Rector Major from 1932 to 1951.
As the fourth successor of Don Bosco, Peter Ricaldone led the Salesian Congregation for twenty years. A man with important intellectual and governing qualities, he gave considerable impulse to the spiritual and professional formation of the Salesians, and to developing institutes of higher culture one of which was the Pontifical Salesian Univeristy (UPS). He also promoted the increase of trade schools, intensified missionary expansion, catechetics and apologetics, publishing and communications media, and many other important initiatives.
Holding vigilantly to Don Bosco's spirit, he had an exceptional religious and organising capacity.
He toured the Salesian world on two occasions, bringing with him his helpful direction, heartfelt understanding, interest in promoting native peoples and concern for migrants. He increased the numnber of professional (technical) institutes by guaranteeing specialised personnel in every area.
He addressed his concerns to the whole Congregation, to the point of seeing the number of professions double over a few years, and always in strict adherence to our origins. His heart and spirit led him, clandestinely, even beyond the lines of the Spanish Revolution of the 1930s, to console and encourage.
He was also the author of popular publications. His public and social work stand out, among other things, in a 140 volume Solarian Agricultural Library, where from the time of his leadership in Spain he kept up to date with current thinking in the field of agriculture. He wrote for workers and employers. Other important works that he published throughout his life, were to promote Don Bosco the educator, who was not only a man of theory but of practice. During the Second World War he established that each Salesian province would have a house for young orphans or refugees, and that some needy minors would be welcomed in each institute ...
Fr Peter Ricaldone's efforts were recognised in Italy where he received a "Gold Star' each for his rural and scholastic acheivements. However, the best stars are those still shining in heaven, lit up by his charity and the deep gratitude of the world over..