For Don Bosco, joy is not an external element, but a theological value, because it is an expression of inner joy, which is the fruit of grace. In a letter of July 25, 1860, exhorts a student of the Oratory to the "authentic" joy, "like that of a conscience free from sin"? 2 Vice versa, melancholy, laziness, lukewarmness, languished the ecclesiastic Convino , Don Bosco traces a brief profile of St. Francis de Sales, highlighting his sweetness and charity (see OE I, 479s). In the oldest regulation of the Oratory that we know, from 1851-1852, the Oratory is placed «sotto la protezione di s. Francesco di Sales, perché coloro che intendono dedicarsi to questo generate di occupazione devono proporsi questo Santo per model nella carita, nelle buone maniere, che sono le fonti da cui derivano i frutti che si sperano dall'Opera deg, li Oratorii »(cf. STELLA, Don Bosco I, p.108). The same words that appear in the Regolamento of 1877 (see Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, pp. 363s.). In the writing Dei castighi da infliggersi nelle case salesiane (1883), San Francisco de Sales is defined as "II nostro caro e mansueto Francesco", il "mite e sapiente educatore di cuori" (Ibid., P 311).

"The Introduzione alla vita devota was warmly recommended in the
Valdocco publications , and valued by Don Bosco in the Giovane provveduto, in the Mese di maggio and in other works." On the relations between Don Bosco and San Francisco de Sales, see PICCA - STRUS (eds.), San Francesco di Sales ei salesiani, E. VALENTINI, Saint Francois de Sales and Don Bosco, in: Mémoires et documents publiés par l'Académie Salésienne, Annecy 1955; ID., Spiritualitá e umanesimo nella pedagogia di Don Bosco, in "Salesianum 20 (1958) 416-426." Cf. Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, p. 294.

'7 EI, 194.

dez, which make the soul arid, opaque, without brio, insensible to God and to good things, take root in the heart not illuminated by grace. "
The figure of San Felipe Neri, defined as «the great friend of the youth. tud »is for Don Bosco, in this sense, exemplary. There are good reasons to think that already in the Convent Don Bosco had had the possibility of approaching the figure of Felipe Neri, since already in 1845 he draws a brief, but intense profile from him in the Storia ecclesiastka »In the panegyric of San Felipe Neri, pronounced in Alba in May 1868, Don Bosco presents the Roman apostle as one who "imitated the sweetness and meekness of the Savior", who has spread the "great fire of divine charity" brought by Christ to the earth, who has practiced "the zeal for the salvation of souls, which is rooted in the zeal of Christ himself." "In speaking of St. Philip Neri, Don Bosco is speaking of himself and of the Salesian ideal. Following the life written by Bacci and the Ricordi di S. Filippo Neri alía gioventú, Don Bosco values ​​and disseminates some characteristic sayings of Saint Philip Neri: "Little children, be glad: I do not want scruples or melancholy, it is enough for me not to commit sins"; "Do everything you want, it's enough for me not to commit sins"; «Scruples and melancholy outside my house»; «Do not carry too many devotions, but be persevering in those that you have started».

2.5. The echoes of St. Vincent de Paul
For the same reasons, Don Bosco is impressed by the figure of Vincent de Paul, in which the spirit of charity, the style of gentleness and meekness, the zeal for the salvation of souls In the Storia ecclesiastica of 1845 he dedicates a passionate portrait to him: "Encouraged by the true spirit of charity, there was no kind of calamity that he did not succor; faithful oppressed by the slavery of the Turks, orphaned children, dissolute young women, single women in danger, abandoned religious, fallen women, galley slaves, pilgrims, mentally handicapped, beggars, all proved the effects of Vincent's paternal charity. "56
Don Bosco discouraged severe corporal mortifications, such as "austerity in food", 57 recommended the "precious gift of health", a convenient night's rest, a work provided to the forces of each person.
3 Cf. SO II, 185s. ; XI, 236s.

54 Cf. OE I, 473. On the hypothesis that Don Bosco knew San Felipe Neri already during
the seminary years, cf. BRAmo (ed.), Esperienze di pedagogía cristiana II, p. 306. "MB IX, 214-221.

56 OE I, 486; In, 217. It should be noted that Don Bosco did, in the house of the Mission of
Turin, the spiritual exercises in preparation for the subdiaconate (September 1840) and the priestly ordination (May 26 - June 4, 1841).

5 'G. Bosco, Ricordi confidenziali ai Direttori, in: Bosco, Scritti pedagogici, p. 79

one 58 His preferences went towards inner mortifications, which were cum.-.

I think about the exercise of one's own state and about putting up with the annoyances of others. "He
also feared the multiplication of pious practices that can scare or tire young people.In the biographical profile of the young Magone of 1861 he writes:« I would advise ardently watch for easy things that do not scare, and do not tire the faithful Christian, especially the young, fasting, long prayers and other hard austerities end up being for the most part omitted or made in a bad mood and with negligence »60 From these data we can also deduce the serene, balanced and humane character of Salesian spirituality.

2-.6. Don Bosco master of an original spirituality
Don Bosco was convinced, following in the footsteps of St. Francis de Sales, that perfection can be achieved by all, not with exceptional and extraordinary gestures, but through the exercise of ordinary virtues. When admiring in Comollo, the cleric known in the seminary of Chieri and died prematurely, "not extraordinary, but virtues fulfilled", Don Bosco expresses already in 1844, in his first work, the conviction that in them consists "the sanctity of the youngsters ».61
" «Abbiatevi cura della santa, lavorate, ma only as much as the proprie forze behaves» (G. Bosco, Ricordi ai missionary of 1875, in: Bosco, Scritti pedagogici, page 123) «In ciascuna notte
farai sette ore di riposo »(p 79).

56 "Le tue mortificazioni siano nena diligenza a 'tuoi doveri e nel sopportare bothers the
trui" (Bosco, Ricordi cónfidenziali ai direttori, p.79).

6th G. Bosco, Cenno biografico sul giovinetto Magone Michele, Torino 1861, p. 46. ​​In the Regolamento per la case della Società di S. Francesco di Sales, dated 1877, Don Bosco recommended to his sons: "Non abbracciate mai alcuna nuova divozione, not with license of vostro confessore, and ricordatevi di quanto diceva S. Filippo Neri a 'suoi figli: "Non vi caicate di troppe devozioni, ma siate perseveranti in quelle che avete prisoner" (Bosco, Scritti sul preventive system, p 433). Don Luigi Guanella also recommends that "gli esercizi di divozione non impediscano gli affari, non siano cosi lunghi e stracchino el spirito e diano nuisance alle persone colle quali si vive" (L. GUA
NELLA, A saluto al nuovo auno 1889, Como 1889, P. 55).

61 G. Bosco, Cenni storici sulla vita of the chierico Luigi Comollo morro in the seminary of Chieri, Torino 1844, in: OE I, 27. In the second edition of this little work (Torino 1884) Don Bosco writes that Comollo's behavior was « a complesso di virtú piccole, ma compiute in guise che the facevano universalmente ammirare quale specchio di singolari virtú »(OE XXXV, 29). Don Bosco, presenting the uplifting life of a clergyman he had met in Chieri, without realizing it, portrays himself, or reveals the feelings of piety, study and discipline of which he was penetrated. It is interesting to note that the expression "piccole virtú" frequently appears in the work Trattatello sopra le virtu piccole del Gesuita Giambattista Roberti (17191786), soaked in Salesian moods. The "little virtues" are, for Roberti, "The trattabilita, the condisc7 n7a, the semplicitá, the mansuetudine, the soavitá ne 'guardi, negli atti, ne' modi, nene parole". «Le virtú piccole - continues Roberti - sono virtú sicure. The parrot sicurezza nasce dalla parrot stessa piccolezza. Esse non sono pompose, perché versano sopra oggetti leggeri: esse si eser
The young Emanuele Fassati Don Bosco recommends "obedience to parents and superiors" and punctuality in the fulfillment of duties, especially school children.62 Sega! Don Bosco, holiness can be achieved by young people. A young man is still holy)
when he observes with "persevering scrupulousness the duties of his. do.'63 The biographical profiles of Domingo Savio (1859), by Magone (1861),
by Besucco (1864), tend precisely to show that young people can reach high degrees of perfection.

Don Bosco not only maintains that holiness can be attained in any state of life, but that it is easy to become saints. The only condition is to want to be: "How many things, then, do we need to be holy? Of a single thing: it is necessary to want to be it. Yes, as long as you want you can be holy. You only have to love him. The examples of the saints, whose life we ​​are preparing to put before your eyes, are of people of low condition, who have lived in the midst of the difficulties of an active life: workers, agri. cultists, artisans, merchants, servants and young people. Each one has sanctified himself in his own state. And how are they sanctified? Doing well everything they had to do. "" The path to holiness, then, is indicated not so much by exceptional virtues and by extraordinary facts, as by the strong
will and by the perseverance perseverance in fulfilling the duties of the own state.

Don Bosco meditated and loved from the times of Chieri's seminary, the Imitation of Christ, but it was not marked by the spirituality of the flight of the world. He cultivated, yes, the detachment of things, the inner self-denial, the compunction of the heart, but without intimate complacency, in view of apotolic activity, not mystical prayer or immersion in God. Don Bosco has not elaborated an original spirituality.

He drank from Ignatian, Salesian, Alphonsian and Filipino sources and channeled them, with great freedom and skill, into educational action. What is new about Don Bosco's spirituality lies in translating it into a creative, diligent, audacious, volitional apostolate, in the gift of himself to others. In this sense, Don Bosco was a spiritual life teacher (not so much a spiritual writer) and his educational work would not be understood, if we dispense with the sources that inspired and nourished him.

citano quasi senza la reputazione di essere virtuosi. [...] Le virtú piccole sono virtú usnali, I gave a frequent and daily use, comuni a tutte le stagioni ed a tutte le condizioni della vita. [...] Le virtú piccole sono virtú sublimi e divine. Sento ora eat penitenza di averie chiamate piccole, ma the phrase é tolta dallo stile di S. Francesco di Sales. E poi esse sono piccole only perché ver-sano sopra soggetti piccoli, a parola, a gesture, a'occhiata, a creation; per altro, it is the principle if it is taken from the parton, edil fine, to which it is not, sound preciare affatto: sono piccole virtu, che formano i grandi virtuosi »(GB ROBERT ', Raccolta di vary operette, vol III, Bologna 1782, P. 33-75).

62 To the young nobleman Emanuele Fassati (September 8, 1861) in: EI, 209.

62 S'ELLA, Valori spirituali, p. 95. Don Bosco's Giovane provveduto is not simply a manual of devotion, it is a "Christian di vita mode" proposed to young people (Ibid., P.80).

6 'G. Bosco, Vita di Santa Zita serva e di sant'Isidoro contadino, in LC (1853) 6.


or. Introduction

It is enough to look at the biographical Mentions of Saint John Bosco, to realize the contacts he had with various Catholic associations of his
time. And not only in the city of Turin, but also outside.
Indeed, during the trips through Italy, France and Spain, he found
many such associations, which came to him to present his
respects, his help and receive, instead, a good word osuna blessing.

In all these meetings, both parties - the associations and Don Bosco felt very liked, as if they were wrapped in the same climate of mutual attraction and: Infecto. In such a way that, from them, more or less stable relations of friendship and help could emerge.

Proof of this are, for example, the decision of some societies to appoint Don Bosco as their honorary member, 3 the fact that many first-time Salesian Cooperators, such as the Count, were involved in them, to one degree or another. Carlo Cays di Giletta, 4 count De Maistre, 5 count of Villeneuve, 6 Dorotea Chopitea de Serra '- and, finally, the intervention of
* This communication was written and read by the author in Castilian (nde).

Although the publication of the Castilian translation is already well advanced (CCS, Madrid 1981 ss.), In the present work the quotations of the MB are adduced according to the Italian original.

2 Some terms, such as Associazione, Circolo, Congress °, Patronage, Societa, Unione, can be checked through the analytical index of the Memorie cited.

3 It was of the Conferences of San Vicente de Paul of Turin since 1850, of the Catholic Workers' Union of Nizza Monferrato since 1883, of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona since 1884. Cf. respectively MB IV, 66-70; XVI, 288; XVIII, 84

• He was first president of the Particular Council of the Conferences of San Vicente de Paul in Turin (1853) and then president also of the Superior Council of the same in Piedmont (1856). He ended up being a Salesian and a priest (1.1882). Cf. L. TERRoNE, II conte Cays, Salesian priest, Colle Don Bosco (Asti), LDC 1947, p. 142

• Of the aforementioned conferences in Nice, according to MB X, 1337.

• President of the agricultural societies of southern France, according to MB XVIII, 150-151. 7 Among other associations, she had belonged to the Ladies Board of the Asylum Rooms and to the Apostleship of Prayer. Cf. A. BURDÉUS, A lady from Barcelona from the eight hundred. The servant of these associations in some Salesian foundations, concretely in marassi (Genoa 1871), 8 Sampierdarena-Genoa (1872), 9 Nice (1875), 10B Buenos Aires (1877-1878) "and Marseille (1878) .0
Undoubtedly, the Catholic social movement of the last century demonstrated a fine sensitivity to the Salesian charism, which it wanted to have close to and open the paths of life, although it did not always achieve an active presence of the Salesians, as it happened, for example, in 1880, to the Workers' Society of Florence13 or, the following year, to the Association of Catholics of Valencia (Spain) 11 --- or, in 1884, to the General Council of the Conferences of San Vi. cente de Paul de Londres.'5
«Giá piú volte in questo and in altri volumi - writes don Eugenio Cenia in the XVIII - ci é avvenuto di narrare as Societá Operaie Cattoliche volgessero the gift to Don Bosco, reputandolo grande grande antes nell'attivitá a favor della classe lavoratrice. Questa opinione faceva si che, dove ci fossero case salesiane, ledesime Associazioni you considerassero eat luoghi per esse di naturale ritrovo ».16
But among the associations that connected with Don Bosco and his Salesians, there were also those formed by the Catholic bourgeoisie that, in accordance with the mentality of social Catholicism of the time, were dedicated, among other things, to the charitable action in favor of the proletariat and the world of marginalization. In this line stood the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in Paris by Federico Ozanam in 1833. His most qualified exponent was, and still is, in the Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul.

They entered Italy in 1844, through the small town of Níza, then belonging to the kingdom of Sardinia, and, passing through Genoa (1846), arrived in Turin in 1850. From the first moment, Don Bosco became a promoter of the same. "So much so that, a few years later, with the help of Count Cays, he founded some so-called" Anejas Conferences "in his three oratories of God, Doña Dorotea de Chopitea, widow of Serra, Barcelona, ​​Librería Salesiana 1962, P. 128.326.

8 Cf. MB X, 145.182.184-185.190-191230.

9 Cf. MB X, 364; S. SCIACCALUGA, Don Bosco to Genova, Genova-Sampierdarena, Salesiana editrice 1946.

'° Cf. MB X, 1337; XI, 421-426; XII, 114-116,120-122.124.407-408; XIII, 106-112; XV, 506
507. F. DESRAMAUT, Don Boscoa Nice. La vie d'une école professionnelle catholique between 1875 and 1919, Paris, Apostolat des éditions 1980, p. 21-41.

"Cf. MB MI, 264-266, XIII, 180-181, 784-786, 1005-1007.

Cf. MB XLII, 95ss. 526-528. 531. 542. 727. 998. See in the Analytical Index (index de nomi propri) of the MB the term Beaujour.

"Cf. MB XV, 328-334.

"See the letter addressed to Don Juan Cagliero (23-III-1881) in A. MARTÍN, The Salesians of Utrera in Spain, Salesiana Inspectorate of Seville 1981, page 183.

15 Cf. MB XVIII, 447-448.

16 MB XVIII, 168.

"Cf. MB IV, 66-70; V, 468.

urín18 and was interested in its diffusion in Rome.19 In general, Don Bosco's relations with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul were deep and permanent. "
The data here adduced are more than sufcient to arouse our scientific interest and guide it to a field that we have not yet studied well: how were they - in their constitution, mentality and activities - those Catholic associations, of which Don Bosco so often surrounded himself and whose friendship and support he sought? Where was the reason for that harmony? What results were derived from it?
Such are the objective and content of this work, which focuses only on that city of Barcelona that Don Bosco visited and met in April-May 1886 and since then, sincerely loved. When he died two years later and, on the second day of the ferero, in the afternoon the solemn burial was organized through the streets of Turin, "the box of mortuary was going, covered with black cloth - read in the" Salesian Bulletin "-; on top he wore the priestly insignia and the gold medals of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona and the Geographical Society of Lyon. "2 'It's funny! The Salesians of a century ago, when it was time to decorate the coffin of their father and founder as best they could, found no other symbols more significant and closer to the heart than the priestly insignia and gold medals of two foreign associations.
The author of this modest work would like other participants in this International Congress to take into consideration the topic here suggested and to develop it in relation to the lands of Italy and France. In this way, in our opinion, we would be able to better discover the historical-ecclesial dimension of Don Bosco and we would make progress, even a little bit, in the historiography related to it.

1. Don Bosco in Spain and Catholic associations

Salesian literature of all times has been used to present the journey of Don Bosco to Spain with bright and attractive colors. According to the historian Cenia, those days of the Founder's stay in Barcelona and in Sarriá - a small town near the capital of Catalonia, where
18 Cf. MB V, 468-477.782-783; VI, 491; VII, 12-15; IX, 941.

'9 Cf. G. BONETTI, Cinque lustri di storia dell'Oratorio Salesiano, Bacon, Salesian Typography
1892, p. 532; MB V, 871.

20 See in the Index the analytical index (index de nomi propri) of the MB the terms Conferenza di
S. Vincenzo de 'Paoli, Conferenze annesse.

March 21, 1888, 34

the Salesian house was located - from April 8 to May 6, 1886, they were "triumphant" days22.
Indeed, both salesian23 and Barcelona26 sources support this approach to things. The same derisive attitude of the anticlerical press only confirms it.25 Don Bosco was constantly surrounded by the crowd and entertained by the Catholic bourgeoisie of Barcelona. Objectively speaking, this was an indisputable success for him. But to what, or to whom, was all that brilliance, festive and multitudinous, due to a character that, after all, was not known to the immense majority of the local population? When answering this question, several factors must be taken into account. Among them, undoubtedly, the fame of sanctity of Don Bosco and the miracles attributed to him. Even so, who made all that fame socially valid and operative? To our knowledge, to an important extent, the organizations of Catholic society. Just check the documentation to make sure of it.

From the moment he set foot on the ground in Barcelona, ​​at the station called "de Francia", on the morning of Thursday, April 8, Don Bosco met with the Catholic associations of the City. The young chronicler Viglietti was admired: "La stazione presentava a magnificent spettacolo: tutte in bell'ordine erano schierate varie societá [...]: vi era il Direttore della societá dei cosi detti cattolici, il Direttore dell'Universitá di Barcelona, ​​il President of the Società di S. Vincenzo de 'Paoli' .26
The evening newspapers did not miss the detail. According to the "Catalan Post", Don Bosco was awaited at the railway station by "numerous commissions ... of all the Catholic associations of this capital, the Catholic press and numerous contest of individuals of the same" .27
The old Founder was moved by this spectacle. As he declared a few days later, "they have given me a welcome that I will never forget." 2a Since that morning, the Catholic associations did not abandon him and prepared him for the brightest days of his stay in Barcelona.

22 MB XVIII, 117.

23 The most important is the Cronaca of Don Carlo Maria Viglietti. In this work the copy that the same chronicler gave to the Martí-Codolar family is used. In the first cover of the luxurious binding is read: Don Bosco - I quattro ultimi anni di sua vita - Omaggio di riconoscenza alia famiglia Martí-Codolar - Cronaca scritta dal segretario Carlo M. Viglietti -1888 (= Cronaca).

24 Among the periodical press that was most interested in Don Bosco, we must remember: "Diario de Barcelona" (founded in 1792), "Correo Catalán" (newspaper founded in 1878), " Popular" (weekly founded in 1871) , «The Golden Ant» (weekly founded in 1884).

25 They referred especially to Don Bosco "La Campana de Gracia" (weekly founded in 1870), "L'Esquella de la Torratxa" (weekly founded in 1872). «The Deluge» (diary founded in 1879). For a general vision, cf. R. ALBERDI, A city for a saint, Barcelona, ​​Tibidabo Editions 1966; ID., Don Bosco in Barcelona. Itinerary, Barcelona, ​​Edebé 1986.

26 Cronaca, 8 Aprile 1886. Barcellona.

27 "Correo Catalán", Thursday, April 8, 1886, P. 1. Evening edition. Cf. also "Diario de Barcelona", Thursday, April 8, 1886, p. 4105. Evening edition.

28 See the text of the invitation to the Salesian conference, Sarriá April 27, 1886, in MB
XVIII, 648.

On Thursday, April 15, the solemn evening in which the Association of Catholics imposed on Don Bosco the medal of honor and merit member took place. Fascinated, Carlo Maria Viglietti left in the chronicle some details: "Alle 4 giunse il presidente with alcuni membri della associazione cattolica per accompagnare Don Bosco alla radunan7a straordinaria espressamente conventa per onorare lui. Codesti signori erano elegantly dressed and decorated delle insecure della societá. Tre vetture di great lusso ne attendevano [...]. Le vetture andavano a passo lento, and attiravano gli sguardi della moltitudine accorsa per vedere don Bosco [...]. I socí cola accorsi [in the new premises that the Association inaugurated then] erano quanti ne potevano contennere i tre saloni. It was tutto il flore della nobiltá di Barcellona. "29
The session was a success, 3 ° both for Don Bosco and the Salesians and for the same Association of Catholics that, in this way, was also made known to the representatives of other associations. The President, Dr. Bartolomé Feliú and Pérez, in evaluating the development of the evening, expressed - as stated in the minutes book of that entity - "how satisfied the Board of Directors was with the many expressions of appreciation received on that day by [ part of] all the individuals of the Association and by [part of] the corporations that attended the party ».3 '
On the fifteenth day, on the Friday of the week of Easter, April 30, the so-called Salesian conference was held, called by Don Bosco in favor of the Salesian Workshops32 of Sarriá, "in order to increase - he said - in large proportions the number of children who can be admitted to them, in order to give them, along with a solid Christian education, the teaching of an art or craft that will provide, in time, an honorable subsistence ".33
Through friends and Cooperators of the Salesian house, this communication was transmitted to the societies in which they were registered. Like the Association of Catholics - which, as we read in the book of minutes, received "with pleasure [...] the office of invitation of Don Bosco" 34 -, also the other
29 Cronaca, 15 Aprile 1886. Barcelona .

38 Cf. Record of the solemn session held on April 15, 1886 by the Association of Catholics
of Barcelona to impose the insignia of the Corporation to the illustrious and venerable presbyter Mr. Juan
Bosco, founder of the Salesian Workshops, Barcelona, ​​Typography Catholic, 1886

31 ASSOCIATION OF CATHOLICS OF BARCYI ONA, Acts 1886-1896. It is the record corresponding to
the session of the Board of Directors of 19-IV-1886. Both this volume and another preceding it (1871-1872 [1886]) are found in the Arxiu Diocesá de Barcelona. Ecclesiastical Entities Antigues.

Association of Catholics of Barcelona. Leg. 2. See note 47.

"They were named during the first years of operation the Schools of Arts and Offices
that the Salesians had run in Sarriá since 1884.

"Text of the invitation to the Salesian Conference, Sarriá April 27, 1886, in MB
XVIII, 648.

34 ASSOCIATION OF CATHOLICS OF BARCELONA, Acts 1886-1896 (= Acts II). Extraordinary session of April 30, 1886.

groupings responded positively. Its representatives occupied a distinguished place in the parish church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, where the conference was held, and whose pastor, the Reverend Don Juan Masferrer, was at that time a counselor of the board of directors of the aforementioned Association of Catholics. According to the chronicler's description, "dal lato dell'Epistola stavano authoritates him governative e militad. with vari Direttori di Societá e di Giornali. I comitati dei signori e delle signore cooperatrici occupavano in chiesa i priori posti, ed i signori portavano sul petto decorazioni secondo le societá a cui appartenevano ».35
At the end of the conference, together with the cooperators, they helped to carry out the collection "i giovani della Società Cattolica" .36 It is very possible that with this expression, Don Carlo Maria Viglietti would like to refer to the association called the Academy of Catholic Youth of Barcelona, that came to be like the youth section of the Association of Catholics.

The third great day - Wednesday, May 5 - was centered on the basilica of Our Lady of Mercy. There, in an act «commovente insieme e solenne», 37 the owners of the summit of Mount Tibidabo donated Don Bosco, 38 «so that you can get up in it - they had written on the parcel of transfer - a hermitage, consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, stop the Arm of Divine Justice and attract the
Divine Mercy on our beloved City and on all Catholic Spain ".39
The eleven signatories were owners, or heirs or representatives of the first owners. And, as explained later, they were, or had been, members of the Association of Catholics or the Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul or of both entities at the same time. The first of the signatories and that, in the avatars that followed this donation, had the representation of others, called Dolphin Artós and Mornau, belonged to the Association of Catholics since 1881 and, since 1884, held the offices of president of the particular advice of the Conferences in Barcelona and of the central council of the same in Catalonia. '
Certainly, both the acquisition of the estates located at the summit of the
Tibidabo, as the decision to offer them to Don Bosco, was forged among militant people in the Catholic Association of the Ciudad Condal.

35 Cronaca, 30 Aprile 1886. Barcelona.

36 Ibid.

37 Ibid., 5 Maggio 1886. Barcellona.

38 Cf. ALBERDI, A city, p. 176-190.

39 The parchment of donation, with the text signed by the owners or their representatives, is in ASC, 38 Barcelona: Tibidabo 1 °. The names of the donors that are brought in MB XVIII, 653 are not always correctly transcribed.

4 ° Around this last year he became honorary member of the Board of the Worker, in which during the first years he had acted as effective president.

Apart from these most significant meetings, there were other moments of coexistence between the associations and Don Bosco.

Thus, according to Don Viglietri, on Saturday, April 10, in the afternoon, Don Bosco received in a special audience the President of the Association of Catholics, who went to the Salesian house of Sarria "with a large number of the illustrious socii." 4 'Four days later, these same people attended the Mass celebrated by Don Bosco in the chapel of that house: "II President Col. Segretario -precisely the chronicler - served the Holy Messa to Don Bosco." "And, in the afternoon of On that day (April 14), they returned to the Salesian residence, where "the Catholic Society was in tune," says the chronicler Viglietti, "Don Bosco tenuous a specie di conferenza nel teatro."
In the same way, on Wednesday, April 21, in the afternoon, Don Bosco's meeting with the Conferences of San Vicente de Paul took place in Sarriá. "It was an important dimostrazione di ben 250 Signori della Società di San Vincenzo de 'Paoli" - explains Viglietti -. And he continues: "Don Bosco entered the theater room suddenly and spoke to her that he had molded her, giving her a cosi bella prova di fede and di religione. If fece quindi da queí buoni signorí a colletta che fu assai generous »44
The Catholic associations of Barcelona only left Don Bosco on the day of his departure on May 6, 1886. They gave him the last goodbye at the railway station. According to the "Popular Magazine", there were present the "Commissions of the religious Corporations of this city, such as the Association of Catholics, the [Catholic] Promotion, the [Catholic Youth Academy], the Conferences of Saint Vincent de Paul, etc. »43
As can be seen, the groups just mentioned played an important role together with Don Bosco, who was accompanied and promoted in his Barcelona days. What was their origin in the capital of Catalonia, what objectives did they pursue, what spirit encouraged them to tune in so perfectly with the Founder of the Salesians? The following pages would like to answer these questions. Since the limits set out in a communication must be respected, only the most important organizations are mentioned, highlighting those aspects that offer the greatest relationship with Don Bosco and his work.

"Cronaca, 10 Aprile 1886. Barcelona.

Ibid., 14 Aprile 1886. Barcellona. See also Memory and discourse read by the secretary and president of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona at the General Regulation Meeting held on March 20, 1887. Barcelona 1887, p. 13


44 Ibid., 21 Aprile 1886. Barcelona.

"« Popular Magazine », 805 (1886) 297.

2. The Association of Catholics of Barcelona

From what has been exposed so far it is clear that this organization was the one that was in closest contact with Don Bosco as a result of his visit to Barcen canvas in 1886. Friendship relations began in 1884, when they had learned of the existence of the Salesian and their Founder and remained alive even after receiving the news of the last illness and death of the same, in January 1888.46

2.1. Origin and development

The Association of Catholics of Barcelona47 was constituted on March 19, 1871. "It was wanted - later wrote the lawyer José María Vergés, a good connoisseur of the same - who, in favor of enthusiasm, splendor and good organization, make fashionable Catholicism, if it is lawful to use such an expression, and that it would become a title of glory before the world, ceasing to be a stigma with which the enemy points his hated rivals to the hatred of his followers, the distinguished quality of Catholics and children of the Church who joyfully show how many are part of our group ».48
Such was the goal to which those men aspired that in the parish church of San Jaime, with the solemn Eucharistic celebration and the general communion of the feast of San José of 1871,49, set in motion the new entity. They were just looking to be Catholic, to be able to give a new prestige to the religion that they saw criticized everywhere in the wake of the September Revolution of 1868. "Even after several years, the Association was aware of the" hazardous time »On what had been founded? '
The main initiator was Don José Coll y Vehí 1876), 52 ca
48 Cf. R. ALBERO ', Resonance of the death of Don Bosco in Barcelona, ​​in «Salesiantun» 50 (1988) 191-214.

47 En buena parte al menos, hoy es posible reconstruir la historia de esta entidad gracias a la documentación que se halla en el antiguo Archivo de la Diputación Provincial de Barcelona (para la cuestión de las escuelas) y, sobre todo, en el Archivo Diocesano de Barcelona. Aquí (Arxiu Diocesá de Barcelona = ADB) se pueden consultar diversos materiales impresos y no impresos (Entitats Eclesiástiques Antigues. Asociación de Católicos de Barcelona). Particularmente interesante es el Libro de Actas, en sus dos cuadernos: el primero (= Actas I) se extiende de abril de 1871 a marzo de 1886; el segundo (= Actas II), desde marzo de 1886 a junio de 1896. Ver notas 31 y 34. 48 «Boletín de la Asociación de Católicos de Barcelona» 11 (1881) 170.

48 A few months before (December 1870) Pope Pius IX had proclaimed the Holy Patriarch as Patron of the Universal Church. For its part, the Association of Catholics of Barcelona had officially been placed under the protection of this saint (Statutes, Article 11.

"Cf. The Church in contemporary Spain (1808-1975), in: R. GARCÍA VILLOSLADA (ed.) History of the Church in Spain, V, Madrid, RnicA 1979, pp. 227-256.

5 '«Bulletin of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona» 2 (1880) 22.

52 See this name in Dkcionari BiográfiC, I, Barcelona, ​​Alberti editor, 1966, p. 591

tecirático of the University of Barcelona, ​​writer and literary critic. She had been Ais'pulo de Manuel Milá y Fontanals (t 1884) and was very related to Juan --pá-acrilé and Flaquer (t 1901) and Manuel Durán y Bas (t 1907). He has been considered as one of the representatives of Catalan conservatism. Within the Association he enjoyed immense prestige. "
Among others, the aforementioned José ajaría Vergés and the Reverend José Morgades y Gil (t 1901), who at that time was a prison canon for the cathedral of Barcelona, ​​helped him in the foundation of the society." Doctorate in Theology and Canon Law and professor in the conciliar seminary had already become known as the promoter of culture and charitable social works.54
The interim board, chaired by Coll and Vehí, finished its functions on April 30, 1871 and was replaced by a board of directors proper. It entered in this one, 55 like president, the mentioned Mr. Coll and, like vice-president, the also mentioned José Morgades. This, according to the "Diario de Barcelona", became "decided protector of the Salesian Institute" of Sarriá.56
In the same board of directors the first secretary was Mr. Narciso María Pascual de Bofarull (t 1902), a lawyer by profession and brother-in-law of Luis Martí-Codolar (t 1915) and who, being married to María Jesús Serra and Chopitea ( since 1844), he was the son-in-law of José María Serra y Muñoz (t 1882) and Dorotea Chopitea y Villota (t 1891). The future "mother" of the Salesians of Barcelona (since 1884) had already started (1871) the founding and organization of welfare works and had in Mr. Pascual an intelligent, generous and faithful collaborator.

The appearance of associations of Catholics was not an exclusive fact of Barcelona, ​​but, earlier, had occurred in other Spanish cities, starting with Madrid. The founders - all of them secular and ascribed to political-religious conservatism - took advantage of the freedom of association that the Revolution of September 1868 had just proclaimed, in order to create a great common front capable of opposing the secularist and anti-clerical spirit of that Revolution. a culture inspired by the Catholic faith - fully professed, as they said - and, finally, defend the Catholic unity of Spain. "This movement was set in motion before the end of the year of the Revolution (1868) and, from the next , was completed and 52 "Modest, wise, virtuous and indefatigable defender of the truth",

34 See this name in the Great Catalan Enciclopédia, vol. 10, Barcelona 1977, p. 314-315. 58 Cf. Minutes I, on the date indicated.

"Wednesday, April 21, 1886, page 4626. Morning edition: In 1882 he was appointed bishop of Vic (Barcelona) and, at the age of four, had the opportunity to personally greet Don Bosco in the incipient Salesian house of Sarriá Cf. Cronaca, 20 Aprile 1886. Barcellona.

57 Cf. Church in contemporary Spain, p. 242-247; J. ANDRÉS GALLEGO, Religious Politics in Spain 1889-1913, Madrid, Editora Nacional 1975, p. 9-15.

animated by the corresponding youth groups, such as the Academy of Catholic Youth of Barcelona, ​​which had already drafted a first regulation in November 1869.58
But the years of the Sex.enio Revolucionario - Revolution (1868), Provisional Government (1868-1870) , Monarchy of Amadeo I of Savoy (1870-1873), First Republic (1873-1874), Interim Regime (1874) - were not favorable for the normal development of Catholic associationism. This, faced with a permanent situation of anarchy and anticlericalism (both governmental and popular), before the outbreak of the first workers' International and before a new clash of the Carlist wars, was forced to reduce, camouflage or suppress their activities. "
The Association of Catholics of Barcelona was soon the object of suspicions and misunderstandings on the part of the Civil Government, "which, despite the explanations given by the latter, ended up intercepting all its actions, and consequently, the month following the proclamation of the First Republic (February of 1873), the doors of its social premises - street of the Rigomir, n ° 11 - were closed, and a parenthesis was then opened that lasted until September 1877.61
On the 260 registered members came "the disorganization and fright" as remembered in 1878 by the secretary Juan Federico Muntadas y Vilardell.82 The "greater part" of them, according to the same witness, had to look for "peace beyond the borders". that was lacking in our soil ", 63 since, during those years (1868-1874)," the revolution [...] remained an arbitrator and mistress of the ancient City of the Counts, cradle of enlightened saints. The temples and the cloisters, desecrated; destroyed the images; the mysteries of our sacrosanct Religion, mocked; the ministers of the altar persecuted; Catholics all pointed to the opprobrium public. "
It is likely that this language of the lawyer Muntadas - who was already secretary of the Association before the advent of the republic - is somewhat exaggerated, because, speaking in general, Barcelona and Catalonia managed to stay within order. However, it is true that, given the anti-clerical hatred of the Republicans - perfectly explicable to a certain extent -, the violence took its toll on the churches of the Catalan capital, which, although they escaped the flames, were closed to the cult and even some were desecrated 8s In such a state of affairs, many priests had only one way of salvation left: flee abroad. "

"Cf. Regulations of the Catholic Youth Society of Barcelona 1870, page 14.

'9 Cf. J. MANUEL CASTELLS, The religious associations in contemporary Spain (17671965). A legal-administrative study, Madrid, Ed. Taurus 1973, p. 224-242.

6 ° See the circular issued by the Association of Catholics to the members, dated July 4, 1872. (Copies of this and other forms, in: ADB, Entitats Ecclesiasticiques Antigues, Leg.

61 Cf. Memory and discourse ... 1878, p. 11-12.

62 Ibid. p. 11. 67 Ibid.


The revolutionary and republican crisis - with its cruel desamortizadoras and secularizing measures - entered into a process of disintegration at the beginning of the year 1874 (Coup of the captain general of Madrid, Pavia) and ended at the end of the same year, when General Martinez Campos proclaimed in Sagunto Alfonso XII as king of Spain (December 29, 1874).

Despite the arrival of the Restoration of 1875, the Association of Catholics of Barcelona failed to react immediately. The old board of directors, which had been appointed in March 1872, had difficulty preparing the resumption of activities, until finally, in September 1877, it obtained a new authorization from the Civil Government of Barcelona.

2.2. The partners

The Association of Catholics kept the social status of its members unchanged. These generally came from the bourgeoisie.

2.2.1. Before the suppression of 1873

The most significant groups were - to understand us - that of the intellectual bourgeoisie - lawyers, professors, doctors and pharmacists - and that of the money bourgeoisie - bankers, industrialists, manufacturers, merchants, owners and administrators -. Also important was the sector of clerics assigned to the pastoral life (without being teachers or ecclesiastical dignities). In short, some noble titles were not lacking.

a) The future Salesian Cooperators
From the list of partners of March 1, 1872 - the second that was published and the oldest that we have been able to find up to now "- it is clear that the future Salesian Cooperators of Barcelona militated in the ranks of the Association since the times that can be called foundational.

65 Cf. F. SOLDEVILA (ed.), A Segle of Catalan Life 1814-1930, I, Barcelona, ​​Ed. Alcides
1961, p. 385

66 Cf. J. BoNET I BALTA, L'Església catalana, from the Illustració a la Renaixenla, Barcelona, ​​Publications de l'Abadia de Montserrat 1984, p. 644-645.

67 The Regulation of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona was revalidated on 7-IX 1877.

68 Association of Catholics of Barcelona. No. 2. It contains the Statutes (page 1-4) and a general list of the associated gentlemen (pages 5-27).

Indeed, there were the three most important families: Serra Chopitea, Martí-Codolar and Pascual de Bofarull. It is interesting to remember some names.

- Of the first, José María Serra y Muñoz (t 1882), banker and merchant, husband of Dorotea Chopitea and Villota (Barra de Ferro street 8,1 ° registration number 100).

- Of the second, Luis Martí [Codolar] and Gelabert (t 1915), merchant and financier, husband of Consuelo Pascual de Bofarull and head of the Martí Codolar family, 69 which on May 3, 1886, hosted Don Bosco in his farm in Horta-Barcelona and was his great friend and cooperator (Calle Dormitorio de San Francisco 27,1 ° registration number 60). "
- From the third: Sebastián Antón Pascual and Inglada (t 1872), lawyer and politician, banker and businessman, married to María Asunción de Bofarull and Plandolit, and father of Consuelo Pascual de Bofarull - wife of Luis MartíCodolar - and his brothers Narciso María, Oscar, Manuel María, Sebastián and Policarpo (Xuclá Street 19,1 °. Registration number 52) .71
Narciso María (t 1902), lawyer and activist of the first order in the Association of Catholics. As the brother of Consuelo Pascual de Bofarull, a lady of Martí-Codolar, and married to one of the daughters (María Jesús) Serra-Chopitea, it was the union ring of the three families: the Pascual, the MartíCodolar and the Serra- Chopitea, the most solid and prestigious platform of the Salesian Cooperators of the first times. He organized the Union of Cooperators in Barcelona and was, until his death, "his jealous president" (Calle Nueva de San Francisco 2.2 ° Registration number 32) .72
Oscar (t 1904), banker and merchant, married to Antonia Puig y Benítez - the «Donna Antonietta» named Viglietti in her chronicle - (Calle Nueva de San Francisco 2.3 °, registration number 33).
Manuel María (t 1911), lawyer, true model of a secular apostle, 74 who became president of the Association of Catholics in March 1888, "and it was also, after the death of his brother Narciso María, of the
69 Luis Martí Gelabert, son of Joaquín Martí and Codolar and of María Angeles Gelabert Jordá, in order to avoid confusion with his first surname - very widespread in Catalonia - in 1886 he obtained from the Spanish crown the privilege of using as the only surname the first two of his father, separated by a script (= Martí-Codolar).

'° See the last name Martí-Codolar in the index of MB names.

n Cf. V. GEBHARDT, Necrology of the Most Illustrious Mr. Doctor D. Sebastián Antón Pascual, Barce
lona, ​​1873. In 1872 the author also belonged to the Association of Catholics (registration number 63).

72 BS 26 (1911) 61.

73 Cronaca, 30 Aprile 1886. Barcellona.

74 Cf. E. MORÉU LAC.RUZ, Biographical news of D. Manuel M 'Pascual and de Bofarull, Marqués de Pascual, Barcelona [1920]; BS 26 (1911) 230-232.

75 Cf. Minutes II, General meeting of partners of March 25, 1888.

Salesian Cooperators of Barcelona (Xudá Street 19,1 ° Registration Number 38) .76 1913) and Policarpo (t 1935), presented by their brothers Sebastián (t Manuel María, joined the Association of Catholics in Narciso María and M January of 1872. "
The first was a graduate in administrative law and, by marrying Isidra Pons and Serra, granddaughter of José María Sena and Dorotea Chopitea, the three families, the Pascual de Bofarull, the Martí-Codolar and the the Serra-Chopitea (Xudá Street 19,1 ° Registration number 165).

The second, the youngest of the Pascual brothers, was an owner and engineer, an enthusiastic promoter of the Christian school. He was also president of the Board of Salesian Cooperators of Barcelona (Xuclá Street 19,1 ° Registration Number 155) .78
The Pascual brothers - brothers-in-law of Luis Martí-Codolar - were all friends of Don Bosco - «tra le famiglie a lui Piú affezionate vi erano quelle dei fratelli Pascual ", wrote Don Eugenio Ceria79 - and the five are together with the Founder in the famous photograph that was obtained on the MartíCodolar estate on May 3, 1886.80 Spontaneously they became great Salesian Cooperators . "
It must be added that, together with them, and from the first hour (November 1871), 82 had entered the Association of Catholics an uncle, brother of his mother, called Policarpo de Bofarull and Plandolit. Owner and aficionado of poetry, he dedicated a sonnet to Don Bosco in April 1886 (Calle Cambios Nuevos 1,1 °, inscription number 147) .83 b) Future donors of the Tibidabo summit
At least some of those who, in January 1876, acquired the Tibidabo summit and gave it to Don Bosco in May 1886 (personally or by delegation) and were active in the Association of Catholics. Indeed, Delfín Artós and Mornau (owner, with address on Gignás street 42.1 °) had in 1872 the registration number 71; Jaime Moré and Bosch (merchant, with address at Mercaders Street 32.1 °), number 106; Manuel María Pascual de Bofarull (lawyer, Xudá Street 19.1 °), number 38; Santiago Manuel
76 Cf. BS 26 (1911) 62.

n Cf. Minutes I, session of the Board of Directors of January 12, 1872.

78 Cf. BS 50 (1935) 351-352.

"MB XVIII, 154.

Cf. ALBERDI, Don Bosco in Barcelona. Itinerary, p. 130-131.

"See the Pascual surname in the index of MB names.

ffi Cf. Minutes I, session of the Board of Directors on November 24, 1871. It was presented by his nephew Narciso María Pascual and José Con y Vehí himself.

83 Cf. MB XVIII, 647-648.

Calafell y Calafell (merchant, calle de la Boquería 9,1 °), number 101Antonio Camps and Fabrés (manufacturer, Pou de San Pedro street 7, and the number 23.84
c) The future founders of the Salesian house of Gerona
Both Juan María de Oliveras and Estañol, Marqués de la Quadra (proietarjo, Rambla de Santa Mónica 27.2 °) as two of his trusted executors and heirs, Carlos de Fontcuberta (owner, Rambla de los Estudios 4 1 ° 1 Trinidad de Fontcuberta (proprietor, Calle de Montcada 20,1 °) had entered the Association of Catholics in January 1872, with the inscription numbers 149, 178 and 159 respectively.

The Marquis de la Quadra had been presented at the Association mentioned by Sebastián Antón Pascual Ingl Antonio Escolano, by him and by Antoni E nistrador of the Bank of Barcelona and a great collaborator of Mrs. Dorotea Chopi. In 1891, the testamentary executors gave the Salesians a farm located near the city of Gerona, in order to convert it into an agricultural school under the patronage of San Isidro Labrador.

d) Other mentions
In order to have a full picture of the personnel that we are interested in, it is advisable to add two names.

In the first place, Luis María de Llauder (t 1904), a lawyer, who joined the Association of Catholics on February 25, 1872 and constantly promoted the cause of the schools that maintained it. He was owner and editor of the newspaper "Correo Catalán" (since 1878) and founder of the magazine "La Hormiga de Oro" (1884). Both publications, in which the best feathers of Catalan traditionalism collaborated - like Salvador Casarlas, Félix Sardá. and Salvany, Jaime Minera, Joaquín de Font and Boter, Cayetano Barraquer, Víctor Gebhardt, Eduardo Vilarrasa, all of whom are named in this work - spoke of Don Bosco and his institutions with love and informative responsibility. Luis María de Llauder personally visited Don Bosco in Sarriá on April 11, 1886.86
In the second place, Leandro de Mella, who had already retired from the army when, in November 1871, he was admitted to the Catholic Association of Católi9 ° Cf. Association of Catholics of Barcelona. No. 2. Felix Vives and Amat entered the Association later, in 1878.

a 'And, of course, he also collaborated in favor of the Salesians of Sarriá. According to the director, & ti Juan Branda, dona Dorotea "gave impetus to. Mr. Don Antonio Escolano and others who today help the House in a special way ». Letter to Don Juan Cagliero, Sarriá June 23, 1884 (ASC 9 Dorotea corrispondenza).

8 ° Cf. Cronaca, 11 Aprile 1886. Barcellona.cos.

It was admirable in its delivery in favor of the popular schools that the Association maintained. I became a salesian cooperator. "

222.After the resumption of activities in 1877-1878

When, at the end of 1877 and the beginning of 1878, after about four and a half years of suspension of activities (1873-1877), they were resumed, all the "old" members no longer returned to the ranks of the Association. But, at the call of the most fervent, the new ones began to arrive. There were some excisions between the two - either because of the usual confrontations in the Spanish fundamentalism, 'either because of questions concerning the progress of the schools' - nor moments of discouragement, apathy and neglect.In 1886, the partners did not arrive certainly two hundred. " a) The Salesian Cooperators
As in the previous period, the recruitment of partners was made through personal relationships. Therefore, the Association of Catholics remained attached to the bourgeoisie. They continued to find their owners, lawyers, doctors and intellectuals there. In general, they lived and worked in the most important streets of the old town, but also in the Ramblas and, even, in key points of the new Barcelona Ensanche. (What is necessary to take into account to understand the itinerary that Don Bosco used to travel in his travels from Sarriá to the city of Barcelona).

At this moment at least two people have to be mentioned who played an important role in relation to Don Bosco and the Salesians.

First of all, Bartolomé Feliú y Pérez (1843-1918). «I have the pleasure of proposing, for a member of the Association of Catholics, Mr. Bartolomé Feliú y Pérez, professor at the literary university, whose address is at Ausias March street, number 2, 4th floor, 2nd door» . With these ritual words, dated November 14, 1885, he was introduced by another man of science - Professor of Pharmacy at the Barcelona University - and a member of that Association and the Conferences of San Vicente de Paul, called Fructuoso Plans and Pujol. "

87 Cf. R. AInRRDI, I primi Cooperatori salesiani to Barcellona (1882-1901), in: La famiglia salesiana, Leumann (Tocino), Elle Di Ci 1974, 81.

88 Cf. Minutes I, sessions of the Board of Directors on February 11 and 22, 1883. To clarify this point, see C. MARTÍ (presentació i transcripció), Intervention by Salvador Casañas, bisbe d'Urgell in the conflict between the «Joventut Catolica» of Barcelona and the bishop Urquinaona (1883), in: Arman '1987 of the Societa d'Estudis d'Història Ecclesiastica, Moderna i Contemporania de Catalunya, p. 191-194.

89 Cf. Memory and speech read by the secretary and president of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona at the General Meeting of the Regulation held on March 20, 1887, Barcelona 1887, p. 27

90 The president, Mr. Feliu y Perez, in evaluating the operation of the Association during the year 1886-1887, regretted "the apathy" of many partners "in common action" and the fact that no other entries were available more than "the reduced income of just over 160 members" (Ibid.).

A few days later (November 25), "Dr. Feliú was accepted into the Association of Catholics, and from there he would know, admire and proclaim the Work of Don Bosco.

Son of a confectioner, Bartolomé was born on August 24, 1843 in Peralta (province of Navarre and diocese of Pamplona) and, that same day, he received the baptism. While still a young doctor in physical sciences and in 1880, he came to Barcelona to take charge of the corresponding chair at his university. At five years, as has been said, through Dr. Plans, he entered the aforementioned Association. Both professors already belonged to the Conferences of Saint Vincent de Paul and wanted to realize in their lives the ideal of the wise Christian, showing that it was possible to serve modern science and live, at the same time, the values ​​of the Gospel. "
Feliú came to the Association of Catholics at a time when she was in dire need of new strength. Therefore, at four months (March 28, 1886), he was elected president. "It has come to us as if it had been raining from heaven because of its exceptional qualities" - said the previous president, José Oriol Dodero, at the General Meeting of Members. "
As he was in charge of the Association during the regulatory biennium 1886-1888, he was responsible to prepare so much the evening of homage to Don Bosco - imposition of the medal of honor and merit partner (April 15, 1886) "- as the obituary session in his memory (March 5, 1888) .96 On both occasions he was able to brilliantly demonstrate his total adhesion to Don Bosco and his institutions
91 See ADB, Entitats Ecclesiastics Antigues. Association of Catholics of Barcelona. Leg. 8, folder that says Presentation Cards. To know the personality of the presenter, see
J. DE FONT AND DE BOTER, Biographical sketch of Dr. D. Fructuoso Plans and Pujol. Read in the public session that the Medical-pharmaceutical Society of Saints Cosmas and Damian celebrated on June 26, 1890. Barcelona 1890.

92 Cf. Minutes I, sessions of the Board of Directors of November 14 and 25, 1885.

93 A few months before he joined the Association of Catholics, Feliu had evoked in the Academy of Catholic Youth of Barcelona the figure of the one who had been a counselor of the same, Jaime Arbós y Tor, who had worked as a chemist, industrialist and businessman and, once a widower, he had received priestly ordination. For him, Arbós and Tor came to be the embodiment of a dream dream, synthesis of science and faith, of professional creativity and religious sense of life. Cf. Biography of Mr. D. Jaime Arbós y Tor, Barcelona 1885.

94 Memory and discourse read by the secretary and president of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona, ​​at the General Meeting of Regulations held on March 28, 1886, Barcelona 1886, p.21.

95 Cf. Minutes of the solemn session held on April 15, 1886 by the Association of Catholics of Barcelona ... Dr. Feliú's speech, p. 6-18.

96 Cf. Remembrance of the solemn obituary held by the Association of Catholics of
. From the Salesian point of view, he was an eminent cooperator; from the professional, a sage and a pedagogue whose university books reached a great diffusion; politically, he always played in the traditionalist party, even holding some positions. Above all, he was a Catholic of action. He died in Zaragoza, on November 16, 1918. "
Since March 1886, his secretary on the Board of Directors of the Association of Catholics was Dr. Joaquín de Font and de Boter, who had already belonged to it for three years before. He was a pharmacist, writer and translator, residing in the Ronda de San Pedro, n ° 140. In 1886 he personally treated Don Bosco, both in Barcelona and Turin. "He visited him in his last illness, in January 1888.99 And, when He died, became the most qualified spokesman of the Salesian of Barcelona.The articles published by him in the "Catalan Post" 100 and the speech he delivered in the aforementioned obituary session still call attention to the wealth of information and enthusiastic love of which the author was showing b) The group of clerics
It always had an outstanding relief in the Association of Catholics. It was formed by the parish priests of the churches of ancient tradition; by the professors of the conciliar seminary and by some dignities of the cathedral church. And it is that, in fact, the current of intellectual and pastoral renewal that animated several clerics found its point of reference in this Association of Catholics. In it had given his name, in addition to José Morgades, for example, Jaime Almera, Cayetano Barraquer, Valentin Basart, Salvador Casañas (named bishop of Seo de Urgel in 1879, created cardinal in 1895, transferred to the episcopal see of Barcelona in 1901 ), 102 Domingo Cortés, Ildefonso Gatell, Barcelona, ​​in memory of his enlightened member of honor and merit, Rev. Juan Bosco, founder of the Salesian Congregation, Barcelona-Sarriá 1888. The intervention of Dr. Feliú in p. 33-37.

97 Necrological note, in BS 34 (1919) 31-32.

98 Cf. MB XVIII, 150-152. 675. See also Actas II, session of July 7, 1886.

"" A few days have elapsed - he wrote on February 2, 1888 - since we had the pleasure of speaking to him for the last time. "In a humble cell and in a very poor bed, he rested in placid calm, in spite of the most acute pains ..." (« Correo Catalán, "No. 3900, 2.2.1888)
" Cf. Dom Bosco, in "Correo Catalán", n ° 3900 (Thursday, February 2, 1888) 8-10. Turin before the corpse of Dom Bosco, in: «Correo Catalán», n ° 3908 (Friday, February 10, 1888) 7-9. Morning edition.

my Cf. Remembrance of the solemn obituary session ..., 7-26. He also had to write the invitation to the evening in honor of Don Bosco on April 15, 1886. Cf. MB XVIII, 647.

1 ° 2 Having to leave the city of Barcelona to move to his first episcopal see, he was named "honorary member" of the Association. Cf. "Bulletin of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona" 2 (1880) 19. Casañas y Pagés professed an unlimited admiration towards Doña Dorotea Chopitea de Serra and all that her welfare work meant. For this reason, it is not at all strange that for the Salesian institutions he should have a "deep affection" (BS 24 [1909] 27).

Francisco de Asís Renau, José Torras and Bages (appointed bishop of Vic in 1899), 103 Felipe Vergés, Eduardo Vilarrasa.

Juan Masferrer was already pastor of the church of Our Lady of Bethlehem when he gave his name to the Association of Catholics from the earliest days.1 "It was he who, on May 1, 1886, referring to Don Bosco who had come to the The church, to celebrate the Mass, said: "Abbiamo qui fra noi un Santo" .105 I was then the position of chaplain in the Association.

Jacinto Verdaguer (f 1901), the great Catalan poet, joined the Association of Catholics in March 1878 and was considered "one of the most distinguished partners" .106 In 1882 the board of directors appointed him "partner of honor and merit" .1 ° 7 It is a pity that he did not meet Don Bosco in April-May 1886, because he was on a pilgrimage in the Holy Land. He died as Salesian Cooperator.108
Félix Sarda and Salvany 1916), who in July 1884 wrote three valuable articles with the title of The Salesian Work in Catalonia109 and personally visited Don Bosco in the Salesian Workshops in Sarriá on April 13, 1886 , "° had been named" partner of honor and merit "in the aforementioned Association of Catholics." 'The Salesians always had Doctor Sardá and Salvany as' one of their most assiduous cooperators'.
Finally, let us conclude that the priest-parish priest of the church of Los Angeles and professor of the conciliar seminary, José Juliá, who, on April 30, 1886 and in the church of Our Lady of Bethlehem, pronounced the Salesian conference before Don Bosco, '"entered the Association of Catholics the following year, 1887.114
The names that were just brought are of great prestige in the Barcelona clergy of the second half of the last century, and their presence in the Association of Catholics helps to discover one of the most interesting aspects of
103 He had entered the Association of Catholics in February 1872. According to the "Salesian Bulletin", "for the Salesians he always had deep esteem and paternal affection" (BS 31 [1916] 55).

1 ° 4 In the list of partners published on 1 March 1872, it was inscribed with the number 30.

I ° 5 And Carlo Maria Viglietti adds: «Eat a fiamma quena parola divampó nel cuore dei presentí che if gettarono verse Don Bosco, ed a stento potemmo salvaci dall'onda che irrompeva n the presbytery» (Cronaca, 1 ° Maggio 1886. Barcelona) .

106 As such was held by the Board of Directors, as recorded in Acts I, meeting of May 31, 1882. Ibid.

108 Cf. BS 17 (1902) 336.

1 ° 9 Cf. «Popular Magazine», 27 (1884) 10-11; 27 (1884) 20-21; 27 (1884) 36-37. 130 Cf. Cronaca, 13 Aprile 1886. Barcelona.

'"In proof of the consideration that his many and good services deserve for the cause of God, as indefatigable Catholic publicist, very distinguished writer and virtuous priest" (Acts 1, agreement of the Board of Directors on 4 April 1883).

"2 Obituary note in BS 31 (1916) 55.

113 Cf. Cronaca, 30 Aprile 1886. Barcelona.

'"In 1888 he was elected ecclesiastical member and as such acted from the Board of Directors.

the origins of the Salesian work in Barcelona, ​​both in the life of the Founder and in the years immediately after his death.

2.3. Objectives, means, mentality

Whenever the Association of Catholics felt the need to clarify their identity and become aware of themselves, they remembered the words of article three of their Statutes, which read: "The purpose of this Association is the propagation of Catholic doctrine in all spheres. of knowledge ». The term propagation / propaganda constituted for the associates the objective to which they should tend all their actions.

The meaning and scope of this article were explained by President Coll and Vehí when, on March 24, 1872, after one year of filming the Association, he pronounced these words: "Confess the faith of Christ; believe, love and defend the truths proposed by our holy mother the Catholic, apostolic and Roman Church; detest and fight the errors that the Church condemns; To manifest explicitly and resolutely our complete adherence to the Apostolic See, here is our object. Non enim erubesco Evangelium, here is our motto ».1"
On the same occasion, in explaining the conditions that were required to enter the society, he declared: "Neither ideas nor public acts, with the exception of those contrary to the statements of the Church, have never closed or closed nobody the doors of this house. Profession of the catholic faith, practice of the catholic religion, complete adherence to the visible Head of the Church: we do not ask for more, nor do we content ourselves with less. "6
In these two paragraphs of the founder's discourse, the members always believed that he was perfectly enunciated the spirit that should animate all his life, very specifically brought to mind at the time of relaunching their activities after the parenthesis of suspension (1873-1877). "7
With what means did the partners try to carry out this program? "Only" - as required by article four of the Statutes - as follows: "1 °. The formation of a good library of Catholic authors for the instruction of the members. two. The celebration of academic sessions. 3. The foundation of schools, giving preference to the first letters for artisans in 'Speech at the General Meeting held on March 24, 1872 by the dissolved Association of Catholics of Barcelona pronounced its first president, Mr. D. José Coll and Vehí (RIP).

Barcelona 1877, 4.

116 Ibid., P. 8

117 See the printed circular that, dated January 4, 1878, and the signatures of President José de
Sans and Secretary Juan Federico Muntadas and Vila rdell, were sent to the members. One copy, in ADB, Entitats Eclesiastiques Antiguas. Association of Catholics of Barcelona. Leg. 7. Folder 3. Year1878.

children of artisans. Four. The foundation of popular libraries and the publication of books, brochures or books. "8
As can be seen, the Association of Catholics, both in its objectives and in its media, presented an intellectual, propagandistic and educational spirit, and understood how to move within of a rather broad field of action: "Catholic associations - he felt - need to extend their circle of action and understand all fields, from the speculative, religious and scientific, to social, economic and Industrial, because in all it is necessary introduce and inflate the Catholic element ».119
According to this, and after several attempts and consultations, the Association of Catholics of Barcelona was organized in 1881 according to the following sections: literary and artistic, industrial and commercial, propaganda, scientific and schools. Of all of them, those that really worked since before that year, were the artistic-literary section and the schools section.

In this regard we must remember that, between the months of March and April 1880 and following a tradition that had been around for years, the Association had set up a primary school (day and night). It was located on Calle Ferlandina number 45 and the Brothers of the Christian Schools were in charge of teaching it. "'Six years later, the Association felt compelled to open another one and decided to install it in the Palau Fivaller, located in Lladó street numbers 4 and 6, inside the old town. "'Local FI for the new school was inaugurated precisely on April 15, 1886, with the evening in honor of Don Bosco.122 The following year, he came to also stop this building the headquarters of the Association,
For what has just been exposed and for the data that has been adduced
18 The articles of the Statutes did not undergo any change in the various editions that were made during the nineteenth century (1871, 1877, 1888, 1891).

'"See the article titled Our program and signed by MR and S., in the« Bulletin of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona »6 (1880) 84.

120 Cf. Review and speech read by the secretary secretary 1 ° D. Luis María de Llauder and the president D. Francisco Romaní and Puigdengolas at the General Meeting of Members held on March 20
, 1880. Barcelona 1880, 2-7. «Bulletin of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona» 1 (1880) 11-15.

"1 Cf. AJUNTAMENT DE BARCFr ONA, Catáleg del Patrimoni Arquitectónic Histónko-Artístk de la Ciutat de Barcelona, ​​Barcelona [1987], pp. 243-244.

"-u Cf. Cronaca, 15 Aprile 1886. Barcellona, ​​MB XVIII, 647.

"8 Invitation card for the obituary and program that was developed in the same, in ADB, Entitats Ecclesiastical Antigues, Association of Catholics of Barcelona Leg 7. Folder 13. Year 1888.

previously, it is easy to capture the most significant features of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona. In his mentality and forms of behavior, the spirit of the Church that he lived was profoundly affected; It is the Vatican saying, I the (1869- Church 1870). of the Restoration, of Pius IX (1846-1878) and of the Conci also influenced the hard experience of the Revolutionary Sexenio (1868-1874), with all the struggles and imbalances involved in the political, intellectual, social dh yes religious.

to the pope and defense of the priesthood
For those Catholics in Barcelona, ​​the Pontificate was a supreme value. Pius IX was a Pope "holy and martyred"; Leo XIII was still "Papa Rey." 124 They constantly sighed for the "freedom and independence of the Prisoner Augustus" I25 and, to support him, organized collections and participated in the pilgrimages to Rome. (This means that they would be pleased to publicly show Don Bosco as a friend and confidant of the Pope).

Along with this, the Association of Catholics professed great veneration for priests and religious, which had been criticized and vilified during the revolutionary period. (For this reason, he endeavored to present Don Bosco as a glory of the Catholic clergy, and on the other hand, the fact that, in the well-known photograph of May 5, 1886, he appears to the right of Don Bosco, among his friends and Cooperators, a Cistercian abbot of the Gran-Trapa - the Valencian Cándido Albalat and Puigcerver - can not be taken as pure chance).

a) Catholicism and homeland
Those of the Catholic Association valued religion as the foundation of the unity of the Fatherland. "Our fathers [...] were the ones who transmitted to us the precious gift of Catholic unity as a national principle" - affirmed the lawyer and president Francisco Romaní and Puigdengolas in the final speech of the year (1878-1879). Therefore, to avoid the dissolution of Spanish society, it was necessary to defend religious unity. Otherwise, the Spaniards were in danger of losing their homeland - "as the Jews lost theirs", concluded the aforementioned Mr. Romaní. "
124 Memory and speech read by the secretary secretary 1 ° D. Juan F. Muntadas and Vilardell and the President D. José de Sans ... 1878, pp. 14-15.

125 See circular, dated December 16, 1882 and signed by President José María Rodríguez-Carballo. ADB, Entitats Ecclesiastics Antigues, Leg. 7. Folder 7. Year 1882.

128 Review and speech read by the secretary secretary 1 ° D. Luis María de Llauder and the president DF Romaní and Puigdengolas in the General Meeting of members held on March 22, 1879, Barcelona 1879, p. twenty-one.


(According to the Biographical Memoirs, Delfín Artós, when making Don Bosco an offering of the lands located on the summit of Tibidabo, asked him to build there a sanctuary to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, "per mantenere ferma and incrollabile quella religione [...] che é nobile retaggio dei padri nostri ») 128
c) Public profession of the Christian faith
It was another unavoidable demand for those Catholics who were determined to demonstrate that religion was not dead, but alive and active. From 1881 they adopted as their motto the one that Pope Leo XIII had given to the «Catholic Magazine of Barcelona», which then served as the official organ of the Association: Nihil timendum nisi a Deo. If something was feared and rejected, it was precisely the indifferentism and cowardice of those who pretended to be Catholics. As they wrote in their Bulletin, they could not resign themselves "with the sad role of shameful Catholics" .129
Here was the cause of all that attire, solemn and spectacular, with which they sought to exalt all religious manifestations: general communions, processions, pilgrimages, candles of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, liturgical offices of Holy Week, Marian feasts, spiritual exercises. With this same mentality, they assumed with a true spirit of sacrifice the enormous weight of representing, in social and cultural events, the forces of militant Catholicism. (All this has to be taken into account to explain why they tried so hard to give a public projection to the presence of Don Bosco in Barcelona, ​​from the first act coarse the last, that is, from the reception they gave him on arrival to the city until the farewell).

d) Antiprotestantism and antiliberalism It
was a visceral attitude of the Barcelonan Catholics, who also attacked against England and North America, against France and Russia, lands that they considered as the cradle of so many dissolving doctrines of Catholicism. Of course, they did not agree with the so-called Catholic liberals either. "The Syllabus is our flag - said President José de Sans, a good man on all four sides, u ° in the General Meeting of March 1878 -; It is our religious, social and political program. The Syllabus without distinctions or misrepresentations. [...] The war between light and darkness is to death; every transaction is impossible ».131

128 MB XVIII, 113.

229 «Bulletin of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona» 2 (1880) 20.

u ° He was president of the Association of Catholics (since March 1872) when it had to suspend their work by government provision. After the crisis (1873-1877), he had the hard task of organizing the Association again and relaunching the activities. With self-denial and deep Christian sense, he constantly gave himself to the progress of the schools of the same. He died in 1884.

Faced with any attempt to deviate or dismantle Catholicism, José de Sans and his followers did not hesitate to proclaim: "We are an association that, having as an immediate object the propagation of Catholic doctrine in all spheres of knowledge, proposes the last result was the restoration of the social sovereignty of Jesus Christ ».132
The most influential thinker in the mentality of the Catholic associations in Barcelona was undoubtedly the priest, already named, Felix Sarda and Salvany, the well-known author of the book Liberalism is Sin (1884) and that, as a member of honor and merit of the Association of Catholics, he exercised an undisputed magisterium in it.133
e) Union of forces for the struggle
The vision that these militants had of the Church was frankly bleak. They considered it "impoverished" by the disentailment policy of the Spanish government, with a clergy "discredited" by the anticlerical propaganda, with religious orders "dissolved" or "inhibited" after the decrees of suppression, invaded by the error and the spirit of the bad ... 134 «At this moment - Mr. Sans was commenting on his part - the fight is alive as never and general in the entire line of battle». And as a solution he found only this one: "Let us unite, then, that union is strength" .135
f) Cultural and scholastic promotion of the people
All the Catholic associations agreed to admit that both Catholic propaganda and welfare assistance to the poor began with school. All of them had their popular schools, the same for children as for adult workers. Such activity had a deliberately propagandistic orientation. "Protestantism - it reads in the official organ of the Association - has circumscribed its propaganda to children to achieve, through the school, the diffusion of its maxims [...]. Oppose their schools Catholic, free, with a perfect elementary and higher elementary education [...],
131 Memory and discourse read by the secretary secretary 1 D. D. Juan F. Muntadas and Vilardell and the president D. José de Sans ... 1878, p. 32

132 Ibid.

133 In the Association, he was considered "the indefatigable champion of Catholic propaganda, the profound and popular theologian, the virtuous and fervent priest ...": Memory and discourse respectively read by the secretary and president of the Association of Catholics of this city, in the General Meeting of Regulation held on March 29, 1885. Barcelona 1885, p. 7

U4 «Bulletin of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona» 2 (1880) 19-20.

13 'Memory and discourse ... 1878, p. 3. 4.

here is one of the most profitable and interesting tasks to which we consecrate, with tireless zeal, our Catholic activity would produce the Salesian school, whose volume and excellences continually exalted).

All this mentality was widely shared by other groups of the Catalan Catholic society. Their knowledge is essential to understand how much, in the capital of Catalonia, was made, said and written about the Founder of the Salesians, both as a result of his visit to the city in 1886, and on the occasion of his death year and half after (1888).

3. Other Catholic associations

Along with the Association of Catholics there were also others who came into contact with Don Bosco and his work in one way or another. It has been seen sufficiently in the first point of this study. And it is that, between the diverse groupings, not only an affinity of thought occurred, but also a collaboration in order to initiatives and activities. Moreover, it must be taken into account that many Catholics belonged simultaneously to several groups (according to the male or female branch). All of them formed, strictly speaking, a single sociological and charitable framework. It was Catholicism, visible and operative.

In the impossibility of treating even the most relevant entities here, the most practical thing will be to offer a general picture, accentuating, if it is the case, some element of it. "'
Always in reference to the associations that established the most contact with Don Bosco and the Salesians, there were some who were encouraged by a predominantly propagandistic and educational purpose, such as the "Association of Catholics" and the "Academy of Catholic Youth". The first one has just made the appropriate study. The second, in the second article of the Regulation, stated that "the objective of the Society" was: "1 °. To instruct the Partners by means of the reading of religious-social works, and of the works presented by them. two. Encourage the moral and religious instruction of the people, for public education, already private, and 3rd. Publish loose sheets, aimed at destroying all kinds of errors, and spread the maxims of Catholicism ». 138
"6 MR y S., Our program, in« Bulletin of the Association of Catholics of Barcelona »2 (1880) 34.

It is often very difficult to access documentation, because many of the old groupings no longer exist and because, during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, the archives constituted a serious danger to the lives of the associates. It is enough to remember, for example, that in that sad situation, more than 700 members of the Conferences of San Vicente de Paul were killed ...

1; 8 Regulation of the Society of Catholic Youth of Barcelona 1870, Barcelona 1870. In the one of Together with them, there were others whose purpose was preferably beneficent assistance, such as the «Society», or «Conferences» of Saint Vincent de Paul - whose genuine activity it was the weekly home visit to the poor and needy - and the society called, in its origins, Friends of the Poor and, later, Patronato del Obrero, which, in accordance with the second article of the Regulation, wanted to "improve as much as possible the luck of the workers that it sponsors »." 9
In a second plane - but always in connection with the aforementioned Association of Catholics - it is worth mentioning the Academy of Philosophical-Scientific São Tomás de Aquino - formed by clergy and secular intellectuals - and the Medical-Pharmaceutical Society of Saints Cosme and Damián, integrated by Catholic professionals, whose purpose allows glimpse sufficiently the title they had put to his magazine: The catholic sense of the medical sciences. As you can see, both groups are close to the ideals of the Association of Catholics and the Academy of the Catholic Youth. This clearly demonstrates the existence of a movement of the Barcelonian Catholic intelligentsia, which can not be ignored in any way. This movement will be, of course, with Don Bosco, the Salesians and their institutions.

Next to the associations of intellectual-educational and charitable-welfare tendencies, there were others of preferential and devotional sign, agglutinated, in good part, by the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus - whose maximum promoter was the mentioned José Morgades and Gili -.141
Within this devout line, we quote the Pious Union of Saint Michael the Archangel and, above all, the Apostleship of Prayer and the Venerable Third Franciscan Order. The Association of Catholics always promoted the Apostleship of Prayer - where the devotion to the Heart of Jesus and many of its members was concretely forged. they were pious Tertiaries Franciscans.142 (Only within this spiritual environment is understood that they gave Don Bosco the summit of Mount Tibidabo, so that there raised, precisely, a sanctuary dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus).

In this matter - important, among other things, because this sanctuary is still a splendid reality today in Barcelona - it is worth remembering the intervention of some members of the Conferences of Saint Vincent de Paul.

1881 (article 3) was said verbatim: "The purpose of this Society is the edification and religious instruction of the partners and the propaganda of Catholicism."

139 Regulation of the company entitled Patronato del Obrero, Barcelona-Sarriá, Typography and Salesian Bookstore 1891.

140 Around the eighties the most solid bond between the Society of Saints Cosme and Damien and the Association of Catholics was the aforementioned Joaquín de Font and de Boter (1857-1916).

"'Cf. J. BONET I BALTÁ, L'Església catalana, pp. 641-658.

They even made the corresponding profession in the parish church of San Francisco de Paula, in Barcelona. The same must be said of a good number of members of the Catholic Youth Academy.

These arrived in Madrid in 1849 and soon had a notable diffusion through the Peninsula. At seven years (1856), it was already possible to set up a Particular Council in Barcelona. But, as has been pointed out above, this entire process of growth was cut by a ministerial decree of October 19, 1868, which ordered the suppression of the entity and the confiscation of its assets. Only the advent of the Restoration (1875) allowed the return to normalcy. The following decade (1875-1885) was a clear recovery. In 1886, for example, the Central Council of Catalonia already functioned in Barcelona.143 Therefore, when, this year, Don Bosco arrived in Barcelona, ​​the Conferences were in full deployment. The Particular Council articulated the activities of twenty Conferences.

In the heart of those pious and charitable circles tempered his Christian spirit men like the aforementioned Bartolomé Feliú. "4 And also if not all, yes at least part of those who, in January of 1876, acquired the summit of Tibidabo: Dolphin Artós, Manuel María Pascual de Bofarull, Alvaro Catnín, decided to make the purchase for an imperative of social morals, as Secretary Viglietti indicates, probably picking up the testimony of Manuel María Pascual. "And for a religious reason they also gave the land to Don Bosco ten years later (1886), as it is referred to in the present work. Since, when the purchase was made (1876), the Association of Catholics had not yet overcome the crisis of the government suspension, it seems that we must conclude that the aforementioned buyers were people who,
"3 Cf. SOCIÉTÉ DE SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL, Livre du centenaire, I, Paris 1933, pp. 196-206.

1 "" Where [at the Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul, in Barcelona] we have had occasion to know and appreciate that work [of the Conferences] and where so many and such beautiful examples we have been able to contemplate for that, "he recalled. Dr. Feliú himself (A. LOTH,
St. Vincent de Paul and his social mission ... Work translated and annotated by B. Feliú and Pérez ... Barcelona, ​​1887, p.597).

145 "Questa sommitá - wrote Viglietti in 1886 - era, or are pochi anni, in possesso di malvage persone, che valevano fas di quel luogo un'albergo di cattivi ritrovi, od edificarvi a protestant tempio. Sette buoni signori convenor tra loro, e ne fecero acquisto ... "(Cronaca, 3 Maggio 1886. Barcellona). The buyers were not seven, but twelve. But the indicated motivation seems to correspond to reality.

146 To clarify many details pertinent to the history of the transfer of ownership of the Tibidabo peak, an authentic copy of the deed of sale granted by Don Dein Artós and Mornau, attorney of Mr. Jaime Moré, D. Félix, can be seen. You live, Mr. Manuel María Pascual and others, before which he was notary of this city, Mr. Miguel Martín y Beya, dated August 18, 1888. This and other official documents are in the archive of the Salesian House of Tibidabo (Barcelona).

Conclusions It
may be useful to close the study by emphasizing some values ​​that have been appearing throughout it and that possibly help to better understand not only the personality of the Founder of the Salesians, but also the socio-religious context in which he had to act, specifically during his years of maturity.

With reference to the presence of Don Bosco in Barcelona and the origins of his work in the Catalan capital, for example, the following conclusions emerge.

r. The Salesian Cooperators. The foregoing pages have left well the source of the first Barcelona Cooperators. At the beginning, it was not they who nurtured and swelled the ranks of the Catholic associations, but rather, they had previously forged their spirit of piety and apostolate. The future Cooperators, once they knew the personality of the Founder of the Salesians and understood their mission and the means they used, considered Salesian cooperation as an extension of the charitable-welfare activities they already exercised in their associations. The social and religious mentality that they cultivated in these led them immediately to be in tune with the works of Don Bosco.

two'. The insertion in the local church. Catholic societies and Juan Bosco needed each other. To this he urged the moral and material support of the former to open new channels to his institutions; the former did not want to deprive themselves of the prestige and help that the friendship and closeness of a man as qualified as the Founder of the Salesians could give them. When, at the general meeting of the Association of Catholics, held on May 11, 1884, the newly elected president, José Oriol Dodero, proposed "nominating Don Bosco as honorary member" and the proposal was accepted unanimously, the outgoing president , José María Rodríguez-Carballo, added a new one: "that after [Don Bosco] had accepted, it would be published in the newspapers of this Capital." This second proposal was also approved ' And it is that the Association of Catholics felt the need to proclaim to the four winds that had appropriated the Founder of the Salesian Workshops. It was a conquest and a gain ...

This mutual interrelation between the associations and Don Bosco served, among other things, to give the nascent Salesian work a test of acceptance and insertion into the living fabric of the local Church. After all, at the head of Catholic organizations was generally the bishop of the diocese.

3'. The first public image of Don Bosco. The associations assumed
147 Acts I, session corresponding to the General Shareholders' Meeting of May 11, 1884.

also another function of extraordinary importance: that of interpreting Don Bosco and elaborating and disseminating his public image. Such an operation was carried out within the associations and using the means of communication they had at hand. '"
Those who spoke and wrote best about Don Bosco in Barcelona were a clergyman (Felix Sarda and Salvany), a professor of University, doctor in physics (Bartolomé Feliú and Pérez), a pharmacist (Joaquín de Font and de Boter) and two lawyers (the brothers Narciso María and Manuel María Pascual de Bofarull), all of them, as has been proven in the pages of this study, belonging, to one degree or another, to the Catholic Association of Barcelona.

148 Naturally, the brochures indicated in notes 95 and 96 were distributed among the partners. Both belong to the oldest literature produced in Barcelona dealing with Don Bosco and the Salesian work. On the other hand, it has already been seen that the publications to which the mentioned associations had access were especially the newspaper «Correo Catalán» and the weekly «La Hormiga de Oro» and «Revista Popular», directed by Luis de Llauder. and the third by Felix Sardá and Salvany. All three in the Catholic-fundamentalist line.


O. Premise

In the extraordinary proliferation of new institutes of religious life that emerged in the 19th century, the foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians was founded, which had Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello as founders.
In the context of the reflection on the historical figure and the work of Don Bosco promoted by this Congress, it seemed opportune to offer this communication as an attempt to deepen into a relationship that in Salesian historiography is interpreted according to lines of different orientation.

In order to correctly capture the modality of the relationship that was established between the two saints, it has become necessary to make a historical point, a chronological reconstruction of the direct and indirect encounters and the identification of significant mediations of that relationship, in order to later be able to focus the content and the incidence of the various interventions of the Founder in the life of Maria Mazzarello and her attitude of response and assimilation.

María Domínga Mazzarello (born in Mornese-Alessandria in 1837 and died in Nizza Monferrato in 1881, a short journey of fruitful life in apostolic charity), 2 meets Don Bosco at twenty-seven when he has a certain spiritual formation and maturity. Don Bosco, who had already founded the
Institute, was founded in Mornese, province of Alessandria, diocese of Acqui, on August 5, 1872. The figure of the founder, Don Bosco, is well known; Maria Dominga Mazzarello, recognized as a co-founder, is not well known in non-Salesian areas. His figure is placed in a more limited environmental context than that of the Saint; his life was short (1837-1881), but his specific mission of edesity has been repeatedly remembered in the processes of beatification and canonization.

2 Cf. the fundamental biography: F. MACCONO, Santa Maria Domenica Mazzarello, Confondatrice and premium Superior general of the Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice 2 vol., Torillo, Istituto FMA 1960. Presents a complete bibliography of the Saint: A. COSTA, Rassegna bibliografica his S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello, in: ME POSADA (ed.), Attuale parché vera. Contributi su S. Maria Domenica
Mazzarello, Rome, LAS 1987, p. 227-262.

the salesian congregation and actively worked in the consolidation of if it works in Valdocco, it establishes progressively a relation of mediate and then personal knowledge with this woman over which it will exert an influence of strictness.

1. Interpretations of the historical relationship between Don Bosco and María Mazzo. reindeer in the Salesian sphere

From an examination of the publications (even different by purpose, scope, method and documentary value) relating to the figures of the two saints (biographies, studies, memories ...) it is immediately appreciated that the presentation of their relationship offers a variety of approaches and interpretations: from an absolute dependence on the Mother - as it was usually called - with respect to Don Bosco, up to an accentuation of his role as co-founder as a pre-eminent and autonomous value.3
The first and well-known biographies of the saint underscore his preponderant role and the dependence and submission of the young Maria Dominga, "attracted" by his person, although in "providential" convergence of ideals and educational and apostolic modalities: "he always had his eyes fixed in him, as a daughter in the Father, as a humble disciple in the Master, attentive to every gesture, devout, most faithful, "affirms Amadei.
The tenth volume of the Biographical Memoirs of Saint John Bosco exalts, in effect, the Blessed Maria Mazzarello as "who had no other desire than to follow and inculcate the program drawn up by the Founder" .3 Amadei expresses a deeply rooted conviction, both in the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and in the Salesians: that Mary Mazzarello should appear only as a disciple of Don Bosco and her collaborator, and could not present herself as a co-founder in full right. The author's explicit and stated intention is, in effect, to clarify "the ways of the Lord, that is, the dispositions of providence in guiding each step of his faithful Servant." And Maria Mazzarello is only the instrument prepared by God so that the Saint can found his second family.

It is interesting to see, on the other hand, that the first writings that refer to Maria Mazzarello de Bonetti in the "Tinitá Cattolica" 6 and of Lemoyne in the "Bollettino Salesiano" (1881), 7 although in a laudatory tone, take the accent on The Mother in her role as Superior is full of dedication in laying the foundations of the new Institute, to the point of awakening the admiration and approval of Don Bosco. In explaining the mission of Maria Mazzarello, the two authors refer to the Founder of the Institute, but they do not specify the dependence of the first superior with respect to him.

3 Cf. P. CAVAGLIA, Il rapporto stabilitosi tra S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello and S. Giovanni Bosco. S'uds. ° critico di alcune intetpretazioni, in: POSADA (ed.), Attuale perché vera, p. 69-98.

A. AMADEI, The Serva di Dio Mother Maria Mazzarello, in BS 47 (1923) 2, 30. MB X, IV.

6 Cf. G. BONETE, The Superior General of the Suore di Maria Ausiliatrice, in: «L'Unitá Cattolica» (21 maggio 1881), n. 120

Cf. GB LEMOYNE, Suor Maria Mazzarello, in BS 5 (1881) 9, 11-13.

Francesia and Maccono, in emphasizing their biographical and spiritual affinities, try once again to prove that Providence prepared Don Bosco the appropriate instrument for carrying out his works.8 The Saint finds correspondence to his project in docility and diligent request of the Mother, who executes it in humble obedience, with the attitude of a faithful disciple.

When later, the Congregation of Rites attributes to Maria Mazzarello the title of co-founder, the authors try to delve into the meaning and value of the Mother's role as a collaborator, as "a helper" of Don Bosco.9
Cenia, for example, Do you have precious insights about the personal and irreplaceable contribution of Maria Mazzarello in the founding of the Institute, although in dependence on Don Bosco? '
Caviglia affirms that Don Bosco, in finding in Maria Dominga the essential features of Salesian spirituality, assumes them to build something new and powerful about them: no longer faithful dependence on Don Bosco, but the creation of a new spiritual tradition. "Although the interpretation of Caviglia is not yet based on an exact historical reconstruction of the encounters that took place between the two saints and on their reciprocal dependencies, has the value of defining the identity of the relationship, but no longer in static terms of dependence.

Now the most recent studies concerning Maria Mazzarello (Colli, Fiora, Posada, Midali ...) 12 run for a more correct hermeneutics of the sources, coining the terms of "creative fidelity" or "faithful creativity" of the Mother before gift Bosco

8 Cf. GB FRANCESIA, Suor Maria Mazzarello ed i prim i due lustri delle Figlíe di Maria Ausiliatrice. Memorie raccolte e pubblicate, S. Benigno Canavese, Salesian Library 1906; F. MACCONO, Suor Maria Mazzarello, cousin Superiora Generale delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrici, fondate da Venerabile D. Giovanni Bosco, Torino, SAID 1913.

9 Cf. the evolution in the same biographies written by Maccono: from the first of 1913 to the one published in 1934.

1 ° Cf. E. CERIA, Santa Maria Domenica Mazzarello, Confondatrice dell'Istituto delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice, Turin, SEI 1952.

"A. CAVIGLIA, Santa Maria Mazzarello, Torino, Istituto FMA 1957.

12 C. COLLI, Contributed by Don Bosco and di Mazzarello to the charism di fondazione dell'Istituto delle FMA, Rome, Istituto FMA 1978; L. ÑORA, Stork of the titolo di "Confondatrice" conferito dalla Chiesa to S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello, in: POSADA (ed.), Attuale perché vera, p. 37-51; ME POSADA, Significato della "validissima cooperatio" di S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello alfa fondazione dell'Istituto delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice, in: POSADA (ed.), Attuale perché vera, p. 5367; M. MIDALI, Mother Mazzarello. II significato del titolo di Confondatrice, Rome, LAS 1982.

In addition, the interpretations of marked theological accent underscore the role of co-founder as a pre-eminent and autonomous value. "On the other hand, the publications on Don Bosco do not consider, it seems, the problem of the type of relationship between the saints and they continue in the line of dependency. and accentuate for .lelism and similarities of life.

But it seems to me that from a careful reading of the sources that we have available, it is necessary to consider a serious study that does not reduce to absolute dependence or place in paper parity the relationship between the saints: there is, in effect, a gradual, gradual evolution , from an initial reciprocal intuition to an authentic and fruitful collaboration.

2. Historical relationship line

The historical reconstruction of the meetings that took place between Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello, made from the most reliable sources, aims to identify the character of the relationship established between the two saints.

The documents and Salesian historiography consulted have not made the work much easier: I have had to make a critical review of the sources, such as the Chronicle of the Institute of the Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice (a narrative source that reconstructs the origins of the Institute from of different documentary material) and of some memories and fundamental testimonies, but late. "
Following a chronological criterion, I have divided the exposition of the investigation into two periods delimited by the founding of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (5 of August 1872), because it highlights the character, the spiritual content of the interventions of Don Bosco in the life of Maria Mazzarello before and after the foundation of the Institute.

I do not enter, however, in the problematic of the process of decision and foundation of the Institute, topic that we will hear in the following communication of Sor Posada.

"Cf. MIDALI, Mother Mazzarello.

14 Chronology. This is the complete publication of the typed "chronicle" composed by the mother Clelia Genghini during the years 1922-1942. It is presented as a rich historiographical elaboration. The author uses abundant and valid material, but does not always indicate the sources; sometimes, it integrates or synthesizes them. However, the collected documentation is kept in: AGFMA. This material is constituted by narrative sources (testimonies of sisters who lived in Mornese, lay people and priests of Mother Mazzarello) and documentary sources, in the annexes to the text (Chapter deliberations, notarial acts, historical documents, texts of the Constitutions, correspondence , documents referring to the legal status of the Institute). In addition to this material, the Chronicle takes data from the biography of Maccono and Francesia, of MB and BS. For this reason, my research has demanded the consultation of unpublished sources, in order to compare them with the printed text. When they coincide, I quote the printed copy of the Chronicle, to facilitate the consultation.

2.1. Before the foundation of the Institute (1862-1872)

The historical-environmental context in which the initial knowledge of the two saints is located is typical of the Piedmontese-Ligurian nineteenth century that revolves around the figures of Don Bosco, the theologian Frassinetti of Genoa, of Don Pestarino, priest of Mornese, town of the Monferrato in which Maria Mazzarello lives and in which the foundation of the Institute will take place. This people also feels and lives with modalities and resonances of the typical climate of the Restoration of the 19th century and the religious problems connected with it. "In the movement of spiritual renewal, Don Pestarino, disciple and friend of the theologian Frassinetti, has a preponderant role, that promotes an essentially Christocentric, Marian and Apostolic spirituality.'6
Although from the careful examination of the sources it is not possible to establish with precision the dates of the first meetings between Don Pestarino and Don Bosco (and until their registration in the Pious Salesian Society), however, the role of mediation exercised by the priest for the initial knowledge of Maria Mazzarello (1862). '7
The written and oral messages that Don Bosco sent to María Dominga and Petronila Mazzarello, young people belonging to the local association of Daughters of Mary Immaculate, committed and trained in a special modality of educational apostolate, he directs them without knowing them personally, but it seems that he expresses them rather as a benevolent response to what Pestarino himself exposes.'8
Neither in the first historical meeting (October 1864, in Mornese, during one of the classic autumn excursions of the boys of Valdocco) can one speak of a specific interest of the Saint by Maria Mazzarello, considered in the «group» of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, although presented explicitly and intentionally to the Saint. "
" Cf. ME POSADA, Giuseppe Frassinetti and Maria D. Mazzarello. Rapporto storico-spirituale, Rome, LAS 1986, p. 37-41.

An unpublished letter by Angela Domenico Pestarino, born in Mornese in 1817, he made his ecclesiastical studies at the Seminary of Genoa, where he was ordained priest in 1839. As a result of some tensions that originated in the Genoese ecclesiastical environment, he returned to Mornese in 1847 , where he remained until his death (1874) carrying out a vast apostolate and performing important functions in local public life, as councilor of the town hall and treasurer of the parish. After meeting Don Bosco in 1862, he became a Salesian; but he remained in Mornese as Director of the nascent Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. F. MACCONO, L'apostolo di Mornese. Sac. Domenico Pestarino, Torino, SEI 1926; cf. also the documentation relating to Mr. Pestarino in: ASC 275 Pestarino.

In a Memoria del cardinale Giovanni Cagliero, dated February 15, 1922, it is read that Don Pestarino had met Don Bosco in Genoa, in the house of the theologian Frassinetti, and then met with him several times between 1860 and 1864 (in: AGFMA). The Chronicle and the biography of Maccono, on the other hand, contain a testimony of Fr Giuseppe Campi, a Mornese priest, who affirms that the first encounter occurred on a trip, on the train from Acqui to Turin in 1862.

"Cf. Cronistoria I, pp. 117-118.

19 Cf. Ibid., P. 148-150.

Maccagno a Frassinetti exposes the way and content, rather exhortative, for commitment in the Pious Union.20
On the other hand, the inner and profound resonance of the figure, the word and the action of Don Bosco in the young Mary is different. Dominga that precisely in that circumstance learns to make more essential educational interventions and more educational its presence among young people. The testimonies agree in underlining the intuition of the sanctity of Don Bosco and the unusual audacity in proclaiming it openly 21
Salesian historiography speaks of the successive and continuous indirect interest of Don Bosco by the Mornese group, but only in 1867 is there an explicit letter from the saint to Don Pestarino to announce a visit to Mornese, 22 and for the chronicle of the same gift Pestarino it is known that Don Bosco once again gave a brief lecture to the Daughters of Mary Immaculate 23
And in March of 1869 another visit of Don Bosco to Mornese took place, a new encounter with the Daughters, this time more specific: there was even talk of a kind of schedule and regulation for those who were living together, but unfortunately that document it does not appear.24 The testimony transmitted by Petronila Mazzarello, however, already highlights fundamental elements of Salesian spirituality that are modeling the small group of which María Mazzarello is now head.25
An interest already oriented towards the foundation of the feminine Salesian work? Until 1871 we do not have the first official statement of Don Bosco about that intention; Don Pestarino follows the group and forms it and continues to meet Don Bosco, who continues with esteem and careful observation and a certain attitude of expectation.26
I pass over the succession of events that led to the founding of the Institute (it is interesting on purpose the memory of Don Pestarino himself, 27 the process of drafting the Rule, the steps taken by Don Bosco). On the other hand, I would like to highlight Don Pestarino's mediation work with María Dominga and her companions: it is he who presents Don Bosco's proposal, the same Rule, guides the decision and practically begins the work.28

20 Cf. a letter from Angela Maccagno (1830-1890), teacher of Mornese, founder of the group of «Figlie di, S. Maria Immacolata», to the prior, Giuseppe Frassinetti, dated 4 December
1864. The autograph manuscript is preserved in the "Archivio della Postulazione Generale dei Figli di Santa Maria Immacolata" (Rome).

21 Cf. Cronistoria I, p. 150

21 Letter from Don Bosco to Don Pestarino, December 3, 1867, in: ASC 131.01.

23 Collected in: Chronicle I, p. 204.

24 Cf. Ibid., P. 222-224.

2 'Cf. testimony of Petronilla Mazzarello in: SACRA CONGREGATIO RITUUM, Aquen. Beatifil cationis et canonizationis Servae Dei Mariae Dominicae Mazzarello, Confundatricis FBVMA Transsumptum, 133-134.

26 Cf. Cronistoria I, p. 239,241,243,245.

27 Cf. Memoria di don Pestarino, autograph manuscript in: AGFMA.

Don Bosco is not present (almost obliged) until the profession of the first eleven Daughters of Mary Help of Christians on August 5, 1872. Don Pestarino is in fact an active and active mediator. And yet, the strong adherence of Maria Mazzarello to Don Bosco is underlined by the testimony given at this moment by Giuseppe Campi (Salesian, a native of Mornese, very close to Don Pestarino). "If by an impossible Don Pestarino he left Don Bosco, I would stay with Don Bosco" .29
There was, therefore, inasmuch as it consists of testimonies, direct individual meetings between Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello. But it does not seem that for this reason the relationship with Don Bosco is not decisive in the life of Maria Mazzarello: before they met, a similar ideal had already matured and when they met, they realized convergence and complementarity. The relationship has the character of initial reciprocal knowledge and acceptance: however, the position of Maria Mazzarello is not absolute and passive dependence; he freely accepts the proposal of Don Bosco and according to the Salesian mode, which he already practiced initially and originally before knowing him.

Don Bosco appears in the Salesian historiography that deals with this period as the Founder and Maria Mazzarello as the instrument for the performance of a providential design. Actually, in my opinion, the free, responsible and even original acceptance in the simple way of happening things; it makes the «instrument» active and endowed with personal self-determination.

2.2. After the foundation of the Institute (1872-1881)

The period from 1872 to 1876, the year of the diocesan approval of the Constitutions, is that of the structural and spiritual formation of the Institute: and the relationship established between Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello helps the definitive constitution of the Institute. In fact, close ties can be found between the interventions of Don Bosco, the role of Mother Mazzarello and the formation of the first sisters.

The attitude of the Founder who intervenes - sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly - towards the new general superior and towards the first community provokes a rapid response in the Mother and in the sisters. But on the other hand also the characteristics of his way of being and his work influence the modality, frequency and content of the Founder's interventions.

Once again, on August 4 and 5, 1872, the attention and words of Don Bosco are turned over to the community so that it may be formed in a life of simplicity, poverty and mortification. "It is not possible - as we are witnessed even a personal meeting, so desired, between Don Bosco and the Vicaria (this is the title he takes) not even when presented in his new position It seems to me that Don Bosco's concern is clear for the formation of the community (sending to the nuns of Santa Ana, personally accepting those who wish to enter, going personally to Mornese; 3 but at the same time she shows attention and confidence to that woman, peasant, yes, but a true educator.

28 Cf. Cronistoria I, p. 250-252.

29 Testimony of Giuseppe Campi at: AGFMA.

30 Cf. Cronistoria I, p. 223

In the visits that are documented (as in 1873, 1874, 1875), 32 Don Bosco's interventions are aimed at delineating and consolidating the physiognomy of the new Institute. The approval of the Salesian Constitutions (1874) was followed shortly by the insertion of the Institute in the Pious Salesian Society: Don Bosco becomes by right the Major Superior of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. However, it retains the mode of relationship, esteem and trust towards María Mazzarello, from which she gradually comes to know the sense of responsibility and the progressive capacity of government. The Mother does not address him - as we see in the documentation of the letters33 - for personal reasons, to those that she can and knows how to renounce;

The relationship with Don Bosco is based on truth and trust. There is obedience and listening; but there is also capacity for mature proposals and timely options. Don Bosco, in his attitude of interest, always discreet guide (and made through Don Pestarino, first, and after Don Cagliero) precise rules and causes an effective and essential cooperation.

With the diocesan approval of the Constitutions of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (1876), the Institute began its expansion, not only in Piedmont, but also in Liguria, France and America. For Mother Mazzarello it is an intense period of works, of initiatives, of trips, of epistolary correspondence.

The meetings with Don Bosco are longer and more frequent. It is she who feels the need to turn to the Founder for advice or to give an account of the progress of the Institute. In the opening of new houses it is she who chooses the personnel, she is the one who forms with true educational sensitivity. It characterizes the gift of authentic discernment.34

31 Cf. Ibid. II, p. 24.28-31.40; cf. also: Annali e cronache Istituto Suore di Sant'Anna, vol.

I, 1873, p. 103-104, in: Archivio «Suore di Sant'Anna della Provvidenza» (Rome).

32 Cf. the testimonies collected in: Chronicle II, p. 40.88.146. 148

"Cf. letter of Mother Mazzarello to Don Bosco, June 22, 1874, published in: E. POSADA, Lettere di S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello, Rome, Istituto FMA 1980, page 51, letter of June 17,
1878, in: Ibid., P.83, of December 22, 1879, in: Ibid., P.128, of October 30, 1880, in: Ibid., P.167.

After the visits he makes to things, he goes to Don Bosco to tell him what he has seen. We do not have documentation of those relationships. However, the trips to Valdocco are numerous. "
Don Bosco personally intervenes later in the transfer of the mother house to Nizza Monferrato: and Don Bosco's attitude of confidence towards the Mother assumes, in that period, a tone of greater intensity, stimulating their collaboration, reducing their interventions, appealing more frequently to their capacity as effective general Superior.36
For her part, Maria Mazzarello matures in herself the sense of belonging and responsibility towards the Institute, whose spirit is that of Don Bosco. Don Bosco's interventions, which now become less frequent and numerous, are aimed at reinforcing unity in the religious family. "
The last meetings of 1880 and early 1881 take place in Sampierdarena, Marseille, S. Cyr.38 The Mother is sick and it is Don Bosco who makes her understand the truth of the moment. He makes his offer. In the last lecture to the sisters the Mother speaks of obedience to Don Bosco, mediator of the Father's will. "
But Don Bosco is not present when Maria Mazzarello dies, there is a lack of explicit documentation to justify his absence on May 14, 1881 Don Bosco was in Florence with "very serious things in his hands", as he wrote to Don Berto.4 ° Cagliero replaces him.

This last period of the life of Mother Mazzarello is characterized, then, by the presence of collaboration, of full confidence on the part of Don Bosco. The 'Saint intervenes, yes, with its details, ascetic norms, advice, approvals, but gives full freedom to this simple and exceptional woman, whose authentic motherhood culminates in the total offering of her life for the Institute.

The linear exposition of this historical relationship, as has been explained, has nevertheless required a careful search of accessible documentation.

Through the reconstruction of the facts, through the testimonies, the epistolary correspondence, as well as the consideration of the indirect encounters, one can see how between Don Bosco and María Mazzarello there was a progressive and varied communication. The meetings, neither frequent nor long, but faith. Kurds in consequence, they make it appear that between Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello there was in fact a reciprocal influence.

34 Cf. testimonies of the canonization process: SACRA CONGREGATIO RrniUm, Aquen. Beatificationis et canonizationis Servae Dei Mariae Dominicae Mazzarello Primae Antistitae Instituti
Filiarum Mariae Auxiliatricis Summarium super dubio, 408-422.

33 Collected in: Chronicle II, p. 182.202269.323.341.

36 Cf. Ibid., P. 350,385.

37 Collected in: Ibid., P.

38 Cf. Ibid., P. 340,343,346,354.

39 Collected in: Ibid., P. 367-368.

4th Letter of Don Bosco to Don Berto, April 8, 1881, in: E IV, 42-43.

The nature of the meetings is also significant for the knowledge of the style of Don Bosco's own interventions. It is typical of him, in effect, the brief, timely, always stimulating intervention for inner growth, carried out with an attitude of respect and trust. This is exactly what Don Bosco did in the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and in the life of Maria Mazzarello.

3. Significant mediations

A special allusion, given the limit of a communication, is imposed to identify and name at least some of the significant mediations of the relationship established between Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello.

We have already alluded to the preponderant role of mediator of knowledge first and spirit, then of Don Bosco, played by Don Domenico Pestarino (1817-1874), a precious educator of the spiritual life of Maria Mazzarello. First director of the Institute, he played his role with a discreet and effective presence, referring, as is natural, to Don Bosco, but also using his solid doctrinal training from the seminary years of Genoa, matured with an intense parish life.

Don Giovanni Cagliero (1838-1926), general director even before the death of Don Pestarino, appears as a privileged mediator of Don Bosco's request for the nascent Institute. A collaborator handed over and bound by affection to Don Bosco, he is authoritatively present in the life of the Institute and his word is received as if it were the one of Don Bosco, of whom he is the official spokesperson. Frequently it is Don Bosco himself who entrusts to his sagacity and experience things that refer to the Institute. The relationship of cordial and filial openness is special and manifests itself with singular confidence, delicate and intense affection on the part of the Mother towards him. The letters are an explicit testimony of this. °
Don Giacomo Costamagna (1846-1921), third local director, known for his particular "exuberance" in wanting to form the Sisters, has the merit of having brought to Momese the lifestyle and traditions of Valdocco. The balance of Mother Mazzarello made it possible for reciprocal esteem, in charity, to maintain a climate of cheerful Salesian serenity, even within the ascetic tension imposed by him.42
41 Cf. the letters of Mother Mazzarello to Fr Giovanni Cagliero : December 29, 1875, in: Po. SADA, Lettere, p. 53; April 5, 1876, in: Ibid., P. 58; July 8, 1876, in: Ibid., P. 64; December 27,
1876, in: Ibid., P. 73; September 27, 1878, in: Ibid., P. 85. About the figure of Card. Cagliero, cf. G. CASSANO, Il Cardinale Giovanni Cagliero, 2 vol., Torino, SEI 1935.

42 Cf., for example, the letters of Don Costamagna to Mother Mazzarello of February 19, 1877 and November 20, 1878, in: AGFMA.

Don Giovanni B. Lemoyne (1839-1916) came from a rich and "rewarding" Salesian experience. It is not easy to integrate into Mornese, but his stay there and in Nizza Monferrato gives a precious Salesian contribution to community life, with discretion and opportunity. Their formative interventions also guide the educational action. With the Mother she establishes an affective, simple, family relationship.43
These well-known figures of Salesian history helped to revive the relationship between Don Bosco and María Mazzarello and the study of their mediation remains a field to be explored. The documentation relative to the Aryans of the stay in Mornese is scarce, it is true, but the meaning of their mediation is such, that it must be studied.

4. Meaning of the perspective relationship of spirituality

The reconstruction of the timeline of the relationship of Don Bosco with Maria Mazzarello leads, finally, to highlight the spiritual relationship that took place between the two saints.

Endowed with special receptivity and unified by the search for truth, Maria Mazzarello is also endowed with a lively capacity for assimilation of Don Bosco's spiritual proposal, also because it is made open by the presence of elements that prepare Salesian spirituality and who are already in their training.

The Christocentric, Marian, apostolic spirituality, based on a solid asceticism, virginal of the group of the Daughters of the Immaculate, guided by Don Pestarino in the school of the theologian Frassinetti, finds convergence in the proposals of Don Bosco. "To this solid base In addition, vigilant attention is added to know the spirit of Don Bosco, to live it in fidelity to his intentions and to the examples of his sanctity.

From the reading of the "facts" it is noticed that the Mother's increasing demand to conform to Salesian spirituality is not a search for support or security, but rather emphasizes that the Mother insists on penetrating the spirit of Don Bosco to graft it and renew it in Mornese's own educational environment. The contents that Don Bosco proposed directly or indirectly were assumed by the Mother, but lived in their own, personal, with a character of austerity and simplicity and continuous delivery.

. Cf. the letters of Mother Mazzarello to Don Lemoyne: December 14, 1877, in: POSADA, Lettere, p. 78; March 17, 1879, in: Ibid., P. 95; April 9, 1879, in: Ibid., P. 97; December 1879, in:
Ibid., p. 134

44 Cf. POSADA, Giuseppe Frassinetti and Maria D. Mazzarello, p. 131-132.

Returning to the initial presentation on the consideration of the relationship between the saints considered in the Salesian authors, it can be concluded that such a relationship does not have the character of absolute dependence or passive imitation. Don Bosco finds a woman with whom, in an attitude of respect, trust and freedom, he can carry out a project of life and action that is not indifferent to that time. It is a relationship of responsible collaboration, carried out through the creative assimilation of Salesian spirituality.

5. Concluding remarks

The limit of a communication has forced me to proceed perhaps by dodging. But the field of investigation has revealed itself to be vast and still open. The necessity of a correct hermeneutics of the sources is imposed and my intention is still in a very broad perspective. The research trail should be deepened and the study of a relationship of the importance of that of Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello, even in its essential content, will be fruitful for the future of the two congregations that work in the Church.


María Esther POSADA
The subject of this communication is soon broad and complex. It would require, in effect, the explanation of the relationship that exists between the historical-ecclesial reality that is the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (HNLA) and its Founder, Saint John Bosco. The explicitation of the relationship that the Institute matured throughout its 116 years of history would require, not only a deeper study than this one, but also a space less limited than that of a communication.

Theme-and space lead me to make an option of a historical nature, reducing the argument within the limits of the origins of the Institute and, in that period, to the first sixteen years of its existence, in which, as I hope to demonstrate In this study, a relationship is established with the Founder whose result appears as paradigmatic for the Institute in the different phases of its history?
Having declared my choice and even before presenting the structure of the subject, I think it is necessary to state at least some preliminary observations demanded by its context.

1) The historical-ecclesial context in which the Instituto de lilasda H1VLA appears is a moment of suffering and growth, crisis and religious vitality. Giacomo Martina says that the situation of religious institutes in Italy around the 70s reveals a double antinomy: persistent internal crisis in the institutes and flourishing initiatives and new foundations.3
The Castilian translation of the technical device belongs to the author of the communication (nde). The Institute, founded in Mornese (province of Alessandria, diocese of Acqui), recognizes as co-founder Santa Maria Dominga Mazzarello (1837-1881). It has, as an aim, the education of the feminine youth of popithres environments, through diverse works and activities; among which are: schools and colleges, catechesis, oratories or youth centers. The Institute is of pontifical right since December 7, 1911. Currently (1988), has 17,167 Sisters, distributed in 72 provinces and 5 visits, present in 1,495 houses of 72 nations.

2) The new flowering of religious institutes stimulates a legal process that is sometimes non-existent or inadequate and slow to develop, especially in Italy and in particular for women's institutes.4 On the other hand, the evolution of legislation promotes the expansion of the law. feminine religious life.5
In my opinion, this situation affects the attitude of Don Bosco in order to found a new Institute of Sisters; If, on the one hand, she feels stimulated by the gradual acceptance of women in the field of social action and education, on the other she understands the demand of the process towards which the new institutes are headed. He, in fact, will initially be reluctant to found and, even more, to have the Institute already founded approved by the Holy See.6
3) The third observation refers to the diversity of the initial group of AMF in relation to that of the Salesians. These came mostly from the Valdocco environment, that is, they were boys directly educated by Don Bosco; The first ones, on the other hand, arise from a group already formed, with «Uno sguardo anche surfaiale alla situazione degli Istituti religiosi in Italy intorno al 1870 rivela a duplice antinomia, difficile a spiegare almeno a prima vista: a persistent crisi degli istituti nel paro complesso , molto anteriore alle leggi eversive, a fioritura di ini7iative costruttive and a rapid ebullient espansione »(G. MARTINA, La situazione degli Istituti religiosi in Italy back to 1870, in: Chiesa e religiositá in Italia dogo l'Unitá [1861-1878] , PW1, Milano, Vita e Pensiero 1972, p.194).

4 "Il continuo ricorso di queste fondazioni [femminili] in Rome [...] cooperates [...] ad accrescere sia paroro importanza [...] sia quena dell'autoritá della Chiesa negli Statí in cui si trova ad
agite . Alcuni elementi sono accolti easily [nella procedura] altri avevano bisogno di ripensamento »(G. ROCC.A, Le nuove fondazioni religiose femminili in Italy from 1800 to 1860, in: ASSO
CIAZIONE ITALIANA DEI PROFESSORI DI STORIA DELLA CHIESA, Problemi di noria della Chiesa, Dalla Restaurazione all'Unitá, Atti del VI Convegno di aggiornamento [Pescara 6-10 September 1982], Napoli, Edizioni Dehoniane 1985, pp. 171-172).

We find ourselves in reality with antithetical situations: "Give a lato é riconosciuto gradually alla dona a maggio spazio nella vita attiva, particularly nell'assistenza e nell'istruzione elementare. Dall'altro the legislative ecclesiastica dell'Ottocento comincia ad evolversi, a riconoscere a questi istituti, finora not considered legally as "religios in, gli attributi essetwinli della vita religious vera e propria" (MARTINA, La situazione, P. 200).

6 "A shortcomer wished to plant an anomaly in the life of Don Bosco and ch'egli non chiese e non si decise mai a chiedere a Rome l'approvazione delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice. Both piú ció é sconcertante, quanto pió if the answer to cuto if culo colloca, nella comice I gave a mentalitá che è portata dare great rilievo to the person of the Pope and prerogative che the religiositá cattolica tempo afferma ed esalta. [...] Mentre gives a part, per salvaguardare alla Societá Salesiana the physiognomy che aveva sognata si sottrae alle pressioni vescovili di Torino [...], dall'altra, quasi nello stesso tempo, per a motorcycle affettivo analogo rífugge dal sottoporsi to Rome for what purpose the Istituto delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice "(STELLA, Don Bosco I, p.203-204).

'MB IV, 429.

spirituality and its own structures: "Figlie di Santa Maria Immacolata" by Mornese.8
4) The last observation is of a documentary nature. I have to declare that there are no historical-critical studies on this subject.9 Salesian historiography in this respect, although it tries to reconstruct as much as possible, is situated in a line of edifying narrative rather than in a scientific aspect.m It was necessary, then, work on first-hand documents, which are scarce, but important! ' The search, already channeled, the critical screening of the sources, the publication of critical editions on the existing material is essential for a correct hermeneutics in the field of the history of the TIMA.

Once this reference to the context and historical sources is made, I dedicate my attention to the dynamics that exist between the two poles of the relationship we are talking about: the first nucleus of the AMF, a group in transformation and really modified by the intervention of Don Bosco, and the same gift
It is a pious union that arises towards 1851 in the parish of Mornese, on the initiative of Angela Maccagno (1832-1891). Don Domenico Pestarino gave a strong impulse to the group as an immediate spiritual guide. The Genoese theologian Giuseppe Frassinetti compiled a Rule in response to the wish of Don Pestarino and based on an outline by Angela Maccagno. The pious union took the name of "Nuove Orsoline Figlie di Santa Maria Immacolata", under the protection of Santa Úrsula and Santa Ángela Merici (see G. FRASSINE111, Opere edite ed Medite, Opera Ascetiche, vol II, Rome, Postulazione Generale dei Figli di S. Maria Immacolata 1909, p.108ss., ME POSADA, Giuseppe Frassinetti and Maria Domenica Mazzarello, Rapporto storico-spirituale, Rome, LAS 1986).

9 The chapter dedicated to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the critical work of P. Stella previously cited is a documented and stimulating, although synthetic, study that should be considered as the first on the argument. One must also take into account the critical edition of the primitive Constitutions of the AMF, prepared by Cecilia Romero. It is a serious study that, in an indirect but documented way, investigates the origins of the text and its historical placement
(see G. Bosco, Scritti editi e inediti, Vol. Costituzioni per l'Istituto delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice [1872- 18851, Testi criticizes cura di Sr. Cecilia Romero FMA, Rome, LAS 1983).

A study on the genesis of the foundation was published by me on the occasion of the centenary of the death of Don Bosco (see ME POSADA, Alle origini di una scelta, Don Bosco, Fondatore di un Istituto femminile, en: R. GIANNATELLI [ ed.], Pensiero e prassi di don Bosco, Rome, LAS 1988).

'° Thus in the MB; cf. also: Chronicle. Nor are they critical studies, although they are fundamental for the history of the Salesian Society and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians: Annali; G. CAPETTI, II Cammino dell'Istituto nel corso di una secolo, 3 vol., Rome, Istituto delle FMA 1972-1976. In these sources and studies is based, in general, the historiography of the Institute.

"Documents existing in the AGFMA and in the ASC, especially in the" Don Bosco Fund "(ASC 131-175) It seems to me convenient to specify that the first AMF Institute chronicles are late and incomplete. 1887. These and other later documents, such as the Schiarimenti sugli inizi dell'Istituto delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice, are presented as synthetic writings or summaries, and therefore a meticulous analysis of the rather fragmentary news and documents is needed. , in my opinion, at the heuristic moment of a process of historical reconstruction, in this sense it can be affirmed that all documents, although incomplete, are important.

Bosco, at the time of the search, of the election and the foundation of the Istituto, implied also in a dynamic of transformation, of continuity and, at the same time, of rupture with previous schemes, of novelty of life and works.

By carefully studying this dynamic within the limits that I have set, I have been able to identify three moments of unequal duration that express the different modalities of a single relationship. The structure of this theme reflects precisely these three successive moments:
1) a new spiritual orientation within the group of the Daughters of St. Mary Immaculate (1860-1870);
2) a true historical option: the moment of foundation (1871-1872);
3) a progressive awareness of belonging matured in the group and in the same relationship established with Don Bosco (1872-1876).

1. A new spiritual orientation (1860-1870)

The group of the Daughters of St. Mary Immaculate (HSMJ), engaged in an intense rhythm of Christian life and devoted to various parish activities, "was directed and immediately by Don Pestarino," and turned in the spiritual orbit of the Genoese theologian, Giuseppe Frassinetti. " He first came into contact with the priest Giovanni Bosco through the personal mediation of Don Pestarino himself.

The documentary sources do not coincide on the date of this meeting, "The Daughters of St. Mary Immaculate had as their aim" to procure the proper sanctification and coadjustment to the salute of the prossimi [esercitandosi] nelle opere di corporele mercy [...] assistendo especialmente le povere inferme del luogo »(Regula della Pia Unione delle Figlie di S. Maria Immacolata, I, 1; HL 37).

13 Don Domenico Pestarino (1817-1874). Originally from Mornese, he studied at the seminary in Genoa, of which he was later prefect. He returned to Mornese in 1847 and worked intensely in the spiritual renewal of the parish. Spiritual Director of St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello, for 27 years, director of the group of the Daughters of St. Mary Immaculate and, later, first local and spiritual director of the first community of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. The correspondence of Don Pestarino, conserved in the ASC is classified with this title: Pestarino don Domenico, sac. fondatore dell'opere salesiane di Mornese [ASC 275, 1, 3] (cf F. MACCONO, L'apostolo di Mornese, Sac Domenico Pestarino, Torino, SEI 1926).

Giuseppe Frassinetti (1804-1868). Prior of the church of Santa Sabina (Genoa). Moralist, writer of ascetic works, pastor and spiritual director. At the request of Don Pestarino, he prepared and published the Rule of the Pious Union of the Daughters of St. Mary Immaculate, and was the spiritual animator of the group (see G. FRASSINETIT, Operate Ascetiche, Introduction and note by P. Giordano Renzi FSMI,
2 vol., Rome, Postulazione Generale dei Figli di S. Maria Immacolata 1978, POSADA, Giuseppe Frasinetti).

In a memory of the card. Giovanni, Cagliero, deposited in the AGFMA, reads that "I am uncontrolled and visit successive avveruiero nel 1860, 61, 62 e 64" (Memory of Cardinale Giovanni Cagliero, February 15, 1922 in AGFMA). The Chronicle and the biographer of Santa Maria Mazzarello, Don Ferdinando Maccono, quote a testimony of Fr Giuseppe Campi, priest of Mor-nese. The meeting would have taken place "verse 1862" (Testimony of D. Giuseppe Campi in: AGFMA, see Chronicle I, P. 111, F. MACCONO, S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello, Confondatrice and Superior General of the Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice , Vol I, Torino, Istituto FMA 1960, p.100). The author of the Chronicle, M. Clelia Genghini, who was secretary general of the Institute of the AMF, based on several research done by herself,

en el lugar donde ocurrió,l6 y ni siquiera en el contenido, del cual existen versiones no unívocas. Todas estas versiones indican dos elementos importantes: el entusiasmo de don Pestarino hacia la persona y la obra de don Bosco' y el interés de don Bosco hacia el grupo de las HSMI dirigido por don Pestarino.18 Sin embargo, las mismas fuentes no coinciden en el modo con el cual el ropo entra en la órbita de don Bosco. Algunas versiones presentan a don Pestarino como el que «ofrece» a don Bosco el grupo de la Inmaculada sin una previa petición;" en otras, es don Bosco mismo quien, oyendo hablar a don Pestarino, se «mueve», empujado por su interés hacia el grupo." Algunos testimonios dejan entrever la preexistencia de la inquietud de don Bosco por fundar un Instituto femenino,2' otros ponen de relieve que el encuentro, considerado «providencial», suscita en don Bosco la idea de fundar.22
16 En la citada memoria del card. Cagliero se lee: «Ricordo che Don Pestarino mi disse di aver conosciuto Don Bosco in Genova, in casa del Parroco Frassinetti di S. Sabina». Don Campi afirma que el encuentro tuvo lugar en un viaje en d tren que conducía a don Bosco y a don Pestarino desde Acqui a Alessandria. Este testimonio es recogido por la Cronistoria y por Maccono.

«[Don Pestarino] preso da venerazione per le sue virtit [di don Bosco] s'invoglió di venire
a Torno» (G. CAGLIERO, Memoria, en: AGFMA).

i8La Cronistoria, junto con el interés de don Pestarino por la obra de don Bosco, pone en evidencia el interés de éste por el grupo de las Hijas de Santa María Inmaculada, que don Pestatino dirigía, y reconstruye, de modo hipotético e imaginario, el diálogo entre los dos sacerdotes, del que, en realidad, se conservan solamente algunos detalles (cf. Cronistoria, I, p. 114-116).

19 Es significativo un testimonio de don Rua, sucesor de don Bosco, en el proceso ordinario para la canonización del mismo don Bosco: « [Don Pestarino] con calde istanze ottenne pare che l'adottasse [la Pia Unione] come sua spirituale famiglia. D. Bosco vedendo il buono spirito, la pietá e la vicendevole carita, che cola regnava, lascib il Sacerdote D. Pestarino alla direzione dele medesime [Figlie di S. Maria Immacolata e poi FMA] finché il Signore lo conservó in vita (1872) [sic] » (M. RUA, Deposizione en: SACRA RITUUM CONGREGATIONE, Taurinen. Beatificationis et canonizationis Servi Dei Joannis Bosco Sacerdotis Fundatoris Piae Societatis Salesianae, Positio super Introductione Causae, Summarium super dubio, p. 323). Citaré: Summ.

20 Es la tesis más afirmada en los documentos del Instituto (cf. Schiarimenti, p. 3-4), donde se da énfasis a la pertenencia de don Pestarino a la Sociedad salesiana. El documento más interesante a este respecto es, a mi parecer, la Memoria autografa de don Pestarino, donde él pone en evidencia la intervención de don Bosco respecto a la idea de hacer una fundación. El documento no hace mención del primer encuentro. Parte de 1871: «Nel orille ottocento settant'uno il benemerito Sacerdote D. Bosco esponeva a D. Pestarino Domenico [...] il suo desiderio per l'educazione cristiana dele povere fanciulle e dichiarava che Mornese sarebbe stato fi luogo che conosceva pió adatto [...] essendovi giá da varii and iniziata la Congregazione dele zitelle sotto nome dell'Immacolata e dele nuove Orsoline...» (D. PESTARIN0, Memoria autografa, manoscritto A, en:AGFMA).

21 Así afirman los Schiarimenti.

22 «[Don Bosco] non venne nella decisione [di fondare] sino a guando la Provvidenza gli
A mi parecer, en el encuentro, ocurrido probablemente en el verano de 1862, don Bosco halla el camino definitivo para la actuación de uh proyeco que estaba madurando desde hacía mucho tiempo.23
Desde aquel momento, los hechos nos han llegado con mayor credibilidad y claridad y la implicación del grupo, movido siempre por don Pestarino, aparece más evidente y efectiva. La relación con don Bosco se va perfilando en tres direcciones:
a) en orden a su persona, que suscita en el grupo admiración, respeto, veneración por su personalidad y fama de santidad;24
b) en orden a su obra educativa, que interesa a toda la población de Mor-nese, especialmente en la primera visita del Santo al pueblo en 1864:25 las HSMI se vieron especialmente afectadas en la preparación de esta visita; y después de la propuesta de don Bosco a toda la población de fundar en Mornese un colegio para muchachos, se comprometen ellas en primer lugar en el trabajo de construcción del edificio;26
c) en orden a un proyecto insólito que don Bosco va manifestando lentamente en sus visitas a Mornese en años sucesivos"' y que culmina en un «pnigrama» de vida espiritual propuesto a todo el grupo hacia 1869.28
La implicación mediata más efectiva del grupo de las HSMI en la órbita de aperse essa stessa evidentemente la vía. Un pio sacerdote, D. Domeníco Pestarino ecc.» (M. RIJA, Deposizione, en: Summ., p. 323).

" Cf. POSADA, Alle origini, p. 162-169.

24 Cf. Cronistoria I, p. 148-150. Me parece interesante, a este respecto, una carta de don Pestarino a don Rua, con ocasión de la enfermedad de don Bosco en Varazze, a finales de 1871. Las Hijas de la Inmaculada habían rezado y hasta ofrecido la vida por la salud del Santo: «Ebbi la consolazione, nella tristezza, di sentirrni chiedere da una che, se le permettevo, faceva l'olocausto della sua vita per ottenere la salute e la vita di don Bosco, il che mí ripeterono altre, pronte a morire [...] e faranno l'olocausto alla santa comunione» PESTARNO, Lettera a don Michele Rua,Mornese, 17 dicembre 1871, manoscritto originale, en: ASC 275, 1, 2 [2] Pestarino).

25 «Nell'ottobre di quest'anno [1864] passó da Momese il e celebre D. Bosco di Tocino con 60 e pió de' suoi giovani, con banda musicale ecc... col quale da qualche tempo, per grazia di Dio, io aveva fato relazione ed eravamo intesi in molti punti; con lui avevo esternato tutto fi mio povero spirito e i miel progetti. Giunto qui ed accolto dalla popolazione nel miglior modo possibile, si fermó 4 giorni, nei quali si fece bellissima funzione in Chiesa, accademia a Borgoalto; ed io intanto gli esternai il mio desiderio di fabbricare in tal Mogo...» (Racconto - Memoria della fabbrica di Borgoalto. Copia allografa di un racconto attribuito a Don Pestarino, en: ASC 409, 1, 5, f. 4).

26 Cf. Ibid. 2ss; Cronistoria I, p. 147-154.

n Don Bosco hizo diversas visitas a Mornese (cf. Cronistoria I, p. 204-239). Documentos importantes para reconstruir la relación entre don Bosco y don Pestarino y las visitas del Santo a Mornese son las cartas autógrafas de don Bosco al mismo don Pestarino (cf. ASC 13101). 28 La Cronistoria habla de un «Horario-Programa» de vida, escrito por el mismo don Bosco en abril de 1869 (cf. I, p. 222-224). C. Romero en el estudio ya citado sobre las Constituciones de las HMA se expresa así: «Sena voler entrare nella questione dell'esistenza e datazione di questo regolamento d sembra di poter affermare che non si tratta dí un testo normativo riguardante la vita religiosa di una comunitá» (C. ROMERO, Alle origini delle Costituzioni dell'Istituto delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice, en: Bosco, Scritti editi, p. 32).

San Juan Bosco, tal como aparece en este decenio de transformación, es de carácter estrictamente espiritual, es decir, revela una actitud común interior que se expresa, por parte del grupo, en la admiración por la persona y la obra de don Bosco y en la primera apertura a sus orientaciones directas. Don Bosco manifiesta interés, pero al mismo tiempo ponderación realista de una opción a través de encuentros mediatos e inmediatos con un grupo del que llega a conocer bien la espiritualidad y la actividad.

2. Una verdadera opción histórica: el «momento» de la fundación (18711872)

Desde el punto de vista histórico, la génesis de un instituto religioso no puede reducirse a la fecha de su fundación. La génesis es un proceso de duración diversa según las vicisitudes históricas que atraviesa el instituto. El 5 de agosto de 1872 es la fecha que el Instituto de las HMA reconoce como el de su fundación y corresponde, efectivamente, a la celebración de las primeras profesiones.

Documentos atendibles referentes a la génesis del Instituto nos permiten verificar modificaciones de importancia en el tiempo que va desde 1871 a 1872. Consideramos este tiempo como el «momento» cumbre de la fundación. Son modificaciones que se refieren a la relación ya estable entre don Bosco y las HSMI.

Una carta autógrafa de don Bosco a Madre Enrichetta Dominici, superiora general de las «Suore di Sant'Anna della Provvidenza»,29 nos pone ya frente a una decisión de don Bosco y a un proyecto de fundación. Pide a la Madre Dominici que le ayude en la redacción de un esbozo de Reglamento para «fondare un Istituto le cui figlie in faccia alla Chiesa siano vere religiose, ma in faccia alla civile societá siano altrettanto libere cittadine».3° Esta decisión la manifestaría a su Capítulo (Consejo) superior.31
29 Madre Enrichetta Dominici (1829-1894). Nació en Borgo Salasio, Carmagnola (Turín). Entró en el Instituto fundado por la marquesa Barolo en Turín, las Hermanas de Santa Ana de la Providencia, dedicadas a la educación popular. Fue Superiora general por 32 años. La personalidad de la Madre Dominici debió de dar seguridad a don Bosco, por su sabiduría y don de gobierno (cf. Vigilia eroica. Pagine autobiografiche di suor M. Enrichetta Dominici delle Suore di S. Anna della Provvidenza. Introduzione e note di Morazzetti S.P., Tivoli 1951). La Madre Dominici fue prodamada Beata en 1978.

" Lettera di don Bosco a madre Enrichetta Dominici, Torino, 24 aprile 1871, original autógrafo en: ASSA.

" Fuentes y estudios indican que el 24 de abril de 1871 es la fecha en que don Bosco se comprometió oficialmente ante su Capítulo superior respecto a la fundación de un Instituto femenino. Para avalar esta afirmación se citan las actas de este día (cf. STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 188; MB X, 594; Cronistoria I, p. 241). En el ASC no existen las actas de ese año (cf. ASC 0592) y la noticia no se encuentra en las actas sucesivas ni en otras fuentes. Sólo un testimonio de don Paolo Albera, pedido por don Rua, relata el hecho atribuyéndolo al año 1870 (cf. Verbali del 25 dicembre 1907, en: ASC 0592; cf. Summ. lI. Substantialia causae, 68 ss.).

La carta contiene, en efecto, elementos preciosos para identificar, no sólo las fuentes del primer código de vida de las HMA, sino también para conocer la identidad jurídico-eclesial del nuevo Instituto. Aparece, además, significativo que don Bosco se dirija a una mujer para la elaboración del texto-base de la Regla y que escoja a la superiora de un Instituto religioso dedicado a la educación de muchachas del ambiente popular.

Pero también por parte del grupo de las HSMI se verifica una verdadera opción. El grupo, que ha entrado ya en relación directa con don Bosco, se síente llamado a decidir sobre un nuevo compromiso de vida y sobre una pertenencia más estrecha al proyecto del Santo turinés.32 Una parte del grupo de las «Nuove Orsoline» (HSMI) rechaza abiertamente la propuesta de hacerse «religiosas» demostrando conciencia del cambio radical en su condición de vida. Otras se adhieren rápidamente, dando prueba de saber que realizan una opción ya ponderada. Otras se adhieren más tarde, demostrando también ellas que tenían la «sensación» del cambio.33
La Memoria autógrafa de don Pestarino sintetiza así la primera reunión que se tuvo el 29 de Enero de 1872 para la elección de un Capítulo (Consejo) superior:
«[...] il bel giorno di S. Francesco di Sales, ed esposto quanto D. Bosco li aveva consigliato (a don Pestarino), detto il Veni Creator Spiritus col Crocifisso esposto sopra un tavolino con due candelieri accesi, si passó alla votazione, essendo in numero di 27, facendo poi leggere i voti ricevuti da D. Pestarino, dalla Angela Maccagno Maestra del Paese, e fino aflora Superiora di quelle che vivono in loro famiglia. Risultó dallo scrutinio 21 voti a Maria Mazzarello di Giuseppe delta dí Valponasca [...] si passó alla votazione della seconda Assístente che riusci Petronilla con voti 19; si ritirarono queste due e nominaron per Maestra delle Novizie Felicina [Mazzarello], ed Economa Giovanna [Ferrettino] e per Vicaria o Vicesuperiora per quelle del paese, la Maestra Maccagno. Si pubblicarono e si fina col Laudate Dominum l'adunanra che Jopo fu sciolta».34
Siete meses más tarde tuvieron lugar las primeras profesiones. Las que se adhirieron al proyecto de don Bosco se trasladaron al colegio hecho construir por don Pestarino en el lugar llamado Borgoalto y en un primer momento destinado, en la intención de don Bosco, para escuela de los muchachos de Mornese. Ahora se convertía en la Casa-Madre del Instituto de las HMA. El «sello» histórico-eclesial de tal transformación del grupo de simple «Pia Unione» parroquial en instituto religioso lo puso la presencia del obispo de Acqui, mons. Giuseppe Maria Sciandra, durante la función de las profesiones; el «sello» histórico-salesiano lo aportó la presencia del Fundador que, por invitación del mismo obispo, dirigió la palabra a las nuevas profesas, precisamente como Fundador."
32 Cf. PESTARINO, Memoria A, en: AGFMA.

33 Cf. Cronistoria I, p. 272-274.

34 PESTARINO, Memoria A, en: AGFMA. " Loc. cit.

Leyendo superficialmente las pocas noticias que se poseen de este hecho Parecería que don Bosco no demuestra una conciencia «histórica» del hecho que se estaba realizando el 5 de agosto. Efectivamente, no había previsto estar presente en las profesiones,36 aparece como forzado a ir,37 y sale inmediatamente de Mornese sin que su firma aparezca en el Acta de fundación.38 Sin embargo, su presencia, la invitación del obispo a dirigir la palabra a las nuevas profesas, la aceptación que él hace del Instituto en presencia del mismo obispo, revelan la calidad de la relación histórica que se establece ahora con las FMA ante la Iglesia y la historia.

De una implicación simple, aunque profunda, en lo espiritual, la relación de las FMA en orden a la persona y a la misión edesial de don Bosco se transforma en una relación de carácter histórico que supone una dependencia real del Fundador y se abre a la aceptación de un nuevo vínculo, el jurídico, con la aceptación del nuevo Código de pertenencia. Éste, desde las primeras e imperfectas fases de su planteamiento, lleva ya la marca del pensamiento y del espíritu de San Juan Bosco.39

3. Una progresiva conciencia de pertenencia jurídica (1872-1876)

De la observación atenta del modus vivendi de las primeras HIVIA como aparece en las Reglas y de las noticias que las crónicas nos dan, se deduce un estilo simple, pobre, sereno y austero, centrado totalmente en la configuración de la primera comunidad y en el compromiso apostólico entre las muchachas, especialmente las internas.

Sin embargo, algunos hechos casi inmediatamente posteriores a la fundación demuestran una progresiva maduración en la conciencia y en la estructuración jurídica del Instituto, conciencia que incide en la relación que se había establecido entre la comunidad primitiva y su Fundador.

En 1874 y aún en vida de don Pestarino, don Bosco procede a dos medidas jurídicas de importancia: la elección de un Director general del Instituto," en la persona de uno de sus mejores salesianos, don Cagliero,41 y el nombramiento de una superiora general en la persona de Sor María Do/11in, Mazzarello que hasta entonces había presidido la comunidad con el título la, Vicaria."

" Cf. Cronistoria I, p. 297.

" Cf. Ibid., p. 307.

78 Verbale relativo alla fondazione dell'Istituto delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice eretto in Mornese Diocesi di Acqui, Mornese, 8 agosto 1872, copia auténtica, en: ACVA Registri, 15, 520-522.

39 Cf. ROMERO, Alle origini, en: Bosco, Scritti editi, p. 34-49.

40 Solamente a partir del Manoscritto F de las Constituciones HMA aparece la figura del Director general del Instituto. En los manuscritos precedentes se dice que el Instituto está bajo la dirección inmediata del Superior general de la Sociedad de San Francisco de Sales (cf. Manoscritti
A-E y F, en: Bosco, Scritti editi, p. 209-252).

' Giovanni Cagliero (1838-1926). En 1874 fue nombrado primer Director general de las Hijas de María Auxiliadora. En 1875 partió como responsable de la primera expedición misionera a Argentina. En 1884 León XIII lo nombró obispo titular de Magida y le confió el vicariato apos tólico de la Patagonia. En 1904, Pío X le confió la visita apostólica en las diócesis de Tortona, Piacenza, Albenga y Savona, enviándolo luego como Ministro plenipotenciario y Delegado apostólico de Centro América. En 1915, Benedicto XV lo nombró cardenal y miembro de las congregaciones de Religiosos, de Propaganda Fide y de Ritos. En 1920, obispo de Frascati. Murió en Roma en 1926 (cf. G. CASSANO, Il cardinale Giovanni Cagliero, 2 vol., Torillo, SEI 1955).

El porqué del nombramiento de don Cagliero está justificado por la un' posibilidad, por parte de don Bosco, de seguir directamente al Instituto y de su visión previsora sobre la expansión del mismo." El nombramiento de la superiora general obedece tal vez al deseo de asegurar una figura jurídica entonces controvertida, pero necesaria según los usos del tiempo.44
En el mes de marzo del mismo año 1874, don Bosco había presentado a la Congregación de los Obispos y Regulares un «Riassunto» de la «Pia Societá Salesiana», en orden a la aprobación de las Constituciones. En este «Rías. sunto» hacía alusión a la fundación de Mornese en términos muy sucintos."
Sín detenerse, pues, en clarificaciones sobre la estructura jurídica del Instituto, don Bosco se orienta en cambio hacia la aprobación diocesana del mismo y de las Constituciones procediendo a la revisión de éstas46 con el deseo de presentarlas al obispo de Acqui, el mismo mons. Sciandra que presidió las primeras profesiones.

42 En la primera elección del Capítulo superior del Instituto, el 29 de enero de 1871, fue elegida como Superiora (21 sobre 27 votos) Sor María Dominga Mazzarello. Ella «suggeri le pareva lasciar nelle mani di D. Bosco la scelta della prinia Superiora» (PESTARINO, Memoria A, en: AGFMA). Efectivamente, don Bosco la nombró Superiora general, con el título de Vicaria en 1874, cuando se hizo la elección de Superiora general. De hecho en el Manoscritto D, cuya fecha se coloca entre 1874 y 1875, aparece por primera vez la figura de la Superiora general (cf. Bosco, Scritti editi, p. 85-95).

43 En él año del nombramiento del Director general del Instituto existía solamente la Casa central o Casa madre de Mornese.

44 Es interesante notar que en Italia, antes de 1839, no se plantea el problema del nombramiento de la Superiora general. Algunas dificultades eran de orden eclesiástico, otras relativas a la condición femenina como, por ejemplo, las dificultades de viajar, cosa que entonces no parecía «né conforme alla prudenza né cosa decente che done religiose, di cui la ritiratezza dovrebbe essere un distintivo carattere viaggino con tanta frequenza» (RoccA, Le nuove, p. 155).

45 "Appendice e dipendently of the Salesian Congregation and the House of Maria Ausiliatrice fondata with approvazione dell'autoritá Ecclesiastica in Mornese diocesi d'Acqui. I scopo si é di fare per le povere fanciulle quanto i Salesiani fano per i ragazzi. Le religiose sono già in number di quaranta ed hanno cura di 200 fanciulle »(Riassunto della Pia Società Salesiana di S. Francesco di Sales n 1874, in: CONGREGAZIONE PARTICOLARE DEI VESCOVI E REGOLARI [...] Torinese, Sopra l'approvazione delle Costituzioni della Societá Salesiana [?] March 1874, in: ASC 0231).

46 Cf. Manoscritti E, F of the primitive Constitutions in: BOSCO, Scritti editi, p. 99-123.

The petition for approval is an extremely significant document as regards the origin of the Institute, its foundation, its purposes, its development. ' The manuscript is signed by Don Bosco, by Don Costamagna, then local director of the house of Mornese and by Sr. Maria Mazzarello. It is interesting to observe, in the light of the historical context of the moment, how, along with the signature of Mother Mazzarello, Don Bosco added, in his fist, the abbreviation: sup., Which shows the real existence of an effective Superior in the Institute "
The letters of St. Mary Dominga Mazzarello, addressed in these years to Don Bosco, demonstrate their personal dependence and that of the Institute of the Major Superior, Don Bosco.
«Permetta, Superiore Maggiore ch'io mi raccomandi alle sue efficaci preghiere acio possa adempiere with esattezza tutti i doveri che mia carica m'impone e possa corrispondere al tanti benefizi datimi dal Signore ed alle aspettazioni della SV; dica una di quelle efficaci parole to Maria SS. perché voglia aiutarmi a praticare ció che debbo insegnare alle altre e possano cosi ricevere tutte da me quegli esempi che il mio grade m'obbliga give parrot >>.
Emerged in a field of spiritual, spontaneous but profound involvement, consolidated through an effective option of historical significance, the relationship between the AMF and St. John Bosco is affirmed as a real juridical belonging to the Salesian trunk. That belonging supposes a singular and close bond with the Founder, who, when requesting the official approval of the Institute and the first Constitutions, assumes in proprio before the Church the real paternity of the Institute.

4. Concluding remarks

I said at the beginning of these reflections that the relationship established between the first AMF and Don Bosco is paradigmatic in the history of the Institute. It seems to me, in fact, that we can affirm, in conclusion, that the spiritual, historical and juridical elements that constitute a single relationship, act among themselves in a dynamic of "circularity" through the different moments of the life of the Institute.

These elements or dimensions are accentuated in a special way in the various phases through which the Institute continues to deepen its relationship with the Founder.

"Cf. Bishop Giuseppe Maria Sciandra for l'approvazione dello Istituto e del Costituzioni delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice [sd] Manoscritto originale, Cartella Mornese, authentic copy (Acqui 26 [?] Gennaio 1876), in: ACVA, Registri 17

48 Cf. Loc. Cit.

"Maria Domenica S. MAZZARELLO, Letter to Don Bosco, Mornese, 22 June 1874, in: ME POSADA (ed.), Lettere di S. Maria Domenica Mazzarello, Confondatrice dell'Istituto delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice, Rome, Istituto FMA 1980 , pp. 51-52.

In the difficult moment of the legal separation of the Institute of the Salesian Society, which was carried out in force of the Normae secundum quas emanated from the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars in 1901 and carried into effect in the Institute from the Constitutions of 1906 , 5 ° the Institute deepens in its relations with the Founder and, even acquiring legal autonomy, finds in the spiritual connection with the Salesian Society in the person of the Rector Major pro tempore, the point of suture with the spirit of the origins.

From 1907 to 1920, and precisely through successive clarifications brought about in the process of beatification and canonization of Don Bosco, 5 'the Church, the Salesian Society and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have the possibility to show in an incontrovertible way the foundation of the historical paternity of Don Bosco with regard to the feminine Institute founded by him, thus vanishing any hypothesis on a simple adoptive paternity, since it clarifies the real role of Don Pestarino in order to found the FMA.

Las fuerzas renovadoras del Vaticano II que impulsa a los institutos religiosos hacia la memoria de su origen y al mismo tiempo hacia la profecía de su futuro, solicitó también la dinámica de la «circularidad» llevando al Instituto a ahondar en el carisma de los orígenes. El texto de las Constituciones renovadas aparece en ese sentido como síntesis de memoria y profecía.52
En esta vuelta refleja sobre la historia y la espiritualidad del Instituto apareció con rasgos más definidos la figura de Santa María Dominga Mazzarello. Don Bosco, Fundador del Instituto de modo inequívoco, no es el único y solo Fundador. La colaboración eficaz y esencial de la Madre Mazzarello animó a la Iglesia a conferirle el título de Cofundadora en sentido verdadero y propio.

La última observación se sitúa en el plano metodológico. Por la dinámica continua, progresiva y circular que se da entre el Instituto y sus Fundadores se impone una continua y progresiva búsqueda documental en orden a una hermenéutica correcta en los diferentes campos: histórico, teológico, jurídico, pedagógico, pastoral, social. A mi parecer, el Instituto está en los pródromos del momento heurístico, tal vez el más delicado, pero también el más fecundo.

Heurística, exégesis y hermenéutica son también dimensiones de una circularidad que lleva, en forma de espiral, a una continua y diría que inagotable investigación del pasado en orden al progreso real de la historia.

" Cf. Normae secundum quas S. Congr. Episcoporum et Regularium procedere solet in approbandis Novis Institutis Votorum simplicium, Typis S.C. de Propaganda Fide, 1901 (cf. IsTrruro FIGLIE DI MARIA AUSILIATRICE, Costituzioni delle Figlie di Maria Ausillatrice fondate da Don Bosco, Torino, Tip. Salesiana 1906).

51 Para un estudio de los procesos de beatificación de don Bosco, cf. P. STELLA, Don Bosco III. Respecto a la fundación del Instituto, en el ámbito de los procesos de don Bosco y de la Madre Mazzarello, cf. M. Mumil, Madre Mazzarello. I1 significato del titolo di Confondatrice, Roma, LAS 1982.

" Cf. ISTITUTO FIGLIE DI MARIA AUSILIATRICE, Costituzioni e Regolamenti, Roma, Istituto FMA 1982.

Giuseppe BRACCO

La ocasión del Centenario ha estimulado, sin duda, la atención de los estudiosos sobre la historia de don Bosco. Pero, según la propia especialización (en mi caso, la economía), seguir tras la figura de don Bosco ha significado también tratar de entender cuál era el contexto en el que se fue desarrollando su obra. Mi residencia en Turín ha supuesto para mí una ocasión afortunada para ir a las fuentes originales de la documentación que queda de aquel período.

En esta ocasión me gustaría exponer a los presentes algunas consideraciones, más que un discurso completo, que requeriría otro momento muy diverso, para intentar presentar los estímulos, con sus nuevas indicaciones, que se derivan de las investigaciones realizadas. Trataría también de dar una nueva clave de lectura (si se me permite hablar así) de los estudios conocidos desde hace tiempo y que han contribuido a formar una imagen, consolidada ya, de lo que sucedió en aquellas décadas, sumamente representativas para Turín, comprendidas entre 1840 y 1880.

Se han visto nuevos documentos, pero sobre todo se ha visto que hoy se aborda la historia económica de la Italia del siglo XIX de manera totalmente nueva, que se hace muy interesante también para entender a don Bosco.

Hace unos treinta años se pusieron de moda en Italia los estudios de historia económica, por desgracia con una corriente ideológica predominante, que veía en la aplicación del materialismo histórico una verdad sólidamente erigida a la que muchos acudieron, aunque sólo fuese para aceptar los resultados que aquellos estudios dieron a conocer. Digo esto, porque la visión que se da a veces del Turín del siglo XIX como de una ciudad que vive el período preliminar al despegue del desarrollo industrial, parece hoy universalmente forzada. No se puede ya decir o escribir, como se ha hecho, que el Turín del siglo XIX recuerda el Londres de la fase preindustrial o, peor aún, el Londres de
los primeros años de la revolución industrial. Desde luego que no: basta considerar que la revolución industrial turinesa e italiana se sitúa claramente en la década a caballo entre los dos siglos, el XIX y el )

Para una información más amplia sobre el tema tratado en esta comunicación, se puede ver: G. BRACCO (ed.), Torino e don Bosco, vol. I, Torino, Archivio Storico della dttá di Torino 1989 (n.d.e.).

Tratando de construir un cuadro, lo más objetivo posible, de aquella reajidad, estudiosos italianos, estudiosos franceses, estudiosos ingleses, en una .

labra, estudiosos europeos convienen en que la situación económica y social d pae la Italia y también del Turín de aquel período tuvo características propias, pe.. culiares, que no se encuentran en otras partes. Para decirlo en términos económicos, se ha entendido ya claramente que el lento desarrollo italiano fue tal que consintió garantizar una oferta de bienesy servicios, que había en realdad, capaz de responder a la demanda de bienes y servicios que hacía la sociedad italiana. Con esta premisa, se hace más fácil entender el cuadro social y civil del Turín en el que trabaja don Bosco.

Era una ciudad que tenía un tejido muy abierto, muy desmenuzado en actividades productivas, no ciertamente industriales, sino de tipo artesanal, aunque a veces las técnicas usadas eran las de las innovaciones que se conocían en el resto de Europa.

El papel de capital, por otra parte, presentaba todavía a Turín con características diversas, porque, a pesar de todo, Turín era ciudad de servicios más que ciudad de producción. Turín se convertirá en ciudad de producción sobre todo al final del siglo.

Entonces esta ciudad de servicios exigía una masa de hombres, mujeres y campesinos, que venían con un espíritu que recordaba todavía la costumbre de la edad moderna, cuando los pobres del campo, en los momentos de dificultad acudían a las grandes ciudades, porque allí era más probable encontrar recursos para la propia vida, que nacían de la aplicación del viejo dicho católico de la caridad como instrumento real para la redistribución de la renta. Por tanto venían a Turín muchos pobres, hoy diríamos marginados, no tanto porque se encontrase en vías de transformación económico-productiva, sino porque Turín era en todo caso el centro en el que era posible aprovechar la oportunidad de sobrevivir.

Hace falta también tener presente que Turín era la capital de un reino amplio, tal vez el mayor en términos territoriales del contexto italiano (lo formaban Saboya, Piamonte, Liguria, la zona de la actual Costa Azul, la parte marítima y Cerdeña) y por tanto en condiciones de ejercer un reclamo sobre la población pobre de un vasto territorio.

El don Bosco que llega a Turín es portador de los valores que se dan en la ciudad, que se dan en Piamonte. Y estos valores suyos en relación con la sociedad civil los explicita todos en el curso de su acción. Estar presente en esta ciudad con los valores antiguos significaba tener que enfrentarse con un Municipio que derivaba de los antiguos valores de los Ayuntamientos libres y, por tanto, con una autoridad ciudadana que afectaba a toda la ciudad; significaba enfrentarse con el Gobierno del Estado, con la monarquía por tanto, el rey, los ministros y también con una determinada Iglesia. No me compete, desde luego, a mí hacer aquí la historia de aquella Iglesia, pero es una Iglesia que aparece muy en consonancia con una tradición que es del Estado, que tiene un cierto modo de situarse, en los siglos anteriores y también en el XIX, en las entre Iglesia y Estado, lin Estado, Piamonte, que representa también npoecquliue cufiar.

Un contradecirme, parece que los primeros actos, los mstouy primeros pasos que dio don Bosco en Turín están de acuerdo con el plan que -tiene toda la Iglesia de Turín. Un dato que me ha chocado enseguida, apenas me he puesto a leer entre los documentos de don Bosco que están en los archivos comunales, es que don Bosco no está nunca solo. Don Bosco actúa con un grupo de sacerdotes, que parecen todos orientados hacia un mismo objetivo, la intervención en el sector de la marginación y del malestar social, según esquemas que son también antiguos.

Son los personajes que vienen hoy al recuerdo como una riqueza de la Iglesia del siglo XIX, de don Borel a Cafasso, Murialdo y tantos otros. Si se leen con este punto de vista las Memorias biográficas y se anotan sólo los nombres de todos los sacerdotes que pasaron por Valdocco trabajando con don Bosco, nos damos cuenta del fenómeno: don Bosco no está nunca solo; trabaja, permítaseme el término, con una multitud de sacerdotes que trabajan en la ciudad, según un plan que parece común. Que el plan esté trazado antes o que resulte sólo a posteriori como consecuencia de las actuaciones posteriores es hoy de difícil interpretación.

Una carta que hemos encontrado — era desconocida, pero hoy ha circulado ya — de marzo del 46, dirigida por don Bosco a Michele di Cavour, en la que pide permiso para llevar su obra a Valdocco, pone en cuatro puntos fundamentales — autógrafos, en el sentido de que están firmados por don Bosco los principios según los cuales se moverá después don Bosco siempre en la sociedad civil.

El primer punto — escribe — es el amor al trabajo; el segundo, la frecuencia de los santos Sacramentos; el tercero, importantísimo desde nuestro punto de vista actual, el respeto a toda superioridad; el cuarto, la fuga de los compañeros malos, cosa ésta que se puede leer también en términos de simple sociedad civil.

En una ciudad en la que hay mucho malestar; donde hay autoridades muy presentes, hay una Iglesia que trabaja, la relación con las instituciones, con la sociedad civil, se convierte en un instrumento ineludible, debe darse.

Es casi posible (he usado el término) seguir los pasos de don Bosco en sus movimientos por la ciudad. No hay prácticamente ningún acto fundamental, ninguna opción, que don Bosco no haya sometido a la atención de la sociedad civil. Cualquier construcción, desde la más sencilla pared hasta el edificio más grande, desde la pequeña Capilla Pinardi hasta la gran Basílica de María Auxiliadora, se realiza siempre después de haber obtenido el permiso de la autoridad civil. También la intervención en las obras, desde las grandes escuelas hasta la intervención con cada persona, se hace siempre teniendo en cuenta a la sociedad civil. Precisamente la intervención con cada muchacho, por ejemplo, nos presenta un modo de afrontar el problema tan moderno, tan como se haría hoy, que a mí me ha parecido excepcional.

Cuando el Ayuntamiento, la Prefectura, la Jefatura de policía del Gobierno, debían afrontar el caso de un muchacho, diríamos, en peligro o abandonado, como no tenía entonces el Estado saboyano prevista ninguna estructura para intervenir en ese sector y como sólo existían las instituciones que hoy definimos nosotros como IPAB, pedían a don Bosco que interviniese.

En el curso de las investigaciones emprendidas para la preparación de un estudio, promovido por la Administración comunal de Turín, he tenido lá suerte de encontrar cartas que considero muy hermosas, en un fondo del Archivo del Estado de Roma, en las que don Bosco respondía a las peticiones para. que se interesase por los muchachos. Estas cartas son pequeños proyectos para una actuación en la que se examina al muchacho en sus cosas esenciales, se comunica a la autoridad civil, porque parece que don Bosco quería que su modo de actuar fuese, más que aceptado, reconocido por la autoridad civil. Resulta entonces que si el muchacho es demasiado joven, don Bosco dirá: «Mirad que debemos enviarlo primero a ese otro sitio; cuando tenga la edad apropiada, lo aceptaré». Examina a otro muchacho y escribe: «No tiene todavía instrucción. Lo enviamos a la escuela, después le orientaremos al trabajo, pero viendo e intentando comprender cuál es su inclinación personal». O bien viene un muchacho que tiene problemas porque el padre ha tenido -que ver con la justicia, o hasta ha sido ajusticiado, y don Bosco: «Atención, que poner a un muchacho de este tipo con otros muchachos, le puede suponer molestias ulteriores, porque los muchachos, en su malicia involuntaria, pueden perseguirlo tomándole el pelo, y por tanto no obtenemos el resultado de suprimir el malestar, sino de empeorarlo».

Esta referencia continua resulta un elemento importante. Si además, de estos episodios que se refieren a personas y, por tanto, en cierta medida reservados, ampliamos el examen a los hechos más generales que afectan a las comunidades de personas, encontramos comportamientos que son igualmente precisos al buscar su diálogo con la sociedad civil.

Me ha asombrado siempre, al leer la hagiografía tradicional de don Bosco, que para él todas las cosas eran difíciles. ¿Es posible? Y parece que casi todas las veces, para lograr hacer algo, tenía que suceder un hecho extemporáneo, por no decir de tipo casi ultraterreno. Hay siempre alguna intervención que se lo ayuda a resolver. Cuando quiere hacer la Basílica de María Auxiliadora, los malvados del Aytmtamiehto no quieren que se dedique a María Auxiliadora; cuando quiere ir a Valdocco, Michele Cavour grita y así por el estilo. Es decir, cada cosa que hace don Bosco, parece que la tradición la presenta como sumamente difícil. Después llega allí el toque, el deus ex machina que resuelve el problema.

Me he convencido de una cosa: don Bosco usa como método educativo, pedagógico, pero también como método concreto para construir la presencia de su obra en la sociedad civil, un instrumento que puede parecer feo, pero que tiene, en cambio, connotaciones hermosas por las consecuencias que supone. En la comunidad en que vive hay un proyecto, él quiere interesar a dos, él se pasa la vida interesando a personas. Entonces dice: «Tenemos que todos,
esto,-pero es una cosa difícil y hace falta sudar para lograrla». Todos los de la comunidad tienen que participar en ello. El que pueda hacer algo, debe hacerlo. Y en el caso limite de que alguno no pueda trabajar debe también (y perdóneseme el sólo) rezar. Pero tiene que interesarse, tiene que sudar. Esónloeste punto, con el interés de todos, salta el otro mecanismo, que es el de la solidaridad: todos juntos, uno para el otro, porque se tiene algo que alcanzar que está en consonancia con un fin. Este mecanismo construye una comunidad que vive unida, que se beneficia de ello y que encuentra elementos de impulso en los momentos en que después se obtiene el resultado.

Sí leemos las cartas de ese modo, vemos que hasta hay momentos en los que don Bosco ya tiene el permiso en el bolsillo para algunas cosas, ya ha obtenido el permiso de quien tiene que darlo, pero no lo dice enseguida.

Nada. Hay que conquistar cada cosa.

Desde ese punto de vista, he estudiado, tal vez rozando la paranoia, los diversos actos de las loterías de don Bosco. Todos recuerdan las loterías como un instrumento para obtener medios financieros, para construir, para hacer, para actuar. Leyendo esas cosas, he encontrado aspectos muy diferentes. Las loterías son uno de los instrumentos mayores para interesar a la sociedad civil en la obra de don Bosco. Don Bosco, cuando lanza una lotería, presenta una idea. Después comienza a actuar para interesar a todos, que es una obra enorme, para recoger los regalos. El momento de la venta de papeletas es, sí, un momento de compromiso, pero sin duda menor que el compromiso que se ha suscitado antes para formar la Comisión promotora, reunir a los sostenedores y a los donantes: son miles de personas. Y después, muy bien, habrá que hacer seguir el acto de la venta de papeletas, de la realización de la tómbola y el sorteo, con ideas estupendas, como la lotería con premio único: se sortea; ¿quién tiene el número?; nadie lo tiene; lo tenía don Bosco y la cosa queda en casa.

Si se me permite (no querría robar más tiempo del debido), la relación con la sociedad civil la concretaría de este modo: la frase del joven sacerdote que va a Valdocco — «amor al trabajo y respeto a toda superioridad» — se convierte en un modelo que seguir para toda la vida.

La relación con las instituciones es propia de un personaje que forma parte de la comunidad regida por esas instituciones, pero que se pone frente a ellas con igual dignidad.

Él sabe que desempeña un cometido que las instituciones no son capaces de desempeñar y que él, en cambio, garantiza. Entonces esa igual dignidad se hace grande, pero hace falta descender después de las instituciones a toda la sociedad civil y el único instrumento, el verdadero instrumento es el de interesar, interés que implica solidaridad y que al final lleva a la construcción de la comunidad, que yo veo de todos modos, y de la que hablaba con algunos aini. gos esta mañana, en la gran Familia salesiana de hoy.

La rapidez con que los proyectos salesianos llegan al conocimiento de toda la Familia salesiana, por ejemplo, parece un instrumento inventado por don Bosco. Esta mañana citaba el «correo salesiano», como un instrumento para interesar, que parece contrastar a veces con las reglas de la sociedad civil, pero que interesa porque así se está al servicio recíproco, según un plan que es global, para alcanzar resultados que son comunes.

Para terminar, digo que yo leo las Memorias biográficas ya casi exclusivamente más como un monumento a un método pedagógico que como un verdadero documento de historia crítica y, probablemente, hará falta seguir ese camino de la búsqueda de documentos fuera de las instituciones salesianas, porque son muchos y consienten cotejar los comportamientos. En las Memorias biográficas tenemos el instrumento que sirvió para el compromiso; fuera tenemos, en cambio, los documentos que nos permiten captar realmente la grandeza de las cosas que se hicieron.

Muchas gracias por su atención.


1. Un contexto complejo

Gian Mario Bravo en un rico volumen, a pesar de todo, sobre Torino operaia. Mondo del lavoro e idee sociali nell'etá di Carlo Alberto,' mientras aporta con amplitud ideas y actividades de conservadores y moderados sociales, de radicales y reformadores sociales, del primer movimiento obrero y de las sociedad de ayuda mutua, liquida en una paginita la obra de Giuseppe Conolengo y de Giovanni Bosco, escribiendo que «la caridad cristiana y el paternalismo piamontés se unían estrechamente dando lugar a realizaciones también eminentes que, tanto en su concepción como en su ejecución, quedaron limitadas a grupos restringidos de individuos y no llegaron a generalizarse a toda la sociedad». Y prosigue: « [Sus] actividades estaban viciadas por la idea fundamental que movía a ambos, por la que todo quedaba abandonado en las manos piadosas de una providencia divina». Y añade «que hubiera podido, según se le ocurriese, aliviar los males o también agravarlos», por lo que «la única posibilidad de ayuda para los pobres era que los ricos y los nobles de buen corazón se interesasen por ellos dándoles un lecho, una sopa, un local en que reunirse. De ese modo — concluye — seguían extraños a los movimientos reales de las masas y de sus necesidades y, apoyados por las clases dominantes, únicamente podían caminar hacia un subproletariado, aún más miserable y oprimido que los trabajadores normales, pero también con problemas menores que estos últimos y preocupados sólo por procurarse algo con que alimentarse»? «No queremos negar el bien que hicieron estos dos sacerdotes y las instituciones que promovieron; pero observamos que la teorización de sus ideas, intentada más por sus seguidores que por ellos mismos, suponían un impedimento al progreso social e intelectual de las masas y de la misma sociedad piamontesa, al considerar a esta última inmóvil en el tiempo, como si estuviese
Cf. G.M. BRAVO, Torino operaia. Mondo del lavoro e idee sociali nell'eta di Carlo Alberto,
Torino 1968.

2 Ibid., p. 152.

cautiva y enferma por constitución y sólo pudiese mejorar en algunas partes marginales: de ahí procedía su interés por el pueblo y sus males ».3
Ahora bien, aparte la distinción que habría que hacer entre la acción de Cottolengo, orientada a aliviar y proteger los estratos más marginados de la sociedad, y la de don Bosco que si en sus comienzos intentaba acoger y ayudar con caridad cristiana a los jóvenes campesinos que venían a buscar trabajo a la ciudad y se encontraban abandonados (el primer esbozo de constituciones sobre la finalidad de la obra salesiana indicaba los giovani «poverelli», convertidos después sólo en «giovani»), en un segundo momento amplió su obra de la preparación a la colocación y a la asistencia, tal vez sin plantearse el problema de las clases en transformación (como advierte Guasco y con él muchos hístoriadores)4 y, mucho menos, el de una organización de lucha de clases, difícilmente aceptada entonces hasta por los laicos. Por eso hace falta subrayar con Scoppola que si hay que situarle en la linea de los santos sociales que, a partir de Cafasso y Cottolengo y a través de él llega a Murialdo, representando un aspecto original de la sociedad piamontesa, los espacios de su acción fueron amplios, llegando no sólo al campo de la asistencia, sino a muchos problemas conectados con los procesos de modernización del país al día siguiente de la Unidad? Nos parece entonces que no se puede ni siquiera afirmar que «sus instituciones pertenecen a la patética prehistoria paleocapitalista»6 y no han incidido en lo más mínimo en el gran curso de la historia sucesiva. Al contrarío, la Institución salesiana — como escribe un historiador laico, Bairati — se convierte en lugar de paso y de inculturación para los jóvenes que «van del campo a la ciudad, de una sociedad que empieza a ser industrial y se orienta hacia la modernidad, de un modelo de vida y de cultura que se basa en ritmos de comportamiento ligados al trabajo agrícola o paleoartesanal a un modelo de vida y de cultura unido a ritmos y comportamientos más ordenados y estructurados»;' por lo que el modelo cultural salesiano, «aun presentando algunas connotaciones que lo contraponen tajantemente a los tiempos en que nació y anche alla Tocino liberale di Cavour e Gobetti, e alla Torino operaia di Gramsci, alla Torino del lavoro, della imprenditoria, della cultura».

3 Ibid., p. 152.

4 Cf. M. GUASCO, Don Bosco nella storia religiosa del suo tempo, en: Don Bosco e le sfide della modernitá (Quaderno del Centro Studi «C. Trabucco», 11), Torino, Stabilimento Poli9rafico Editoriale «C. Fanton» 1988, p. 4. El juicio está tomado de L. PAZZAGLIA, Apprendistato e istruzione
degli artigiani a Valdocco (1846-1886), en: F. TRANIELLO (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, Torino, SEI 1987.

5 Cf. P. SCOPPOLA, Don Bosco nella storia civile, en: Don Bosco e le sfide, p. 20. A este propósito, recuérdese lo que dice el mismo Scoppola, en la conclusión de su conferencia: «Don Bosco appartiene a pieno titolo alla storia civile del nostro paese e di questo nostro travagliato mondo contemporaneo. Appartiene perció a tutta Tocino: alla Torino cristiana e cattolica, ma
6 Cf. S. QUINZIO. Domande sulla santitá. Don Bosco, Cafasso, Cottolengo, Torino, Gruppo Abele 1986, p. 88.

7 Cf. P. BAIRATI, Cultura salesiana e societá industriale, en: TRANIELLO (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, p. 338.

se desarrolló, encuentra después en otros niveles una relación propia unida estrechamente con la historia de la sociedad».8 Se hace así moderno, no en el te- rreno de las doctrinas sino en el de la organización, caracterizado por una j fuerte autonomía económica, por una notable capacidad expansiva, y por una especial capacidad de estimular y madurar a los individuos en el trabajo y en la conquista de un papel social, por lo que el mismo Bairati lo pudo definir como «un extraordinario organizador tayloriano del amor cristiano ».9

2. Concepción del trabajo en don Bosco

En este contexto — complejo si queremos, como a juicio de muchos es el personaje de don Bosco — hay que situar su concepción del trabajo y su acción en el mundo del trabajo. Su concepción primera y fundamental del trabajo no podía ser más que la bíblica, en su acepción más inmediata y primaria: in sudore vultus tui vesceris pave." El trabajo como medio para ganar con qué vivir, la fatiga del trabajo como consecuencia del pecado. Y también el largo sueño de más de seis horas tenido en la noche entre el 1 y el 2 de mayo de 1861 (cuando un misterioso personaje le mostró los muchos jóvenes que se perdían y le indicó el camino de salvación para sus muchachos con tres palabras: labor, sudor, fervor, explicándole después: «Labor in assiduis operibus, sudor in poenitentiis continuis, fervor in orationibus ferventibus et perseverantibus», es decir, fatiga en el trabajo cotidiano, sudor en las penitencias continuas, fervor en las oraciones perseverantes) puede confirmar esta concepción,u así como aquello que prometía a quien quería entrar en su congregación: «pan, trabajo y paraíso».13 Comenzando por su trabajo: el de su infancia como necesidad para sobrevivir, primero en su casa y después al servicio de otros campesinos.

Y cuando tuvo que interrumpir los estudios para acoplarse a las pretensiones de su hermanastro, volvió a las duras fatigas del campo. Peón en la granja Moglia, se levantaba al amanecer y trabajaba hasta la noche. Reemprendidos los estudios en Castelnuovo y en Chieri, se ganaba la pensión y las matrículas trabajando de criado y de preceptor, de camarero, sastre, mozo de cuadra. Trabajaba también durante las vacaciones, como él mismo escribió más tarde: «Hacía husos, canillas, trompos, bochas o bolas en el torno, cosía zapatos; Izabajaba en hierro, en madera. Aún hoy hay en mi casa de Morialdo un escritorio, una mesa de comedor con algunas sillas que me recuerdan los muebles de aquellas vacaciones mías. Me dedicaba también a segar la hierba en los prados, a cosechar el trigo en el campo; a despampanar, a despabilar, a vendimiar, a hacer vino, a trasvasar el vino y cosas por el estilo»."

8 Cf. Ibid., p. 333.

9 Cf. Ibid., p. 355.

'O Sobre la complejidad del «personaje» don Bosco, cf. G. DACQUINO, Psicologia di don Bosco, Tocino, SEI 1988.

" Gen 3,19, al que se podría añadir el v.17: in laboribus comedes ex ea (la tierra) diebus vitae tuae. Cf. también lo que don Bosco escribe en la Storia sacra (nueva edición corregida: Tocino 1855), p. 9-10. Y en el Primo piano di regolamento per la casa annessa all' Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales, cap. «Del lavoro», se lee: «1°) L'uomo, miei cari, é nato per lavorare. Adamo fu collocato nel paradiso terrestre affinché lo coltivasse. S. Paolo dice: é indegno di mangiare chi non vuol lavorare. 2°) Per lavoro s'intende l'adempimento dei doveri del proprio stato sia di studio che di arte o mestiere. 3°) Ma ricordatevi che mediante il lavoro potete rendervi benemeriti della so-cica, della religione e far del bese all'anima vostra, specialmente se offrite a Dio le vostre occupazioni [...]. 7°) Chi é obbligato a lavorare e non lavora fa un furto» (MB IV, 748s.).

u Cf. MB VI, 904. " Cf. MB XII, 598.

Ahora bien, aun teniendo en cuenta la abundancia de la prosa del Santo y un poco también su protagonismo, deberíamos decir que nunca dejó el trabajo. No sólo en aquel primer período de su vida, sino también después. Su trabajo podía ser ahora dar vueltas por Turín en busca de muchachos abandonados, encontrar bienhechores, educar a sus hijos espirituales, pero nunca desder.% el trabajo manual: poner un remiendo a un traje, arreglar una puerta, encuadernar un libro, ayudar a los albañiles a poner ladrillos en la iglesia de María Auxiliadora.

El concebía el trabajo manual (y trataba de que lo fuese también para sus muchachos) como fuente de ingresos para sostenerse en la vida, como palestra de formación del espíritu y, por último, como maduración para las futuras responsabilidades y salvaguardia de la moralidad." Pero no más.

Se ha exagerado tal vez al hablar de la laicidad en la concepción que tenía don Bosco del trabajo." Habría sido más justo subrayar la valoración positiva del trabajo, como hizo Veneruso," valoración positiva que ve en la no distinción de calidad en sus especificaciones y variedades de desarrollo, en la asociación del trabajo a la oración para la salvación del alma," a la convicción de que el trabajo contribuye a la ascesis personal más que las mismas penitencias. «No os recomiendo penitencias ni ayunos, sino trabajo, trabajo, trabajo», repetía frecuentemente a sus jóvenes." Ciertamente si se entiende por laicidad (como la entendió el Superior mayor en su discurso de Milán) la importancia
" MO 95s.

M. PERRINI, Politice e imprenditorialita di don Bosco, en «Studium» (1988) 269-274, habla de una cultura salesiana del trabajo, sintetizada en la expresión de don Bosco «chi non sa lavorare non é salesiano», y nota también en don Bosco «una vivacissima disposizione al confronto col moderno in campi come il sistema di produzione industriale, le innovazioni scientifiche e tecnologiche, la ricerca di migliori condizioni di vita e di lavoro per la classe operaia».

16 Cf. SCOPPOLA, Don Bosco nella storia titile, p. 11, en donde afirma que don Bosco anticipó, en los hechos y en la praxis, muchos elementos de aquella visión de la «laicidad» que el concilio Vaticano II ha hecho propia.

" Cf. D. VENERUSO, II metodo educativo di San Giovanni Bosco alía prova. Dai laboratori agli istituti professionali, en: BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 134.

18 Cf. MB X12, 598.

19 Cf. 1V18 IV, 216.

given to the temporal order, the openness to the progress of the sciences, the organizational competence, one can agree to speak also of the "secular" concept of work in Don Bosco. But less, it seems to me, when the same Don View?) Affirms: "Don Bosco, in his concrete way of acting, always demonstrated - a special sensitivity towards the many positive aspects of the secularity peculiar to the world of work, which is in recognizing the goodness and order proper to the creation and testimony of the royalty that man exerts over creation through his activity. "2 Here Don Bosco appears almost as an anticipator of the theology of earthly realities. And in this line Scoppola also seems to be writing when he writes: "If a layman is the one for whom things are, that is, they have their own value, according to a beautiful definition of the theologian Congar, then we have to say that Don Bosco anticipated with facts and praxis many elements of the appreciation of secularism that the Second Vatican Council made its own "21 And still less does it seem to us that we can accept Pietro Prini's assessment that the method of gift Bosco anticipated the intuitions of the personalist humanism of our century. ' So that our evaluations on the concept of work that Don Bosco and his ideas are better, we like to compare them with a speech on May 21, 1862 of a liberalizing priest, Giacomo Zanella, on the occasion of the transfer of a church to a society of mutual help of workers. «The natural condition of man affirms - is to earn the bread with work». But he immediately adds that this work is ennobled by the manual work of Jesus and sees in the work the continuation of creation. "Working is our mission on earth. When God created the world and accommodated it to our needs, he reserved the main part of the task, but he entrusted the rest to the action of man: as a noble artist who, once made a design with his hand, lets the students put the colors [...] In the same way that without God the world does not subsist, neither does life without man subsist: it is necessary that each day God and man collaborate together so that life may be maintained; the first supplies matter and forces; the second puts his work and adapts to his needs the one and the other. God begins and man continues [...]. The worker is the true conqueror of the world;
20 The speech of the Rector Major, Don E.Viganó, has been published in the special issue, dedicated to the figure of Don Bosco in "Rassegna CNOS" 4 (1988) 5-13, in a somewhat different way from the cyclostyl where it appeared for the first time.

21 SCOPPOLA, Don Bosco nella storia civile, p. 11. And it continues: «11 cosiddetto" preventive method "- ma l'espressione oggi pul) will lend itself unintentionally to appraise how much positively the gioventú esprime". But all this seems too little to be able to speak of "secularism" in Don Bosco.

22 Cf. P. PIUNI, in the presentation of the essay of S. PALUMBIERI, Don Bosco and l'uomo, Torino, Gribaudi 1987.

'G. ZANELLA, Religione e lavoro, in: Le auspicatissime nozze Scola-Patella, Vicenza 1863, p. 32-33. Cf. also the recent essay by P. MARANGON, Cristianesimo sociale e questione operaia
It is not necessary to see in Don Bosco philosophical or theological anticipations to consider it great. It is enough what he thought in reality, according to the judgments of his time, with a certain pragmatism that knew how to adapt to the present and prepare to wait for the future. It is enough to notice that he had a concept and esteem of work in the sense of a personal dedication and an activity charged with the spirit of sacrifice, but also of inventiveness. It has been well observed by a psychologist, Giacomo Dacquíno, making us see that Don Bosco encouraged his collaborators to work versatility: "We have to be willing to go up to the pulpit or go to church; to teach or sweep; to give catechism or to pray in the church or to assist in the courtyard; to study quietly in the room or to go with the young people on a trip; to command or to obey ». 24 It was the night of January 20 and he had done it since he had started. He, who had been a conjuror, an acrobat, a tailor, a carpenter, a musician, a writer, a bookbinder, a priest. And so did the coadjutors, the clerics, the priests of Valdocco.

And this work was understood not only as an existential need, but also as a value through which one's personality is constructed, realized and expressed. There is a difference between working to produce and working for love, between work that ends up in the consumer society (and, therefore, end in itself) and a work at the service of man and, therefore, an expression of charity. «The first charity», Don Cusmano would say, Don Bosco Sicilian.25
Another of the emphases that we think must be done about Don Bosco's concept of work is his appreciation of manual labor and intellectual work; so in their homes it welcomed, in the beginnings also physically together, students and artisans. There had to be no essential difference of value and dignity, therefore, but, if anything, of complementarity: indeed, he was convinced that manual and intellectual work were reciprocally correlative for the formation of a complete personality; so it is necessary to give a culture, albeit simple, to the artisans and accustom the students to material work as well. And this one seems like a real anticipation.

nel pensiero di Giacomo Zanella and Antonio Fogazzaro, in "Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia" (1988) 111-130. Notice also what Zanella affirms on p. 58: «L'uomo ha fi diritto al lavoro perché sen7a lavoro non avrebbe la vita di ogni giorno. Per conseguenza ogni ostacolo che come posto all'esercizio di questo diritto é grave ingiuria che piú o mero direttamente vien falta alla vita medesima ». But it seems to us that this quote and the precedents do not go beyond the pure conception of "social paternalism" that Marangon attributes to Zanella.

24 MB VII, 47.

25 Cf. G. DACQUINO, Psychology of Don Bosco, p. 155. "11 lavoro e prima prima" used to repeat Blessed Giacomo Cusmano, Don Bosco Sicilian, and we thought that the same idea could be shared by Don Bosco himself (although, perhaps, it was never pronounced), taking into account your initiatives and writings. About Cusmano and his social work, cf. MT FALZONE, Giacomo Cusmano. Poveri, Chiesa e societá nella Sicilia dell'ottocento (1834-1871), Palermo 1986. About analogous initiatives from Palermo: MT FALZONE, Carita e assistenza nella Chiesa palermitana dell'Ottocento in «Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia» (1988) 70-110.

3. Types of work

As far as the type of work is concerned, it should be noted that at the beginning the students prevailed over the artisans. Indeed, in 1855 in the hundred young people hosted in Valdocco, students represented 49.40%, artisans 37.34%; while in 1891, three years after the death of Don Bosco, 800 craftsmen, 200 employees in the printing press and 400 students were housed between Valdocco, Porta Nuova and Valsalice.26 It had been the demands of the times that had led him to greater attention to manual work, as well as the return of diocesan seminarians to their respective seminars.

I think, however, that Don Bosco's concept of work and its development over time should be assessed from the Oratory. It is an observation that I consider fundamental and that I do not always see respected. The Oratory is, in effect, the starting point and will continue to be the point of meeting, of coordination, of new activities. It is Don Bosco himself who tells us. In a booklet printed in 1862, Invito ad un lotteria d'oggetti in Torino a favor degli Oratori, he observed the following: "In Turin, for several years, three oratories were opened for boys in the main neighborhoods of the city, 27 in which welcomes the largest possible number of young people in danger. They are entertained there with honest and pleasant recess after having fulfilled the festive precept, they are stimulated with prizes, with a little gymnastics and classes. A notable number of attentive gentlemen come in solicitous response to our request to give their service giving catechesis, watching the fulfillment of their duty in the different workshops, and looking for work, if unemployed, with honest patrons. In the Oratory of San Luis and San Francisco de Sales there are daily classes for young people who, due to the poverty of their clothes or their indiscipline, would not be admitted to public schools. In addition to religious instruction, they receive reading, writing, arithmetic, metric, Italian grammar and other subjects. But among these young people are some so poor and abandoned, that they could not dedicate themselves to any trade if they are not given shelter, food and clothing. To these needs the house adjoins the Oratory of San Francisco de Sales. There are also night classes, as well as work in workshops and elementary knowledge to artisans, as well as Gregorian chant, vocal and instrumental music. These classes are for both external and internal. In addition, as Divine Providence provides many young people with uncommon ingenuity, being without material means to progress in their studies, an access to that house was opened to them, whether they can pay the entire pension or pay part or do not pay anything. , provided they have capacity and good behavior. These, for the most part, become school teachers, others are engaged in commerce and those who have a vocation are oriented to the ecclesiastical state. "28 In addition to work in workshops and elementary knowledge to artisans, as well as Gregorian chant, vocal and instrumental music. These classes are for both external and internal. In addition, as Divine Providence provides many young people with uncommon ingenuity, being without material means to progress in their studies, an access to that house was opened to them, whether they can pay the entire pension or pay part or do not pay anything. , provided they have capacity and good behavior. These, for the most part, become school teachers, others are engaged in commerce and those who have a vocation are oriented to the ecclesiastical state. "28 In addition to work in workshops and elementary knowledge to artisans, as well as Gregorian chant, vocal and instrumental music. These classes are for both external and internal. In addition, as Divine Providence provides many young people with uncommon ingenuity, being without material means to progress in their studies, an access to that house was opened to them, whether they can pay the entire pension or pay part or do not pay anything. , provided they have capacity and good behavior. These, for the most part, become school teachers, others are engaged in commerce and those who have a vocation are oriented to the ecclesiastical state. "28 As Divine Providence endows many young people with uncommon ingenuity, since they have no material means to progress in their studies, they were given access to that house, whether they can pay the entire pension or pay part or do not pay anything, such that they have capacity and good behavior. These, for the most part, become school teachers, others are engaged in commerce and those who have a vocation are oriented to the ecclesiastical state. "28 As Divine Providence endows many young people with uncommon ingenuity, since they have no material means to progress in their studies, they were given access to that house, whether they can pay the entire pension or pay part or do not pay anything, such that they have capacity and good behavior. These, for the most part, become school teachers, others are engaged in commerce and those who have a vocation are oriented to the ecclesiastical state. "28

26 The data are taken from P. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica sociale (1815-1870), Rome, LAS 1980, p. 180,612.

27 These are those of San Luis in Porta Nuova, of San Francisco de Sales in Valdocco, of the Angel Custodio in Vanchiglia.

When Don Bosco wrote this invitation, in 1862, the organization is almost complete (the printing press has also been launched) and we are in the final stages, but - as you can see - the three oratoHos are still the center of everything.

4. Initiatives for the world of work

From there the Saint began his action. From 1840 to 1850, in fact, the three oratories already governed by Don Bosco (the one in Vanchiglia, abandoned in 1849 by Don Cocchi, the one in Valdocco, rented in 1847 as well as that of Porta Nuova) remained substantially the traditional oratories, with the exception of the ten young people lodged in the Pinardi house. The other six or seven hundred used to go to the Oratory in the afternoon (and for them there was a night school in which they learned the first elements of reading, writing, beads, a little drawing, singing and music) and Sunday with the festive school , the practices of piety and an honest recreation.

4.1. The first initiatives

In this period the main concern of Don Bosco is to place in work with some honest patron to his boys, stipulate for them a fair contract, go visit them in the workshops, in work establishments, in the scaffolding of the houses in construction, arousing the best perplexity on the part of some representative of the clergy of the time, who did not consider it an apostolic activity to mix in the world of work as Don Bosco did.

Place them with honored and Christian patrons, where the environment did not induce them to immorality or perhaps imprisonment (and their experiences of visits to prisoners confirmed them in that need) and stipulate contracts that would prevent exploitation so frequent then, especially with the apprentices, they were in that period their main objective.

In the archives of the Congregation there are two "apprenticeship" contracts, respectively of November 1851 and February 1852, signed by the patron, by the young apprentice, by his father and by Don Bosco.
28 Elenco degli oggetti graziosamente donati to the benefit of the oratori di S. Francesco di Sales in Valdocco, di S. Luigi to Porta Nuova e dell'Angelo Custode in Vanchiglia, Torino 1862, p. 1-3, taken from BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 29-30.

In them, the employer is obliged to teach the young man the art, to give him the necessary instructions and the best rules, to correct him kindly and not with blows in case of any fault, to exclude any strange service to the profession, to let him free for whole every holiday of the year, to give him a convenient weekly payment, with semester increases, to treat him as a father and not as a master. For his part, the young apprentice is obliged to be always attentive, punctual and assiduous, docile, respectful and obedient, to repair the damage that might cause. The duration of the contract is set at two or three years.29
Don Bosco - observes Dacquino - insisted on what today would be called normative, but without union cards and without a base behind him that would allow him to strike. And although he was not the inventor of labor contracts (it seems that the "Opera della Mendicitá Istruita" was already doing it), "however, it can also be said - with Dacquino - that Don Bosco was the first true Italian trade unionist, as defender of workers and work. " It is probably another of those exaggerated statements that have arisen in this time of celebrations, but certainly that of Don Bosco is a time when the young apprentice was helpless, at the mercy of the master, under the constant threat of dismissal, exploited according to the laws of free demand. To arrive at the stipulation of contracts that guaranteed the boys their rights was, without more, a conquest. In addition, in July 1850 he founded a Società di Mutuo Soccorso, in which he gathered the young workers who went to the Oratory. Each member paid a soldo every Sunday. and received, six months after registration, 50 cents a day in case of illness or unemployment. The box was also fed with free contributions from benefactors, common use in mutual aid societies at the time, but the members' quotas accustomed them to saving and educating them in solidarity. " an aid of 50 cents a day in case of illness or unemployment. The box was also fed with free contributions from benefactors, common use in mutual aid societies at the time, but the members' quotas accustomed them to saving and educating them in solidarity. " an aid of 50 cents a day in case of illness or unemployment. The box was also fed with free contributions from benefactors, common use in mutual aid societies at the time, but the members' quotas accustomed them to saving and educating them in solidarity. "
29 The apprenticeship contract for the carpenter's trade, stipulated on February 8, 1852, between the patron, Giuseppe Bertolino, the young apprentice, Giuseppe Odasso, his father and Don Bosco is also reproduced in the appendix of Don Viganó's speech (not the printed one, but the photocopied one).

'About the' Opera della Mendicitá Istruita '(in which Guala and Cafasso invited young priests to work on the' Convitto ecdesiatico '), begun around 1770, with a clear Jesuit inspiration, and on which Don Bosco was also inspired by launching their initiatives (assistance to abandoned boys, catechism classes, daily and evening schools, hospices ...), cf.

STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 61-66.

n Cf. DACQUINO, Psicologia di don Bosco, p. 194. We thought it necessary to use this work, despite the reservations that have to be made about the general approach and about some particular points of it.

"Cf. Società di mutuo soccorso di alcuni individui della congregazione di San Luigi eretta nell'Oratorio di San Francesco di Sales, Torino 1850." II cousin Giugno shared the Società di mutuo soccorso di cui veggansi gli statuti nel stampato book "it is said, in the year 1850, in the Principle dell'attuale oratorio di Valdocco e suo ingrandimento fino al presente (BRAM, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, page 57) In fact - as Braido himself warns - it had begun a few months earlier.

Here, too, we must see Don Bosco as a social forerunner, who sensed the long lines of history to the extent that he anticipated mutuals, compensation for misfortune, and even the compensation box33 Or, rather, a man attentive to the initiatives that were appearing34 and willing to apply them for the benefit of their boys?

4.2. Second stage

Esto, en la primera fase de su inserción, aún exterior en un cierto sentido, en el mundo del trabajo. Pero después, a partir de 1850, comienza una segunda fase. De una asistencia genérica y de la colocación, se pasa a la institución de los talleres. He aquí cómo cuenta el hecho con sencillez Pietro Enria, que iba a ser después uno de los primeros coadjutores salesianos: «D. Bosco, al ver el peligro que tenían sus jóvenes continuamente en los talleres de Turín, fue fraguando poco a poco la idea de establecer talleres en su-misma casa y comenzó con el de sastrería y zapatería, después el de carpintería y a continuación con todos los talleres que existen todavía; y esto lo hizo únicamente para sustraer del peligro a sus queridos jóvenes, a los que quería más que a sí mismo ».35
Así, en 1853, habían surgido en casa los talleres de zapatería y sastrería; en 1854 el de encuadernación; en 1855 el de carpintería; en 1861 la tipografía; en 1862 el de herrería. Como resulta del testimonio citado, los primeros talleres tenían el objetivo principal de sustraer a los jóvenes de los talleres en que se oían conversaciones inmorales, anticlericales y blasfemias. Su estructura era todavía la preindustrial: jefes de taller, obreros y aprendices juntos. Se piensa en ellos no como propias y verdaderas escuelas de artesanía, capaces de producir objetos terminados y rentables, sino destinados sobre todo a las necesidades de los mismos internos, aunque también a la venta.

There was a great difference and that, while in the artisan workshops the profits were of the masters, in the Oratory they were for the benefit of the craftsmen themselves, when they did not need to be served with the income of the students.36
33 statements are from DACQUINO, Psicologia di don Bosco, p. 192

34 About the birth and development of the "Societá di mutuo soccorso", cf. F. FRANCON ', Le prime lotte operaie nell'Italia unita, in: The Italian economy from 1861 to 1961. Studi n the 1st centenary dell'Unitá d'Italia, Milano 1961; ER PAPA, Origini delle societa operaie, Milano 1967; A. CHERUBINI, Dottrine e metodi assistenziali from 1789 to 1848: Italy - France - Inghilterra, Milano 1958; A. CHERUBINI, Stork della sociale precianza in Italia (1860-1960), Rome 1977, p. 3670; Stato e Chiesa di fronte to the dell'assistenza problem, Rome 1982.

39 The narrative is contained in: STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 505. The 24 Paginitas of Enria Promemoria are transcribed.

36 Cf. F. RIZZINI, Don Bosco e formazione professionale. Dall'esperienza alfa codificazione, in the special issue of May 1988 of the CNOS: Don Bosco e formazione professionale, p. 15-56.

Your project is therefore not yet the dimensions and requirements of a true and proper professional school and continues to be inspired by the idea of ​​learning. But even so there is a development and a transformation of the traditional reality of the Oratory. This becomes something new, inserts itself, in its way, in the world of work and production, avoiding the danger of depersonalization and exploitation. The oratories are not, in this way, a warehouse of work, craft workshops or something similar to the nascent industry, but a union of workers for their own benefit, although this increases the difficulties due to the crisis of competition in the labor market, with the consequent difficulty of placing the products and doing so at competitive prices.

But this second phase of insertion in the world of work called for Don Bosco to conceive new figures. The workshop leaders, in fact, were not always safe, sometimes they left their homework without warning. It was preferable then that the most educated among the apprentices taught the others, although this meant prejudice to perform the requested work. It was then that the idea of ​​the coadjutor matured in Don Bosco. Also in this case at the beginning as Stella has observed37 - it was designated with this name from 1854 (year in which one of 39 admitted was classified as such) to young or younger lay people who helped at home in domestic work or in those of the workshops. They were, therefore, people employed in house arrangements, they swept, They served at meals or helped workshop teachers in the best cases. Later, however, the Salesian coadjutors would be differentiated, with votes or without votes, that would become workshop masters, not only with a continuity of direction, very desirable, but guaranteeing a greater assistance and preparing the way for the constitution of Authentic professional schools.38 Even so, despite the way the workshops were conceived initially and, in a certain sense, necessarily, they were a great help. They freed the boys from the moral dangers of learning together with patrons indifferent in morality, helped them morally and materially, created friendships and collaborations and guided some of them to religious life as coadjutor.39 the Salesian coadjutors would be differentiated, with votes or without votes, that would become workshop masters, not only with a continuity of direction, very desirable, but guaranteeing a greater assistance and paving the way for the constitution of authentic professional schools.38 thus, in spite of the way in which the workshops were conceived initially and, in a certain sense, necessarily, they were a great help. They freed the boys from the moral dangers of learning together with patrons indifferent in morality, helped them morally and materially, created friendships and collaborations and guided some of them to religious life as coadjutor.39 the Salesian coadjutors would be differentiated, with votes or without votes, that would become workshop masters, not only with a continuity of direction, very desirable, but guaranteeing a greater assistance and paving the way for the constitution of authentic professional schools.38 thus, in spite of the way in which the workshops were conceived initially and, in a certain sense, necessarily, they were a great help. They freed the boys from the moral dangers of learning together with patrons indifferent in morality, helped them morally and materially, created friendships and collaborations and guided some of them to religious life as coadjutor.39 but guaranteeing greater assistance and preparing the way for the establishment of authentic professional schools.38 Even so, despite the way the workshops were conceived initially and, in a certain sense, necessarily, they were a great help. They freed the boys from the moral dangers of learning together with patrons indifferent in morality, helped them morally and materially, created friendships and collaborations and guided some of them to religious life as coadjutor.39 but guaranteeing greater assistance and preparing the way for the establishment of authentic professional schools.38 Even so, despite the way the workshops were conceived initially and, in a certain sense, necessarily, they were a great help. They freed the boys from the moral dangers of learning together with patrons indifferent in morality, helped them morally and materially, created friendships and collaborations and guided some of them to religious life as coadjutor.39
39 Cf. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 180 and the essay by F. Rrzzím, II Salesian Coadjutor and the Formazione Professionale, in number cit. of the CNOS, 87-97.

"CE STELLA, Cattolicesimo in Italia e laicato nelle congregazioni religiose, Il caso dei coadiutori salesiani (1854-1974), in" Salesianum "(1975) 411-445.

39 About the development of the first workshops, cf. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 123-199. On the analogies with the Venetian patronages, which remained,
however, in this first period, cf. S. TRAMONTIN, Gli Oratori di Don Bosco and Patronati Veneziani, in: BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 117-132.

4.3. Towards professional school

Only later (and Veneruso situates this turn towards 1876, seeing it for the first time in the Sampierdarena institute, 4 ° but it could be that it is for a certain pride of patria chica, because analogous transformations take place in those years in other Salesian institutes included Valdocco's), the artisan workshops were oriented, to a certain extent, towards real vocational schools. The formula of the workshop, which had lasted for so many years, was no longer fully satisfactory to the demands of the times, which called for more specialization and more complete training. Until then, the market had asked for the same type of dress, shoes, prints: products always equal to themselves that did not require from the craftsman much effort or a lot of time or updating. However, The new justification for the artisan product was not in the immobility, but in the change. The change in the mode of production must correspond to a change in the way of learning the trade. It took a methodical effort of years, in which the study joined the work and the project and the ability to catch up to walk at the same pace as the acquisition and improvement of manual skills. It was necessary, then, to move from the formula of the workshop to that of the professional institute. Don Bosco understood all this and the deliberations of the third and fourth general chapters and the Indirizzo da darsi alla parte operaia nelle case salesiane42 were the fundamental norm of future professional schools; that his successors organized and multiplied. Also in this case, then, we must rectify the judgment of Quinzio, according to which "the professional schools and the" artigianelli "belong to the pathetic neo-capitalist prehistory" .43 If this is true, in fact, for the first period of start-up and operation of the first artisan schools, it is not already after 1880 when authentic professional schools were formed, destined to offer, among other destinations, hundreds of workers to the Lane Rossi of Schio and to the FIAT of Turin. It is the same Alessandro Rossi who promotes the departure of the Salesians to Schio (1901); that Alessandro Rossi who had had occasion to meet Don Bosco in Turin, who had also had the opportunity to exchange ideas with Senator Giovanni Agnelli.44 The latter, in 1929, on the occasion of the demonstrations for the beatification of Don Bosco in Turin , will say when receiving.

40 Cf. D. VENERUSO, II educational method, p. 138-140.

41 Cf. Deliberazioni del terzo e quarto capitolo generale della Pia Società salesiana, S. Benigno Canavese 1887, p. 18-22.

42 L'indirizzo da darsi is remembered in: VENERUSO, II educative method, p. 141. Cf. in addition: MB XVIII, 700-702. It is also significant - as Pazzaglia has observed - that, very probably, Don Bosco spoke of "scuola professionale" only in a letter of 1880 (see PAZZAGUA, Apprendistato, p.43). Moreover, still on October 7, 1879, the Minister of agriculture, industry and trade, Benedetto Cairoli, asked the peripheral authorities to favor the creation of schools of arts and crafts, focusing on the Sunday and evening schools that presented the advantage of comfortable hours, and not the day shields, which served to train workers prepared and responsible for other workers.

47 QUINZIO, Domande sulla santitá, p. 88

Don Bosco was not only, however, a priest who welcomed abandoned boys to lead them to work, a founder of craft workshops first and then real professional schools. He entered more directly into the field of work as an entrepreneur with the establishment and, above all, the remarkable development of typography.

4.4. Editorial initiatives

The Piedmontese saint had understood, as his most astute contemporaries in the climate of the Restoration, the importance of the press. Remember, on the other hand, that one of the main objectives of the «Amicizie Cattoliche» emerged in 1811 at the initiative of Don Pio Brunone Lanteri, who accepted the inheritance of «Amicizie Cristiane» of Father Diessbach, was the free dissemination of good books .47
The first book of Don Bosco, published by Speirani and Ferrero typographers in 1844, was Cenni storici sulla vita of the chierico Luigi Comollo, of which 3,000 copies were printed (a remarkable figure at the time), sold at a modest price of 30 cents to facilitate its diffusion . It was the first of a long series of publications, of devotional books (11 Giovane provveduto, which will be a classic among devotional books and which had several reprints with a first print [1847] of 10,000 copies), of school books (among they the Storia ecclesiastica and the Storia sacra, perhaps one of the best known, to which the Storia d'Italia was added), of newspapers such as "L'amico della Gioventú", begun in 1846, printed by Marietti, but which lasted very little, the «Letture
44 "Dare questo benvenuto mi é tanto caro - will say il senatore Agnelli - in quanto ricordo di yesterday personally Don Bosco e la sua immagine illuminante parla sem al mio spirito".

The discourse is quoted by BAIRATI, Salesian Culture, p. 347

"About the Salesian Cooperators, see Cooperatori salesiani, ossia pratico per giovare al buon costume ed alla civile societá, Sampierdarena 1877, Don Bosco e le sue opere, La Casa di Sampierdarena, Sampierdarena 1923, pp. 21-22.

"Cf. C. Bona, Le Amicizie, Società segrete e rinascita religiosa (1770-1830), Torino 1962.

Cattoliche », which began in 1853 on a monthly basis with teernvaas. "Religious" or "pleasant", whose first fascicles had to be reprinted, given the favorable reception they received.

For all these multiple publishing initiatives, Don Bosco made use of Turin printers, among whom were Paravia, Marietti, De Agostini. But already between 1853 and 1855, with Rosmini, he had thought to found his own typography, also to act with greater freedom and obtain greater profits. On October 26, 1861, he addressed the governor of the province of Turin, Count Giuseppe Pasolini, to be able to open a typography in the house of the Oratory, which was opened in 1862. The "Letture Cattoliche", already entrenched, could secure work . In the legal aspect, rescinded the contract with Paravia, 48 Don Bosco thus became the owner of a typeface; and in the social, in a businessman who invested his own capital for philanthropic purposes.

La tipografía se convirtió muy pronto en el centro propulsor de los talleres de Valdocco y el más conocido de todos. Don Bosco invirtió un capital notable para mejorar la maquinaria, montar una encuadernación, comprar una fábrica de papel, abrir una librería (en esta actividad estaban ocupados, en 1891, 200 obreros, la mayor parte jóvenes del Oratorio y esto nos puede dar idea del desarrollo tomado por la iniciativa), estar en la vanguardia del progreso, como él mismo decía, despertando envidias y celos en los otros tipógrafos de la ciudad y superando crisis difíciles y demostrando con todo ello que era un hombre de temperamento emprendedor.°
But for this purpose we must repeat an observation by Pietro Stella: "Between the old way of establishing working relationships between the employer and the apprentices and the new model of technical school provided for in the organic law on education, Don Bosco preferred to go his third way: that is, the one of the great workshops of his property, whose production cycle, of popular and scholastic level, was also a useful exercise for young apprentices. "" Although later, as we have seen, he will not rule out the the true professional schools.

Soul of everything remained, however, the love for his young people and for this Christian love became, in all the ways we have outlined, an extraordinary Taylorist organizer. "
48 Cf. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economice, p. 366-368.

49 On the operation of typography, cf. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economice, p. 351-369, and F. RIZZINI's essay, Don Bosco tipograf ed editore, in the aforementioned special issue of the CNOS, p. 57-85.

50 STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economice, p. 248

51 The expression is from BAIRATI, Salesian Culture, p. 355. We consider important the judgments of the same author, who writes: "The Salesian cultural model and particularly interesting sotto profilo dei rapporti tra religione e societa, tra cultura ed economia. In the case of salesiani tali rapporti non si configurano affatto e compromessi ideologici inevitabilmente effimeri, as ardite ma sterili mediazioni dottrinali, as spregiudicati ma labili patteggiamenti politici. L'intransigenza salesiana é totale. The sociality of Don Bosco and the salesiani non é il frutto of a restless rest that two other aspects must be treated, not marginal, when they show that the center of Salesian life was still the Oratory, that is, the work-rest relationship ( or better, recreation) and the other work-prayer. However: rompecuellos (this game was called because it consisted of an inclined plane spread with a lot of soap, but it did not pose a danger of any kind, and it gave a prize to the one who reached the top) ".53 In the hours of recreation it was the same gift Bosco encouraged the children to play because he had intuited that the playful dimension of the human being is very important in the psychic equilibrium and in the relationship life.54 He used the game to meet the boys, not only because he had understood that « the patio attracts more than the church ", but also because the ludic activity sublimates aggressiveness, since it implies acceptance and respect for norms, commits to behave well with others, to get out of selfishness. "We, instead of punishments, have the assistance and the game",

51: Not lamarabsaios an of Don Bosco and of the world of work, among other things because the
Saint had also dedicated to the theme of festive rest the July 1861 issue of the "Letture Cattoliche".

53 Cf. Taurinensis. Beatificationis et Canonizationis Servi Dei Ioannis Bosco sacerdotis fundatoris Piae Societatis Salesianae. Positio super introductione causae, Rome, p. 147. "Cf. DACQUINO, Psychology of Don Bosco, page 151." Cf. MB XVI, 168.

I think of its centers there would be benches or seats of any kind to avoid giving occasion to those games. "56 He liked to accompany them on long walks through the hills of Monferrato and that is why he told his boys in 1876:" The movement is what most favors health. I am of the opinion that a cause not indifferent to the decrease in health in our days comes from not doing as much exercise as before. The comfort of the bus, of the car, of the train eliminates many opportunities to take walks, even brief ones, whereas fifty years ago it seemed like a walk to go from Turin to Lanzo. It seems to me that the movement of the train and the car is not enough for the man to be well ".57
The walks also served to awaken in their boys the feeling of admiration for nature and beauty. The aesthetic sense was also developed through singing, music (an Oratorio without music is a soulless body, he used to say), 58 the puppet theater at the beginning and then the presentation of farces and farces (the bands and the comedies Salesian women were and still are famous). He also wanted gymnastics to be introduced to help the development of his boys' body and establish a healthy harmony with work and study. He also recommended, especially to the students, a good use of free time, knowing well (and he used to repeat it frequently) that leisure is the father of all vices: "I recommend - I told them - to have a lot of fun. Play the petanque, the ball, the ball. Everyone in your family will have special amusements; Also play cards, checkers, tarocchi, chess and all the means you can find to distract them. Above all I recommend you to make beautiful long excursions ».59
I wanted this for the students, while those who worked in the workshop had to be satisfied with brief recesses, if they lived in the Salesian workshops, or with the fun of the afternoon and on Sundays in the Oratory. It might seem strange, too, that for all these manifestations, it has not occurred to anyone to make Don Bosco a precursor of ecology! 60
56 P. RICALDONE, Don Bosco educatore, vol. II, Colle Don Bosco (Asti), Libreria Dottrina Cristiana 1952, p. 49

57 MB XII, 343.

5 ° MB V, 347. As for music, he taught piano, accordion, harmonium, organ and all the musical instruments of wood, metal and string (Riassunto della Pia Società di San Francesco di Sales on February 23, 1874, in: OE XXV, 381).

59 MB XIII 431s.

60 Es verdad que una alusión la ha hecho C. SEmEtAR0, Don Bosco, il santo dell'aria aperta, en «Rivista del CAI del Piemonte» (setiembre 1988). Para un examen comparativo, se debe señalar la revalorización de la fiesta (contra la supervaloración de la actividad, del esfuerzo, de dolor y de la función social activa) hecha por I. Pieper, de la universidad de Munich, en un reciente artículo de «Settimana». En dicho artículo se revaloriza el ocio en el sentido aristotélico, y se concluye: «Fare festa, cioé dare Jode a Dio, perché il mondo é godibile».

El trinomio programático de la pedagogía de don Bosco comprendía, además de la alegría y el trabajo, la piedad." Se tratab, pues, de unir el trabajo con el descanso y la diversión, pero también con la piedad.

6. Trabajo y piedad

Piedad que tenía que cimentarse en la instrucción religiosa. Ya en 1850, cuando pedía ayudas a la «Opera Pia della Mendicitá Istruita», don Bosco presentaba una breve referencia histórica en la que se decía: «Por medio de agradable recreo animado con algunas diversiones, con catequesis, clases y canto, algunos (jóvenes aprendices) se hicieron moderados en su vida, amantes del trabajo y de la religión»," y un poco más adelante, añadía: «Un número notable de atentos señores acude a prestar su servicio dando catequesis» 63 Y sigue diciendo en 1862: «Un notable número de atentos señores viene a prestár la colaboración que se les pide dando catequesis, vigilando para que cumplan sus deberes en los respectivos talleres y colocando en empresas de honrados patronos a los que no tienen trabajo »."
Y en d Cenno storico dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales, recientemente publicado por don Braido, el Santo indica que su obra empieza precisamente con la actividad catequística: «Este Oratorio — escribe — es decir, reunión de jóvenes los días de fiesta, empezó en la iglesia de San Francisco de Asís. Don Cafasso, desde hacía bastante tiempo, en el verano, venía dando catequesis los domingos a jóvenes albañiles en una habitación contigua a la sacristía de la mencionada iglesia. La importancia de las ocupaciones de este sacerdote le hicieron interrumpir esta tarea tan grata para él. Yo la reemprendí al terminar 1841 y comencé reuniendo en el mismo lugar a dos jóvenes mayorcitos, muy necesitados de instrucción religiosa. A éstos se les unieron otros y a lo largo de 1842 el número creció hasta veinte y a veces veinticinco. Estos comienzos me hicieron comprender dos verdades importantísimas: que en general la juventud no es mala por sí misma; pero que se hace así generalmente por el contacto con los malos, y que los mismos malos, separados unos de otros, pueden experimentar grandes cambios morales (serán después estas dos verdades las que hagan que despegue el sistema preventivo). El año 1843 siguió la catequesis del mismo modo y el número subió a cincuenta, los que cabían en el lugar que se me había asignado».65
This demand for religious culture also impelled him to print in 1847, in addition to the usual small catechisms, "la Storia sacra
61 Cf. DAcQuiNo, Psicologia di don Bosco, pp. 38s.

62 The report was read on February 20 to the administrators of the "Opera della Mendicitá Istruita", cited in EI, 29ss.

63 Catalog degli oggetti 1. The opuscule is from 1857.

64 I invite you to a lottery 1.

65 Cf. BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 38s.

66 The most used (acquired and reprinted by him) was the Brief catechistno pe 'fanciulli alíe pre
(Speiraní and Ferrero, printers editors), once he saw that among those circulating there was not one suitable for his young people (it needs to be remembered) ) they were almost totally religious fasts. "Lack of popular style, inopportune events, long themes or out of time were common faults - noted in his Memorie -. In addition, many facts were exposed in such a way that they jeopardized the morality of young people. They cared very little to emphasize the points that should serve as a foundation for the truths of the faith. The same is said of the facts that refer to external worship, purgatory, confession, eucharist, and the like. "67
There is a qualitative leap here, or at least an attempt to give it, because if its Sacred Storia overcomes many of the defects denounced in the others, it did not manage to make it the "foundation of the truths of faith" that had been proposed, although it was a step in that direction. And the direction that indicated was the exact one and will contribute to the jump of quality.

Don Bosco also gathered his boys for prayer. Triduos, novenas, preparation for the main festivities constituted their plot. It is enough, also here, to go through the list of your publications. Le Sei Domeniche and the Novena di San Luigi Gonzaga (1846), II divoto dell'Angelo custode (1845), La giornata del cristiano (1852), La chiave del paradiso in hand to the cattolico che pratica i doveri del buon cristiano (1856) , and the various titles of the «Letture Cattoliche». But the best that produced - so to speak - in this field was the printing in the house Paravia in 1847 of Il Giovane provveduto. It was a devotional book of 352 pages and the first circulation was 10,000 copies. It contained the prayers of morning and night, taken from the catechism of Mons. Casati, 68 the "parvo office" of the Virgin, on the eve of Sunday,

The center of piety in which Don Bosco educated his young people was, however, constituted by participation in the Holy Mass, celebrated in the Oratory, and the frequency of the sacraments of confession and communion.

ghiere della mattina e della sera ad use delle scuole cristiane della cittá e diocesi di Tormno, previously edited many times by Marietti.

67 MO 184s. But Stella himself (Don Bosco nella storia economica, p.33) considers them just excessive and not referable to writings of biblical catechesis such as those of Aporti or Rayneri.

68 The so-called Catechism of Casati was, in fact, composed by the canon Giuseppe Maria Giaccone in 1765, commissioned by the Bishop of Mondovl, Mons. Michele Casati This catechism is placed in the furrow of exquisitely oratorian traditions: one of the sources is undoubtedly the Piccolo compendium of Christian doctrine, printed in Turin in 1710, with the effigy of San Felipe Neri on the front. The author also had in mind the Roman Catechism, the Bellarmine Catechism (as it is clearly stated in the pastoral letter of Casad, presenting it to his priests), and also that of Bossuet, from which the part referring to the liturgical celebrations is literally transcribed. at the end of the same catechism. It was adopted, in 1896, as a single text by the bishops of Piedmont and Lombardy, a fact that constitutes a confirmation of the right choice made by Don Bosco. Cf. S. TRAMONTIN, Dal catechista di Tombolo to the catechist pope, in: ID. (ed.), Le radici venete di San Pio X. Saggi e ricerche, Brescia 1987, p. 72-104; L. NORDERA, 11 catechism of Pius X. Per a storia della catechesi in Italy (1896-1916), Rome, LAS 1988.

Enria tells us things about the Masses celebrated by the Saint and heard by his boys in the cold church, 69 of the many hours spent in the confessional and, even more, of the confessions in a room. One of the most beautiful photographs is, in fact, the one that shows it to us while he is confessing to a boy who speaks to his ear, while other young people wait their turn around. He attributed to dialogue in confession a decisive importance: in addition to spiritual guidance, he felt friend and father of the penitent. The confession - Dacquino7 has rightly emphasized - in the atmosphere of family life of the Oratory becomes a moment of filial confidence and, therefore, had a supporting function of the affective aspect, in addition to the spiritual one.

Y también por lo que se refiere a la comunión, aunque una cierta mentalidad jansenista lo retenía de animar a todos sus muchachos a la comunión frecuente, sin embargo, por lo que se refiere a los mejores, los empujaba para que se alimentasen con frecuencia del pan eucarístico para un contacto más intenso con Jesús» La oración y los sacramentos debían, por tanto, alimentar junto a la instrucción religiosa, la vida de sus muchachos externos e internos, estudiantes y artesanos. Para estos últimos, además, serían un buen apoyo para que soportasen la fatiga física del trabajo, de lo que se podía advertir el efecto espiritual en el cumplimiento de la voluntad de Dios y hacerlo, por tanto, precioso ante él.

Aun durante el trabajo quería que sus jóvenes orasen, además de ofrecerlo al Señor. «Comenzad siempre el trabajo con el Ave María», decía el n. 8 del Primo Piano citado; y el n° 9: «Por la mañana, a mediodía y por la tarde, recitad el Angelus y por la noche añadíd el De Profundis».72
También Zanella en la conferencia recordada había afirmado: «Religión y trabajo se han dado de nuevo la mano (en la formación de sociedades de ayuda mutua de inspiración cristiana) y de su unión no puede salir más que el mayor bien para una y otro. ¿No ha sido acaso la religión la que ha dado dignidad al trabajo? ¿No responde, por otra parte, el trabajo a los fines augustos de la religión?» Y había invitado a promover fiestas religiosas como en los antiguos gremios para «alegrar el alma maniatada por los mecanismos del oficio
" Cf. el «promemoria» de Enria reproducido por STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 494-506. Se habla también en él de las confesiones y de las comuniones de los muchachos del Oratorio.

DACQUINO, Psicologia di don Bosco, p. 259.

" Es interesante la descripción de un domingo en el Oratorio como viene narrada en el segundo documento inédito presentado por Braido: «Le funzioni religiose ne' giorni festivi sono come segue: al mattino comodita per chi vuole confessarsi; messa cui segue un racconto di storia sacra od ecdesiastica o l'esposizione del Vangelo della giornata; quindi ricreazione. Dopo mezzol catechismo in dasse, vespri, breve istruzione dal palpito, benedizione col venerabile, cui tiene dietro la solita ricreazione. Terminate le funzioni religiose ognuno é libero dí rimanere per trastullarsi o di recarsi a casa. Sul fare della notte si mandarlo tutti a casa e si chiude l'Oratorio» (BRAmo, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 68).

72 Cf. Primo piano, cit. en nota 11.

y sacudirla y consolarla con el augusto espectáculo de los misterios de la fe». y la compara «a esas hornacinas que se encuentran por los caminos de los Alpes, que despiertan un piadoso pensamiento en el corazón del caminante y le ofrecen al mismo tiempo un asiento donde descansar»." La fiesta debía, pues, servir para el descanso y la oración: como para Zanella también para don Bosco.

7. En síntesis

Ésta era la actitud de don Bosco frente al mundo del trabajo, con sus ideas y-sus iniciativas. Su preocupación fundamental era y seguía siendo para él la salvación de las almas, pero si tuviésemos que buscar en él una «cultura del trabajo» no podríamos hacerlo mejor de lo que indicaba don Viganó en su discurso de Milán, es decir:
— primacía del hombre sobre el trabajo;
— primacía del trabajo subjetivo sobre el objetivo; — primacía de la conciencia sobre la técnica;
— primacía de la solidaridad sobre los intereses individualistas y de grupo.74
Conceptos todos subrayados en la Laborem exercens de Juan Pablo 11 75 y repetidos en sus numerosos discursos en la reciente visita de septiembre a Turín y a los lugares queridos por don Bosco.76 F1 discurso sobre el hombre, sobre su trabajo, sobre su dignidad — como ha señalado algún comentarista -- fue el motivo dominante de aquellas jornadas." E invitó, más que a ver en don Bosco a un precursor, a «sentir su presencia en nuestro hoy y nuestro mañana ».78
" Cf. ZANELLA, Religione e lavoro, p. 40. En este discurso, el autor ve la previsión y el ahorro, indicados también por don Bosco, como útiles para conservar los sentimientos religiosos, e invita a mit, a las prácticas religiosas, la lectura de algún buen libro. Los dos se encuentran de acuerdo en este punto como en el ver en todo esto una «educazione a sentire questa dignitá vostra».

74 Cf. el cit. discurso de don Viganó (fotocopiado).

" Para la Laborem exercens, cf. Le encidiche sociali dalla Rerum novarum alfa Laborem exercens, Roma 1984, p. 471-564.

76 Véanse los números 206. 207. 208. 209. 210 de «L'Osservatore Romano», en los que se recogen los discursos completos o el resumen de los mismos con algún comentario. Cf. también el BS (octubre 1988), en donde son comentadas las jornadas turinesas del papa.

77 Cf. P. Ama, Seguire la via indicara da don Bosco per restituire a Torino la sua vera anima, en «L'Osservatore Romano» 5-6 setiembre 1988, 7.

78 De la homilía pronunciada en la plaza «Maria Ausiliatrice» de Turín.


Al preguntarle, en 1886, qué método prefería para conducir las almas a Dios, el de San Francisco de Sales o el de San Vicente de Paul, don Bosco salió del paso diciendo: «Il mio metodo si vuole che io esponga. Mah!... Non lo so neppur io. Sono sempre andato avanti come il Signore m'ispirava e le circostanze esigevano».'
La respuesta no puede tomarse en sentido literal, como si el sacerdote piamontés hubiera querido verdaderamente sostener que había actuado exclusivamente empujado por lás circunstancias externas. La respuesta parecería, más bien, un expediente para no tener que pronunciarse entre dos autores a los que estaba igualmente ligado.2 Los estudiosos comparten ampliamente la convicción de que don Bosco fue más un educador que un «pedagogo», en sentido riguroso. Con todo, el preeminente carácter práctico de su empeño no debe hacer pensar que don Bosco careciese de un diseño teórico o que fuese adelante de forma casual. Hay que decir, a lo sumo, que resulta difícil organizar los múltiples aspectos de su obra en una visión de conjunto. Tal dificultad es debida, más que a la cantidad de documentación disponible, a la linea seguida por don Bosco en su itinerario. De hecho, llegó muy pronto a elaborar los principios fundamentales a los que iba a permanecer fiel durante toda su vida; pero, al mismo tiempo, trató de obrar de acuerdo con las necesidades del momento y de adaptar aquellos principios a las diversas circunstancias históricas. No hay, pues, que maravillarse de que su pensamiento, aun conservando algunas coordenadas estables, presente contornos algo sinuosos y se escape al intento de quien quisiera situarlo en el cuadro de un proyecto rígidamente unitario. Recientemente alguien se ha preguntado si, en vez del «sistema preventivo» de don Bosco — según una fórmula ya codificada —, no convendría más bien hablar de «sistemas», en plural?
La pregunta había sido formulada por M. Dupuy, rector del seminario de Montpellier, en una carta enviada a don Bosco, el 2 de julio de 1886, para agradecerle la visita hecha a dicho seminario, al regresar de su viaje a Barcelona. La carta de Dupuy y la frase de don Bosco se encuentran en: MB XVIII, 126-127 y 655-657.

2 P. BRAIDO, II progetto operativo di don Bosco e l'utopia della societiz cristiana, Roma, LAS 1982, p. 6.

Con la presente colaboración quisiéramos verificar, aunque sea de forma muy general, en qué forma el sacerdote piamontés decidió dedicarse a la educación de los jóvenes, y, sobre todo, de qué modo esta opción se concretó en las diversas fases de su rica y compleja biografía. La empresa no es fácil, porque se trata, precisamente, de seguir la obra educativa de don Bosco, considerando las más amplias perspectivas sociales y religiosas, en las que fue colocándola. Preciso, de entrada, que al realizar este ensayo, me he servido especialmente de la propuesta interpretativa de P. Braido, según el cual, don Bosco pasó de posiciones basadas en la idea de recuperar, para la sociedad, a los jóvenes en peligro («pericolanti»), a posiciones comprometidas en la defensa de la juventud frente a una realidad social que él, poco a poco, debía considerar cada vez más densa de peligros para las nuevas generaciones."

1. Las primeras experiencias entre la juventud «pobre y abandonada»

La versión dada por don Bosco, en sus Memorie dell'Oratorio, acerca de los comienzos del Oratorio, es generalmente conocida.5 En ese escrito, redactado en los primeros años 70, cuenta que empezó su obra en favor de los jóvenes abandonados el 8 de diciembre — día de la Inmaculada — de 1841, cuando, recién llegado a Turín para frecuentar el Convitto ecclesiastico dirigido por Cafasso y Guala, encontró casualmente a un joven, llamado Garelli, y, con su consentimiento, se puso a enseñarle algunas nociones de catecismo. La reciente publicación de algunos escritos inéditos de don Bosco autoriza, sin embargo, a. pensar que el Oratorio surgió de forma menos azarosa de lo que dichas Memorie querrían hacer creer.6 En el Cenno storico dell'Oratorio, de 1854,, el sacerdote piamontés escribió que había dado comienzo a su trabajo, reanudando, a finales del año 1841, una iniciativa catequística dominical veraniega para aprendices de albañil, iniciada años antes por Cafasso, pero que éste había abandonado después.' En los Cenni intorno all'Oratorio, de 1862, don Bosco afirmaba, en cambio, que había iniciado su obra para salir expresamente al paso de los problemas de los jóvenes presos, que, puestos en libertad, tenían necesidad de alguien en quien apoyarse. Las versiones dadas por los dos escritos — que, como se ve, no hacen ninguna alusión al episodio relativo al joven Garelli —, no son necesariamente contrastantes. En efecto, puede darse que don Bosco, aconsejado por don Cafasso, reactivase la experiencia catequística que éste no había tenido la posibilidad de proseguir: esto explicaría, entre otras cosas, la rapidez con la cual el novel sacerdote promovió los encuentros dominicales, desde sus primeras semanas en Turín. Pero no se puede excluir que, habiendo comenzado mientras tanto a visitar a los presos acompañando a don Cafasso —, se le hubiese ocurrido utilizar aquel servicio para ayudar también a los jóvenes salidos de la prisión. Fuese cual fuese la verdadera intención con la cual don Bosco emprendió su obra, queda claro que ésta, bastante. pronto, se iba a dirigir, no a una categoría específica, como era la de los ex presos, sino más en general a los muchachos «pobres y abandonados» de la ciudad o que llegaban a Turín desde los pueblos cercanos: jóvenes sin residencia fija, desocupados o empleados en trabajos eventuales, habituados a vivir precariamente, y expuestos a todos los riesgos de la calle.'

' P. BRAMO, L'esperienza pedagogica di don Bosco nel sao «divenire», ponencia presentada cc el seminario de estudio: «Don Bosco e la sua esperienza pedagogica: ereditá, contesti, sviluppi, ri soflame» (Venecia, 3-5 octubre 1988), cuyas actas fueron publicadas en «Orientamenti Pedago• gici» 31 (1989) 3-241, y en: C. NANNI (ed.), Don Bosco e la sua esperienza pedagogica, Roma, LA1 1989 (la ponencia de Braido: p. 11-39).

En este sentido se ha pronunciado Braido en: P. BRAIDO (ed.), Esperienze di pedagogía cris• tiana nella storia, vol. II: sec. XVII-XIX, Roma, LAS 1981, p. 322s.; BRAMO, Il progetto operativo di don Bosco, p. 19-20; y, últimamente, BRAIDO, L'esperienza pedagogica di don Bosco, p. 20-21.

5 MO 124-125.

6 Los escritos inéditos a los que nos referimos fueron publicados por: BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 13-81. En realidad los escritos presentados por Braido son tres: una Introduzione (que había ya dado a conocer en: G. Bosco, Scritti sul sistema preventivo, p. 360-362), el Cennc storico dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales y los Cenni storici intorno all'Oratorio di S. Francesa di Sales. L'Introduzione y el Cenno storico fueron redactados según Braido en 1854; según lo: Cenni storici, en 1862.

La historiografía ha discutido ampliamente sobre las fuentes culturales de don Bosco. Por de pronto, hay que observar que la decisión de reunir, los domingos, a grupos de jóvenes para entretenerlos con algunos juegos e instruirlos en las verdades del cristianismo, no constituía una novedad. El título de verdadero iniciador de aquel tipo de actividades en Turín correspondería, en todo caso, a don Cocchi, el cual había abierto, el año 1841, el «Oratorio dell'Angelo Custode» en el barrio del Moschino.9 En otras ocasiones, teniendo presentes las indicaciones dadas por algunos estudiosos, además de los testimonios provenientes del ambiente de don Bosco, he sostenido que el Oratorio de este último se fue caracterizando, respecto al de don Cocchi, por un más organizado empeño educativo.10 Tal afirmación habría, quizás, que matizarla un poco, pues, en realidad, el Oratorio del Angel Custodio no dejó de promover, a lo largo del camino, iniciativas que, más allá de la preocupación de entretener a los muchachos con juegos y ejercicios físicos, se proponían atender a la formación moral, religiosa y cívica. Es singularmente interesante, a este respecto, el proyecto de escuelas dominicales y nocturnas que don Cocchi, con la ayuda del teólogo R. Murialdo, perfeccionó en 1847:" un proyecto que, por lo menos en el papel, no tenía nada que envidiar a las líneas educativas que, en los últimos años 40, había madurado Bosco.

7 Escribe don Bosco: «Quest'Oratorio, ovvero adunanza di giovani ne' giorni festivi comindó nella chiesa di S. Francesco di Assisi. II Sig. D. Caffasso giá da parecchi anni in tempo estivo faceva ogni Domenica un catechismo a' garzoni muratori in una stanzetta annessa alla sacrestia di delta chiesa. La gravezza delle occupazioni di questo Sacerdote gil fecero interrompere questo esercizio a lui tanto gradito. Io lo ripigliai sul Emite del 1841, e cominciai col radunare nel medesimo luogo due giovani adulti, gravemente bisognosi di religiosa istruzione» (BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 38-39). Diversos estudiosos han atribuido a la iniciativa de Cafasso el comienzo de los oratorios en el Convitto de Turín. Incluso P. Stella, el más informado estudioso de don Bosco, en su obra: Don Bosco 1, p. 95. P. Braido, sin embargo, recuerda que en la tradición salesiana esta atribución ha sido impugnada por algunos: BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 38.

8 El texto del 62 afirma perentoriamente: «L'idea degli Oratori nacque dalla frequenza delle carceri di questa dttá» (BRAmo, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 60).

9 Puede verse sobre don Cocchi: E. REFFO, Don Cocchi e i suoi artigianelli, Torino, Tipografia S. Giuseppe degli Artigianelli 1896; se encuentran referencias en el estudio dedicado por el mismo Reffo a la Vita del T. Leonardo Murialdo, Torino, Tipografía S. Giuseppe degli Artigianelli 1905; se halla también amplia información acerca de don Cocchi y, más en general, acerca de los oratorios turineses en: A. CASTELLANI, II beato Leonardo Murialdo, 2 vol., Roma, Tipografía S. Pio X 1966-1968.

No debe sorprender que la nueva generación de sacerdotes — como don Bosco y don Cocchi, profundamente animados del deseo de socorrer los sectores sociales más míseros — vinculase el crecimiento de los jóvenes pobres y abandonados a una mejor educación de los mismos, también desde el punto de vista cívico. Téngase presente que, desde hacía algún tiempo, la cultura de la prevención, superando la visión defensivo-punitiva de los siglos precedentes, estaba subrayando la urgencia de ayudar a los jóvenes marginados, dándoles los instrumentos indispensables para integrarse en la sociedad. Los exponentes de tal cultura — muy preocupados por las repercusiones sociales del pauperismo, de la mendicidad, del vagabundeo — recomendaban contener los fenómenos de la marginalidad con una serie de medidas indirectas. Entre éstas, en primer lugar, la instrucción y educación de los niños y adolescentes necesitados.' Para evitar falsas interpretaciones, es oportuno añadir que, aunque colocándose en una posición mucho más abierta respecto a la represiva de la tradición, la nueva concepción preventiva seguía considerando a la sociedad existente como una estructura intrínsecamente buena, y seguía considerando a las personas colocadas en los márgenes del consorcio civil como a sujetos «peligrosos», a los que había que ayudar, desde una perspectiva esencialmente paternalista. No podemos decir si don Bosco siguió y profundizó las publicaciones de estudiosos como Morichini, Petitti o De Gérando." Pero, desde los comienzos de su actividad, conoció la acción realizada en Turín por instituciones como el Albergo di Virtú o la Opera della Mendicitá Istruita, que, activas ya desde hacía tiempo, habían renovado recientemente su ayuda en favor de los jóvenes en peligro («perícolanti»)."

i. L. PAZZAGLIA, Apprendistato e istruzione degli artigiani a Valdocco (1846-1886), en: F. TRANIELLO (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, Torino, SEI 1987, p. 16-17; respecto a la hipótesis de que el Oratorio de don Bosco tenía un enfoque pedagógico más sólido y completo que el de don Cocchi, cf. G. CHIOSSO, L'Oratorio di don Bosco e il rinnovamento educativo nel Piemonte carloalbertino, en: BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 98ss.

" Oratorio dell'Angelo custode, en «L'Educatore. Giornale d'Educazione ed Istruzione» 3 (1847) 762-765.

<2 Acerca de los debates que, en la primera mitad del Ochocientos, se entablaron en torno al tema de la prevención socio-asistencial, cf. G. MILANESI, Sistema preventivo e prevenzione in don Bosco, comunicación presentada en el citado seminario de Venecia: «Don Bosco e la sua esperienza pedagogica» (p. 148-165).

" C.L. MORICHINI, Degl'Istituti di pubblica carita e d'istruzione primaria in Roma, Roma,
Estas breves alusiones permiten precisar el contexto en el que don Bosco empezó a trabajar. Su opción de ponerse al servicio de la juventud pobre y abandonada arrancaba, ciertamente, de forma directa y prevalente, de las razones propias de la caridad cristiana; pero, aun así, no se puede dudar de que, inicialmente, las modalidades de tal opción se tiñeron de las orientaciones de la cultura preventiva de la época. Es decir, muy pronto, don Bosco comprendió la necesidad de contrarrestar la marginación de la juventud por medio de un generoso y fuerte empeño asistencial-educativo; pero en términos no-muy lejanos de los típicos de la cultura entonces generalizada, comenzó su trabajo considerando que todo el problema consistía en volver a ganar a los jóvenes para la vida social. Esta perspectiva se alimentaba, principalmente, de la convicción de que, siguiendo la inspiración de los principios de la tradición cristiano-católica, la sociedad era capaz de «garantire ordine, sanitá morale, pace religiosa»." Para darse cuenta de la confianza con la cual don Bosco miraba el orden social — al que el viento revolucionario había asestado un duro golpe, y que la Restauración trataba de volver a poner en pie —, es suficiente hojear la Storia ecclesiastica, redactada por él en 1845, y considerar el juicio negativo emitido sobre los movimientos revolucionarios que, a su entender, tenían como objetivo la desestabilización de los equilibrios conseguidos con la alianza entre el trono y el altar.16 No se puede, sin embargo, excluir que hayan pesado además sobre don Bosco el concepto algo pesimista de la naturaleza del hombre y el sentido agudo del pecado original adquiridos en el seminario en la clase de teología rigorista que allí se enseñaba, y por cuyas sugestiones él mismo había sido inducido a dudar hasta de la propia capacidad de salvarse." Los escritos de este período — piénsese en los Cenni storici della vita del chierico Luigi Comollo" o en el testimonio acerca de su compañero de seminario G. Burzío19— dan la impresión de que en aquel momento don Bosco tenía un concepto de los jóvenes matizado de severidad. Son sintomáticas las valoraciones hechas entonces de sus ex compañeros seminaristas. Uno se sentiría inclinado a decir que no logró descubrir en ellos más que seres vacíos y superficiales, aunque sea con la excepción de algunos «veramente buoni»; pero estos últimos — anotaba — «son pocos, y precisamente por esto se debe usar la más atenta cautela, y, encontrados algunos, tratarlos con frecuencia, y establecer aquella familiaridad espiritual de la cual se recaba tanto provecho».2° En la perspectiva de una visión que parecía dar poco crédito a la juventud en general, era natural que, al entrar en contacto con la categoría de los muchachos más extraviados, don Bosco pensara que el único camino a seguir fuese el de reintegrarlos en el contexto social en el que, en virtud de las costumbres inspiradas en los principios religiosos, tales jóvenes podrían mantenerse en el recto sendero.

Stamperia dell'Ospizio apostolico presso P. Aurelj 1835; C.I. PErn II DI RORETO, Saggio sul buon governo della mendicita, degli istituti di beneficenza e delle carceri, Torino, Bocca 1837; J.M. DE GÉRANDO, Della pubblica beneficenza, 7 vol., Firen7e, C. Torri 1842-1846.

" Sobre el «Albergo di Virtil», cf. G. PONZO, Stato e pauperismo in Italia: L'Albergo di virtú di Torino (1580-1836), Roma, la Cultura 1974. Sobre la «Opera della Mendidtá Istruita», cf. las amplias referencias de P. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica e sociale (1815-1870), Roma, LAS 1980, p. 61ss.

BRAIDO, L'esperienza pedagógica di don Bosco, p. 20.

16 G. BOSCO, Storia ecclesiastica ad uso delle scuole utile per ogni ceto di persone, Torino, Tip. Speirani e Ferrero 1845, ahora en: OE I, 161-556.

" Respecto a la formación recibida por el joven Giovanni Bosco en el seminario de Chieri, además de los recuerdos del mismo don Bosco (MO 89ss), se puede ver la paciente reconstrucción de STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 51ss.

18 [G. Bosco], Cenni storici sulla vita del chierico Luigi Comollo morto nel seminario di
Pero ya en los primeros arios de la estancia en Turín, don Bosco puso premisas significativas para una ampliación de sus perspectivas. Mientras tanto, el perfeccionamiento pastoral en el Convino, realizado bajo la prudente guía de Cafasso (que continuaría siendo el director espiritual de don Bosco hasta 1860), le permitió superar el rigorismo teológico del seminario con concepciones espirituales caracterizadas por un sentido de mayor equilibrio.21 En la escuela de Guala y Cafasso, don Bosco encontró y conoció mejor a autores como San Alfonso de Ligorio, San Felipe Neri, San Francisco de Sales. Reflexionando sobre ellos, pudo abrirse al sentido de la esperanza cristiana y del abandono confiado en la misericordia de Dios. El Convitto resultó muy eficaz altres categorías: «cattivi», «non cattivi, ma non moho buoni», «veramente buoni» (OE I, 63-64).

Chieri ammirato da, tutti per le sue singolari virtu scritti da un suo collega, Torino, Tip. Speirani e Ferrero 1844, now in: OE I, 1-83.

19 The "notificazione" made by Don Bosco appeared in: F. GIORDANO, Cenni istruttivi di perfezione proposti a 'giovani desiderosi della medesima nella vita edificante di Giuseppe Burzio, Bacon, Stamperia degli Artisti tipografi 1846, p. 96ss., Now in: SO II, 6ss.

2 ° The trial, in fact, was the one that Don Bosco said he had heard from his friend Comollo, and was part of the division with which he had classified the clergy, according to
It is easy to assume that this was also the appreciation of Don Bosco. From the Memorie dell 'Oratorio it would seem that the classification of young people according to the three categories recalled, Don Bosco had come, on his own, to value his fellow Latinos, during the years of secondary school in Chieti (cf. MO 50-51). On the rather critical trial that, in the early 1940s, it issued about the seminary and its residents, one can also see the testimony about his colleague G. Burzio, in which he maintains that a good seminarian should have, with his eyes of the dove, the sagacity of the serpent, if you want to get out "da 'scogli nascosti a flor d'acqua, che nel porto medesinio potrebbero delle volte will present the shipwreck of death" (OE II, 8-9). Among these «scogli»,

21 On the years spent by Don Bosco in the Convitto, cf. STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 85ss.

22 On the relationship of Don Bosco with Saint Alphonsus, cf. STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 87ss .;
M. MARCOCCITE, Alle radici della spilitualitá di don Bosco, in this same volume. On the contacts of Don Bosco with the thoughts of San Felipe Neri and San Francisco de Sales, cf. BRAMO, L'esperienza pedagogica preventiva, p. 306-307.

help him to fix the fundamental lines of his apostolate. Urged to get out of the abstract doctrinal diatribes to confront the demands of the concrete cure of souls, Don Bosco understood that, in view of the glory of God, what counted was not the adoption of a theological doctrine instead of another, but rather, the effective help that, as a priest, he was able to give to people.

In October 1841, after completing her pastoral practice at the Convitto, she became chaplain of the "Opera Pia del Rifugio" of Marquesa Barolo, and was able to give her Sunday meetings with the youth a more stable organization: it was precisely during the period of the Refuge when Don Bosco began to designate his work with the name of "Oratorio di San Francesco di Sales". The activity that was developed (according to a formula that always linked to the explanation of the catechism happy and entertaining pastimes, in addition to moments of true and proper instruction), should confirm it in the persuasion that only living with the boys and taking care of them it was possible to lead them to think about the things of heaven 23 That is, Don Bosco realized that an essential point of his action was to make his young people understand that they had found a "friend", a person they could trust and who could open their own hearts. At that time, when the boys felt surrounded by deep affection and sincere human solidarity, the problem of their recovery would be less difficult: «It was then - I would say later referring to those first experiences - when I felt with the hand that the young people left from the place of punishment, if they find a benevolent hand, that take care of them, attend them on holidays, try to place them to work with some honest employer, leaving them to visit sometime during the week, these young people began a life honored, forgetting the past, they became good and honest citizens. "24
Historians have wondered if Don Bosco acquired this idea of ​​prevention in a more markedly promotional sense driven by some precise source. It can be said, without further ado, that the deepening of the apostolate of a San Felipe Neri or a San Francisco de Sales could not leave him indifferent, above all, because of the orientations they gave on aspects such as joy, put by San Felipe Neri in the center of its own educational vision, or like the sweetness and charity, that San Francisco de Sales so much recommended to those who were preparing to begin their work in the healing of souls.23
23 As regards the instruction itself, Don Bosco began organizing a brief instructive meeting on Sundays aimed at imparting to the boys the first rudiments of reading and writing: in Cenni storici it is read that the "scuola domenicale" It began in 1845, but Braido believes that this date should be delayed by one year (see BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, page 68).

24 MO 127.

you can also find analogies and coincidences with works by authors and contemporary environments. Consider, for example, the pedagogical proposal of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the teaching of Aporti, the themes of the educators and the pedagogues grouped around the magazine "L'Educatore Primario". We could say that it is a whole movement that, even without carrying out a programmatically coordinated action, was highlighting the importance of popular education and underlining the urgency of a training work that, before punishing and repressing, should to prevent the boys from making the mistake.28 However, P. Braido has shown that, apart from some relevant coincidences,
Francisco de Sales, as well as other apostles that emerged after the Council of Trent (OE I). The features with which the two saints were characterized are significant: «Correva per le piazze, per le contrade raccogliendo especialmente i ragazzi i piú abbandonati, i quali radunava in qualche luogo, dove with lepidezze ed innocenti divertimenti li teneva lontani dalla corruzione del secolo, and the administrative nelle veritá della fede "(Ibid., p.473); de San Francisco de Sales: "Spinto dalla voce di Dio che lo chiamava a cose grandi; Colle Sole Armi della Dolcezza e carita si parte per Chiablese. Alla vista delle chiese abbattute, dei monasteri distrutti, delle croci rovesciate, tutto s'accende di zelo e comincia il suo apostolato "(Ibid., P 479-480). In the Memorie dell'Oratorio,

26 G. Bosco, Il giovane provveduto per la pratica de' suoi doveri degli esercizi di cristiana pietá per la recita dell'Uffizio della Beata Vergine e de' principal:* vespri dell'anno coll'aggiunta di una scelta di laudi sacre ecc., Torino, Paravia 1847, ahora en: OE II, 183-532.

27 La obra en cuestión de Gobinet es Instruction de la jeunesse en la piété chrétienne..., publicada por primera vez en 1655, y destinada a convenirse, muy pronto, en un libro de espiritualidad juvenil muy difundido. De las varias traducciones italianas recordamos: P. GOBINET, Istruzione della Gioventú nella pietá cristiana, Tocino, Associazione prenso i librai Maspero e Sena 1831 (que constituía el vol. 23 de la «Scelta biblioteca economica d'opere di religione»). Sobre las relaciones entre el Giovane provveduto y el escrito de Gobinet, cf. P. STELLA, Valori spirituali nel «Giovane provveduto» di san Giovanni Bosco, Roma, Scuola Grafica Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco 1960.

28 Cf. a este propósito: P. BRAMO, Stili di educazione popolare cristiana alíe soglie del 1848, en: Pedagogia fra tradizione e innovazione, Milano, Vita e pensiero, 1979, p. 383-404; BRAIDO, L'esperienza pedagogica preventiva, p. 310-313; G. CHIOSSO, L'Oratorio di don Bosco, en: BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 83-116.

tuvo relaciones." Obviamente, de este hecho no es licito concluir que él haya elaborado sus convicciones educativas a partir de su sola experiencia, alimentada a lo sumo con las tradiciones espirituales y ascéticas aludidas más arriba. Las analogías recordadas indican que don Bosco participaba, por lo menos, de un mismo clima cultural.

De todos modos, es cierto que, al final de los arios 40, el sacerdote piamontés se acercaba a una visión más serena.cle la juventud, aunque sin caer en cierto optimismo rousseauniano; acerca del cual, por el contrario, continuó manteniendo con firmeza sus reservas. Es fácil poner de relieve en Ii giovane provveduto que don Bosco estaba madurando aquella visión más serena, en estrecha relación con la perspectiva teológica fundada sobre un Dios que — en modo diverso del conocido a través de las doctrinas rigoristas del seminario —, asumía cada vez más la imagen de un padre bueno, deseoso de ayudar a los hijos a lograr la propia salvación. En el cuadro de tal concepción, don Bosco afirmaba así: «Convencidos, queridos hijitos, de que todos hemos sido creados para el paraíso, debemos dirigir todas nuestras acciones a este fin. A esto os debe mover especialmente el gran amor que Dios os tiene. Aunque Él ame a todos los hombres, como obra de sus manos, tiene, sin embargo, un amor especial para los jovencitos, en los cuales encuentra sus delicias: Delíciae meae esse cum filiis hominum. Por lo tanto sois la delicia y el amor de aquel Dios que os creó. Él os ama porque estáis todavía a tiempo para hacer muchas obras buenas; os ama porque estáis en una edad sencilla, humilde, inocente, y, en general, no habéis sido todavía presa infeliz del enemigo infernal»."
La base sobre la que don Bosco habría edificado su concepción preventiva estaba ya puesta. Si la juventud se presentaba no sólo como la parte de humanidad más amada por. Dios, sino también como el tiempo más precioso para ganarse el paraíso, los adultos tenían la delicada tarea de acercarse con caridad paterna y con razonable solicitud a los jóvenes para sostenerlos en su fragilidad y, con la ayuda de la gracia, hacer crecer en sus corazones el amor de la virtud y de la vida cristiana. Con otras palabras, la propuesta hacia la que don Bosco se estaba encaminando era una propuesta educativa que, aun sin desconocer la importancia del sostén de las estructruras sociales, buscaba, ante todo, consolidar las energías interiores de cada muchacho, de modo que fuese puesto, gradualmente, en la condición de discernir y querer el bien.

29 Éste no comparte, por tanto, la posición de quien, como A. Caviglia, ha llegado a sostener que don Bosco vendría a depender de las perspectivas pedagógicas de los hermanos de las Escuelas Cristianas y de los pedagogos que se agrupaban en torno a «L'Educatore Primario» (cf. BRAIDO, L'esperienza pedagogica preventiva, p. 310).

30 OE IL 190-191.

2. En el clima de las tensiones políticas y de la propaganda antirreligiosa

Mientras tanto, en el año 1846, el Oratorio había encontrado su lugar definitivo en Valdocco, zona periférica de la ciudad de Turín, y podía por tanto enriquecerse con nuevas actividades. En el invierno de dicho año, dándose cuenta de que los primeros rudimentos de lectura y escritura, que se impartían a los muchachos los días de fiesta, eran excesivamente irregulares y no podían producir frutos duraderos, don Bosco decidió organizar las escuelas nocturnas, con la enseñanza de la lectura y escritura, y, más tarde, de la aritmética y del dibujo.3' Al principio, el momento instructivo nació claramente en apoyo de la formación religiosa propiamente dicha; pero bastante pronto se cargó de un valor humano propio, porque permitía a los muchachos una mejor integración no sólo con la religión sino con la sociedad. Que el crecimiento espiritual debía concebirse enramado en el crecimiento de todo el hombre era, por otra parte, una convicción del mismo don Bosco, quien, desde el 47, había afirmado que, siguiendo el método que les había propuesto, los jóvenes, antes que «afortunados moradores del cielo», llegarían a ser «el consuelo de los [...] parientes, el honor de la patria, buenos ciudadanos en la tierra».32
Desde esta óptica se explica también la preocupación con la que él trataba de procurar a cada uno de sus muchachos un trabajo, de modo que, arrancados del ocio, tuviesen la posibilidad de llenar dignamente la vida y sentirse miembros activos de la sociedad civil. Don Bosco avanzaba, cada día más, hacia una concepción que conjugaba una intensa inspiración religiosa fundamental con una fuerte atención a los valores humanos. Es posible, sin duda, decir que, desde los comienzos, su proyecto tendía a dar a sus jóvenes todo lo que necesitasen: ante todo, los instrumentos para desarrrollar su vida de fe; pero, al mismo tiempo, ayuda material, trabajo, amistad, cuidado de su salud, consejos, momentos de diversión y de alegría.33 Naturalmente este «programma globale d'intervento» llegó a ser relativamente más realizable, cuando pudo contar con una morada que, si bien al principio era muy modesta, tenía de todos modos la ventaja de ofrecer un apoyo estable y seguro. Con la primavera de 1847, aprovechando la disponibilidad de la casa, don Bosco dio también alojamiento a algunos muchachos. Desde aquel momento Valdocco, junto al oratorio festivo y las escuelas nocturnas, disponía de un hospicio que permitiría a un cierto número de jóvenes ir durante el día a la ciudad, para trabajar en diversos talleres o para estudiar en casa de algunos profesores privados, y volver por la tarde al Oratorio, donde, gracias también a la activa y amable presencia de la madre de don Bosco, encontraban el calor de una verdadera familia.

31 Sobre la fecha (1846), indicada como el comienzo de las escuelas nocturnas, cf. el testimonio del mismo don Bosco en Cenni storici, en: BRAmo, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 72; pero, en las Memorie dell'Oratorio, había hablado del invierno de 1845-1846 (y Ceda había llegado hasta a adelantar la fecha del comienzo al año 1844) (cf. MO 150-151). Según Braido, las escuelas nocturnas de don Bosco comenzaron, muy probablemente, en el invierno de 1846-47 (Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 72).

" OE II, 187.

" Braido, al resaltar esta labor de sostén integral, habla de «programma globale d'intervento» (BRAmo, II progetto operativo, p. 9).

Para comprender la importancia que en la estrategia del sacerdote piamontés iba a adquirir progresivamente la fórmula del hospicio — y del colegio, como veremos —, es necesario no olvidar las vicisitudes políticas de los últimos años 40. P. Stella no excluye que, en los primeros meses de 1848, don Bosco se dejara tentar por cierta simpatía neogüelfa, en un momento en que «la mayoría del clero (y también de prelados que después se separaron de la causa nacional y se mostraron intransigentes) se adhirió al neogüelfismo y aplaudió la guerra de la independencia».34 Para apoyar esta no abstracta hipótesis, se pueden aducir no sólo el adjetivo «grande» atribuido por don Bosco a Gioberti en la nueva edición de su Storia ecclesiastica publicada en 1848,35 sino también algunas ideas que se pueden encontrar en el primer número del «Amico della Gioventá», un periódico político-religioso que el sacerdote piamontés comenzó a publicar a partir del mes de octubre de 1848.36En un artículo titulado Religione e liberta — que apareció anónimo, pero que, si no de don Bosco, fue publicado verosímilmente con su aprobación37 —, se sostenía la tesis, según la cual, la Iglesia, diversamente a lo que los adversarios querían hacer creer, no odiaba ni el progreso ni el sentimiento nacional: «En suma, cada día aparece más claro que catolicismo, progreso y nacionalidad son reconciliables entre sí más de lo que parece a primera vista; que los dos últimos encontraron ventajas en el primero, y que a él deben dirigirse todavía si quieren obtener su triun fo».38 Pero si nutrió alguna simpatía neogüelfa, la abandonó bien pronto, y comenzó a temer que la abolición de la censura (30 octubre 1847), la concesión del Estatuto (4 marzo 1848) y, sobre todo, la equiparación de los valdenses (17 febrero 1848) y de los hebreos (29 marzo 1848) a los demás ciudadanos en gozar de los derechos civiles39 fueran las señales premonitoras de algunas transformaciones políticas gravemente dañosas para la religión católica. Don Bosco tuvo la impresión de que, bajo el influjo de los enemigos del catolicismo, el Estado se estuviese alejando de la línea con la que hasta entonces había tate- lado premurosamente a la Iglesia, recibiendo en cambio de ella el más leal apoyo. La introducción de otra serie de reformas, a partir de la abolición en 1850 del foro eclesiástico, y la adopción de algunas medidas, como la expulSión en el mismo año 1850 de mons. Fransoni, arzobispo de Turín, debía transformar aquella impresión en amarga convicción.4° Desde aquel momento, don Bosco, más allá de sus declaraciones de ser ajeno a la política, vivió con la nostalgia de la organización político-social del Anden Régime: una nostalgia no sin consecuencias, si se tiene presente que don Bosco quedaría ligado tanto a la idea de una estrecha integración entre trono y altar, como a la visión de una sociedad organizada jerárquicamente.

" STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 78.

" Al introducir un elogio de Pío IX, don Bosco escribía: «I sovrani impararono da lui [da Pio IX] il yero modo di governare i popoli. La sola sua presenza forma la meraviglia di chi lo pub vedere. II gran Gioberti chisma il giorno che lo vide il piii bello di sua vita» (G. Bosco, Storia ecclesiastica per uso delle scuole utile ad ogni stato di persone, Torino, Tip. Speirani e Ferrero 1848, p. 182). En la edición siguiente, publicada por don Bosco en 1870, la referencia a Gioberti ya no apareció.

36 El periódico no tuvo mucho éxito y en el mes de mayo de 1849, después del fascículo
LXI, se fundió con «L'Istruttore del Popolo» (STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 78-79).

37 El artículo se puede consultar en el último volumen de las Opere edite, publicado recientemente: OE XXXVIII, 291-292.

" OE XXXVIII, 292. En el artículo se emitía, entre otros, un juicio lisonjero sobre la juventud: «In simile stato di cose, dedicad al bene della gioventú, abbiamo ideato di rivolgersi a questa bella eta delle speranze, invitandola a voler usare pienamente di sua liberta» (Ibid.). El juicio reflejaba lo que la Dirección de «L'Amico della Gioventú» escribía en el editorial del mismo número, titulado «Programma» (se puede ver en: OE XXXVIII, 289-290). Al hacer una llamada a los lectores, para que colaborasen en la obra que iba a emprender, la Dirección observaba en efecto: «[La gioventú] é la porzione piú favorita del genere umano, sopra cui si fondano le speranze della patria, il sostegno delle famiglie, l'onore della Religione e dello Stato» (Ibid.). En modo análogo se expresaba don Bosco en un Avviso sacro difundido por él en aquellos mismos meses: «La porzione dell'umana societá, su cui sono fondate le speranze del presente e dell'avvenire, la porzione degna dei piú attenti riguardi é, dubbio, la gioventù» (MB 111, 605).

Pero el motivo por el cual más se angustió, después del 48-49, fue la activa propaganda con la cual los valdenses, aprovechando los nuevos espacios de libertad, trataban de ampliar la propia presencia en medio de la gente. Piénsese en lo que don Bosco debió probar en 1851 cuando en el barrio de Porta Nuova, donde había dado vida a otro Oratorio titulado de «San Luigi», vio surgir el templo valdense. Los escritos compuestos por él en este período — de los Avvisi az' cattolici a Il cattolico istruito41 — reflejan la viva preocupación con la que el autor seguía el proselitismo actuado entonces por los valdenses
" Los valdenses obtuvieron su emancipación en virtud de las «Regie lettere patenti» del 17 de febrero 1828; los judíos en virtud del regio decreto del 29 de marzo 1848. Pero la equiparación de los ciudadanos no católicos iba a tener, no mucho más tarde, una ulterior y más solemne confirmación. En efecto, el 19 de junio de 1848 era emanada una ley cuyo artículo único establecía que la diferencia de culto ya no constituiría «eccezione al godimento dei cifrad civil e politici e all'ammissibilitá alle caniche civili e militad». Sobre la emancipación de los valdenses y de los judíos, cf. G. SPINI, Risorgimento e protestanti, Napoli 1956; S. FoA, Gli ebrei nel Risorgimento, Roma/Assisi 1978.

4' Para conocer el pensamiento de don Bosco sobre el 48, cf. lo que él iba escribir más tarde en: G. Bosco, La storia d'Italia raccontata alla gioventú da' suoi primi abitatori sino ai nostri giorni, Torino, Paravia 1855, ahora en: OE VII, 1-558 y en: MO 204ss.; sobre la reconstrucción de aquellos acontecimientos hecha por don Bosco, sobre todo en las páginas de la Storia d'Italia,
cf. F. TRANIELLO, Don Bosco e l'educazione giovanile: la «Storia d'Italia», en: TRANDELL0 (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, p. 81-111.

" G. Bosco, La Chiesa cattolica-apostolica-romana é la sola vera Chiesa di Gesti Cristo. Avvisi ai cattolici, Torino, Tip. Speirani e Ferrero 1850, ahora en: OE IV, 121-143; G. Bosco, II cattolico istruito nella sua religione. Trattenimenti di un padre di famiglia co' suoi figliuoli secondo i bisogni del tempo, Torino, De Agostini 1853, ahora en: OE IV, 195-646.

en Piamonte. Don Bosco juzgaba al protestantismo no sólo como una herejía religiosa — que, según la apologética del Setecientos, consideraba más como fruto de inmoralidad, de las costumbres que de apostasía de la razón42 —, sino también como un fenómeno político que tendía a desquiciar toda legítima autoridad. Es sintomática, a este propósito, la presentación que él hacía de las consecuencias que, a su entender, producía el principio del libre examen: «El decir: haceos una religión a voluntad, es como decir: haced lo que queráis; robad, desobedeced, matad a vuestro rey, a los ministros, y a todo el que aparezca culpable a vuestros ojos, vosotros obraréis ciertamente bien, con tal de que creáis hacer buenas acciones».43 En el curso dé su campaña contra las «sectas», don Bosco tendía, por tanto, a identificar el protestantismo con la «revolución» y a presentar, por el contrario, el catolicismo como la religión que concurriría a instaurar la pacífica convivencia de todos."
En este contexto cobra nueva luz la importancia que en la praxis pedagógica del educador piamontés adquiría su hospicio. Este debería servir para contener los influjos negativos que, durante el día, habrían podido alcanzar a los jóvenes a través de las personas con que se encontraban, de las conversaciones que oían, de la prensa que corrían el peligro de tener entre manos. No carece de significado el que entonces don Bosco decidiese dirigir a los huéspedes un «brevísimo sermoncito por las noches después de las oraciones con el fin de exponer o confirmar alguna verdad que por ventura hubiese sido contradicha en el curso de la jornada»." Entre los años 1851 y 1853, Valdocco se enriquecía con la iglesia de San Francisco de Sales y con un nuevo edificio destinado a habitaciones: en 1853 los huéspedes de la casa eran cerca de unos veinte y comprendían, además de los artesanos y estudiantes, diversos clérigos que, al ser cerrado el seminario diocesano por la guerrra de independencia, don Bosco muy gustosamente había acogido en su casa, poniendo en marcha una nueva experiencia educativa." Como es fácil advertir, el Oratorio de don Bosco era ya una cosa bien diversa del simple encuentro dominical de los primeros años 40. Pero detrás de la evolución de las estructuras, había un cambio más profundo. Solicitado por el empuje de los acontecimientos de 1848, don Bosco empezó a revisar la concepción con la que, hasta entonces, había pensado que debía salvar para la sociedad a los muchachos abandonados de los que se venía ocupando. Es decir, tomaba cuerpo en él la idea de que eran los jóvenes — los jóvenes en general y no sólo los pobres y abandonados — los que tenían que ser puestos al abrigo de los influjos negativos de la realidad social. En esta óptica, el hospicio era solamente una etapa.

42 STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 47ss. 45 OE 590.

" STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 81ss. 45 MO 205.

46 Don Bosco se complacía diciendo que, después de 1848, el Oratorio se convirtió por casi veinte años en el seminario diocesano (MO 212).

En efecto, en 1853, pudiendo contar con un mayor número de locales, don Bosco creaba en Valdocco los primeros talleres (de zapateros y sastres) — a los que, a lo largo de unos diez años se habrían de añadir otros cuatro (de encuadernadores, carpinteros, tipógrafos y forjadores) —, y en 1855 instituía la tercera clase gimnasia! — que a la vuelta de cuatro años estaría integrada por las clases restantes hasta completar un curso gimnasia! completo. Después de estas medidas, el hospicio se transformaba en verdadero internado, en el que los muchachos tenían la posibilidad de dormir, comer y trabajar o estudiar. La progresiva transformación de Valdocco — que conservó de todos modos el Oratorio festivo —, se actuó también para dar una respuesta a algunas exigencias muy concretas como, por ejemplo, la necesidad de proporcionar a los huéspedes del Oratorio vestidos y calzado, o la oportunidad de acompañar el trabajo de escritor y de editor de don Bosco con un taller de encuadernación y con una tipografía.47 Pero en la base de esta evolución estaba, ante todo, la intención de proteger a los jóvenes de los peligros de una sociedad cuya obra, a los ojos de don Bosco, se hacía cada vez más perniciosa para la integridad de la vida moral y religiosa, en particular de aquellos en quienes no habían madurado todavía la fuerza de carácter y la solidez de convicciones.

Hacia la mitad de los años 50, don Bosco había esbozado ya las estructuras de las que se serviría definitivamente en su estrategia educativa. Y sería interesante estudiar detenidamente los documentos y reflexiones que elaboró en aquel período para encuadrar la praxis cotidiana. Pensamos, por ejemplo, en-el conjunto de reglamentos redactados a partir de 1852, en la Introduzione y el Cenno storico ya recordados, en la conversación con U. Rattazzi de 1854; aunque, en realidad, el contenido de tal conversación fuera publicado en el «Bollettino Salesiano» del 1882 y se le pudieran, por tanto, añadir valoraciones y juicios posteriores.48 Para los fines de nuestro discurso pueden bastar, quizás, algunas simples alusiones.

De estos y de otros documentos resulta confirmada, por de pronto, la idea positiva que mientras tanto don Bosco se había formado acerca de la juventud: «porción la más delicada y la más preciosa»,48 «no mala de por sí»,5° que se podía estropear «por inconsideración [...] no por malicia consumada»." En la citada Introduzione el sacerdote piamontés llegaba, por tanto, a sostener que, quitados algunos obstáculos — como «la negligencia de los padres» [o bien la falta de afecto, el abandono], «el ocio» y los «malos compañeros» sería «facilísima cosa» educar a los jóvenes e «insinuar en sus tiernos corazones los principios del orden, de las buenas costumbres, del respeto, de la religión.».52

47 Sobre las razones que indujeron a don Bosco a implantar, en Valdocco, los diversos talleres me permito remitir a: PAZZAGLIA, Apprendistato, p. 20ss.

48 El texto ha sido publicado recientemente por: A. FERREIRA DA SILVA, Conversazione con
Urbano Rattazzi, en: Bosco, Scritti pedagogici, p. 55-69.

49 BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 34.

50 BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 39.

51 BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 35.

52 BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 34-35.

La rápida definición que don Bosco, en el cuadro de su optimismo pedagógico, daba de la educación, merece ser señalada y confrontada con cuanto éj mismo observaba en 1854, en el curso de la conversación con Rattazzi. En esta circunstancia, contraponiendo los métodos «represivo» y «preventivo» según una terminología que, sin embargo, no podía todavía usar en el momento de su encuentro con el político —, don Bosco explicaba en qué consistía la acción preventiva: «Ante todo, aquí se procura infundir en el corazón de los jovencitos un santo temor de Dios; se les inspira amor a la virtud y horror al vicio, con la enseñanza del catecismo y con apropiadas instrucciones morales; se encaminan y se sostienen en la vía del bien con oportunos y benévolos avisos, y especialmente con las prácticas de piedad y de religión».53 Ciertamente esta defición de educación era más precisa que la que hemos observado en la Introduzione; pero tanto la una como la otra se inspiran en el mismo principio. Don Bosco partía de la persuasión de que, si era ciertamente importante encontrar lugares donde «reunir» a los jóvenes, la parte más positiva y constructiva del prevenir se realizaba al sembrar — «insinuare», «infondere» — en el ánimo de los jóvenes los principios naturales y sobrenaturales. En esta perspectiva, se logra también dar un contorno más preciso a aquel contexto de amplia libertad que, como se lee en el Cenno storico, él afirmaba que había introducido en el Oratorio a pesar de que, sobre todo a los comienzos, la cosa no le había dejado de procurar, de parte de los ambientes conservadores, la acusación de instruir a los jóvenes con «máximas sospechosas»: «esta última acusación se fundaba especialmente — escribe — en que yo permitía a mis jóvenes toda clase de recreación, con tal de que no fuese pecado o contraría a la urbanidad».54

3. El oratorio festivo y el colegio: dos sistemas educativos

Podríamos decir que, hacia la mitad de los años 50, don Bosco había llegado a definir, no sólo los «lugares», sino también los principios clave de lo que habría de ser ya su empeño educativo. Naturalmente, para conocer mejor en qué modo atendía a la realización de tal empeño, sería necesario iniciar un atento análisis de su obra, tanto más que, según él, una correcta estrategia educativa debería adaptarse a las exigencias especificas de cada situación. En realidad, a medida que procedía en la puesta en práctica de su proyecto, don Bosco seguía dos sistemas: el del Oratorio festivo, que respecto a los primeros encuentros dominicales algo improvisados había adquirido una mayor continuidad, llegando a ser de hecho, cotidiano; y el sistema del colegio, la nueva institución que, aunque ya funcionaba desde 1853 con los dos primeros talleres, se delineó de forma neta y precisa sólo después de la puesta en marcha del ciclo gimnasial completo. Pero para tener un cuadro más completo, sería oportuno que tuviésemos en cuenta una ulterior división dentro del sistema del colegio, puesto que don Bosco, a pesar de atenerse a los mismos principios, adoptó diversas líneas, según se tratase de artesanos, estudiantes o clérigos estudiantes; sobre todo, cuando instituidas todas las cinco clases gimnasia-les, debió salir del clima de sencillez seguido hasta entonces e introducir una reglamentación más exigente y puntual de cada una de las secciones. Siendo imposible, en este momento, hacer un examen pormenorizado de los varios itinerarios educativos que don Bosco fue recorriendo, nos limitaremos a hacer algunas reflexiones de carácter general en torno al sistema del Oratorio para externos y al del colegio.

53 Bosco, Scritti pedagogici, p. 65. Y continuando a ilustrar a Ratazzi el carácter de la obra educativa inspirada en el criterio de una auténtica prevención, don Bosco añadía: «Oltre a ció, si circondano [i ragazzi], per quanto é possibile, di un'amorevole assistenza in ricreazione, nella scuola, sul lavoro; s'incoraggiano con parole di benevolpn?a, e non appena mostrarlo di dimenticare i proprii doveri, loro si ricordano ín bel modo e si richiamano a saní consigli. In una parola si usano tune le industrie, che suggerisce la caritá cristiana, affinché facciano il bene e fuggano il male per principio di una coscienza illuminata e sorretta dalla Religione» (Ibid., p. 65-66).

54 BRAIDO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 45.

Por lo que se refiere a la concepción que, en medio de su actividad, había madurado sobre el Oratorio festivo, merece la pena examinar el primer Regolamento dell'Oratorio que, siguiendo la pauta de algunos reglamentos de oratorios milaneses, don Bosco comenzó a elaborar hacia 1852, precisamente con la intención de ordenar el aflujo de los jóvenes que frecuentaban Valdocco los domingos y los días laborables por la tarde. Estos jóvenes, después de la introducción del internado, se llamarían «externos».55 El Reglamento precisaba que el fin del Oratorio era «entretener a la juventud en los días de fiesta con agradable y honesta recreación después de haber asistido a las sagradas funciones en la iglesia».56 Al poner en guardia contra una interpretación seductiva de tal concepción, P. Braido ha escrito que don Bosco tenía en su mente no un simple «ricreatorío» o «ritrovo giovanile», sino una «scuola d'istruzione, di pratica religiosa e di ispirazione cristiana alla vita»57 El término escuela se debe tomar, obviamente, en sentido no literal, pues si es verdad que se preveían algunos momentos escolares propiamente dichos, la formación de los que frecuentaban el Oratorio debía tener lugar de modo informal y en consonancia con cuanto progresivamente era sugerido por las circunstancias y por la inventiva de los educadores. En suma, en lo que don Bosco pensaba era un alegre y sereno «ambiente» pedagógico que, haciendo fructificar las diversas oportunidades — escuela, juego, teatro, excursiones —, supiese ofrecer a los muchachos un sólido apoyo para su crecimiento moral, espiritual y religioso. La estructura que debería favorecer el logro de este objetivo era, más bien, articulada. En efecto, al lado del director («el superior principal, que es responsable de todo lo que ocurre en el oratorio»), el Reglamento ponía a un grupo de colaboradores más directos — desde el prefecto al director espiritual —, los cuales, por sus delicadas responsabilidades, no podían ser sino sacerdotes, y otro grupo de ayudantes — asistentes, sacristanes, monitores, catequistas, bibliotecarios —, algunos de los cuales serían escogidos de entre los jóvenes más capaces y ejemplares.

55, Este Regolamento fue publicado por Lemoyne en: MB III, 91-92.98-108. Según el biógrafo salesiano, la redacción del escrito se habría ya hecho, en gran parte, en 1847; pero es muy probable que, como sostiene P. Braido, tal redacción haya sido realizada en torno al año 1852 (cf. BRAMO, Don Bosco nella Chiesa, p. 36). El texto definitivo del Regolamento para los externos fue publicado en 1877: Regolamento dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales per esterni, Torino, Tipografia Salesiana 1877, ahora en: OE XXEX, 3 1-92.

56 MB DI, 91.

57 P. BRAMO, II sistema preventivo di don Bosco, Zürich, PAS Verlag 1964, p. 322. Sobre el oratorio festivo, véase lo escrito por BRAIDO, L'esperienza pedagogica preventiva, p. 160ss.

Don Bosco se había convencido de que para entrar en el Oratorio festivo se debía o ejercer un oficio o tener, al menos, la intención de ejercerlo: «Quien estuviese desocupado y desease trabajar puede dirigirse a los Protectores, y será ayudado por ellos».58 No debe sorprender que la actividad laboral revistiese tanta importancia a los ojos del sacerdote piamontés. Éste, fiel a una idea que le era muy querida, afirmaba en el Reglamento de los externos que el ocio y la desocupación generarían todos los vicios y harían inútil toda suerte de instrucción religiosa.59 Es evidente, sin embargo, que con las nuevas disposiciones el Oratorio tendía a caracterizarse con rasgos diversos respecto al de los orígenes. En efecto, mientras en los comienzos había sido ideado — como se ha visto — para socorrer, principal aunque no exclusivamente, a los muchachos salidos de la cárcel y abandonados a sí mismos, el Oratorio se convertía ahora en un servicio abierto a todos los jóvenes que, ocupados en alguna actividad, deseasen utilizar, positivamente, su tiempo libre. La transformación no era una cosa de poca importancia. Muy probablemente tal transformación se debía al hecho de que, al proponerse don Bosco la integración directa de sus muchachos en la vida de trabajo, el oratorio había acabado por ser cada vez más frecuentado por jóvenes artesanos; pero no se debe excluir que la nueva apertura derivase también de las reflexiones con las cuales, frente al cambiado contexto cultural, el sacerdote piamontés consideraba urgente ofrecer un apoyo no ya a una porción particular de la juventud, sino a los jóvenes en general, fuesen estudiantes o aprendices.6° Convendrá, sin embargo, añadir que, aun con esta perspectiva pedagógica más vasta, don Bosco siguió afirmando que era necesario tener una mirada de predilección para los más pobres.

58 MB 111, 92.

" MB 111, 92. Sobre la contraposición establecida por don Bosco entre vida activa y vida
ociosa, he tenido ocasión de ocuparme en el citado seminario de estudio de Venecia, con una comunicación: Il tema del lavoro nell'esperienza pedagogica, publicada en: NANNI (ed.), Don Bosco e la sua esperienza pedagogica, p. 113-131.

60 En el mismo Regolamento se afirmaba que se tenían presentes especialmente «i giovanetti,
Concebido ya en función de sectores juveniles cada vez más amplios el oratorio festivo, de cara a sus huéspedes, adoptaría un espíritu de gran comprensión. El Reglamento establecía que las puertas estuvieran abiertas aun a los más díscolos, siempre que no diesen escándalo y manifestasen la voluntad de observar una conducta mejor.6' Esta declarada tolerancia no debe hacer creer que don Bosco hiciese la hipótesis de una propuesta educativa fofa e im.. precisa. El elemento en torno al cual habría girado la obra del Oratorio era el religioso. Al esbozar la figura del director, el Reglamento decía: «Este debe ser como un padre en medio de sus propios hijos, e ingeniarse de todas las maneras posibles para insinuar en los jóvenes corazones el amor de Dios, el respecto a las cosas sagradas, la frecuencia de los Sacramentos, la filial devoción a María Santísima».62 El empeño educativo del director se debía considerar, obviamente, dirigido al Oratorio en su conjunto: todo debería concurrir, no sólo a promover el conocimiento de las verdades cristianas, sino también a favorecer su aplicación en la vida cotidiana. Para comprender en qué medida estaba enraizada en don Bosco la preocupación de ver a sus muchachos hacer propias aquellas verdades, es suficiente repasar la narración, publicada por él en 1855, La forza della buona educazione; a pesar de que la primera parte era, en realidad, la traducción casi literal de una obrita francesa.63 Don Bosco se complacía en resaltar que el joven protagonista, Pietro, que en la narración era presentado precisamente como alumno del Oratorio de Valdocco, había sido operai, i quali nei giorni festivi soprattutto vano esposti a grandi pericoli morali e corporali»; pero no se excluían «gli studenti, che nei giorni festivi o nei giorni di vacan?a vi volessero intervenire» (MB la, 91). Por otra parte, los estudiantes venían ya a Valdocco desde hacía tiempo, si bien con una finalidad especial. Es sabido que desde los comienzos, don Bosco había invitado a «giovani di buona condotta e giá istruiti» (MO 128), que, además de mantener el orden, le ayudasen a leer y cantar cantos sagrados.

61 MB III, 92.

62 MB Hl, 98.

63 G. Bosco, La forza della buona educazione. Curioso episodio contemporaneo, Torino, Paravia 1855, ahora en: OE VI, 275-386. En la presentación, don Bosco declaraba que había utilizado un escrito francés titulado: Un mari comme il y en a beaucoup, une femme comme il y en a peu. De esta obrita, publicada anónima, pero nacida, quizás, en los ambientes de los hermanos de las Escuelas Cristianas, P. Stella ha encontrado una edición de 1869 (Caen, Chénel Librairie 1869, 7' ed.), puesta, amablemente, a mi disposición. La comparación de Un mari con La forza della buona educazione permite establecer que los seis primeros capítulos de la segunda constituyen la traducción de toda la obrita francesa. Es probable que los capítulos restantes (aquellos en que se acompaña a Pietro, el joven protagonista, desde el día de la primera comunión hasta el servicio militar) sea obra de don Bosco. Hay que decir además que también en la parte simplemente traducida, se pueden encontrar algunas añadiduras o variantes, a veces no sólo marginales. Por ejemplo, a lo largo del dialogo en que la madre recomienda a Pietro referirle, todas las tardes, las conversaciones tenidas con los compañeros de trabajo, don Bosco añade una nota típica de su visión pedagógica: «Cosí — decía precisamente la madre al hijo — io potró sempre darti buoni consigli intorno a ció che devi fare e intorno a ció che devi fuggire» (OE VI, 282).

ejemplo de virtud cristiana asistiendo a la misa no sólo en los días de fiesta, ino también en los día laborables, acercándose regularmente a los sacramende la confesión y comunión, haciendo cotidianamente lectura espiritual (I/ tos giovane provveduto), evitando las malas compañías y huyendo del ocio.

Pero en la visión de don Bosco, el Oratorio debía hacer que los jóvenes, profundizando en la vida cristiana, llegasen a ser al mismo tiempo, hombres honestos: «Entrando un joven en este Oratorio — subrayaba el Reglamento debe convencerse de que éste es un lugar de religión, en el que se desea formar buenos cristianos y honestos ciudadanos».64 Esto significaba que se habría tratado de promover virtudes tales como el altruismo, la honradez, el sentido del deber, el respeto a las autoridades constituidas. Es significativo, también aquí, el modelo de joven que don Bosco ilustraba a través de las páginas de La forza della buona educazione: Pietro había honrado al padre y a la madre aceptando los sacrificios que le habían pedido; se había comportando en el trabajo de forma encomiable, conquistando tanto la estima del patrón — que había apreciado «la fidelidad, la puntualidad, la actividad» — como la simpatía de los compañeros, «que no podían tener asistente más paciente, más caritativo»; pero no menos leal y generoso se había mostrado para con la patria, que le había llamado al servicio militar.63
Si es bastante fácil delinear el perfil del Oratorio festivo que don Bosco acariciaba en los años 50, resulta mucho más difícil establecer si tal ideal logró ser traducido, y en qué medida, en la realidad de todos los días. Algunos testimonios de proveniencia salesiana no han dudado en reconocer que el Reglamento para los externos no fue nunca practicado integralmente, ni siquiera en Turín.66 Por desgracia no existe hasta hoy un estudio serio y riguroso que precise la situación del Oratorio festivo de Valdocco, durante la vida de don Bosco. Las actas de las reuniones o conferencias del personal de la casa turinesa no ofrecen elementos dignos de relieve, al menos para el período del que son disponibles.67 Sería simplista deducir de esta ausencia de referencias (aun
ILI, 92. Véase además la definición del Oratorio que daba don Bosco el 20 de diciembre de 1851, al presentar una gran lotería promovida por él: «una casa di domenicale adunanza, in cui potessero gli uni e gli altri ayer tutto l'agio di soddisfare al religiosi doveri, e ricevere ad un tempo una istruzione, un indirizzo, un consiglio per governare cristianamente e onestamente la vita» (E I, 49).

Pietro se había expresado en estos términos ante el padre que se angustiaba al ver al hijo marchar al servicio militar: «Non affannatevi, padre, siamo cittadini, dobbiamo servire la patria»
(OE VI, 343).

66 Cf. la comisión de estudio establecida para preparar el XI Capítulo general (cf. Annali IV, P. 7).

67 Sobre estas conferencias, cf. las correspondientes actas conservadas en: ASC: 0592 Deliberazioni del Capitolo dal 1866-1877; 38 Torino Oratorio S. Francesco di Sales Adunanze del capitolo della casa Ottobre 1877 - Genn. 1884. Como es fácil intuir, estas actas constituyen una documentación de primaria importancia, para la vida de la casa de Valdocco, y, más en general, para la historia de la Sociedad salesiana. Sobre estos documentos está trabajando, desde hace algún tiempo, José Manuel Prellezo. Entre sus trabajos, cf. J.M. PRELLF70, Fonti letterarie della circolare «Dei que sea en el ámbito de un órgano ciertamente importante como eran aquellas conferencias) la conclusión de que el Oratorio se estuviese, por así decir, agotando. Por los documentos examinados, hemos sacado la impresión de que, en efecto, después de los años 40-50, se había impuesto como institución educativa de relieve, el Oratorio festivo presentaba algunos síntomas de crisis-.68 A este propósito, hay que observar que, después de informar a Pío IX en 1853 de la intención de fundar una sociedad religiosa que garantizase continuidad a su trabajo, don Bosco comenzó a viajar frecuentemente, encontrándose así en la necesidad de confiar las responsabilidades cotidianas de su obra a los colaboradores más vecinos, como don Rua o don Francesia: elementos, ciertamente de valor, pero jóvenes — al comienzo coetáneos de los mismos jóvenes de quienes tenían que ocuparse —, sin el carisma del fundador, replegados sobre los problemas de la casa hasta el punto de no darse completamente cuenta de las profundas transformaciones socioculturales de Turín y, en general, del país. Es, pues, comprensible que el Oratorio festivo de Valdocco, la institución más ligada a las dotes de «conquistador» de jóvenes, cual era don Bosco, entrase en una fase de desaceleración. Una fase que estaba destinada, en realidad, a durar mucho tiempo y de la que saldría sólo en los primeros años 80, después de que — en 1883 — el tercer Capítulo general de la Socieda salesiana inició una reflexión sobre los oratorios festivos,69 y después de que castighi da infliggersi nelle case salesiane», en «Orientamenti Pedagogici» 37 (1988) 625-642; la., Studio e riflessione pedagogica nella congregazione salesiana 1874-1941. Note per la storia, en RSS 7 (1988) 35-88.

68 Esta impresión la comparte también P. Stella, el cual refieriéndose, en realidad, más a los oratorios festivos en general que al de Valdocco en particular, escribe: «Gli oratori festivi, la stampa, i pensionati, le scuole agricole non mancano e sono presentí nell'opera legislativa dei Capitoli generali, ma in pratica soprattutto g,li oratori festivi pare attraversino negli ultimi decenni del secolo una fase di compressione e di deperimento» (STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 124).

69 El tercer Capítulo general, celebrado en Valsalice del 2 al 7 de septiembre 1883, trató de los oratorios festivos en el punto VII: «Impianto e sviluppo degli Oratori festivi prenso le case salesiane». En vista de las deliberaciones a tomar sobre el tema, los directores de las casas fueron invitados a enviar toda clase de sugerencias útiles: ASC 04 Capitolo generale III 1883 («Convocazione Proposte»). Sobre la base de las propuestas enviadas, el Capítulo discutió el problema en la sesión del 5 septiembre. En las actas de estas sesiones hay una nota que confirma que, en los comienzos, el Oratorio de Valdocco descansaba completamente sobre los hombros de don Bosco: «dapprincipio don Bosco doveva fare di tutto: bisogna cercare o chierici o giov[an]etti fra' pié adatti e buoni che disimpegnino gli ufficii secondari. E perció fissarsi bese sul Regolamento spedale». Don Bosco formula un canon en estos términos: «II Direttore della Casa particolare sceglierà d'accordo coll'Ispettore un sacerdote che abbia cura speciale dell'Oratorio festivo» (ASC 046, Capitolo generale III - 1883 Verbal:). Terminada la discusión, el Capítulo emanó varias directrices generales para los oratorios festivos; pero, no habiéndose podido estudiar exhaustivamente todos los puntos del orden del día, los trabajos del tercer Capítulo general iban a ser completados por los del Capítulo sucesivo (1886), y las deliberaciones sobre los oratorios festivos aparecieron, por tanto, en: Deliberazioni del Terzo e Quarto capitolo Generale della Pia Societa Salesiana tenuti in Valsalice nel settembre 1883-1886, S. Benigno Canavese, Tipografia Salesiana 1887, ahora en: OE XXXVI (el nuevo Regolamento de los oratorios festivos se encuentra en las p. 274-276). en 1884 — don Bosco decidió llamar a la dirección del Oratorio de Valdocco un inteligente y activo educador como don Pavia."
Es conveniente, por otra parte, no olvidar que, a partir de los años 60, don Bosco y sus colaboradores estuvieron ocupados prevalentemente en el intento de potenciar el colegio. Varios elementos pesaron sobre la particular atención dedicada entonces por el sacerdote piamontés a la segunda de sus instituciones. Hemos recordado que, hacia mitad de los años 50, maduró en don Bosco la idea de un instituto religioso compuesto de personas entregadas a la educación de la juventud: en 1859, sostenido por el estímulo de Pío IX, pidió a algunos clérigos, que compartían ya el proyecto, que diesen su adhesión formal a la Sociedad salesiana. En este contexto el colegio de Valdocco venía a tener una función especialmente importante: serviría, precisamente, para favorecer el reclutamiento de personas dispuestas a abrazar el especial apostolado educativo de don Bosco. Su servicio resultaba tanto más precioso en cuanto que el internado, disponiendo de la sección de estudiantes y de artesanos, habría consentido alimentar, con la primera, las vocaciones sacerdotales y, con la segunda, las de los salesianos laicos." Naturalmente, cuando la Sociedad salesiana echó sólidas raíces y — confortada por el reconocimiento pontificio en 1869 — se difundió con la rapidez y con la amplitud que conocemos, el colegio de Valdocco ya no pudo cumplir de forma adecuada la función de vivero vocacional y, en aquel punto, fue necesario replantearse el problema en su globalidad y activar estructuras de formación específica.

Debió también de afianzarse en don Bosco la idea de la propuesta educativa de los colegios debido a la constatación de que el Estado persistía en reducir los espacios de libertad de que, hasta entonces, había gozado la Iglesia. Baste recordar que en 1855 — el año en que, no por casual coincidencia, don Bosco concebía su Sociedad salesiana — el gobierno había decretado la supresión de todas las congregaciones religiosas, a excepción de las que perseguían fines educativos y asistenciales?' Al final de los arios 50, se pusieron también dificultades y problemas a la Iglesia en el campo de la escuela. La ley Casati de 1859 consentía a los privados abrir escuelas propias en el sector de la instrucción secundaria, pero con la condición de que las personas encargadas de la enseñanza cumpliesen los mismos requisitos que se exigían para enseñar en una escuela secundaria pública." Esta disposición iba a suministrar las razones jurídicas de la acción vejatoria con que, por motivos frecuentemente ideológicos, la administración escolar comenzó a enfrentarse con las escuelas católicas mediante controles e inspecciones para verificar la conformidad de éstas con la ley. El gimnasio de Valdocco y el colegio fundado por don Bosco en 1863 en Mirabello Monferrato no escaparon a estas vejaciones. Si, además de esto, se considera que en 1861 el nuevo Parlamento proclamaba no sólo el Reino de Italia, sino también — aunque simbólicamente — Roma capital, con el conteracioso que la propuesta abrió inmediatamente; y si se tiene en cuenta que, sobre el telón de fondo de las tensiones entre el Estado y la Iglesia, las sectas intensificaron sus ataques contra la religión católica, no causa maravilla que don Bosco encontrase nuevas razones para preocuparse de la evolución socio-política y se convenciese de la extrema urgencia de dar vida a una red de colegios como estructuras educativas privilegiadas para salvaguardar a la juventud de los efectos disgregantes del cada vez más marcado ateísmo social.

70 Sobre don Giuseppe Pavia (1852-1915), cf. Un apostolo degli oratori festivi, Torino, Tipografia Salesiana 1919.

71 Como es sabido, la Sociedad querida por don Bosco estaba compuesta de sacerdotes, clérigos y coadjutores laicos. Para una visión de conjunto de la historia del coadjutor salesiano, cf. la documentción recogida por P. BRAMO, Religiosi nuovi per il mondo del lavoro, Roma, PAS 1961. Sobre las dificultades que don Bosco tuvo que superar en relación con la situación creada por la ley del 29 mayo 1855, cf. la minuciosa reconstrucción de los hechos en: STELLA, Don BoscI, p. 129ss.

72 Como la historiografía ha subrayado ampliamente, la ley Casati se atenía, pues, al criterio de una libertad vigilada. Entre las razones que movieron al legislador a seguir este camino, se pue
Don Bosco creía que «preservazione» e «immnnizzazione» eran ya las condiciones indispensables para una seria formación moral y religiosa de las nuevas generaciones." A esta luz se comprende el régimen de minuciosas reglas que, en los primeros años 60, introdujo en el colegio de Valdocco, tanto más que, como se ha observado, dicho colegio habría debido funcionar como pequeño seminario. Así como el oratorio festivo era una estructura «abierta» donde los muchachos entrarían y permanecerían con la sola condición de que tuviesen un trabajo y compartiesen los valores humanos y religiosos del ambiente, en la misma medida el colegio asumía el perfil de una institución «cerrada» respecto al mundo externo y controlada por precisas reglas referentes a la administración y a la permanencia. En el primer Regolamento del parlatorio, redactado en 1860 para Valdocco, se podían leer disposiciones como ésta: «1. No se permite a los jóvenes del Oratorio hablar con toda clase de personas sin el permiso explícito de los Superiores, o del Encargado. No pueden ser llamados al locutorio más de dos veces al mes, y solamente desde media hora antes de las dos de todos los días, excepto los festivos. 2. No se permiten nunca salidas especiales, ni con los parientes ni con otros [...] 7. No está permitido a los parientes entrar en los dormitorios de los jóvenes»." Pero igualmente rigurosa era la recomendación que don Bosco dirigía en 1863 a don Rua en una carta, destinada a convertirse (con el título de. Ricordi confidenziali ai direttorz) enden recordar: 1) la preocupación de evitar que un sistema de total autonomía pudiese ser usado, instrumentalmente, contra el Estado; 2) el deseo de que las escuelas creadas por libre iniciativa impartiesen una instrucción, al menos, digna. Sobre la ley Casaca y las reacciones provocadas por la misma, sobre todo en campo católico, me ocupé hace tiempo en: L. PAZZAGLIA, Educazione e scuola nel programma dell'Opera dei Congressi (1874-1904), en: Cultura e socktá in Italia nell'eta umbertina, Milano, Vita e Pensiero 1981 (especialmente p. 423ss).

74 Sobre el ideal de colegio acariciado por don Bosco, cf. las acotaciones de BRAMO, /I sistema preventivo, p. 330ss. (recogidas después en: L'esperienza pedagogica preventiva, p. 389ss.) y de STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 121ss.

75 MB VI, 597-598.

uno de los textos clásicos de la tradición pedagógica salesiana: «No aceptarás nunca alumnos expulsados de otros colegios, o que sepas que son de malas costumbres. Si, a pesar de la debida cautela, ocurriese que se acepta alguno de este género, señálale enseguida un compañero seguro que le asista y no le pierda nunca de vista. Si cometiese faltas obscenas, avísesele una vez, y si recae, sea enviado inmediatamente a su casa»." También el Regolamento per le case de 1877, que don Bosco y sus colaboradores fueron preparando a través de diversas redacciones," llamaría la atención sobre la necesidad de una atenta prudencia en las aceptaciones.

Pero no se debe pensar que en Valdocco y en los otros institutos que se iban fundando, el rigor sustituyese a la alegría con una visión sombría de las cosas. Don Bosco estaba convencido de que la. alegría era «una forma di vita» congénita no sólo a la índole de los muchachos, sino también al cristianismo que, en cuanto anuncio de verdad, no podía sino producir gozo interior." A su entender, los jóvenes internos deberían, por tanto, gozar no sólo de adecuados entretenirnientos recreativos, sino, más,Olfundamente, de un clima general de confiado optimismo. Don A. Caviglia escribió que «el servite Domino in laetitia podría llamarse el undécimo mandamiento de la casa de don Bosco»." Y no se crea que, al caracterizarse el colegio por el orden y la disciplina, el sacerdote piamontés tuviese la intención de renunciar al espíritu de familia que tanto le interesaba y que él ponía en estrecha relación con la amorosa paternidad que el director debería usar con cada uno de sus jóvenes. En la citada carta a don Rua — al que también recomendaba que no transigiese mínimamente en lo que se refería a la rectitud de vida de sus huéspedes —, advertía: «Procura más bien hacerte amar que hacerte temer. La caridad y la paciencia te acompañen constantemente al mandar, al corregir, y obra de tal suerte que todos saquen por tus hechos y palabras que lo que buscas es el bien de las almas. Cuando se trate de impedir el pecado, toléralo todo»." Es sabido que, según don Bosco, si se quiere ayudar a los muchachos a desarrollar las riquezas interiores puestas en ellos por la gracia de Dios, es necesario rodearlos de una caridad sensible, por la cual cada uno de ellos se sienta valorizado. Desde esta óptica, juzgaba que el colegio, lejos de irritar a los jóvenes con ejercicios militarescos mortificantes, debía crear en torno a los alumnos un ambiente de serena familiaridad: las relaciones de bondad y de confianza recíproca suavizan las inevitables tensiones entre superiores y discípulos, y permiten a estos últimos crecer plenamente.

76 Los Ricordi confidenziali ai direttori han sido publicados por F. Motto en: Bosco, Scritti
pedagogici, p. 71-86 (el pasaje citado se halla en la p. 82).

Regolamento per le case della Societá di San Francesco di Sales, Torino, Tip. Salesiana 1877, ahora en: OE XXIX, 97-196; en el capítulo relativo a los criterios a seguir en la admisión de los muchachos, el Regolamento precisaba: «Parimenti si baderá a non ammettere dei giovani od altri individua, che per la loro cattiva condotta e massime perverse potessero riusdre d'inciampo a' propri compagni, pera si esigerá da ciascuno un certificato di condona dal proprio parroco» (p. 156-157).

78 BRAMO, L'esperienza pedagogica preventiva, p. 370.

79 A. CAVIGLIA, II Magone Michele (vol. V de las Opere e scritti editi ed inediti di don Bosco), Todito, SEI 1965, p. 149.

88 Bosco, Ricordi confidenziali, p. 79.

Casi no es necesario subrayar que, para don Bosco, la validez de un colegio se medía por la capacidad que tenía de promover, ante todo, la formación moral y religiosa. Ciertamente él evitaba cuidadosamente el mortificar las actividades referidas a la formación propiamente humana y profesional. Es más, don Bosco, animado por una visión cristiana profundamente empapada de humanismo, consideraba esencial, por ejemplo, que sus pobres artesanos adquiriesen la práctica de un oficio, pues de lo contrario, sin poder proveer digna.. mente a su vida, no podrían tampoco elevarse hacia los valores espirituales y religiosos. Aun así, la convicción de que el problema último era el de llegar a ser «fortunati abitatori del cielo» lo llevaba a considerar que la principal razón de ser del colegio consistía en inculcar a los jóvenes el temor de Dios y en colaborar con la gracia. Naturalmente, en el caso del colegio de estudiantes destinados por don Bosco para seminario, el fundamento religioso llegaba a ser más radical y la espiritualidad propuesta no se alejaba mucho de una normal preparación para el sacerdocio. A tal propósito basta leer las biografías que don Bosco dedicó a D. Savio (1859), a M. Magone (1861) y a F. Besucco (1864), tres jóvenes de relevantes cualidades morales y religiosas, que habían pasado aquellos años por Valdocco.81 Sus vidas hacían ver que la piedad fundamental de la que ellos se habían alimentado — de la oración a la frecuencia de los sacramentos, del cumplimiento de los deberes del propio estado a la devoción a María — era la de un internado de orientación seminarística.

Para comprender la idea que tenía don Bosco de un colegio católico, puede ser quizás útil la narración Valentino o la vocazione impedita, publicada por él en 1866." En el escrito se comparaban los dos colegios que el joven Valentino había conocido, frecuentando, en primer lugar, un instituto católico al que había sido mandado por el padre, descontento de la precedente experiencia, y donde el muchacho había descubierto que tenía vocación religiosa. Son sintomáticas las diferencias con las que don Bosco contraponía las dos casas. Éstas se distinguían en primer lugar por el enfoque fundamental: el instituto laico reservaba a las prácticas religiosas un puesto completamente marginal
8' G. BOSCO, Vita del giovanetto Savio Domenico allievo dell'Oratorio di San Francesco di Sales, Torino, Paravia 1859 (ahora en: OE XI, 151-292); G. Bosco, Cenno biografico sul giovanetto Magone Michele allievo dell'Oratorio di San Francesco di Sales, Torino, Paravia, 1861 (en: OE XIII, 155-250); G. BOSCO, Il pastorello delle Alpi ovvero vita del giovane Besucco Francesco d'Argentera, Torino, Paravia 1864 (en: OE XV, 243-434).

12 G. Bosco, Valentino o la vocazione impedita, Torino, Tip. dell'Oratorio di San Francesco di Sales 1866 (ahora en: OE XVII, 179-242). Cf. G. Bosco, Valentino o la vocazione impedita. Introduzione e testo critico a cura di M. Pulingathil, Roma, LAS 1987 (las citas que siguen han sido tomadas de esta edición).

(«no se hacía ni meditación, ni lectura espiritual; y las oraciones se recitaban en común, pero una- sola vez al día, estando de pie y muy deprisa»); el católico, en cambio, asumía la religión como propio principio inspirador («la religión [es] enseñada, recomendada y practicada de forma excepcional»). Pero, como el responsable de la edición crítica de la novela ha subrayado, los dos colegios se diferenciaban también desde el punto de vista metodológico.83 En efecto, mientras el primero parecía que se fundaba exclusivamente en la disciplina — al menos por los rasgos con que se describía al director —, el segundo se orientaba según una concepción pedagógica abierta — alegría, estudio, piedad — y podía, además, contar con la presencia discreta pero continua de un director constantemente preocupado del progreso moral y espiritual de sus muchachos-hijos."
4. Entre las exigencias de reglamentación y nuevos problemas educativos
Después que en 1869 la Sociedad salesiana tuvo el reconocimiento pontificio, don Bosco estuvo muy absorbido por preocupaciones de tipo jurídico-organizativo, porque debía redactar y hacer aprobar las Constituciones (18721874) y porque comenzando la Sociedad en 1875 a implantarse fuera de Italia y hasta a lanzarse en la empresa misionera, era necesario seguir su desarrollo, evitando que el rápido y amplio crecimiento resultara en menoscabo de una imprescindible unidad de orientación. De esta forma fue inducido a reflexionar sobre el sentido de su obra y sobre la especificidad característica." Las Memorie dell'Oratorio, redactadas por don Bosco en los primeros años 70, nacieron precisamente en el cuadro de tales reflexiones, y fueron elaboradas por el autor con el claro intento de dejar a sus propios colaboradores una especie de memoria viva de sus orígenes. En este contexto, el sacerdote piamontés hizo también la redacción definitiva de los Reglamentos para el Oratorio festivo y para las casas, que, como ya hemos recordado, fueron publicados en 1877.

83 Bosco, Valentino, p. 42-43.

84 A propósito del primero de los dos directores, se decía: « [Valentino] aveva un direttore affabile si, ma deciso nel comandare, severo nel pretendere, rigoroso in ogni ramo di disciplina» (Valentino, p. 58). El sacerdote que dirigía el colegio católico era presentado, por el contrario, como persona afectuosa, aunque no melosa, capaz de adentrarse en las heridas más secretas de los jóvenes interlocutores, inteligentemente preocupada del destino de las almas: «Da quel giorno la vita di lui [Valentino] fu di vera soddisfazione al suo direttore che non perdette piti di vista il figliuolo spirituale che aveva acquistato» (Ibid. p. 71).

a' Sobre la especial atención con la que don Bosco y sus colaboradores fueron inducidos, en aquellos años, a profundizar el sentido de su propuesta pedagógica, cf. PRELLEZO, Studio e riflessione pedagogica, p. Il sistema preventivo riletto dai primi salesiani, en «Orientamenti Pedagogici» 36 (1989) 40-61.

De forma totalmente ocasional tuvo origen, en cambio, Il sistema preventivo. En este momento nosotros no seguiremos su génesis, ni haremos un examen pormenorizado de sus contenidos, porque, en último término, tendríamos que repetir cosas que P. Stella y P. Braido han dicho ya eficazmente, resaltando — entre otras cosas — asonancias, convergencias y conexiones de la obrita con los escritos de autores como el hermano Agathon, el abate Blanchard, el canónigo Auclisio, el lazarista Monaci, el barnabita Teppa, mons. Dupanloup." Pero es útil subrayar que, a pesar de haber nacido como simple desarrollo de la conferencia dada por don Bosco el 12 de marzo de 1877 en Niza con ocasión de la inauguración del Patronage Saint Pierre, el pequeño tratado adquirió muy pronto, dentro y fuera de la Sociedad salesiana, una relevancia que ni siquiera el autor había imaginado.87 El hecho tiene su explicación: téngase presente que don Bosco, reordenando durante aquellos meses — junto con sus colaboradores — los Reglamentos, decidió introducir la conferencia de Niza en el Regolamento per le case (1877). De este modo, la obrita asumió, a los ojos de los salesianos, el significado de «ley fundamental», y bastante rápidamente fue utilizada como metro de juicio para valorar la conformidad de las varias casas — en actividad o en vías de institución — con los principios y el espíritu de la Sociedad salesiana.88 Es necesario añadir, sin embargo, que Il sistema preventivo tenía el valor objetivo de ilustrar de forma sumaria pero eficaz algunos de los criterios inspiradores de una experiencia de más de treinta años. En efecto, los tres principios — razón, religión, amabilidad —, sobre los que, más allá de la terminología represivo-preventiva completamente nueva en don Bosco, se llamaba la atención, constituían los contenidos y la metodología en la que se había inspirado, al realizar una obra que de la recuperación de los muchachos abandonados le había llevado, progresivamente, a ocuparse de la formación de los estudiantes y hasta de futuros sacerdotes. No hay, pues, que extrañarse de que, dentro de la Sociedad salesiana, el breve escrito se revistiese de tanta importancia y que don Bosco y sus colaboradores no sólo se persuadiesen de tener en las manos un sistema educativo propio, sino que comenzasen a considerarlo susceptible de ser aplicado más allá de sus ambientes educativos.89
La distancia con la cual hoy es posible examinar el opúsculo, permite ver mejor también su límites. P. Stella ha subrayado ya que dicho opúsculo tendía a supervalorar la antítesis preventivo-represivo con la consecuencia de descuidar una parte no indiferente de la problemática educativa; corría el riesgo de método de don Bosco comenzó a recibir, precisamente entonces, de estudios dedicados específicamente a él (cf. BRALDO, L'esperienza pedagogica di don Bosco, p. 32ss.).

De STELLA, véase Don Bosco II, p. 441-474; de BRAMO, L'esperienza pedagogica preventiva, p. 313-319, y sobre todo las amplias notas a G. Bosco, Il sistema preventivo nella educazione della gioventü, Introduzione e testi critici a cura di P. Braido, Roma, LAS 1985.

87 OE XXIX, 99-109.

88 BRAIDO, L'esperienza pedagogica di don Bosco, p. 28ss.

89 Fueron reforzados en esta persuasión, además, por los juicios favorables que el hacer creer que todo el problema consistía en evitar que los muchachos cometiesen errores; estaba demasiado condicionado por la fórmula del colegio y por la situación que llevaba consigo como, por ejemplo, la asistencia «visible» y «continua» de los jóvenes por parte de los educadores9° Con palabras un poco expeditivas, se podría decir que, más allá de sus indiscutibles méritos, Il sistema preventivo no reflejaba el abanico completo de las varias estructuras y actividades a las que el sacerdote piamontés había dado vida, ni la riqueza de motivaciones religiosas y pedagógicas implicadas. Lo que ocurre es que las formulaciones teóricas de don Bosco no lograban expresar justamente el concreto proyecto histórico, que con grande dinamismo y sentido de la realidad, él actuó gradualmente, tratando de adaptar sus ideales de sacerdote y educador a las diversas categorías de jóvenes que encontró a lo largo del camino.

Poi. lo demás, en el curso de la última década de su vida, don Bosco debía mostrar que se movía en un horizonte más amplio respecto al cuadro de referencia de la obrita de 1877. Sus inquietudes por las condiciones de la juventud continuaban creciendo. Sobre su estado de ánimo actuaban como de costumbre las vicisitudes políticas y especialmente el recrudecerse de la tensión en las relaciones entre Estado e Iglesia, las cuales con la conquista de Roma habían entrado en una fase crítica. Don Bosco temía que iba a deshilacharse el mismo tejido social, en gran medida por efecto de la acción disgregadora de la enseñanza pública. Precisamente poco después de la brecha de Porta Pia, el 29 de septiembre 1870, el ministro de Instrucción pública, C. Correnti, había hecho pública una circular con la que, alterando las disposiciones de la ley Casati, establecía que en las escuelas elementales la instrucción religiosa debía ser garantizada no a todos, sino a los que la hubiesen pedído.91 En las Memorie dell'Oratorio, don Bosco ponía un acento nostálgico en la situación que él había conocido como estudiante gimnasial en Chieri, que es difícil no poner en relación con el disgusto que le causaba el ver a los gobiernos del Estado italiano ensañándose con la presencia de la religión en la escuela: «Está bien que os recuerde aquí que en aquellos tiempos la religión formaba parte fundamental de la educación. Un profesor que, aun bromeando, hubiese pronunciado una palabra obscena o irreligiosa, era inmediatamente depuesto del cargo. Si se hacía así con los profesores, ¡imaginad qué severidad se usaba con los alumnos indisciplinados o escandalosos! ».92
" STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 462ss.

U La disposición fue confirmada por la Circular del 12 de julio de 1871, la cual precisaba que era competencia de los ayuntamientos el hacer impartir la instrucción religiosa por los maestros o por otras personas declaradas idóneas para ello. Sobre las dos circulares de Correnti y, más en general, sobre la política perseguida por Correnti como responsable de la Instrucción Pública, cf. B. PISA, Cesare Correnti e il dibattito sulla laicitá dell'insegnamento, en «Rassegna Storica del Risorgimento» 62 (1975) 212-229, y las referencias en mi trabajo, Educazione e scuola nel programma dell'Opera dei Congressi, p. 426-427.

MO 54.

Pero mucho más profundas debieron de ser las preocupaciones de don Bosco en 1877 cuando, poco después de la llamada revolución parlamentaria, el gobierno de la Izquierda guiado por Depretis promulgaba, por iniciativa del ministro de Instrucción pública, Coppino, dos leyes que daban un ulterior empujón a la secularización de la escuela: la ley del 23 de junio, que disponía la abolición de los directores espirituales en los gimnasios, en los bachilleratos y en los institutos técnicos, y la ley del 15 de julio que no reconocía la religión entre las materias constitutivas de la instrucción elemental, avalando de esta manera el régimen introducido por Corren-ti." Don Bosco se confirmaba, una vez más, en la idea de que no sólo estaba en peligro el joven pobre y abandonado, sino todo muchacho que, junto a la fragilidad de la edad, debía ahora pagar un fuerte escote a una sociedad que iba marginando los valores religiosos.

Los viajes, que desde hacía algún tiempo llevaba a cabo en Europa visitando las casas salesianas, le hacían ver que la condición de los jóvenes en difi.. cultad, en el sentido precisado aquí, era una condición muy difundida, pues los problemas de los muchachos de Turín, Génova y Roma se presentaban no muy diversos de aquellos de sus coetáneos que vivían en París, Marsella o Barcelona. Don Bosco tenía la impresión de que la sociedad de los varios países europeos estaba, aunque fuera por motivos e itinerarios diversos, alejándose rápidamente de la religión como elemento unificador de la vida personal y colectiva, y pensaba que todos los muchachos — sobre todo los de las grandes aglomeraciones urbanas donde los tradicionales controles sociales desaparecían más fácilmente que en los ambientes rurales — estaban, aunque en forma diversa, igualmente expuestos al riesgo de crecer no sólo fuera de las verdades cristianas, sino también alejados de todo sano criterio moral. En este momento, para el sacerdote píamontés, el problema educativo comenzó a unirse cada vez más al de la regeneración de la sociedad y, en el caso de las misiones, al de la civilización de los pueblos. Don Bosco, en la medida en que tomaba conciencia de las graves dificultades con que se encontraba la juventud, en esa misma medida se convencía de que, una vez socorridos y ayudados los jóvenes en el plano religioso además del humano, se habrían puesto también las premisas para una renovación de la misma sociedad. A este propósito, es sugerente la experiencia misionera salesiana sobre la que el fundador llamaba la atención en la carta dirigida al card. Franchi el 13 diciembre 1877." Llegados a América latina, los misioneros salesianos habían creído oportuno no situarse en medio de los llamados «salvajes», sino en los confines de los pueblos civilizados, fundando allí iglesias, escuelas, hospicios para instruir a «aquellos indios que la religión o la necesidad hubiesen movido a buscar asilo entre los cristianos».
93 Sobre las iniciativas legislativas de Coppino y, más en general, sobre la política escolar de la Izquierda, cf. A. TALAMANC.A, Liberta della scuola e liberta nella scuola, Padova, Cedam 1975, p. 202ss.; M. BENDISCIOLI, La Sinistra storica e la scuola, en «Studium» 73 (1977) 447-466; PAZZA GLIA, Educazione e scuola nel programma dell'Opera dei Congressi, p. 438ss.

" EJE, 256-261.

" La razón de esta opción era la de hacer que los indios, integrados de este modo en la civilización cristiana, llegasen a ser, a su vez, educadores y evangelizadores de sus tribus: «contraer relaciones con los padres por medio de los hijos, con el fin de que los salvajes llegaran a ser evangelizadores de los mismos salvajes ».96
Se podría decir que don Bosco creía que se debía pensar en un criterio análogo para proceder a la regeneración de la sociedad. El camino que permitiría volver a colocar en el centro de la vida colectiva los valores morales y religiosos consistía en volver a acercar a tales valores a las nuevas generaciones. Pero entonces cobra un sentido más preciso la misma línea con la cual don Bosco, poco después de las vicisitudes del 48, y también en la última década de su vida, declaró que quería estar alejado de la política. En realidad (como él mismo tendría, al fin, que admitir), su empeño, sobre todo en esa última fase de la vida, se cargó de inflexiones civiles y latamente políticas, al menos allí donde trataba de hacer hincapié en la educación como instrumento fundamental de transformación social. El 31 de mayo de 1883 escribía a los Cooperadores de la ciudad de Turín: «¿Queréis que os sugiera un trabajo relativamente fácil, muy ventajoso y fecundo de los más amplios resultados? Pues bien, trabajad en torno a la buena educación de la juventud, especialmente de aquella más pobre y abandonada, que es la más numerosa, y vosotros lograréis razonablemente dar gloria a Dios, procurar el bien de la Religión, salvar muchas almas y cooperar eficazmente a la reforma, al bienestar de la sociedad civil; pues la razón, la Religión, la historia y la experiencia demuestran que la sociedad religiosa y civil será buena o mala, sergún sea buena o mala la juventud que ahora nos rodea»." El discurso mostraba lo que don Bosco tenía en su mente para la transformación social: una obra que, precisamente a través de la educación, debía poner a todos los jóvenes, especialmente a los pobres y abandonados, en condiciones de atender dignamente a su vida; pero cuyo objetivo último era el de promover la máxima difusión de los valores ético-religiosos, respetando a las autoridades públicas y las estructuras sociopolíticas constituidas.

Naturalmente con vistas a esta obra dirigida, en perspectiva misionera, a llevar «la parola della vita eterna» a pueblos enteros; y, en la perspectiva de la regeneración de las sociedades tradicionalemente cristianas, era necesario poder contar con energías e instrumentos adecuados para reproducir y para consolidar los valores ético-religiosos perdidos o debilitados. La conciencia de la amplitud del empeño llevaba a don Bosco a fundar una organización de Cooperadores con el fin de que, colaborando con las finalidades de la Sociedad salesiana, recogiesen a los muchachos de la calle y tratasen de transformarlos en buenos cristianos y honestos ciudadanos. Don Bosco, sin embargo, no se pararía aquí y, en vista de la realización de su proyecto, habría de buscar la ayuda de círculos de personas cada vez más amplios. Consideraciones de oportunidad y de conciencia de la insuficiencia de su obra, hacían comprender a don Bosco que, lejos de encerrarse en las propias instituciones, convenía dirigir sus pasos hacia un esfuerzo unido de iniciativas que, más allá de sus características especificas, estuviesen coligadas por la misma preocupación cari. tativo — educativa: «no entendemos — precisaba en un manifiesto de 1877 a los Cooperadores — que éste sea el único medio de hacer el bien en medio de la sociedad civil; al contrario, nosotros aprobamos y ensalzamos altamente a todas las instituciones, uniones, asociaciones públicas o privadas que tienden a beneficiar a la humanidad» 98 Pero, a cierto punto, su ansia educativa le llevó a cultivar la idea de un movimiento de Cooperadores en el cual hasta tendría que reconocerse la cristiandad entera.99

9, E III, 257. E III, 257.

" BS 7 (1883) 7, 104.

Por lo que se refiere a los instrumentos, en esta última fase, don Bosco hacía ver que ya no estaba ligado de forma prevalente, y mucho menos exclusiva, a la experiencia del colegio. Daba la impresión de querer hacer fructificar todas las oportunidades formativas que, gradualmente, había proyectado y actuado. La cosa se explica, ciertamente, con el hecho de que, encontrándose la Sociedad salesiana empeñada en varios frentes para responder a múltiples necesidades educativas, no existía una fórmula que, por principio, debiera prevalecer sobre las otras: en ciertos casos podía estar bien el colegio; en otros, el oratorio o la escuela nocturna. Pero a uno se le ocurre pensar que, durante estos últimos años, don Bosco tendía a revisar también algunas perspectivas, más generales, como, por ejemplo, la visión con la cual — coincidiendo con el momento de la «colegialización» — había terminado por concebir la relación educativa sobre la falsilla de una asistencia físicamente cercana y continua, y que, debiendo mantener con los mismos jóvenes dirigidos por él relaciones más bien discontinuas — a causa de los numerosos viajes fuera de Turín —, valorizase también, ahora, un tipo de «presencia amorosa y preventiva» más matizada, aunque igualmente partícipe.m)
Pero, sobre todo, se hacía cada vez más profunda la persuasión de que la tarea educativa consistía en hacer de cada muchacho un hombre maduro P. Braido diría un «uomo tradizionale rinnovato »—, de modo que, de «destinatario del proyecto» llegase a ser, al fin, el «protagonista-operador» de la reconstrucción de la sociedad cristiana.'" Respecto a este tema, son interesantes las múltiples conferencias que don Bosco fue dando a los Cooperadores y que el «Bollettino Salesiano» registraba puntualmente: «La limosna — decía en un encuentro de 1881 — se extiende al cuerpo y al alma, a la sociedad y a la religión, al tiempo y a la eternidad. [...] Se extiende a la sociedad doméstica y porque los citados muchachos, si son aptos para un taller, con el tiempo, se harán capaces para proveer un honesto sustento a su propia familia, y con su industria y actividad proporcionarán un no pequeño beneficio a la sociedad; si además se dedican al estudio de las ciencias y de las letras, se harán útiles a la sociedad con las obras del ingenio, o con este o aquel empleo civil. y después, tanto los unos como los otros, estando no sólo instruidos, sino — lo que es más importante —, sabiamente educados, serán siempre una garantía de moralidad y de buen orden entre el pueblo».'" La insistencia con la cual don Bosco daba tanto relieve a la limosna nacía, ciertamente, de la preocupación de subrayar la amplia gama de efectos benéficos que la caridad tiene ya sobre la tierra antes que en el cielo; pero, al mismo tiempo, hacía transparentar la intención profunda con la que él se ocupaba de la obra que sus benefactores le permitían realizar: aquella obra servía para promover el crecimiento humano-religioso, no sólo de cada persona particular, sino también de la sociedad en todas sus expresiones.

98 BS 3 (1877) 8, 2.

" BRAIDO, Il progetto operativo di don Bosco, p. 33-34.

m° Podría ser útil, quizás, leer desde esta óptica toda la producción literaria (libros, discursos, cartas) del último don Bosco.

BitAIDO, Il progetto operativo di don Bosco, p. 24; MILANESI, Sistema preventivo, p. 163-164.

102 BS 5 (1881) 12, 5.


Todo acontece como si San Juan Bosco fuese .el objeto de una representación paradójica: por una parte, en efecto, se le conoce y celebra por todas partes como un gran educador, es decir, un profesional de calidad excepcional, cuyo ejemplo se presenta suficientemente fecundo como para dinamizar e inspirar aún hoy a los institutos religiosos y a la familia espiritual que proceden de él.

Por otra parte, sin embargo, se duda en reconocerlo como un verdadero «pedagogo», en otorgarle un concepto de educación que le haga merecedor de situarse con todo derecho entre los de su siglo. Se le pinta y se le mira demasiado exclusivamente como sujeto de un carisma propio, que deriva de la gracia y de su santidad. No se atiende al modo con que, más allá de su persona, sus ideas se sitúan en la historia de las ideas y su problemática en las de su tiempo, valorando mal la novedad que él aporta.

Es esta imagen contrapuesta y, sin duda poco acertada, la que interesa intentar corregir. Después de haber precisado las razones y las condiciones de este intento, nos esforzaremos en determinar bien lo que, en relación con las corrientes dominantes de su época, especifica tanto la función que él asigna a la educación y los atributos que exige para que se dé, como el conocimiento del que esta actividad constituye el objeto.'

1. Las razones de una exclusión

Si, a pesar de algunos progresos recientes, se da en Francia una gran pobreza en la investigación sobre la historia de la pedagogía, en el caso de San Juan Bosco se trata de una verdadera exclusión. Todas las obras clásicas coinciden en que no dicen nada de él.

No es erróneo imputar este silencio al laicismo dominante que, en muchas publicaciones francesas, oculta parcialmente y a veces ampliamente, la visión de la historia de la pedagogía. Pero, a pesar de que sea parcialmente inevitable, esta interpretación no es del todo completa. De hecho, si muchos salesianos italianos se han dedicado a ello minuciosamente, los mismos salesianos franceses, excepción hecha de don Desramaut, parece que han estado menos atentos a este aspecto de la obra del Fundador, o bien han adoptado un estilo más hagiográfico y edificante que histórico y científico.

Para una presentación más amplia de este argumento, cf. G. AVANZJNI (ed.), Education et pédagogie chez don Bosco. Colloque interuniversitAire, Lyon 4-7 april 1988, Paris, Fleurus 1989, p.55-93:
Esta abstención depende también, no hay duda, del hecho de que su pensamiento es de difícil acceso y no se puede identificar con facilidad. No se presenta a la manera clásica. Su formulación fragmentaria y la ausencia de una obra de síntesis no ayudan a percibir su unidad. No alcanza a situarse a la altura de las corrientes universitarias o de los discursos políticos de su tiempo sobre la educación. Sus historiadores se preguntan, por consiguiente, sobre la misma legitimidad de una formalización demasiado rígida y sobre el carácter que hay que dar, en este campo, a sus textos: curiosamente don Anffray se pregunta si se trata de verdad de un «sistema» — término usado por el mismo don Bosco —, de una «doctrina», de un «método». ¿Sería entonces un «gran educador», dado que no es un «pedagogo»?
Todo esto exige el esfuerzo de caracterizar mejor la aportación de don Bosco a su siglo, de comprender si su especificidad logra explicar la marginación de que es víctima, las divergencias que se advierten entre sus intérpretes y el retraso que caracteriza su estudio por los prejuicios apuntados.

2. Una opción educativa

La primera pregunta que hay que hacerse se refiere a las razones que movieron a este sacerdote italiano del siglo XIX a educar y a querer educar, en vez de a otras actividades pastorales. ¿Cómo justifica esta opción? En otros términos, ¿qué función atribuye a la educación? ¿Qué espera obtener como finalidad?
Su percepción, limitada pero intensa, de las consecuencias que la situación social en los Estados Sardos, en Piamonte, en Liguria, tiene sobre la juventud de su tiempo y de las medidas que exige, podría conducirlo a dos estrategias divergentes: en la primera, la renovación y el desarrollo de la educación suponen el mejor, si no el único, medio; todo progreso duradero de la sociedad pasa por el progreso de las personas y de él depende. Caldeada por numerosos filósofos, esta estrategia estuvo ya en el origen de la fundación de varias órdenes o congregaciones dedicadas a los jóvenes, en el surco de la tradición tridentina. En la segunda, un cambio en la educación no puede ser el primer medio, porque es el poder político el que impone a la educación sus objetivos y no viceversa. El poder político confisca la educación y la mueve según sus propios fines. De aquí la inutilidad de los intentos de autorrenovación de la educación. Precisamente este último concepto es el que domina en el siglo XIX, sobre todo en su segunda mitad. Anima a los que militan para instaurar la democracia: de ella, piensan, depende la adopción de una legislación escolar progresista, capaz, a su vez, de reforzar su posición. Y así, en Italia, los liberales no esperan un desarrollo de la instrucción sin una previa evolución política y hasta constitucional, como no esperan inducir ésta a partir de aquélla.

Podríamos suponer a un don Bosco partidario de intervenciones de orden político, tanto más que, bajo el reinado de Carlo Alberto, éstas se presentan posibles. Y, en cambio, no es así. No sólo no las aconseja, sino que las desaconseja firmemente, condena repetidamente las actividades que se inspiran en ellas, prohíbe a sus religiosos tomar parte en ellas, y en varias ocasiones manifiesta que estas prohibiciones deberían figurar en las Constituciones de su Instituto. No admite más que las iniciativas de orden social y educativo.

Este rechazo es plenamente coherente con el conjunto de su pensamiento. Es más, parece que su pensamiento lo exige. Éste no depende, como podría parecer a simple vista, del factor coyuntural que es la cuestión romana. Está motivado por la reserva que le produce la mentalidad de los militantes políticos. Mientras recomendaba vivamente reformas sociales, don Bosco tiene horror al espíritu de protesta y de polémica. Teme que las ideas democráticas, a pesar de su confianza inicial en algún movimiento cristiano respecto de ellas, lleven a consecuencias nocivas y alcancen, con efecto perverso, a favorecer más bien el liberalismo, el socialismo y el anticlericalismo. Sin embargo, y más todavía, la valoración de lo político supone a sus ojos el peligro de una supervaloración de lo temporal; lo esencial no es este mundo, sino el otro. En este sentido, un énfasis abusivo sobre la felicidad terrena y el planteamiento material de la vida serían un error, porque actuarían en detrimento del único fin verdaderamente válido, la conquista de la eternidad. La alienación verdadera es de orden espiritual y no económico. La supervaloración de lo político podría inducir a situar el fin último aquí abajo, mientras que consiste en ganarse
el cielo.

Excluida de este modo la militancia política, don Bosco se adhiere fervorosamente a la corriente que privilegia la educación: sólo ésta permite hacer conocer, amar e interiorizar las ideas que lo merecen, según una sana jerarquía de valores. Por consiguiente, asigna a la educación una doble finalidad, de las que la primera es de orden rigurosamente espiritual: enseñar la Verdad en materia de Fe y Moral, para ayudar al hombre a construir su salvación, mientras que la segunda es la de «formare onesti cittadini», dotados de una cualificación profesional que, sobre todo tratándose de cualificación artesanal, permite su inserción social. Un sujeto que posee una profesión está, en efecto, menos expuesto que uno en paro a las tentaciones y a desviaciones.

Una doctrina así le aleja de la pedagogía de su tiempo, aun la católica. También esta última quiere que la educación tienda a -la salvación, pero de hecho hay una divergencia acerca del papel que se atribuye al planteamiento de la vida terrena, y por tanto a la acción temporal y, a fortiori, a los compromisos o medias medidas que algunos, supervalorando los objetivos demasiado humanos, parecen admitir. Don Bosco teme que el compromiso que se aplica en la edificación de la ciudad terrena atenúe, relativice y hasta margine el compromiso que sólo merece la ciudad de Dios.

Esta voluntad sería, con todo, todavía vana si el sujeto mismo no estuviese en condiciones de beneficiarse de ella. Se la debe acompañar, pues, implícita o explícitamente, con el postulado de que es educable, es decir, maleable y perfectible. En la idea de don Bosco, el sujeto goza de una fuerza extraordinaria, que contrasta vigorosamente con las imágenes corrientes de su época. Y tanto más exige que se le explicite cuanto más aparece a primera vista paradójico, quimérico: los que él quiere elevar y salvar son marginados, desadaptados, delincuentes, corrompidos, a veces pervertidos, es decir, los que la sociología y la psicología de la época consideran como «irrecuperables», incurables. A despecho de todo eso, pues, que le tenía que haber disuadido de creer en su recuperación, don Bosco se obstina en afirmarlo posible y rechaza todo fatalismo, sobre cualquier doctrina, opinión o experiencia que pretenda justificarlo.

Esta confianza en el otro no es más que un aspecto de la confianza en el Dios que confía a cada uno, aunque de manera diferenciada, talentos. Los talentos que cada uno debe aprender a descubrir para que pueda usarlos y de los que necesita que le ayuden a hacerlo. Una confianza que no tiene nada de rousseauniano. No es confianza en la bondad de la «naturaleza», idea de la que desconfía fuertemente, sino en la del Creador, del que las criaturas son imágenes auténticas. Por consiguiente, su «espiritualidad», como la ha analizado muy bien don Desramaut, no es sólo un aspecto singular o local de su pensamiento, sino el centro fundador de su doctrina sobre la educabilidad. Él rechaza, pues, las representaciones fixistas o fatalistas alimentadas por la imaginación común en su tiempo y por las teorizaciones anteriores a la psicología dinámica, dispuestas a afirmar la intangibilidad del capital intelectual como justificativo de la igualdad de las posibilidades, el estatuto «natural» de las cualidades y sobre todo de los defectos de cada uno y, hasta el carácter «constitucional» de las perversiones de algunos y la situación hereditaria de sus «taras» para justificar, con estos estereotipos, rigor y represión.

3. Originalidad de la opción educativa

Para conseguir estos fines don Bosco no se fía ni enseguida ni incondicionalmente de la escuela. Aunque todavía hay que realizar una exploración sistemática de su postura sobre este punto, en el estado actual de la investigación podemos considerarla fundamentalmente ambivalente. Convencido de que el progreso del conocimiento lleva consigo el de la conducta, desea que todos puedan frecuentar la escuela y recibir una formación general y, al mismo tiempo profesional, pedida tanto por su estructuración intelectual como por la evolución social. Por eso funda instituciones, colegios de modo especial, traza el perfil de una verdadera y real enseñanza técnica, piensa en la alfabetización de los adolescentes analfabetos, escribe un manual de aritmética y, más ampliamente, mantiene una actividad editorial muy intensa y gestiona la distribución de numerosas publicaciones.

Debe, sin embargo, constatar que la escolarización no está todavía generalizada, pero que, en todo caso, la dejan a las puertas de la adolescencia muchos que se han beneficiado de ella, exponiéndose a los peligros que se derivan de la falta de algún elemento protector. Entre la infancia y la edad adulta, el momento del matrimonio, hay que proveerles de uno, para que superen con éxito esa laguna peligrosa. Además, admitiendo que se generalice y se prolongue y en la medida en que esto suceda, ¿no se debería temer que, por una dinámica imparable, la escuela vaya siendo cada vez menos un lugar en que se enseñe la fe y la moral cristiana? ¿No se le pedirá cada vez más fines temporales, que sirva a intereses individualistas y a promover el espíritu de crítica cuando no hasta el laicismo? ¿No da demasiada importancia al estudio de la civilización greco-latina, vehículo de una ideología pagana del hombre?
Él disocia, pues, fe en la educación y confianza en la escuela. Si comparte con muchos otros el deseo de difundir la cultura, no piensa en los mismos destinatarios y es sensible a la insuficiencia coyuntural y a la ambigüedad esencial de esa exigencia. Esquematizando un poco más de lo que nos es permitido, podríamos decir que su proyecto es educar adolescentes desadaptados del ambiente urbano, mientras que las pedagogías dominantes se preocupan más bien de instruir a muchachos «normales» del ambiente rural y de las cases medias.

Él se siente entonces llamado a hacer surgir nuevas instituciones, capaces de tener en cuenta tanto su concepto sobre los fines como la imagen de sus sujetos. Para eso trabajó tanto durante su vida: para fundar esas instituciones. Y como el cometido emprendido supera las posibilidades de una sola persona, tanto más cuanto que el servicio que desea debe prolongarse después de él, hace falta también dar a quien lo asuma un estatuto capaz de garantizarles continuidad y estabilidad. De aquí el deseo de asociar a los cooperadores salesianos y más si es posible: fundar un Instituto.

Estas iniciativas parecen exigir observaciones entre sí contradictorias. En primer lugar, estas iniciativas aparecen radicalmente originales, en la medida en que en aquella época interés y pasiones se centran enteramente en la escuela primaria. Una mirada más atenta podría ver además una manifestación más del interés que muchos sacerdotes y religiosos de la época tienen sobre el fenómeno de la urbanización y la proletarizadón y la miseria moral de adolescentes desadaptados o en camino de estarlo. Todas estas iniciativas son todavía deplorablemente poco conocidas. Quedan por integrar en la historia de la educación y por estudiar según problemáticas de orden educacional. Pero son numerosas. Hace falta, no obstante, subrayar la originalidad del método: en esto don Bosco es fundamentalmente innovador. Sin duda que él se guarda mucho de presentarse como «inventor» del «sistema preventivo» que contrapone al «sistema represivo». Tanto por modestia como por desarmar la desconfianza hostil que una afirmación demasiado brutal de su originalidad pudiera suscitar. En su «prudencia», busca patronos: San Alfonso de Ligorio, San Felipe Neri, San Francisco de Sales, mons. Dupanloup, etc. Pero de hecho, aquí su originalidad es total y, más allá de los detalles, depende de la valoración de un afecto «expresado de modo comprensible», sin miedos, un afecto no fingido, simulado o afectado, sino sentido.

Don Bosco introduce aquí una verdadera rotura; no tiene miedo de la amistad; asume sus riesgos; quiere que se demuestre y no sea simulada; no la aconseja sólo a los que tienen, raras veces, un carisma especial, a algún adulto selecto; descubre un modelo difícil, por las posibles desviaciones que pueden aparecer, pero bueno, más aún, el único verdaderamente bueno, y lo recomienda obstinadamente y con firmeza a sus religiosos.

Muchos de los que reconocen el papel preventivo de la educación la hacen depender de una reglamentación punitiva y esto corresponde a una fuerte corriente dentro de la pedagogía cristiana. Otros no recurren a ello, pero sólo porque no creen en la seducción del mal o hasta sacralizan todas las inclinaciones del niño; es la tentación de un cierto optimismo naturalista de tipo rousseauniano. Por su parte, don Bosco quiere unir función preventiva de la educación y método igualmente preventivo. Don Vecchi lo afirma de modo excelente: «Hablar de educación como prevención viene antes que hablar de prevención en la educación».

4. Don Bosco «pedagogo»

Tenemos que ir más adelante todavía, reconociendo a don Bosco un concepto nuevo del tipo de saber del que la educación puede ser o llegar a ser objeto. Según nos parece, propuso verdaderamente una «pedagogía», es decir, una reflexión organizada sobre la educación; es, por tanto, un «pedagogo» en el sentido más pleno y exigente del término, y no sólo un «educador».

Ante todo, hace falta reconocer en él una «teoría» o, por lo menos, una aproximación teórica: al distinguir entre sistema represivo y sistema preventivo, entiende exponer — de modo universalmente válido en su forma limite modalidades de regulación de las exigencias educativas a través del tiempo y el espacio. Traza un esquema explicativo alrededor del cual se podría construir una interpretación global de la historia.

Sin embargo, no se contenta con describir; no es ésta su principal preocupación. Quiere prescribir: finalidades, normas, principios, un ideal. Quiere justificar el recurso al sistema preventivo desvelando sus razones. Nos encontramos, si no ante una doctrina, sí ante una aproximación de orden doctrinal.

En función de estas normas, y de modo consecuente, organiza un método, enunciando, no sin detalle, el procedimiento de aplicación. No indica sólo el porqué, sino también cómo utilizarlo; se asegura de que se siga de verdad en las casas de su Congregación, llama la atención firmemente sobre su oportunidad y advierte a los que lo olvidan. No lo presenta como empírico, sino que lo conecta explícitamente con sus principios.

Por último, al deliberar sobre dos parámetros del acto educativo (finalidad y figura del sujeto), al inventar las instituciones y los métodos que le parecen exigir éstas, al hacer surgir de entre todas estas variables de naturaleza heterogénea una coherencia interior; una solidaridad intercondicionada e interagente, crea un «sistema». Y la acepción moderna que ha recibido esta acepción gracias a la aproximación sistemática no pone en absoluto en tela de juicio, al contrario, confirma la legitimidad de esta denominación que él mismo le dio.

Es verdad que su esquema es radicalmente diferente del que estaba en vigencia y trataba de prevalecer en su tiempo. No podemos reconocer en él ni un vocabulario normalizado, ni un tratamiento universitario, ní anotaciones de orden metodológico sobre el procedimiento seguido, ni consideraciones de orden epistemológico sobre la validez del conocimiento adquirido. Extraño por eso mismo a la tradición académica, a sus expectativas y sus exigencias, su esquema no se presta a un crédito de este tipo. Además, valorando la relación interpersonal, percibida como condición de toda eficacia, no participa del deseo, creciente entonces entre los «pedagogos», de elaborar métodos intrínsecamente buenos, es decir, una didáctica válida por sí misma, y cuya eficacia sería, en paralelo con competencia técnica, independiente de la calidad relacional de los que la utilizan. Queda así, pues, extraño al vasto movimiento que, bajo el influjo conjunto de la extensión de las ciencias de la naturaleza y de la filosofía de Comte, surge a lo largo del siglo XIX y crece incesantemente en la perspectiva de establecer aquella «ciencia de la educación» que en Francia y en Italia se convierte en objeto de enseñanzas universitarias específicas. Sin mencionarla, pero no sin conocerla, queda insensible ante la visión objetivista y hasta científica y ante la concepción experimentalista de la ciencia que se van imponiendo poco a poco en aquel tiempo. No alimenta el propósito muy bien ilustrado, por ejemplo, por la epistemología de Alfred Binet — de extender a la pedagogía la utilización de los procesos que Claude Bernard había aplicado con éxito a la biología. Sin asociarse, pues, a la construcción de la nueva disciplina soñada por sus contemporáneos y posibles interlocutores, extraña a sus problemas y a la dinámica de sus trabajos, corría el peligro de no ser reconocido por ellos. Todo esto explica suficientemente el desconocimiento que tuvieron de él y que sus sucesores siguieron teniendo y tienen todavía.

Sin embargo, el método que hasta ayer provocó su desconocimiento bien podría ser hoy la razón de su modernidad. Podrá sorprender, pero lo que lo alejó de los teóricos de su tiempo es precisamente lo que lo hace aparecer a los del nuestro. ¿No es, en efecto, posible y obligado, aun forzando un poco los términos, descubrir en su esquema pedagógico los mismos rasgos que para H. Desroche definen la «investigación-acción» ?¿No es tal vez licito descubrir un esbozo de ello en el deseo de hacer pasar la acción a objeto de estudio para iluminar su sentido, hacer crecer su eficacia y transformarla en material para una ciencia? ¿No adoptó, qni7á, don Bosco, a su modo, la «metodología de la distanciación», es decir y en resumen, el procedimiento hoy más ensalzado — y tal vez el más oportuno — de la investigación pedagógica? Según nuestro parecer, todo esto sitúa y confirma su actualidad y debe otorgarle en pedagogía un puesto eminente.

Ch. Delorme distingue entre «modelos generalizables» y «modelos comunicables», es decir, «suficientemente teorizados como para que se puedan proponer en otros lugares de formación, adaptados a su contexto particular, pero también intercambiados y confrontados con otras propuestas también ellas modelizadas». Don Bosco es un autor típico de un modelo «comunicable». Es fácil verlo: Don Bosco se diferencia de su siglo en puntos decisivos. Se aleja, sobre todo, por el papel que atribuye a la educación y por las finalidades a las que quiere llegar a través de ella, como también por su percepción de la educabilidad. Difiere, pues, por su ambivalencia a propósito de la escuela y por su voluntad de promover otro tipo de institución que, por consiguiente, considera más apta para el trabajo social que hay que hacer con adolescentes en peligro y, en sentido más amplio, con los jóvenes en su conjunto. Se distingue, sobre todo, por un método que, por la opción refleja de la que es objeto en función deliberada de los objetivos que deben alcanzarse, autoriza a hablar de «sistema» preventivo. Se distancia, por último, al dar implícitamente al nuevo saber que produce sobre la educación un estatuto irreducible tanto a un empirismo improvisador como a una cienriflcidad objetivista.

Esta especificidad multidireccional explica, sin duda, la marginación que ha debido sufrir, pero no constituye ni el índice de un retraso, ni la señal de una debilidad, ni el efecto de una laguna. Deriva de la lucidez anticipadora de miras a la que se debe la acogida hoy ya mundial que la fidelidad inventiva de su familia espiritual le ha sabido adquirir. Fidelidad que don Desramaut muestra en marcha, sobre todo en el Oratorio Saint Fierre en Niza o en el orfanato Jesús Adolescente de Nazaret. Son precisamente estas miradas las que justifican y exigen que este educador, incomprendido y desconocido por el siglo XIX, introducido por fin en el campo de la investigación universitaria, sea, junto a los más grandes, descubierto y reconocido como un pedagogo del siglo XX.


El Oratorio es la primera obra educativa que promueve don Bosco, primero en colaboración con otros sacerdotes y, después, como principal animador en Turín, en los años 40, como respuesta práctica a exigencias religiosas y educativas inmediatas y concretas. El objetivo primario del Oratorio fue cuidarse de los jóvenes, sobre todo de los «abandonados y en peligro», con el fin de salvar sus almas y hacerlos crecer como ciudadanos honrados. El Oratorio es, con su característico y polivalente entretejido de actividades, el resultado de una progresiva sedimentación de experiencias y de intentos y, no menos, el éxito de la asimilación personal por parte de don Bosco de iniciativas ya llevadas a efecto, y al mismo tiempo que él, y de actividades educativo-populares vivas en muchos ambientes turineses de aquellos años. Esta aportación pretende ofrecer algún punto de estudio en orden a la fase de constitución del Oratorio entendido como «reunión festiva» para los jóvenes, que se puede considerar ya superada al comenzar el decenio 1850-1860.

1. Oratorios y educación popular en Turín

Los comienzos del Oratorio, antes de su establecimiento oficial en diciembre de 1844 en el Rifugio de la marquesa de Barolo (donde había comenzado don Bosco a colaborar con el teólogo Borel) fueron sumamente sencillos y austeros: no mucho más que una instrucción religiosa esencial, acompañada por las prácticas del buen cristiano y algún complemento recreativo, todo ello animado por la disponibilidad de don Bosco para establecer con los jóvenes que se le acercaban una relación educativa amistosa.1 Las catequesis a los jóvenes que por diversas razones no iban a las escuelas de doctrina en las parroquias, eran desde hacía tiempo una de las actividades pastorales a las que se orientaba a los jóvenes sacerdotes del Convitto que dirigía el teólogo Guala con don Cafasso. Esta costumbre, unida a la impresión que le causó a don Bosco la gran ciudad, supuso una experiencia notable en su vida de joven sacerdote, comprometido en una respuesta personal a la vocación religiosa. Cuando, una vez completados los estudios, se trasladó al Rzfugio, llevó consigo al grupo de jóvenes que giraban a su alrededor, señal de que su experiencia se había consolidado ya superando la práctica normal del Convitto.

«Per venire a qualche prova cominciarono a farsi appositi catechismi nelle carceri di questa capitale e poco dopo nella sacrestia della atiesa di S. Francesco d'Assisi; e quindi si diede principio alle radunanze festive. Ivi erano invitati quelli che uscivano dalle carceri e quelli che luogo la settimana si andavano qua e lá sulle piazze, nelle vie e anche nelle officine raccogliendo. Racconti morali e religiosi, canti di laude sacre, piccoli regali, alcuni trastulli erano gil amminicoli che si usavano per trattenerli ne' giorni festivi» (G. Bosco, Cenni storici, en: P. BRAIDO, Don Bosco per i giovani: l'«Oratorio». Una «Congregazione degli Oratori». Documenti, Roma, LAS 1988, p. 58). Cf. también: G. Bosco, Scritti sul sistema preventivo, p. 84-86.

La hospitalidad de la marquesa de Barolo supuso tal vez la primera ocasión para dar al Oratorio naciente un mínimo de organización y ampliar sus actividades. Es probable que, por ejemplo, don Bosco y el teólogo Borel enriqueciesen con juegos y multiplicasen las iniciativas para atraer a los jóvenes, pero los hechos difíciles que se dieron entre el verano de 1845 y la primavera de 1846 no favorecieron una continuidad sistemática.

Sin la ayuda del arsenal memorial salesiano (en amplia medida dependiente de los recuerdos de don Bosco y comprensiblemente orientado a describir en términos románticos aquellos acontecimientos lejanos) es difícil verificar a partir de los pocos documentos disponibles la consistencia real y la organización del. primer Oratorio, especialmente entre 1844 y 1846. La misma carta, también importante, enviada en marzo de 1846 al marqués Michele Benso di Cavour, vicario de la ciudad de Turín, por don Bosco, para informarle del establecimiento de las actividades en fecha próxima, animadas y guiadas por él junto al teólogo Borel en la casa Pinardi, ofrece escasa ayuda. En el escrito, don Bosco, al tanto de experiencias anteriores,' acentuaba evidentemente la perspectiva catequística de las reuniones de los jóvenes,' sin omitir (y tal vez ampliando un poco) los resultados positivos alcanzados hasta entonces.'
Alguna precisión ulterior nos viene de un breve artículo aparecido algunas
2 Se trata de las protestas que, en el otoño 1845, después de la primera autorización, impidieron al Oratorio «itinerante» el uso de la iglesia de «S. Martino dei Molazzi». Acerca de este episodio y de las vicisitudes de la primavera y verano de aquel año, cf. la reconstrucción de F. Morro, L'«oratorio» di don Bosco presso il cimitero di S. Pietro, en RSS 7 (1986) 199-220.

3 «Lo scopo di questo Catechismo si é di raccogliere nei giorni festivi quei giovani che abbandonati a se stessi non intervengono ad alcuna Chiesa per l'istruzione, il che si fa prendendoli alle buone con parole, promesse, regali e simili. L'insegnamento si riduce precisamente a questo: 1° Amore al lavoro; 2°) Frequenza dei santi sacramenti; 3°) Rispetto ad ogni superioritá; 4°) Fuga dei cattivi compagni» (Una lettera "storica" del 1846 selle origini dell'Oratorio [Don Bosco al Marqués Benso di Cavour, vicario di Cittá a Torino], en: BRAIDO, Don Bosco per i giovani, p. 169170).

«Nello spazio di tre anni pió di venti abbracriarono lo stato religioso, sei studiano il latino per intraprendere la carriera ecdesiastica, molti altri ridotti al buoni sentimenti frequentano le rispettive parrocchie. 11 che é molto considerevole attesa la qualitá dei giovani i quali comunemente sono all'etá da dieci a sedici anni, sena principii di religione e di educazione, la maggior parte in preda al vizi e in procinto di dar motivo di pubbliche lagnanze o di essere posti nei luoghi di punizione» (Bosco, Lettera del 1846, p. 170).

semanas más tarde (junio 1846), en las «Letture di Famiglia», un periódico educativo-popular dirigido por Lorenzo Valerio. La nota dedicada a las «clases y diversiones para los jóvenes los domingos» citaba como ejemplos encoiniables (aun sin- nombrarlos expresamente) el caso de los oratorios de don Cocchi y de don Bosco. «También en nuestro Turín — escribían las "Letture" — muchos muchachitos andrajosos reciben cobijo e instrucción [...] gracias a una pequeña sociedad de jóvenes sacerdotes. Tomaron en alquiler dos pequeñas casas con jardín contiguo; una de ellas está cerca del Rzfugio de la marquesa de Barolo, más allá de Porta Palazzo, y la otra está situada hacia el Po y, si no me equivoco, en el nuevo barrio llamado de Vanchiglia. A estas dos casas acuden en gran cantidad los días de fiesta los verdaderos pobres, los verdaderos pillos de Turín y produce estupor el amor y la alegría con que lo hacen». El articulista anónimo no dejaba de decir quiénes eran los «veri birichini» de Turín: vendedores de cerillas, de billetes de lotería, aprendices, peones, criados, «en una palabra, de toda clase de oficios y de industria»5 y de explicar las diversas actividades que se realizaban eh los dos oratorios: «En primer lugar algunos fervorosos sacerdotes les dan una breve instrucción religiosa, se cantan salmos o cantos devotos, después se les da clase de educación, de moral y por último se les facilitan medios de diversión (en la del Po hay también ejercicio de gimnasia) y a veces se les da también algo de merienda».6
El breve escrito de las «Letture di Famiglia» — especialmente si se tiene en cuenta el contexto en el que salía publicado — constituye un documento interesante en la historia de los oratorios turineses, porque nos consiente establecer que hacia la mitad de 1846 tanto el oratorio de don Cocchi (que había dirigido el llamado del Ángel Custodio desde 1840) como el de don Bosco y el teólogo Borel (que en abril se había establecido en Valdocco) aparecían ante la opinión pública más atenta a los problemas de los ambientes populares, no sólo como simples lugares de instrucción religiosa, sino como estructuras más complejas de educación popular.

Don Bosco recuerda que el Oratorio de los primeros tiempos «era composto da scalpellini, muratori, stuccatori, selciatori, quadratori e di altri che venivano di lontani paesi» (MO 86). Se pueden consultar las observaciones que, sobre estas categorías de trabajadores, hace P. STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 104.

6 Scuole e sollazzi domen:kali pei poveri, en «Letture di Famiglia» 25 (1846) 196. Para colocar en la justa perspectiva la publicación de la breve alusión a los oratorios, es necesario precisar que la revista «Letture» había publicado en un número precedente un artículo sobre las «raggedschools» de Londres (Scuole di cenciosi in Londra 21 [1846] 161-162), lamentando que no se hubiera puesto en marcha, en Turín, ninguna iniciativa análoga. El artículo, debido al director de la revista, Lorenzo Valerio, se preguntaba, en efecto, si «la dasse dei fanciulli cui sono destinate le "ragged-schools° é ella nelle capitali italiane, avuto riguardo alfa popolazione, pió o mero, che non in Londra, numerosa? Noi nol sappiamo: certo non manca, e chi frequentó le sale di ricovero che la pietá torinese apriva nel rigidissimo inverno del 1845, ha potuto scorgere i volti squallidi, selvaggi e talora feroci, dei giovani e dei fanciulli cenciosi farsi a poco a poco pió mansueti [...]. Se non che, chiuse le sale dei soccorsi invernali, quei fanciulli tornavano alle abitudini, agli errori di prima [...]. Se l'opera dei soccorsi invernali non fosse cessata, se scuole simili a quelle sovradescritte esistessero a Torino, forse quei fanciulli non sarebbero ora clamad a una vita d'infamia».

Era sintomático que fuese precisamente el periódico dirigido por el dinámico director de la industria de seda de Aglié la que se ocupase de los oratorios. No sólo aquellos meses y aquellos años, sino desde tiempos de las «Letture Popolari», se había hecho portavoz de las más variadas iniciativas de educación popular. Pero algún tiempo antes había dado acogida a un amplio ensayo de Caí() Ignazio Giulio en el que, bajo el pseudónimo de Luca Ligorio, había sostenido la tesis de que para intervenir de modo eficaz en favor de los «niños abandonados por las calles», para sustraerlos a la «suciedad del cuerpo» y a la «más repugnante del alma» no bastaba la escuela, sino que hacía falta actuar también por medio de los «entretenimientos populares». Giulio pasaba lista a un buen número y los presentaba como «instrumentos validísimos para enderezar las tendencias feas»: el juego, la gimnasia, la enseñanza de la música vocal, el ejercicio del dibujo, el teatro de marionetas, los museos de historia natural y la exposición de máquinas industriales se presentaban así como tantas otras ocasiones capaces de animar con buenos sentimientos las clases populares y, sobre todo, a los muchachos dejados demasiado frecuentemente a su aire.'
El interés de don Cocchi, de don Bosco y de los otros sacerdotes que con ellos compartían el propósito de dedicarse a la juventud y sobre todo la novedad de su acercamiento, al menos por lo que se refería a la realidad de la capital, aparecía a los ojos de los filántropos liberales de las «Letture» como un episodio que merecía ser subrayado aunque la inspiración fundamental que animaba a los jóvenes sacerdotes entraba en la categoría de la caridad y la beneficencia. Tanto los unos como los otros, con diversos grados de conciencia, pertenecían al fervor general educativo-popular que animaba al Píamonte carlosalbertino a comienzos del decenio 1840-50, consecuencia igualmente, como se sabe, del complejo progreso de la vida económica que se tradujo, por un lado, en un creciente desarrollo de la vida ciudadana y, por otro, en una mejora general de la vida, pero con un no pequeño costo humano pagado por los estratos más débiles de la sociedad de aquel tiempo.

El acentuado interés de la sociedad piamontesa hacia los problemas de la educación del pueblo reflejaba preocupaciones y exigencias que entraban en todo ello, aunque el cuadro conceptual en que se daba era, en su conjunto, el de «instruir al pueblo» y «hacer pasar a las mentes del pueblo las ideas justas de las cosas», y no «tomar del pueblo sus mismas ideas, pocas, simples, indefinidas, exclusivas, imperfectas», según lo que escribía precisamente en aquellas semanas Rosmini en las páginas de «L'Educatore Primario ».8 En los ambientes
7 L. LIGORIO GIULI0], Dei trattenimenti popolari, en «Letture di Famiglia» 2 (1843)

8 A. ROSMINI, Della vera popolaritá, en «L'Educatore Primario» 10 (1846) 148-150.

de la burguesía y de la nobleza liberalizante la «popularidad» iba unida a exigencias de orden social, primera e importante manifestación de la conciencia que se venía difundiendo en los ambientes más elevados respecto a las nuevas relaciones entre las clases, y la promoción de la escuela se entretejía con el deseo de una nueva cultura y de nuevos hábitos capaces de dar a los grupos que empezaban a aparecer caracteres que los reforzasen como potenciales clases dirigentes.

La tradición caritativa de los Cottolengo, de los Barolo y de las numerosas iniciativas sostenidas por el celo cristiano se proponían en primer lugar de modo tangible el valor de la caridad y del amor por el prójimo, uniéndolos en el plano educativo con el propósito de eliminar los procesos de descristiani7ación que se advertían como el paso previo al desorden moral y la revolución política. En los jóvenes sacerdotes, nacidos entre 1810 y 1820 y formados casi todos en la escuela del Convitto, que se comprometieron con los oratorios, la idea de pueblo iba estrechamente unida a la de «conversión» en el sentido que esta expresión había adquirido durante la Restauración, es decir, como respuesta religiosa explícita a los esfuerzos de los ilustrados y revolucionarios por crear un mundo sin Dios. El objetivo más urgente era el de acercar a las masas populares a las prácticas de los sacramentos y a las grandes devociones. Su modelo sacerdotal iba poco a poco alejándose del de cura-juez, atento principalmente a lo que bastaba para absolver de modo válido, al de cura-padre y pastor, capaz de incrementar en los fieles la vida de gracía: un sacerdote, - pues, cercano a la mentalidad, a las exigencias del pueblo que, aun sin indulgencias, era capaz de entenderlo y de hablar su propio lenguaje.

Los oratorios de don Cocchi y de don Bosco se desarrollaron precisamente en el cruce entre exigencias pastorales (la conversión del pueblo a través de esa nueva figura de sacerdote) y las necesidades educativo-populares (ayudar a la juventud sola, abandonada y sin guía y, por tanto, potencialmente en peligro y peligrosa a que mejorase para sí misma y para la sociedad). Educar religiosa y socialmente a los jóvenes significaba crear algunas premisas importantes para el desarrollo gradual y ordenado de la sociedad piamontesa. Como sabemos, la primera preocupación fue la de la catequesis y las prácticas religiosas. Don Cocchi se aventuró en el barrio de mala fama del Moschino, primera sede del oratorio del Ángel Custodio, con el fin de impartir instrucción religiosa a una categoría de muchachos que evitaba cumplir con este deber9 y no muy diferente, según hemos visto, del itinerario que emprendió don Bosco. Pero la atención religiosa se encontró muy pronto con necesidades humanas y educativas más complejas, de las que la primera e inmediata era evitar que los jóvenes se encontrasen solos los días festivos, fuente de «muchos vicios»: muchos jóvenes «que eran buenos, se hacían muy pronto peligrosos para sí y peligrosos

9 «Vi era nella parrocchia della SS. AnnunziAta una regione, ora scomparsa del tutto, detta il Moschino, scaglionata sulla riva sínistra del Po, dove in luridi abituri si annidava guamo vi era aflora in Torino di pió mí5erabile e pericoloso Era la nostra gentile popolazione. Colá, nel bel mezzo di quella gente, il Cocchi portó le sue tende, e fin dal 1840 aprl per quei ragazzi un Oratorio, che intitoló all'Angelo Custode [-I di la l'anno seguente, nel 1841, l'Oratorio venne trasportato in Vanchiglia pió verso fi centro, sotto una tettoia dell'orto dell'avvocato Bronsino, nel cui rustico cortile si eresse una cappella e si impiantó Il teatrino e la ginnastica, che era aflora per Tocino un'istituzione del unto nuova. Cola egli ricoverava tutti i ragazzi, che nei giorni festivi inter para los demás».10
Las responsabilidades de los sacerdotes se multiplicaron por ello y si don Cocchi recurrió a la gimnasia para entretener e interesar a los jóvenes, orientando según intentos educativos la fuerza física y el amor al desafío, don Bosco y el teólogo Borel se arreglaron con diversos tipos de juegos, con excursiones, con la lectura y un poco de instrucción. El estímulo de Cafasso, la benevolencia del arzobispo, la reflexión personal ayudaron a don Bosco a superar numerosas dificultades y también algunas incomprensiones de algunos ambientes. Sobre todo le permitieron llegar a algunas convicciones importantes, las experiencias que poco a poco iba teniendo y madurando en su estrecho contacto con los jóvenes: por ejemplo, el valor pedagógico del juego y de la fiesta, tan radicados en la mentalidad popular y en el gusto de los jóvenes. El juego y la fiesta eran momentos privilegiados para crear sentido de unión, familiaridad, amistad, y para facilitar la comunicación de valores humanos y religiosos. Igualmente importante fue el recurso (como ya hacía don Cocchí en Vanchiglia) a la colaboración de jóvenes bien formados y en condiciones de presentar, más allá de la importante ayuda prestada en la catequesis y en la animación del tiempo libre, un modelo pedagógico significativo para muchachos acostumbrados a ambientes y modos de vida muy diferentes!'
Otras dos importantes intuiciones se pueden considerar adquiridas ya por don Bosco en el momento en que el Oratorio se establece por fin en Valdocco. La primera se refiere a la estructura flexible con la que plantea el oratorio: ni parroquial (como en el fondo era la experiencia de don Cocchi), ni interparroqnial; sino obra de mediación entre Iglesia, sociedad urbana y estratos populares juveniles. La segunda se refiere a la interacción dinámica entre formación religiosa y desarrollo humano, entre catequesis y educación.

venivano al catechismo in quena parrocchia, e dopo aver falto adempiere loro i doveri di nostra santa Religione procurava ad essi i mezzi di ricrearsi onestamente» (E. REFFO, Don Cocchi e i suoi
artigianelli, Torillo, Tip. S. Giuseppe degli Artigianelli 1896, p. 9-10; cito de la reimpresión de 1957).

«Frequentando le carceri di Torillo ho voluto scorgere che gli sgraziati che trovansi condotti in quel luogo di punizione, per la maggior parte sono poveri giovani che vengano di lontano in cittá o pel bisogno di cercarsi lavoro o alienad da qualche discolo. I quali soprattutto ne' giorni festivi abbandonati a se stessi spendono in giuochi o ghiottonerie i pochi soldi guadagnati nella settimana. Il che é sorgente di molti vizi; e que' giovani che etano buoni, diventano ben tosto pericolanti per sé e pericolosi per gli altri. Né le carceri producono sopra costoro alcen miglioramento perciocché cola dimorando apprendono phi raffinate maniere per far male, e perciò uscendo diventano peggiori» (Bosco, Cenno storico, en: BRAMO, Don Bosco per i giovani, p. 35-36). " MO 85.

El plan de don Bosco se configura así ya delineado en lo esencial, aunque en el plano operativo se den seguidamente muchos cambios: la religión puesta como «fundarnentum» de la educación, la importancia dada a la relación personal educador-educando, el relieve atribuido al desarrollo de las facultades humanas para un pleno y autosrificiente ingreso en la vida adulta (instrucción, trabajo, respeto a las leyes), y, por último, el reconocimiento del ambiente como ámbito inmediato de educación y, especialmente, el ambiente popular con sus recursos potencialmente educativos.

2. El Oratorio en Valdocco: 1846-1850

Con el traslado a la casa Pinardi, el Oratorio de don Bosco pasa de la fase, por decirlo así, experimental a una organización cada día más compleja, en la que él asume una responsabilidad cada vez mayor. Sostenido por el apoyo de mons. Fransoni, en noviembre de 1846 don Bosco se trasladó con su madre a Valdocco, como para sellar la estrecha relación que pretendía establecer entre su vida y sus obras. En los meses anteriores, el Oratorio había pasado por un período, de asentamiento con algunas dificultades (complicadas también por una seria enfermedad de don Bosco), resueltas con la ayuda de Cafasso, de Borel y gracias a la disponibilidad de un grupo de sacerdotes, como el teólogo Vola, el teólogo Carp ano y don Trivero. Esta colaboración entre sacerdotes jóvenes (algunos de los cuales ayudaba también a don Cocchi) era el signo de una nueva sensibilidad pastoral y de una percepción concreta de los problemas sociales por parte del clero más dispuesto a aceptar los cambios que se daban en la sociedad subalpina.

La estabilidad del Oratorio en Valdocco consintió un planteamiento más amplio y, sobre todo, una participación sistemática de jóvenes (que enseguida llegaron, seguramente, a unos doscientos o trescientos),12 lo que supuso un cierto cambio en la fisonomía de los que acudían. Según los datos recogidos sobre este particular, se ha podido precisar que hasta 1850 (el contenido de
Éstas son las cifras de los jóvenes que frecuentaban las reuniones festivas de San Francisco de Asís y después las del Oratorio de San Francisco de Sales: unos 20 en 1842 (cifra en la que coinciden tanto el Cenno storico como las Memorie dell' Oratorio); cerca de 80, al terminar la experiencia en la iglesia de San Francisco de Asís (Cenno storico, Memorie dell'Oratorio y carta a la «Mendicitá Istruita» del 1850). Pero las coincidencias terminan aquí. A propósito del período, otoño 1845 («San Martino al Molazzi») y primavera 1846 (prado Filippi), se va de un mínimo de 250 (número indicado en la carta del 1846 a Benso de Cavour) a los 300 sugeridos por el Cenno storico y a los 300-400 de las Memorie dell'Oratorio. Para los primeros tiempos de Valdocco, se pasa de los «trecento e pié ragazzi» de las Memorie biografiche (III, 133) a los 600-700 de la carta a la «Mendidtá Istruita» ya citada. Teniendo en cuenta la notable flexibilidad del Oratorio, sujeto a obvios altibajos, y faltando cualquier tipo de indicación del criterio con el cual se anotaban las presencias, resulta difícil cuantificar la real consistencia de la población oratoriana en los primerísimos tiempos.

Valdocco empezó a variar algo de nuevo cuando aumentó el internado desde la mitad del decenio 1850-1860 en adelante) la población oratoriana estaba distribuida en tres categorías principales de jóvenes, cuya edad estaba en general comprendida entre los 10-12 años y los 18-20: peones temporeros, muchachos de la «clase baja del pueblo» y estudiantes que don Bosco y los demás sacerdotes conocían durante las actividades religiosas escolares. Después había un cierto número de seglares, jóvenes o adultos, que seguían ayudando como en los primeros tiempos."
El aumento del número de los muchachos y el carácter más variado de la población del Oratorio respecto a la que se reunía en el Convitto o en el Rifugio tuvieron consecuencias importantes. Don Bosco se encontró frente a la exigencia, percibida más en términos de experiencia que como conclusión de una reflexión teórica, de poner a punto un método educativo y organizativo, no sólo capaz de aglutinar en justo equilibrio participación y disciplina, espontaneidad y orden, sino sobre todo en disposición de poner en juego todas las energías y las iniciativas útiles para suscitar el interés de los jóvenes y para responder a necesidades objetivas de los cetos populares a los que pertenecían los jóvenes oratorianos en su mayor parte. En el esfuerzo de dar una respuesta eficaz a este conjunto de problemas, el Oratorio de Valdocco entre 1846 y 1850 se consolida en el aspecto de las estructuras," adquiere prestigio progresivo en la opinión pública y entre la gente" y adquiere en sus rasgos fundamentales su fisonomía característica. Los años, pues, de las esperanzas neogüelfas y del Estatuto, de la primera guerra de la independencia y de la amarga desilusión de 1849, del entusiasmo de Pío IX y del giro anticlerical que se siguió discurren junto al gradual pero constante fortalecimiento de la primera obra de don Bosco.

13 «Definid i principali uf:fui colle speciali loro attribuzioni, D. Bosco li affidó a quelli tra giovani, che per buona condotta ed assennatezza gli parvero piel abili a disimpegnarli, creandoli, per cosi dice, suoi uffiziali o aiutanti di campo. Siccome egli soleva lasciarli responsabili dell'impiego loro affidato, limitando l'opera sua ad invigilare che ciascuno facesse il proprio dovere, cosi ognuno si dava grande sollecitudine per conoscere ed eseguire la parte sua nel miglior modo che dato gli fosse [...]. Il Direttore poi soleva ogni settimana raccogliere a sé d'intorno i suoi uffiziali, e da esperto generale li animava con fervorose parole a rimanere fedeli e saldi al loro posto, suggerendo le cose da farsi o da fuggirsi per lavorare con buona riuscita. Talora dava loro qualche premiuzzo, una divota immagine, un libretto e simili, terminando sempre coll'additare loro la bella corona, che li attendeva in Cielo» (G. BoNErn, Cinque lustri di storia dell'Oratorio salesiano fondato dal sac. Giovanni Bosco, Torino, 1892, p. 129).

" Cf. P. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica e sociale (1815-1879), Roma, LAS 1980, p. 75-77.

Sobre el eco que tuvo el Oratorio en la prensa turinesa de 1848-49, pueden verse los apuntes de G. TUNINETTI, L'immagine di don Bosco nella stampa torinese (e italiana) del suo tempo, en: F. TRANIELL0 (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, Torino, SEI 1987, p. 210-212. Don Bosco pone en relación el ulterior incremento del Oratorio con la apertura de las escuelas: «Quanto piel era grande la sollecitudine a promuovere l'istruzione scolasdca, tanto piel cresceva il numero degli allievi» (MO 135, y casi con las mismas palabras en: BONETTI, Cinque lustri, p. 152). Sobre la fecha precisa de la introducción de las escuelas nocturnas en el Oratorio falta una indicación precisa. Braido ha expresado recientemente la convicción que «sia realistico e probabile» pensar que tal introducción tuvo lugar en el primer invierno pasado en Valdocco, es decir, en el de 1846-47 (BRAIDO, Don Bosco per i giovani 68). La insistencia con la cual don Bosco recuerda las escuelas nocturnas de la casa Moretta (invierno 1845-1846) podría significar que, antes de la introducción de verdaderas y propias escuelas, fueran impartidas lecciones a individuos y a grupos deseosos de adquirir el dominio de la lectura, escritura y cálculo.

El problema de la puesta a punto de un Reglamento le preocupó durante mucho tiempo por la urgencia de regular la tumultuosa vida del Oratorio, llegando, por fin, a una primera redacción16 a partir de experiencias y modelos ya contrastados," pero sobre todo llevó a maduración una serie de intuiciones anteriores como el funcionamiento, cada día más ordenado y regular, de las clases nocturnas y festivas, la valoración de la música (canto y banda), del teatro y de la declamación, concebidas como instrumentos de educación humana y religiosa, el perfeccionamiento de la función pedagógica del patio. Enriquecido así el Oratorio — aunque primariamente se tomaba como «agradable y honesta diversión, después de haber asistido a las funciones sagradas de iglesia» — manifestaba ricas posibilidades, favorecidas sin duda por el asentamiento estable de que ya se podía gozar en Valdocco.

Don Bosco empezó, por tanto, a pensar cada vez más en el Oratorio como en un lugar y una forma educativa útil para la juventud en general y, sobre todo, para la de los ambientes populares. El criterio de la «juventud pobre y abandonada» que le había conducido en la primera fase de su iniciativa fue sometido por ello a una primera revisión. A pesar del uso frecuente de esta fórmula para calificar al Oratorio, don Bosco empezó a dirigirse, no sólo a algunos individuos o categorías de individuos colectivamente «en peligro», sino más globalmente a aquellos amplios estratos de población juvenil de proveniencia popular que, en contacto precoz con la dureza de los puestos de trabajo y la brutalidad de las diversiones de aquel tiempo, se encontraban expuestos (aunque no estuviesen solos ni abandonados) a peligros de orden físico y moral.

La mayor circulación de ideas y de opiniones, favorecida además por la libertad de prensa después de la concesión del Estatuto, que difundió en Turín una cierta mentalidad anticlerical, sobre todo después de 1848, y el activismo de los protestantes fueron probablemente algunas de las razones que impulsaron a don Bosco a multiplicar los esfuerzos para hacer del Oratorio un lugar de educación popular y de asociacionismo cristiano, extendiendo sus actividades también a Porta Nuova (Oratorio de San Luis abierto en 1847) y después al del Ángel Custodio (1849). Este proyecto de expansión se apoyaba en la convicción de que el Oratorio era la respuesta más eficaz para la pastoral juvenil de aquel tiempo, en una fase histórica en la que la libre circulación de nuevos modelos educativos subrayaba cada vez más nítidamente los límites de la iniciativa parroquial.

16 «Lo scopo dell'oratorio festivo é di trattenere la gioventer ne' giorni di festa con piacevole e onesta ricreazione dopo dí ayer assistito alle sacre funzioni della Chiesa» (MB IN, 91).

«Erasi falto spedire molti regolamenti di Oratoril festivi piel o mero antichi, fondati da uomini zeland nella gloria di Dio, i quali fiorirono in varie cittá d'Italia. Voleva esaminare de) che abrí aveva giá imparato dall'esperienza. Noi fra le sue cante trovammo ancora: Le regole dell'Oratorio di S. Luigi eretto in Milano nel 1842 nella contrada di S. Cristina e Le regole per i figliuoli dell'Oratorio sotto il patronato della Sacra Famiglia» (MB IQ, 87). Sobre las relaciones de don Bosco con los oratorio milaneses y lombardos, cf. P. BRAIDO, Il sistema preventivo di don Bosco, Torno, PAS 1955, 87-92. Sobre la génesis y función de los reglamentos en las comunidades de don Bosco, véase cuanto observa el mismo P. Braido en: Bosco, Scritti sul sistema preventivo, p. 355-359.

Respondiendo a problemas y exigencias que se presentaban de día en día, el Oratorio tomó los caracteres de escuela abierta a todos sin plazos fijos, orientada a implicar de modo útil y moralmente honesto las horas que se habrían podido perder en el ocio de los días festivos, lugar de instrucción y práctica religiosa y de recreo, de estudio y de distensión. Una sencilla pedagogía popular, basada en la necesidad de crear el clima de la familia, en la acogida, en el despliegue y la valoración de las habilidades de cada uno, en el valor educativo de la fiesta y de la alegría (todo ello sostenido a su vez por el supremo principio cristiano de la caridad), consolidó al Oratorio naciente, haciéndolo salir de la categoría de la asistencia.

Los contemporáneos que nos hablan de don Bosco hacia 1850, lo ven no sólo como al sacerdote que se ocupa de los jóvenes, sino como un educador del pueblo. Casimiro Danna, en el «Giornale della Societá d'Istruzione e d'Educazione», mientras lo define «padre y hermano, maestro y predicador» atendiendo a los aspectos religiosos de su actividad, indica con vigor la polivalencia educativa del Oratorio en el que se enseñan, además de la historia sagrada y eclesiástica y el catecismo, «los principios fundamentales de aritmética, el sistema métrico decimal y a los que no saben, también leer y escribir. Todo esto para su educación moral y civil».'s Casalis, por su parte, menos entusiasta de don Bosco, subraya «el provecho que obtienen los jóvenes que frecuentan (los) oratorios» como la «educación de sus costumbres», el «cultivo de la inteligencia y del corazón», de modo que «en poco tiempo adquieren un carácter afectuoso y civilizado y se entregan al trabajo y se hacen buenos cristianos y óptimos ciudadanos».19
Por su carácter de respuesta pragmática a las necesidades de los jóvenes, el Oratorio supuso para don Bosco un estímulo para ulteriores iniciativas y experiencias. Muy pronto se presentó, también en Valdocco, la necesidad de ofrecer acogida a muchachos solos y sin recursos: igual que había comenzado a hacer ya don Cocchi, don Bosco dio vida a una pequeña comunidad juvenil (el «ospizio»). Casi como una consecuencia natural del interés demostrado a los que eran más pobres (de afecto y de bienes materiales), don Bosco empezó
18 C. DANNA, Cronichetta, en «Giornale della Societá d'Istruzione e d'Educazione» 1 (1850) 459.

19 G. CASALIS, Dizionario geografico-storico-commerciale degli Stati di S.M. il Re di Sardegna, vol. XIX, Torino 1851, p. 718.

también a preocuparse por encontrar una ocupación a sus muchachos y especialmente a los que había recogido en su hospicio." Según la práctica en marcha en la Mendicitá Istruita (institución asistencial y educativa con la que don Bosco tenía relaciones frecuentes), empezó a confiar a artesanos capaces y honrados a los jóvenes oratorianos, firmando contratos de aprendizaje, como garante en lugar de los padres.

Reconociendo, por último, la importancia de las escuelas, abrió en Valdocco y en el Oratorio de Porta Nuova una escuela elemental diurna, siguió atendiendo las clases nocturnas, pero sobre todo comenzó a admitir como internos a muchachos (de ordinario de familias modestas) que; dotados de buenas cualidades y moralmente sanos, dieran garantías de éxito en los estudios. Como se sabe, de este modo don Bosco extendía el área de las intervenciones educativas del Oratorio tradicionalmente entendido, orientándose hacia la creación de un verdadero colegio en Valdocco. El grupo de los estudiantes creció poco a poco junto al de los artesanos, primero asistiendo a las escuelas de la ciudad y después a clases preparadas a propósito en Valdocco (segunda mitad de los años 50). También los jóvenes artesanos tuvieron cabida al pasar de los años en los talleres del Oratorio, el primero de los cuales se abrió en noviembre de 1853.21
No es éste el lugar para indagar las razones que indujeron a don Bosco a transformar Valdocco en colegio, pero esta decisión, junto a algunas otras iniciativas (la construcción de la iglesia de San Francisco de Sales, la renovación de los edificios, la edición de las «Letture Cattoliche», los primeros pasos concretos hacia la Sociedad salesiana) fueron otras tantas piezas del mosaico de amplio contorno de las que el Oratorio propiamente dicho fue sólo una de esas piezas.

3. Los oratorios salesianos después de 1850

«Fra i giovani che frequentano questi oratori se ne trovaron di quelli talmente poveri e abbandonati che per loro riusciva quasi inutile ogni sollecitudine senza un sito dove possano essere provveduti di alloggio, vitto e vestito. A questo bisogno si studió di provvedere colla casa annessa e delta anche Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales. Ivi in principio si prese a pigione una piccola casa nel 1847 e si cominciarono a raccogliere alcuni de' piú poveri. In quel tempo essi anda-vano a lavorare per la cittá restituendosi alla casa dell'Oratorio per mangiare e dormire» (Bosco, Cenni storici, p. 79-71). «La quotidiana esperienza faceva toccare con mano a D. Bosco che per giovare stabilmente ad alcuni giovinetti non bastavano -le scuole e le radunanze festive, ma era d'uopo di un caritatevole Ospizio» (BONETA, Cinque lustri, p. 143-144).

21 STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 175-199; L. PAZZAGLIA, Apprendistato e istruzione degli artigiani a Valdocco, en: TRANIELLO (ed.), Don Bosco nella storia della cultura popolare, p. 20-39.

La leadership de don Bosco en el campo de los oratorios fue oficialmente reconocida por el arzobispo Fransoni con un decreto del, 31 de marzo de 1852, en el que le nombraba «director-jefe espiritual» del Oratorio de San Francisco de Sales y superior del de San Luis Gonzaga y del Ángel Custodio, Entre los dos animadores de los oratorios de Turín, don Cocchi y don Bosco, la elección recayó, pues, en el fundador de Valdocco. Fi primero se había situado en la práctica «fuera de juego» por sus abiertas simpatías liberales y por la imprudencia con que había llevado a un grupo de jóvenes hacia Novara con ocasión del choque fatal del 23 de marzo de 1849, aunque su generosa actividad se puso de nuevo al servicio de los jóvenes huérfanos y abandonados en octubre de aquel mismo año de 1849, con la propuesta de una asociación de sacerdotes y seglares, cuya primera realización fue el «Collegio degli Afligía. nelli».

Los sucesos políticos de 1848-49 habían acentuado las dos «almas» del movimiento de los oratorios y un grupo de personalidades con autoridad en-el clero turinés (el mismo Cafasso, el padre Durando, el canónigo Gastaldi y él abate Peyron) elaboró un plan para unificar las fuerzas e imprimir una orien- - tación unitaria a las diversas iniciativas. Como bien se sabe, se proyectó la creación de una federación, que debería asumir cometidos de dirección y de vigilancia sobre las actividades ya en marcha y sobre las que se pudiesen emprender en el futuro. Don Bosco reaccionó con mucha energía ante esta propuesta, oponiéndose al proyecto y negando su adhesión. Aducía como motivo principal la diversidad de las orientaciones educativas de Valdocco y el Ángel Custodio: según su criterio, en Vanchiglia se hacía mucha política, era insuficiente la instrucción religiosa y las diversiones se tomaban demasiado alegremente como fines en sí mismas 22
Nos falta, por desgracia, sobre las divergencias reales entre los oratorios de don Bosco y el de don Cocchi, el testimonio directo del grupo de este último y por eso es difícil establecer, sólo a través de fuentes salesianas, si el planteamiento educativo de Vanchiglia tenía verdaderamente, y hasta qué punto, los límites que le achacaba don Bosco. El análisis de la única síntesis disponible, la biografía de don Cocchi redactada por don Reffo,23 confirma la existencia de dos estilos educativos, aun con la existencia de algunos rasgos comunes, como el planteamiento familiar del intento educativo, la aceptación de la importancia educativa del recreo, lo esencial de la dimensión religiosa, la menuda filosofía del «sapersi accontentare». Don Cocchi atribuía, por ejemplo, gran importancia «a reforzar el temple de sus alumnos y darles una educación varonil y robusta para el cuerpo», trataba «de captar con oportunidad las ocasiones para insinuarse en el corazón de los jóvenes, descubrir sus pasiones y corregir sus costumbres torcidas», pero «su reserva era tan grande, que nunca quiso ser confesor de sus alumnos»; manifestaba un interés menos intenso por la instrucción y al tener que encontrar un método aceptable para llevar la colonia agrícola de Moncucco (abierta en 1853), no dudó en recurrir al del pastor protestante Fellenberg que había visto directamente aplicado durante un viaje a Suiza. Además, era casi proverbial su tolerancia educativa, en un corazón bueno y generoso que, sin embargo, no parecía estuviese sostenida por una visión pedagógica que animaba el principio educativo de la amabilidad de don Bosco.

22 Cf. MB 111, 453-454.

23 Cf. REFFO, Don Cocchi e i suoi artigianelli.

Sin minusvalorar las diferencias de carácter político que situaron en posturas distintas a don Cocchi y don Bosco (que, a su vez, reflejaban tendencias moduladas diversamente en el clero piamontés), hay elementos que justifican en términos educativos la presencia de dos estilos, tal vez más diferentes que antagónicos, a los que hay que referirse en última instancia cuando hablamos de las diversas experiencias de Vanchiglia y Valdocco. Si además se tiene en cuenta que don Bosco, después de 1850, acentuó los aspectos «protectores» de su pedagogía, se podrán comprender las razones de desconfianzas persistentes también después, cuando, por ejemplo, seguirán distinguiéndose muy bien los oratorios don Bosco y el de «San Martino» promovido por el infatigable don Cocchi en 1851, dirigido durante muchos años por don Ponte (que había estado antes con don Bosco) y animado por un grupo de sacerdotes y laicos ligados a la obra de los «Artigianelli».

Después de 1850, los horizontes de don Bosco van mucho más allá de las experiencias de los primeros oratorios: el decenio 1850-1860 es la etapa en la que se pone en marcha o se realiza la mayor parte de sus iniciativas y consolida la fama de hombre extraordinario. Es el decenio de Savio, Magone y Besucco y del encuentro con los primeros colaboradores válidos y estables. Es el período más feliz de sus actividades como escritor y polemista. La fase de constitución de su Oratorio se puede considerar ya cerrada y el interés primordial se dirige cada vez más frecuentemente y más intensamente a los jóvenes del internado, aunque en las numerosas peticiones de ayuda, la presentación de los oratorios en funcionamento en la capital resulta insistente.' La razón se explica rápidamente: los oratorios eran, ante los ojos de todos, iniciativas bien consolidadas, de modo que suponían una garantía para el empleo de otros posibles subsidios. A don Bosco le gustaba, además, seguir apareciendo como el sacerdote y el educador de los jóvenes pobres y abandonados, lo que era verdad, aunque en términos y modos diferentes respecto de los del pasado.

Véanse, por ejemplo, la carta a la «Mendidtá Istruita» de 1850 y las cartas circulares para las loterías de 1857 y de 1862, en las cuales la solicitud de ayuda o la invitación a participar a una lotería benéfica están precedidas de la descripción de los oratorios festivos y de los resultados logrados por ellos en favor de la juventud «povera e abbandonata». Quizás la descripción más sobria es la de 1850: «Col mezzo di piacevole ricreazione allettata da alcuni divertimenti, con catechismi, istruzioni e canto parecchi divennero morigerati, amanti del lavoro e della religione. Ci sono anche le scuole di canto tutte le sere e le scuole domenicali per qu

La expresión «Oratorio» asume cada vez más aquellos «varios sentidos» que don Bosco mismo precisará pocos años más tarde, cuando hable de F. Besucco y de su llegada a Valdocco: «Si se considera como reunión festiva se entiende un lugar destinado a recreo con entretenimientos agradables para los jóvenes, una vez satisfechos sus deberes religiosos. [...] Se llaman también oratorios diarios a las escuelas de día y de noche que se hacen a lo largo de la semana para los jóvenes que, por falta de medios o porque van mal vestidos, no pueden frecuentar las escuelas de la ciudad. Tomada, por fin, la palabra Oratorio en sentido más extenso, se entiende la casa de Valdocco de Turín conocida bajo el nombre de oratorio de San Francisco de Sales. Los jóvenes pueden ingresar en ella como artesanos o como estudiantes».25
Circunscribiendo nuestro análisis al significado inicial de Oratorio, es decir, como «oratorio festivo», no se puede dejar de señalar que don Bosco, precisamente en el momento en que esa actividad no constituye ya su principal preocupación, nos deja el documento tal vez más interesante sobre su función educativo-popular. Se trata, como todos saben, de la novelita La forza della buona educazione, publicada en 1855. El protagonista es, en efecto, un joven oratoriano, Pietro, tomado como modelo por todos los jóvenes que llenaban en su tiempo libre los patios de Valdocco y del Ángel Custodio e iban a las clases de catequesis: un caso, pues, diferente de lo que serán M. Magone y F. Besucco, que pertenecen ya a la historia de Valdocco como internado 26 El relato se sitúa en la periferia de Turín, en una de las muchas familias que vivían en las casitas baratas de Borgo Dora o de Vanchiglia. Y Pietro es el hijo mayor de un carpintero y de una buena madre de familia. Precisamente es la madre la que le hace crecer como buen cristiano y cuida de él aunque después, un poco precozmente, tiene que dedicarse al trabajo.

Pietro encuentra en el Oratorio y en las diversas actividades que se hacen en él, un importante punto de apoyo para su vida de fe y de buen muchacho. En el Oratorio asiste a la catequesis y se prepara a la primera comunión. Con su buen comportamiento se atrae la simpatía de sus superiores, logra alejar a su padre de sus visitas demasiado frecuentes a la taberna y a dar buen ejemplo a sus amigos, evitando que caigan en pecado. Llamado al servicio militar, cumple con este deber como honrado ciudadano y, destinado al cuerpo expedicionario que va a Crimea, no se aparta, aun estando tan apartado de su casa y del Oratorio, de las reglas de buena educación recibidas: amar al Señor, huir de las ocasiones de pecado, rezar, cumplir los deberes de su estado. La novela acaba con el ascenso de Pietro a sargento y el previsible regreso a casa.27
25 G. Bosco, II pastorello delle Alpi ovvero vita del giovane Besucco Francesco, Torino, Tip. dell'Oratorio di S. Francesco di Sales 1864, p. 70-71.

26 Junto a D. Savio, M. Magone y F. Besucco se encuentran entre los más célebres alumnos de don Bosco (cf. Bosco, Scritti sul sistema preventivo, p. 175).

27 G. Bosco, La forza della buona educazione. Curioso episodio contemporaneo, Torino, Tip. Paravia 1855.

A través de esa floja trama, don Bosco se propone de modo evidente, delinear los caracteres del buen oratoriano externo: Pietro vive, en efecto, una experiencia juvenil normal en familia (dentro de la cual se subraya el papel fundamental de la madre), de trabajo y de tiempo libre, pero sabiendo y queriendo interiorizar las buenas enseñanzas (la fuerza de la buena educación), vive de modo alegre la propia vida cristiana aun cuando está lejos de la familia y de las circunstancias habituales. De la novela brotan algunas indicaciones interesantes: el lazo familia-oratorio como premisa para una buena educación, el contagio del bien y del buen ejemplo (Pietro es, en efecto, el motivo del arrepentimiento del padre y ayuda y apoyo para que los amigos cumplan con su deber), un modelo de santidad «sencilla» que se basa en cumplir los deberes cotidianos, en la obediencia, en la oración, en la caridad que crece mediante el ejercicio del bien, en la mortificación (no extraordinaria, sino la que se da en la vida ordinaria) y la castidad.

El escrito de 1855 constituye, en cierto sentido, la coronación de la reflexión de don Bosco sobre el Oratorio en su dimensión original de «reunión festiva» abierta a todos, aunque en los otros treinta años, el fundador de Valdocco iba a volver muchas veces sobre el tema. Pero los primeros años de los 50 señalan, sin duda, un giro significativo en la historia del Oratorio, pasando de incunable y de primera y central realización de la experiencia religioso-educativa de don Bosco a un aspecto especial dentro de una estrategia más compleja de desarrollo y de reforzamiento de la obra salesiana. Sobre la marcha de los oratorios se reflejan opciones y prioridades diferentes que apuntan, al menos, en una primera fase, a la asunción de responsabilidades que van en dirección diversa de la valoración del patrimonio de ideas y experiencias maduradas en este sector. Así, al menos hasta el decenio 1870-1880 (como ha sido documentado autorizadamente),28 el Oratorio vive una fase de estabilidad inicial: el esfuerzo de los salesianos se multiplica en la provincia, en la que faltan las condiciones para la apertura de obras del tipo de los oratorios juveniles turineses y responden, en cambio, preferentemente, a las necesidades de tipo escolar, especialmente como consecuencia de la entrada en vigor de la ley Casati de 1859.

Es, además, sintomático, en otra situación, el estancamiento de los oratorios en Turín mismo. En 1860 eran seis, uno más solamente de los que funcionaban al principio del decenio: los tres de don Bosco, el de San Martino, el Oratorio femenino de Borgo San Donato, fundado en 1850 por el teólogo Gaspare Saccarelli y el Oratorio de San José en «Borgo San Salvario» abierto en 1859 por algunos seglares y después regido por los salesianos en 1863. Este número siguió sustancialmente igual aun en el decenio siguiente, a pesar de un cierto crecimiento de la población juvenil estable en la capital después de 1850. Las dificultades se acentuaron más tarde, entre 1860 y 1870. Después de la unidad, se dieron algunos hechos concomitantes que podrían explicar esa falta de crecimiento: la disminución de la migración estacional, la existencia de otras ofertas de asociación para los jóvenes más adultos, como, por ejemplo, las sociedades obreras, el englobamiento de los oratorios de Vanchiglia (que pasó en 1867 a la nueva parroquia de «Santa Giulia») y de Porta Nova al centro de barrios residenciales con su final como oratorio de periferia. En 1869 Baricco daba algunos datos sobre la población de los oratorios, referida al año anterior, indicando una cifra ligeramente superior a los dos mil." Es difícil compararla con los datos muy dispares entre sí, dados vez por vez por don Bosco,3° pero parece razonable la tesis según la cual la asistencia a los oratorios se estabilizó entre los años 50 y 70, sufriendo, tal vez, también alguna disminución como consecuencia de las crisis que azotaron a Turín, como el traslado de la capital en 1864.3'
Sobre el desarrollo de las iniciativas salesianas entre 1860 y 1870, cf. STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 123-157.

Después de esa fecha, y especialmente durante los años últimos de la vida de don Bosco, los oratorios registraron una cierta recuperación, a la que aludimos al final de esta nota. En 1875 don Bosco se quejaba de que no hubiese oratorios más que en Turín y en Sampierdarena32 y en aquella ocasión pronunció la conocidísima frase de que «si se quiere hacer un bien radical a la población de una ciudad hay que abrir un oratorio». Efectivamente, hacia los arios 80 se manifiesta un nuevo interés y mayor atención hacia los oratorios, que
29 P. BARICCO, Torino descritta, vol. II, Tocino 1869, p. 719. Según los datos de Baricco, la población oratoriana turinesa estaba constituida de 800 jóvenes en Valdocco, 450 en San Luigi,
400 en San Giuseppe (San Salvario), 100 en Santa Giulia y 300 en San Martino (chicos y chicas en patios distintos).

'° Como hemos visto, hablando de los primeros tiempos del Oratorio, las cifras indicadas por don Bosco se deben tomar siempre con gran prudencia. Entre 1850 y 1862, los oratorios habrían pasado de un millar de participantes, en los tres oratorios juntos, a varios millares, en cada uno de ellos: una escalation poco convincente y, de otra parte, poco compatible con las estructuras de que disponía don Bosco. Indico algunos datos, tomados en parte de P. STELLA (Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 173), y en parte de algunas invitaciones para las loterías, recogidos por BRALDO (Don Bosco per i giovani, p. 24-26): 1850, 1000 jóvenes en los tres oratorios; 1852, más de 2.000 en Valdocco; 1855, entre 1.500 y 2.000 en el conjunto de los tres oratorios; 1857, más de 3.000; 1862, «talvolta ascendono a piú migliaia in uno solo di questi oratori».

31 Stella concluye así el examen de las cifras: «In conclusione, ammesso il fluttuare dei giovani nei mesi estivi e in quelli piú rigidi dell'inverno, ammesso il diradarsi in círcostanze straordinarie come ll colera del 1854, é da ritenere che nel ventennio 1850-1870 sia avvenuta una certa stabíli7zazione numerica dei giovani negli oratori diretti da don Bosco» (Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 174). La población de Turín había pasado en aquellos veinte años de los 136.849 habitantes de 1848 a los 194.480 del 1868 y a los 212.644 del 1871 (cf. la elaboración de C. BERMOND, Torino da capitate politica a centro manufatturiero, Tocino 1983, p. 122-138).

32 Los salesianos se establecieron en Sampierdarena en 1872, después de una breve permanencia en Marassi: la casa se convirtió pronto en «l'opera salesiana piú emblematica della Liguría»: el oratorio para los jóvenes del barrio y el hospicio para la juventud pobre reprodujeron «le esperienze primordiali di don Bosco», representando «le finalitá essenziali preferite» (STELLA, Don Bosco nella storia economica, p. 153).

vuelven a adquirir un carácter prioritario en las opciones de los salesianos junto a una orientación hacia la periferia urbana, que se fue acentuando en el último cuarto del siglo. En los nuevos barrios populares que surgían junto a instalaciones industriales, se daban condiciones de vida y exigencias educativo-sociales que evocaban el contexto en el que se habían desarrollado Valdocco y los demás oratorios subalpinos.

Mientras tanto, en 1877, se publicó el documento más explícito sobre los oratorios, es decir, el Regolamento, aunque ya se había elaborado y aplicado años antes. Díez arios más tarde se decidió que en toda casa salesiana hubiese un Oratorio festivo: «Todo Director debe procurar con solicitud la aperturadarle pujanza si ya está fundado». Se trataba de la clara voluntad de que el Oratorio se plantease de nuevo como momento sustancial en la ya compleja iniciativa religioso-educativa de los salesianos, primer paso del florecimiento subsiguiente de oratorios que se daría en Italia (no sólo gracias a los salesianos, pero sí con su aportación significativa) entre el último decenio del siglo XIX y el primero del nuevo siglo en el cuadro de una presencia social y educativa renovada en los católicos italianos.33
" P. STELLA, I salesiani e il movimento cattolico in Italia fino alfa prima guerra mondiale, en RSS 2 (1983) 223-251.


He escrito ya en otra circunstancial que, según mi parecer, el tema de la escuela en don Bosco no se había estudiado todavía a fondo. Tampoco yo tengo la pretensión de hacerlo con esta comunicación que, unida a otras de este mismo Congreso, o publicadas mientras tanto, espero que pueda ofrecer alguna aportación al menos a nivel de sugerencia. Hay que decir igualmente que no es fácil encontrar materiales útiles a este propósito ni siquiera en el Archivo Salesíano Central. Como consuelo, en parte, si no como justificación, vale también el principio de que «la historia se hace con documentos, pero los documentos no son la historia»?
Los estudios en esta temática pueden ser de diversos tipos, pero los que existen se podrían catalogar en dos grupos fundamentales: uno con preocupación pedagógico-educativa y otro con preocupación histórico-pedagógica. Como ejemplo, recuerdo, entre los primeros, las páginas de don Pietro Ricaldone, cuarto sucesor de don Bosco, a quien le interesaba la orientación práctica de la Congregación salesiana.3 Y entre los segundos, en cuyo cauce querría situarme, los estudios de Pietro Braido y de Pietro Stella: aquél, con más valor pedagógico, y éste, con más valor histórico.4 Con todo, sigue siendo verdadero el problema de la escuela en don Bosco en general. Y en su tiempo se concedió poca atención entre los salesianos a este tema respecto a otros argumentos, y esto porque no suponía un punto especialmente significativo ni de su actividad ni, menos todavía, de su pensamiento.

B. BELLERATE, Don Bosco e la scuola educativa salesiana, en «Salesianum» 50 (1988) 75.

2 Se puede ver, a este propósito, la literatura sobre la metodología histórica, en particular: H.I. MARROU, De la connaissance historique, Paris, Éditions du Seuil 1954 (sobre todo, los capítulos 3. 4 y la conclusión).

Cf. P. RICALDONE, Don Bosco educatore, Colle Don Bosco (Asti), Libreria Dottrina Cristiana 1952, vol. 1, p. 504-609, vol. 2, p. 109-188.

Sus publicaciones, en este campo, son más bien numerosas; pero, por lo que se refiere al tema específico de la escuela, se pueden señalar, sobre todo: P. BRAmo, Il sistema preventivo di Don Bosco, 2. ed., Zürich, PAS-Verlag (ahora: Roma, LAS) 1964, p. 360-376; P.BRAIDO, L'esperienza pedagogica preventiva nel sec. XIX - Don Bosco, en: ID. (ed.), Esperienze di pedagogia cristiana nella storia, vol. II: Sec. XVII-XIX, Roma, LAS 1981, p. 389-399; STELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 121- 127; ID., Don Bosco nella storia economica e sociale (1815-1870), Roma, LAS 1980, p. 123-157.231243.278-284.

El limitarse a considerar la escuela de humanidades, es decir, la escuela secundaria superior (y, según mi criterio, bajo el perfil prioritario de contenidos y metodología), da lugar a ulteriores interrogantes y agudiza las dificultades, tanto por la escasez de los materiales (más abundantes, en cambio, para el aspecto jurídico-institucional) como por la identificación de un sentido que se le pueda atribuir razonablemente a don Bosco mismo.

1. Consideraciones histórico-contextuales

Un primer elemento, no determinante pero con toda probabilidad influyente, se refiere a la historia personal del Santo, centrada, por una parte, en la convicción de la llamada divina al sacerdocio, con todas las condiciones y exigencias que esto suponía; y, por otra, en las dificultades económicas que en principio le podían impedir la realización de su «sueño». De hecho, con la ayuda de sus bienhechores, «Giovannino» se convierte en don Bosco y, a lo largo del camino, tiene que dedicarse a los estudios humanísticos y clásicos, en los que encuentra también satisfacción, hasta el punto de que don Rua, su sucesor, escribirá: «Don Bosco no despreciaba a los clásicos profanos; los había estudiado, sabía de memoria larguísimos párrafos y los comentaba magistralmente. Al hablar con buenos profesores demostraba algunas veces tanta erudición, que quedaban admirados y se sentían obligados a decir que nunca hubieran pensado que don Bosco tuviese un conocimiento tan profundo de la literatura latina»? Fue, pues, una experiencia que no olvidó y que supo valorar a su tiempo, precisamente cuando comience la escuela secundaria en el Oratorio, primero sólo a nivel de «ginnasio» o «latinidad» inferior (1855-1856) con las clases de gramática, y después también superior (1859-1860).

No es menos significativa la situación escolar-educativa en el Piamonte hasta la ley Casati. Dos puntos merecen una especial atención de nuestra parte.

Por un lado, el reconocimiento a la escuela de un fuerte compromiso educativo, orientado sobre todo hacia la instrucción y la práctica religiosa, como garantía de humanidad y, en paralelo, de sumisión a la autoridad constituida, según los cánones de la época, cimentados en la alianza entre trono y altar. En este sentido se situaba la legislación saboyana del siglo XVIII aún en vigor, con algunos retoques del P. Taparelli d'Azeglio en 1822, bajo el reinado de Carlo Felice. Con ellos no se habían introducido propiamente innovaciones en las orientaciones, bien radicadas en el seno del absolutismo monárquico de entonces y de un espíritu moralista-pietista casi inquisitorial, sino más bien normas detalladas que, manteniendo aquella connotación de la escuela (de la que, por otra parte, disfrutaban pocos), acentuaba su monopolio o, cuando menos, una vigilancia centralizada, aunque diárquica, es decir, por parte del Estado y del clero?
' Lettere circolari di don Michele Rua al salesiani, Tocino, Tip. S.A.I.D. «Buona Stampa» 1910, p. 37 (carta n. 4 del 27.12.1889).

En 1848, instituido el Ministerio de Instrucción pública, su primer titular, Carlo Boncompagni, dictaminó una nueva ley que rompió, en total ventaja del Estado según el espíritu de los movimientos revolucionarios de aquel tiempo, la colateralidad tradicional y, por consiguiente, provocó fuertes pero comprensibles reacciones en el ámbito eclesiástico. Sin embargo, en ella no se prestaba mucha atención a los contenidos educativos dejando a la religión todo su peso, sino a los aspectos de organización e inspección. Revocó, no obstante, los privilegios por los que, por ejemplo, la Iglesia gozaba de derechos propios y tenía la posibilidad de intervenir, reduciendo, entre otras cosas, las oportunidades de crear nuevas escuelas, sin las debidas autorizaciones estatales y títulos para la enseñanza debidamente solicitados, aun cuando se tratase de disciplinas eclesiásticas. Los estudios secundarios se reorganizaron en tres cursos de «gramática» (que correspondían la latinidad inferior de antes), dos de «retórica» (con la reducción de un año respecto a los de «gramática», «humanidades» y «retórica» anteriores) y dos de filosofía (como antes). Se introdujo la experimentación de escuelas y de institutos técnicos.'
Por otra parte, con la ley siguiente (22.6.1857) del ministro Lanza (art. 7) y después con la ley Casati (13.11.1859, art. 246-247), se rompió el monopolio estatal, con una revisión más profunda de toda la materia escolar. Se reconocían en ellas, en efecto, derechos y espacios específicos tanto a la familia como a las autoridades municipales, con mayores posibilidades de intervención también para la iniciativa privada.8 La escuela fue reorganizada por completo y, por lo que toca a nuestro tema, la orientación clásico-humanística quedó reestructurada en el «ginnasio», con cinco años de duración en total, y en el «liceo» con otros tres años, uno más respecto a la ley Boncompagni. Se le unió, además, de modo definitivo, la instrucción técnica.

Esta nueva situación, en la que se iba manifestando poco a poco una creciente necesidad de instrucción, favoreció que se multiplicasen las instituciones
escolares, tanto laicas, deseadas por los ayuntamientos que creían con ello adquirir mayor prestigio, como religiosas, debido a la proliferación de congregaciones de hombres y mujeres, dedicadas especialmente a la educación de la juventud.9 Sín embargo, las condiciones cambiaron significativamente y a peor sobre todo con la llegada al gobierno de la izquierda (1877), como se puede apreciar en las discusiones y deliberaciones del segundo Capítulo general de los salesianos (1880).

6 Cf. V. SINISTRERO, La legge Boncompagni del 4 ottobre 1848 e la liberta della scuola,
SEI 1948, p. 6-7, y A. GAMBARO, La pedagogia del Risorgimento, in Nuove questioni di Stork della pedagogia, vol. Da Comenio al Risorgimento italiano, Brescia, La Scuola 1977, p. 590-591.

7 Cf. el citado ensayo de SINISTRERO, La legge Boncompagni, en el que se recogen las principales críticas hechas al documento, sobre todo por parte de los católicos, además del texto de la ley misma; y el trabajo de GAMBARO (599-603), que subraya los cambios institucionales.

La literatura sobre la ley Casati, o a partir de la misma, es más bien amplia. Aquí recuerdo sólo: G. CANESTRI - G. RICUPERATI, La scuola in Italia dalla legge Casati a oggi, «Documenti della storia», 18, Tocino, Loescher 1976; el ensayo de GAMBARO, La pedagogia 608-612 y de G. TA-LAMO, La scuola dalla legge Casati alla inchiesta del 1864, Milano, Giuffré 1960; pero también el interesante opúsculo de G. ALLIEVO, La legge Casati e Pinsegnamento privato secondario, Torino, Tipografia Salesiana 1879.

Éste es el ambiente y el terreno en el que se encuentra don Bosco en relación con la apertura y difusión de la escuela humanística en sus «casas», como prefería llamarlas.

2. Motivaciones y principios generales

La primera obra y la más típica del Santo fue el Oratorio, al que se unió después el internado (1847), impuesto por las condiciones de vida en que se encontraban los jóvenes que buscaban trabajo o lo realizaban ya. Después de 1848, especialmente tras la clausura de los seminarios de Turín y de Chieri en 1849, don Bosco, que quiere por una parte acoger a los seminaristas de la diócesis y por otra, tener colaboradores para su actividad catequístico-educativa, abrió su casa también a los estudiantes, que iban, no obstante, a escuelas privadas externas.' El 7 de abril de 1880, en su relación al Ministerio de Instrucción pública, el Provveditore de estudios de Turín reconoce que Valdocco era un «vivero, del que el sacerdote Bosco, fundador de una orden religiosa, obtiene sus seguidores», pero, al mismo tiempo añade que «dos tercios al menos de los alumnos [..1 vuelven a la sociedad»." A aquellos mismos años se refiere Tina importante declaración de don Rua: «Don Bosco, desde los primeros tiempos del Oratorio, mostró siempre vivo deseo de que se estudiasen también los clásicos cristianos». Y un poco más adelante insiste: «Desde 1850, durante varios años, él mismo, en vacaciones, nos explicaba varios pasajes de estos Autores de la Iglesia, especialmente las cartas de San Jerónimo, y manifestaba siempre un vivo deseo de que se estudiasen».'5
Algún año más tarde, el Santo, que escribió sobre ello también bastante después, se dio cuenta del hecho de que: «Había, sin embargo, una gran dificultad. Como no teníamos todavía en casa los talleres, nuestros alumnos tenían que ir a trabajar y a clase a Turín, con gran menoscabo de la moralidad, porque los compañeros que encontraban, las conversaciones que oían y lo que veían, hacían inútil lo que se hacía con ellos y se les decía en el Oratorio. [...] Lo que sucedía con los artesanos había que lamentarlo igualmente de los estudiantes. [...] Eran escuelas óptimas, pero el ir y volver suponían muchos peligros. El año 1856 fueron definitivamente establecidas escuelas y talleres en la casa del Oratorio con lógica ventaja» (MO, 205-206). Fue el comienzo de nuevos compromisos que, por otra parte, completaron el abanico de stn, intereses educativos en Italia, fuera, naturalmente, de sus posteriores establecimientos en el extranjero.

Cf. el ya citado vol. II de BRAIDO (ed.), Esperienze di pedagogia cristiana nella storia.

1° Sobre estas vicisitudes, cf. especialmente: MO 199ss, MB y también: Annali I,p. llss.

" MB XIV, 756.

12 Lettere circolari, p. 36-37.

Para justificar la decisión de abrirse, primero, a los estudiantes y, después, de crear escuelas propias, no disponemos de una documentación amplia. Las pocas afirmaciones al respecto, como la que hemos reproducido antes.' pueden despertar muchas dudas sobre todo si se advierte la difusión de lo. colegios salesianos, a partir de los años 60, que respondían a otras necesidades muy diferentes.

Hay que buscar las motivaciones que indujeron a don Bosco a dedicarse progresivamente a los estudiantes, con una bajada de atención paralela hacia los artesanos, (impulsada un poco más tarde)," más que en declaraciones explícitas, en su personalidad y en las situaciones históricas. Su personalidad, por un lado, era muy sensible a las «necesidades de los tiempos», a las exigencias que se iban manifestando en el ambiente y que implicaban a los jóvene,;. Especialmente, al requerimiento de mayor instrucción, con la que parecía que se podían obtener mejores condiciones de vida en el futuro. Y la educación, a su parecer, tenía que mirar con atención ese futuro. Por otra parte, el impulso hacia la acción casi incoercible del Santo, desde luego dirigido a la «salvación de las almas» y a una obediencia confiada a los designios divinos, aun respetando necesidades y prioridades, no le consentía quedarse mirando frente al florecimiento de nuevas instituciones. De hecho, como él mismo hace notar varias veces, el dato de que muchos chicos, intelectualmente bien dotados, no pudiesen ejercitar esa capacidad que Díos les había dado, no le dejaba tranquilo.1-9 Además, esa misma expectativa de mejor instrucción iba cundiendo en las familias y en la sociedad, en la que daba sus primeros pasos la industrialización. Más aún: como se ha dicho, se habían ido multiplicando las posibilidades de inserción con la gestión de escuelas propias, apoyándose en los obispos, que tenían necesidad de ayuda para la reorganización de sus seminarios, y de los ayuntamientos, que no disponían con frecuencia de personas en condición de dirigirlas.

Don Bosco siguió ambas pistas, abriendo pequeños seminarios: como tal se podía considerar el internado para estudiantes del Oratorio de Turín y así fue la obra de Mirabello (1863), después de la experiencia de Giaveno (1860); y verdaderos colegios, como los de Lanzo (1864), Alassio y Cherasco (1869).

' E I, 377-378; III, 471 y 486.

14 En las actas de la 8' conferencia del II Capítulo general del 7.9.1880, se lee: «Si ripete in-tanto ció che giá tante altre volte si disse in altre circostanze e doé ció che ci tiene su e deve essere nostro scopo speciale dover essere i collegi od ospizi di artigianelli, gli Oratori festivi e riguardo a scuole solo [después tachado] quelle del popolo e per poveri giovani abbandonati» (ASC 046 Capitolo Generale fi 1880 [micr. 1.858 B10]).

Véanse: Regolamento per le case della Societá di S. Francesco di Sales, P. II, c. 2. a. 7; E

Esta «colegialización» obedecía, a mi parecer, más que al movimiento europeo de revaloración de los internados, en sintonía con el proceso de restauración, a la emergencia política italiana, que veía a los «católicos» a la caza de espacios autonómicos ante el Estado, en los limites que consentían las leyes, y de la libertad de enseñanza y de educación.16 El Santo estaba especialmente atento a defender el planteamiento propio de la educación, de modo que no dejó escaparse la ocasión que le ofrecían los tiempos y cuando se le bloqueó el camino de las escuelas de «ginnasio» (1879), se batió con todas sus fuerzas para defenderlas.

En realidad, don Bosco había utilizado la actividad escolar como un instrumento ulterior y eficaz de educación y, por tanto, en su perspectiva, de cristianización, aunque al principio tuviese un motivo importante su necesidad de colaboradores y, a partir de los años 60, frente a los obispos y a los mismos salesianos, diese mucho relieve al cuidado de las vocaciones.''
Bajo esta luz, pues, también la escuela humanística entraba en su planteamiento educativo, obedeciendo a los mismos principios escolares fundamentales, como ya ha hecho notar P. Braido,18 calificándola, ante todo, como «escuela cristiana». En ella debía tener un lugar privilegiado la instrucción religiosa y la educación moral, como «preparación a la vida»; pero es que, además, se debía actuar a la luz del «temor de Dios», en la fidelidad a los propios deberes y, por tanto, al «trabajo», de modo que se incidiese sobre la marcha de la misma vida civil, como «honrados ciudadanos», además de «buenos cristianos» como don Bosco solía remachar. El Regolamento per le case della Societá di S. Francesco di Sales, elaborado en varias etapas desde los años 50, subraya esos mismos principios.

Es convicción común hoy entre los estudiosos de la «pedagogía» de don Bosco, que el sistema preventivo, nacido más de la práctica que de lecturas o reflexiones de carácter teórico e impuesto como estilo educativo específico, tuvo que sufrir notables modificaciones precisamente con la «colegialización»," que había exigido estructuras y relaciones diferentes de las que regían en el Oratorio de Valdocco.

16 Cf., sobre este punto, las densas páginas de S'TELLA, Don Bosco I, p. 121-127; pero que evoca también un probable influjo europeo.

17 Puede verse, especialmente, el ya citado pasaje del Epistolario I 248; además: el art. 5 del
c. I de las Costituzioni della Pia Societá di S. Francesco di Sales: «Mezzi per coltivare le vocazioni alío Stato Ecclesiastico», introducido en las Deliberazioni del secondo Capitolo generale della Pia Societá Salesiana, tenuto in Lanzo Torinese nel setiembre 1880, Torillo, Tipografía Salesiana 1882, Distinz. III, c. 4, pp. 56-59; MB XII, 27; XVII, 616.

" BRAIDO, II sistema preventivo, p. 360-366; y para las repercusiones sobre la sociedad: ID., II progetto operativo di Don Bosco e l'utopia della societá cristiana, «Quaderni di "Salesianum"», 6, Roma, LAS 1982.

19 Cf. BRAIDO, II progetto operativo, p. 5 y p. 15-21; STELLA, Don Bosco II, p. 462-466.

Esto se deduce, no tanto del opúsculo con aquel título, preparado y publicado en 1877, cuanto del análisis de la actividad y de las enseñanzas de don Bosco. A pesar de esto, algunos rasgos típicos del «sistema» se encuentran también en el terreno de la escuela, tanto en la práctica como en las orienta-dones que sobre ella se dan. Entre los más significativos, hay que señalar, en clave más bien metodológíco-educativa, la centralidad del ambiente, cuyo eje es la familiaridad, orientado a la promoción de una moralidad y religiosidad auténticas, genuinas; 2° la corresponsabilidad que, por una parte, quería tener en cuenta las diferencias de carácter y de edad y, por otro, jugaba con la implicación de los mismos muchachos; por último, la atención a cada uno, que en el plano didáctico se expresa como individualización. A este respecto, creo significativo señalar que, con los años, se intensificó la indicación de atender a los muchachos en dificultad, a los últimos, sin que esto supusiese desatender a los demás: «De ordinario los maestros tienden a complacerse con los alumnos que sobresalen por estudio e inteligencia y explican atendiendo sólo a esos [...]. Yo, en cambio, soy de parecer totalmente contrario. Creo que todo maestro debe atender a los más torpes de la clase; preguntarles con más frecuencia que a los demás, detenerse más por ellos en las explicaciones y repetir, repetir, hasta que entiendan, acoplar los deberes y lecciones a su capacidad. Si el maestro tiene un método contrario a esto, no da clase a los alumnos, sino a alguno de los alumnos. Para ocupar convenientemente a los alumnos de inteligencia más despierta, dénseles deberes y lecciones extraordinarios, premiándolos con puntos de aplicación. Más que descuidar a los más retrasados, dispénseseles de cosas accesorías; pero las materias principales adáptense totalmente a ellos»?'
Análogas afirmaciones, repetidas varias veces por don Bosco, se encontraban también en los pedagogos más perspicaces de la época y no sólo extranjeros aunque es siempre difícil decir si y hasta qué punto se puede demostrar su posible influencia, teniendo en cuenta que el Santo tenía la experiencia personal y repetida de trabajar con muchachos con dificultades en la escuela.'
20 A este propósito, se puede consultar: BELLERATE, Don Bosco e la scuola, p. 88-93. Pero no hay que olvidar el hecho de que, ya en 1880, don Bosco se da cuenta de que son las escuelas las que más fácilmente caen en el frente de la «cantó e dolcezza», especialmente con los últimos. En la 2' conferencia del II Capítulo general decía: «Un'altra cosa che bisognerá studiamo insieme di promuovere si é lo spirito di cantó e di dolcezza di S. Francesco di Sales. Esso va diminuendo specialmente nelle scuole. Alcuni giovani non sono ben visti e non ben trattati dai maestri: altri sono abbandonati nella scuola, non curad, lasciati per tempo e tempo senza essere interrogati, senza che loro si correggano lavori ecc.: altri poi sono mandad fuori dalla scuola [...]» (ASC 04 Capitolo generale H 1880 [micr. 1857 C9].

21 MB XI, 218. En este sentido existían en Valdocco los «ripetitori», de quienes don Durando ha transmitido los nombres, para los años 1869-1872, en su agenda personal (ASC, 272. Durando).

Cf. por ejemplo: MO En cuanto a los pedagogos, J.F. Herbart había hecho ya propuestas análogas, y, por ejemplo, en «L'Educatore primario», que don Bosco conocía, se pueden, probablemente, encontrar exhortaciones del mismo tipo.

3. Problemas escolares específicos

Indicados los objetivos fundamentales que don Bosco se proponía alcanzar con la escuela y las modalidades educativas a las que debía obedecer, resulta muy lejos de su pensamiento la idea de una posible «neutralidad» de aquella institución, no por su función instrumental, sino por su uso, que tenía que orientarse necesariamente a un tipo cualificado de formación humana. Por eso, la «escuela cristiana» se ha ido delineando, a sus ojos, como el remedio principal para la «única causa verdadera» de la «aberración» que estaba extendiéndose al difundirse la obligación y la frecuencia escolar: la «educación pagana que se da generalmente en las escuelas».23
La puesta en marcha de la actividad escolar en el Oratorio había respondido, sin embargo, a otras motivaciones, como se ha visto. Y sólo más tarde tomó cuerpo la convicción que absorbió progresivamente la atención y el empeño del Santo. Efectivamente, aquella iniciativa suponía inevitablemente una serie de complicaciones burocráticas: desde la obtención de los permisos necesarios, condicionados por la situación legal de los maestros y la practicidad de los locales; el planteamiento educativo, al que se ha hecho alusión y que más tarde entrará en crisis hasta en el Oratorio (1882-1884);24 los destinatarios, que poco a poco se fueron diversificando; hasta los subsidios didácticos que, a su vez, no se podían considerar neutrales.

El problema más grave que debió afrontar don Bosco, desde el principio, fue el de los maestros. Empezó, en 1855-56, con el clérigo G.B. Francesia, de 17 arios, que había sido antes interno en el Oratorio y al que él mismo había impuesto el hábito. Después, con G. Ramello y F. Blanch, «patentato» y que se había ofrecido a trabajar gratuitamente. Y, poco a poco, con otros colaboradores suyos que, sin embargo, carecían, las más de las veces, del título exigido o «patente» de enseñanza. De aquí la preocupación y la densa correspondencia del Santo con las autoridades competentes, a partir del 4 de diciembre de 1862, para obtener excepciones y reconocimientos, y que duró toda la década de los años 60 y volvió después de la clausura del «ginnasio» de Valsalice, con tonos, acentos y promesas de diverso género, que ponen en evidencia la astucia y sabiduría de quien, sabiéndose en situación deficiente, juega todas las cartas que tiene para conseguir sus objetivos, sin desanimarse por las dificultades, las amenazas y los abusos a los que se vio sometido. Basta recordar las frecuentes y a veces fastidiosas inspecciones de que fue objeto la escuela del Oratorio.25
" Cf. F. CERRUTI, Le idee di D. Bosco sull'educazione e sull'insegnamento e la missione attuale della scuola - Lettere due, San Benigno Canavese, Tipografía e Libreria Salesiana 1886, p. 88: se - transcribe un coloquio del Santo con el abogado Michel.

24 Véase: J.M. PRELLFZO, Studio e rillessione pedagogica nella Congregazione Salesiana 18741941 - Note per la storia, en RSS 7 (1988) 36-47.

" Cf. E I, especialmente, de la carta 219 a la 685, passim; MB v-VII y XVI; Annali I, passim.

Presionado por esa urgencia, don Bosco no dudó en enviar a sus clérigos a la Universidad, primero en calidad de oyentes y después, cuando se le exigía por el Ministerio regularizar situaciones, como matriculados normales, llegando, aunque con retraso, a disponer de maestros titulados en número suficiente. Sin embargo, las dificultades volvían a aparecer enseguida, impidiéndole con frecuencia aceptar invitaciones para nuevas fundaciones. Es más, uno de los motivos de volver a cierta preferencia por los «artigianelli», según don Bosco, fue precisamente el hecho de que «al mismo tiempo se pueden sostener con menos personal y, esto es lo mejor, que por ahora el personal no necesita titulación y a nosotros nos faltan tanto títulos de diplomados como de licenciados».

Y añade: «En estos hospicios, además, con los artesanos podemos, poco a poco, poner también escuelas y entonces no hay tanto peligro de que las autoridades escolares vean lo que se hace y si los maestros están titulados o no».26
En cambio, no había tenido dificultad en aceptar desde el principio los programas propuestos por el Estado, aun sin renunciar a introducir alguna exigencia especial, como el estudio de los autores clásicos cristianos, a los que quiso que se dedicase una hora de dase a la semana.' Después, mientras insistirá en aceptar los programas y la autoridad del gobierno, decidirá reservar los estudios universitarios a los sacerdotes q «al menos» a los iniciados en las órdenes sagradas.28
En cuanto a los destinatarios, inicialmente eran muchachos con esperanza, al menos, de vocación eclesiástica, si no salesiana. Tanto es así que, mientras antes había enviado a sus estudiantes también a las clases del canónigo Anfossi, del vecino Cottolengo, en un segundo momento recibió él mismo a los aspirantes del canónigo en Valdocco. Sólo más tarde se abrió esta escuela a otros externos, pero privilegiando siempre a posibles candidatos al sacerdocio. En cambio, en otros centros, el Santo fue reduciendo poco a poco las mallas de su red, para recoger toda clase de «peces», con tal de hacerles alcanzar la meta de la salvación. La «colegialización» ensancha de este modo el horizonte, desde la juventud «pobre y abandonada» a «cualquier otra clase de personas», aunque la «Congregación» «prefiere ocuparse de la clase media y de la clase pobre como quienes tienen mayor necesidad de ayuda y de asistencia».29 Un caso especial fue la aceptación del colegio de Valsalice (1872) destinado a los retoños de «familias patricias y pudientes» de la clase alta de Turín, por indicación y presión de la curia y del arzobispo, y aceptando tatobién «a algunos (aunque pocos) jovencitos pobres».

26 Verbali del Capitolo generale II (micr. 1.858B11): muy probablemente esta postura refleja la disquisición jurídica en curso, en orden a la abrogación del decreto de clausura del colegio («ginnasio») de Valdocco.

27 Cf. Regolamento per le Case, P. I., c. VI, a. 14. Pero, curiosamente, en los únicos Programmi d'insegnamento per le scuole elementari, ginnasiali e liceali que he logrado encontrar (ASC 35) para el «Armo Scolastico 1888-1889» (Torino, Tipografía Salesiana 1888); no aparece tal hora, sino sólo «S. Girolamo (De viris illustribus)» en el tercer curso gimnasia'.

Cf. Verbali del I Capítulo general de 1877, respectivamente, 4' conf., p. 128 de la edición crítica (preparada por M. VERHULST, I verbali del I Capitolo Generale Salesiano [1877], Universitá Pontificia Salesiana 1980) y p. 292s. sobre el respeto de los programas y de la autoridad; y el 7° art. sobre los «Studi tra i confratelli Salesiani» del mismo Capítulo: Verbali, p. 99 y además p. 109- 110 (edición crítica).

La apertura de las escuelas a muchachos de la «clase media» hizo reaparecer, también por la escasez de vocaciones eclesiásticas, la preocupación por ellas a partir de los años 60, como se ha dicho; don Bosco vuelve a insistir para que se cuide y se prefiera a los que dan esperanza de vocación, codificando en las Constituciones de la Sociedad salesiana este compromiso." Naturalmente, dentro del problema de las vocaciones, ocupaban un puesto privilegiado los que podían llegar a ser salesianos. En un primer momento, en Valdocco, no estaban separados de los otros estudiantes en los cursos del «girinosio», mientras que para los cursos de liceo y filosofía frecuentaban como externos, las clases del seminario, colaborando también a satisfacer las exigencias de asistencia y de enseñanza en el mismo Oratorio. Sólo mucho más tarde, en los últimos años de la vida del Santo, se pensó en llevarles después del Noviciado