Focus 2009

Constitutions - RMG15-12-2009

Our Constitutions, the way of fidelity

Project: 150th anniversary of the founding of the Salesian Congregation
Date: 1859 - 2009

The first photograph Don Bosco wanted

In November 1875. Don Bosco was about to fulfil his dream of sending the first Salesian missionaries to South America, to Patagonia. And for the first time in his life he wanted a photograph taken. It was to immortalise the event, to make it widely known, and to serve as a stimulus to the Salesians and to their boys. So he turned to the most distinguished photographer in Turin, Michael Schemboche.In the photographer’s studio he posed with the ten missionaries in ‘formal dress’.

The photograph shows in its details the great importance Don Bosco wanted to give to the event: those about to leave are dressed in the Spanish manner with the characteristic cloak and the missionary crucifix is clearly visible on all of them; the Argentine Consul is in dress uniform; Don Bosco is wearing the cloak and the skull-cap as on those great occasions when he goes to see the Pope, and he is posing as he hands to the head of the expedition Fr Cagliero a book: it is the Rule of the Salesian Society. He wanted to highlight this gesture which for him had a deep significance.

Don Rua, his Successor will write: “When the Venerable Don Bosco sent his first sons to America, he had himself photographed in the act of handing Fr John Cagliero, who headed the expedition the book of the Constitutions. How many things Don Bosco was saying with that gesture! It was as though he were saying: You will cross the seas, you will go to places unknown,  you will have to deal with people of different languages and customs, you will perhaps be exposed to great trials. I should like to accompany you myself, to comfort you, console you, protect you. But what I cannot do myself this little book will do. Guard it as a precious treasure."

Address: Direzione Generale
Salesiani Don Bosco
Via della Pisana
C.P. 18333
00163 Roma - Bravetta
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