Since 2013, the “Salesian honey” project has resided in the thoughts of the current Director of the Salesian Youth Center Ondřej Trojek. He explained that “the idea was conceived at a lecture I attended and I must admit that the other attendees were more enthused about the idea than I was. The thought had been slowly ripening in my mind and awaited the right moment and the right people”.
This year’s beekeeping season is considered one of the worst and most difficult ones in the last couple of decades. Since its founding, the history of the Salesians proves that no beginnings are as smooth as one may imagine. On the contrary, they are always arduous and demanding. In a similar fashion, the “Salesian honey” project also does not lie on a bed of roses. Yet on December 8th, we launched the sale of the first batch of Salesian honey which is a high quality, honest, and original product. The vision of the “Salesian honey” project is to serve as an impetus of new financial support to the Salesian Youth Center in České Budějovice, which will enable to continue the work with youths throughout České Budějovice.
Due to the financial backing of the City of České Budějovice, we were not only able to purchase essential beekeeping equipment, but also beekeeping suits for children and thus enable children to visit our beekeeping sites. For many of these children, this was their first encounter with beekeeping and with the life of a honeybee. After witnessing the childrens’ bright, sparkling eyes above the open beehive where they had the opportunity to observe worker bees, drones and the queen bee alone. We are convinced that this is the way forward.
The story of the “Salesian honey” project is interwoven with dozens of enthusiastic people who participate in this project (i.e, employees of the Salesian Youth Center in České Budějovice, members of the local Salesian Cooperators community, friends and friends of their friends). The fact that this story of honey connects us and enriches us is the most fun aspect of the whole beekeeping experience. We cannot forget that the key elements of the “Salesian honey” project are children and youths, who have the opportunity to become (at least for a short moment) beekeepers and get to know bees themselves, as well as the beekeeping craft from up close.
At the beginning of the Oratory, many people surrounding Don Bosco considered his ideas and work with the youth as foolishness. Perhaps, the Salesian Youth Center in České Budějovice is finding itself in a similar position. Still, we believe that we are becoming a part of something new and that in a few years, our “Salesian honey” will be a household favorite and available for sale throughout all of the Czech Republic and also in the Italian Torino in Valdocco - the cradle of the Salesian family.
“Everything began quite inconspicuously in the morning of the celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on December 8th, 1841. In the same year, Fr Cocchi opened the first Oratory in Torino.” The founder of the Salesian Order Don Bosco recalls and continues: “I kneeled and prayed the Hail Mary.” After forty-five years he told his Salesians: “All the gifts that we received from heaven, are the fruit of that initial Hail Mary prayer, which I prayed with fervor and honest intention.” Similar to Don Bosco before 179 years, the Salesians in České Budějovice have entered a new phase this time connected to beekeeping.
Further information and products here: www.salesianskymed.cz