'SDB' means 'Salesians of Don Bosco'.
Being a 'Salesian of Don Bosco' means entering a Catholic Congregation of people who dedicate their whole life to God through generous service to the young, especially the poorest and most disadvantaged. We enter this form of life with the profession of religious vows, living in community, educating and evangelising the young according to the example of Don Bosco.
Saint John Bosco is an Italian Saint from the nineteenth century – his boys called him DON BOSCO and 'DON' in Italian means 'Priest'. And he continues to be called this in our time as well. He founded a Congregation whose purpose is to look after young people especially the poorest. He called those who wanted to follow him, Salesians, a name that derives from St Francis de Sales, a very popular Saint in Northern Italy where Don Bosco was born. He chose St Francis de Sales as the patron of his Society and wanted his collaborators to imitate his great humanity.
Yes. There are other groups that bear the name 'Salesian'. Saint Francis de Sales, declared 2Doctor" by the Catholic Church, gave rise to a school of spirituality that is normally recognised as 'Salesian Spirituality'. There are groups that live this same spirituality and consider themselves to be "Salesians". The title 'Salesians of Don Bosco' refers to all those who live the spirituality of St Francis de Sales according to Don Bosco's style and charism.
The 'Salesians of Don Bosco' form a non-profit Congregation. It is recognised by the Italian Government as a juridical person for civil purposes under the title 'Direzione Generale delle Opere di Don Bosco' - domiciled in Rome, 42 Via Marsala.
The Salesians of Don Bosco are present in 132 countries around the world. Currently there are ca. 15000 Salesians. They are active in the youth field in over 2,000 institutions.
The purpose of the Salesians of Don Bosco can be briefly summarised as follows: 'Being a sign and bearers of God's love for young people, especially the poorest'
Here is a list of projects in favour of youth carried out by the Salesians of Don Bosco in the world: Schools at various academic levels,, Agricultural Schools, Colleges, Universities, Oratories and Youth Centres, Parishes, Missions, Youth Movements, Publishing Houses, Social Communication Centres, Multimedia Production, Cine Forum, Theatre and Musical groups, Sports Clubs, Graphic Arts Clubs, Publications, Programs of Education for Peace and Democracy, Catechetical Centres, Rural Development Projects, Street Kid Centres, Kindergartens, Rehabilitation Centres, Guidance Centres, Drug Addiction Recovery Centres, Refugee Centres, Vocational Centres, Volunteer Centres, Fundraising agencies, Youth Research Centres and Development, and even a Green Alliance..
No. The Salesians of Don Bosco do not marry. They live a consecrated life (for the good of the young).
In the Catholic Church, a person can dedicate his life to the Lord, in total free choice. This consecration made for the whole of life is manifested through the public profession of three vows: Obedience, Poverty, and Chastity.
The three vows are a sign by which we place ourselves totally at the service of God and his mission to make peace, truth, justice and love possible and realisable in the world. With the profession of the three votes, the candidate renounces some legitimate rights that he has as a human being - the right to free choices and decisions, the right to legitimate property (property), the right to marry and have a family.
No. Consecration is for life. The Catholic Church, however, requires that the candidate take the vows for a period of time with the intention, later, to consecrate himself forever. This period of time is known as 'temporary profession' which culminates with the 'Perpetual profession'; after about 7 years.
It is certainly not an easy task to live the consecrated life, the three vows, day after day. But it is certainly possible with the help and grace of God, relying on constant prayer, the practice of the sacraments and the observance of the Constitutions of the Salesian Society. Living in community with other members who have made the same profession, life is more than possible. It is a life lived in a joyful commitment to the Kingdom of God - and in addition to a commitment, it is truly an adventure that is worth living.
No. Not all Salesians are priests. The vocation is to be Salesians of Don Bosco and this vocation can be lived in two forms: as a Brother or Coadjutor, or as a priest. These two forms are complementary.
The Brother or Coadjutor Salesian, like the priest,professes the three vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. He lives the community life with the other Salesian confreres and lives the same mission at the service of the young by shaping his life on Christ the Good Shepherd and making Don Bosco's system his own in the educational field. The difference consists in the fact that his work takes place above all in activities of a secular nature. Here are some fields in which the Salesian Coadjutor develops his vocation more: Educator, Doctor, Professor, Agricultural Expert, Director of Development Projects, Administrator, Accountant, Catechist, Scout Guide, Publicist, Librarian, Architect, Computer Technician, Sports Coach , Music, etc. Currently there are 2000 Salesian Brothers in the world.
Just like the Brother, the Salesian Priest professes the three vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience and lives in Community with the other Salesians and dedicates his life to the service of youth shaping his existence on the example of Christ the Good Shepherd, following the example and the charism of St John Bosco in the field of education. Unlike the Salesian Brother, the Priest is particularly dedicated to the Priest's own Ministry: preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments.
After having discovered one's own vocation, to be Salesians of Don Bosco one must follow some phases or successive stages:
Starting from the pre-novitiate up to perpetual vows and then being a member of the Salesian Congregation - about 7 years. The Salesian Priest receives ordination normally four years after Perpetual Profession
Here are some significant signs of a Salesian vocation:
The minimum requirements for a person to become an SDB are as follows:
There are other requirements but they depend on each Province.
No. But they can be part of the Congregation of Sisters who are called 'Daughters of Mary Help of Christians' - initials: FMA.
Don Bosco, together with Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello, founded the 'Daughters of Mary Help of Christians' or FMA, in 1872. Although they form a separate legal entity, they share the same spirit, charism and mission as the Salesians of Don Bosco. Their specific field is the education of girls and young people, especially the poorest. Further information can be found at www.cgfmanet.org
Yes they can. In addition to the SDBs and the FMA, Don Bosco founded an association called: Association of Salesian Cooperators. They are lay people, single or married, who publicly promise to live the Salesian charism and spirituality in their daily life. They strive to be faithful and committed Catholics by following the Salesian vocation. Further information on this subject: cooperatori.sdb.org
Don Bosco was very happy to have his former students as collaborators in the mission to poor young people after they had left their educational institutions and entered the world of work. Thanks to the initiative of an ex-student, Carlo Gastini, he saw this dream come true. And the World Federation of Don Bosco Past Pupils was born. The Confederation has two branches - male and female. Both are recognized as world civil associations. The Association is open to all former students of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org - if you are a Salesian student and email@example.com if you are an FMA alumni.
Yes. The three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience can be professed and one's life can be lived in the world. Women who wish to live this lifestyle are called Don Bosco Volunteers (VDB) - more information: www.volontariedonbosco.org . For men the association is called: Volunteers with Don Bosco (CDB). Further information: www.volontaricondonbosco.org
There are thousands of people around the world who are not Catholic, and yet they collaborate closely with Don Bosco's mission. Some are former students who may or may not be members of the Confederation. Others are members because they work in Salesian Institutions, and they do their best and their services are paid. Still others generously give their time and talents to create a healthier environment for young people in the countries where they live. Collaborating with Don Bosco's mission is an open invitation to all those who believe in the educational development of youth. If you want to engage in this service: contact: the nearest Salesian institution for more information.
Officially in the world there are 32 groups that refer to the Salesian Family: the SDBs are included here. The FMA. The Salesian Cooperators and two branches of the Confederation of Ex-Students. Don Bosco's charism continues to inspire people of good will. There are also 27 other groups that would like to be part of the Salesian Family. Take a look at the complete list in: Members of the Salesian Family.