Focus 2010

ACSSA - RMG01-01-2010

5th International Convention on the History of Salesian Work

Project: 5th International Convention on the History of Salesian Work
Date: 28 October to 1 November 2009
Place: Turin
Organised: ACSSA (Associazione di Cultori di Storia Salesiana)

The 5th International Convention on the History of Salesian Work took place from 28 October to 1 November 2009, at the Salesian Mother House in Valdocco, Turin. Its topic was “Fr Michael Rua, first successor of Don Bosco”. Organised by the 'Associazione di Cultori di Storia Salesiana' (ACSSA), together with the 'Istituto Storico Salesiano' (ISS), the Convention opened the Centenary year of the death of Blessed Michael Rua, Rector Major of the Salesian Society, which will be celebrated throughout 2010.

Some 100 people from five continents took part, including Salesians, Salesian Sisters and other members of Salesian Family Groups. Fr Adrian Bregolin, Vicar of the Rector Major, was also present.

41 Sessions

Over 3 days (of 4), Salesians, Salesians Sisters, other Members of Salesian Family Groups, from Europe and America gave talks either in the Aula (everyone together), or in goups (according to choice). There were 41 such talks, most prepared on the basis of unpublished material from the Archives. The topics covered 22 years of Don Rua's administration: the institutional consolidation and development of the SDB and FMA; the spreading of works and houses both in an industrial and a missionary context, amongst immigrants or amongst indigenous peoples, in four continents; the relationship with the Holy see, especially at two critical junctures: when Rectors were forbidden to hear the confessions of their members or the pupils, and the juridical and administrative separation from the FMA; tools and means of government, voyages, personal letters, circulars; attention given to new works demanded by social changes and the insistence on certain Salesian details, such as the festive oratory, religious instruction, 'teatrino', sacred music, attention to the working world; the relaunching of the Salesian Cooperators and collaboration with various Associations and bodies in order to be more present in society generally.

strong>An 'other' Don Rua

The Convention highlighted an other Don Rua: faithful to Don Bosco and his times, gifted as a strategic forward looking and practical leader, not only as the diligent executor of the founder's plans. Times were changing and the 'Da mihi animas' was his motivation for new openings according to the Salesian spirit. The exponential growth of the two Congregations is proof of his sharp leadership style, marked by a warm fatherliness, discretion and attention to individuals and situations, which he knew and followed close up. Testimony of those who knew him was able to include aspects of austerity and ascetic traits which, true as they were, only reduced a very rich personality if highlighted out of context.

At Caselle

Other events: opening of the “Don Michael Rua, an “other” Don Bosco” Exhibition, the DVD “Don Rua, the successor”, Mass at which Fr Adrian Bregolin, Vicar of the Rector Major, presided in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians on 29 October (the liturgical celebration of Blessed Michael Rua), the Musical “Andiamo Ragazzi” and the visit to Caselle Torinese, where Don Rua was ordained priest.

The 4 days at Valdocco also saw the renewal of the Presidency of ACSSA International (Sr. Grazia Loparco, FMA, professor of Church History at the Faculty of the “Auxilium”, was chosen as the new Preesident for the 2010-2014 five year period)

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