Who are we?

Important Dates



From 1815 to 1850
1815 (16 August)
Don Bosco born at The Becchi (Asti).
Young John loses his father at age two.
Young John sees his mission prefigured in a ‘dream’.
Dons the cassock and enters the seminary.
1837 (9 May)
St Mary Mazzarello, Co-foundress of the FMA, born at Mornese.
1841 (5 June)
Don Bosco ordained priest in Turin.
1841 (8 December)
Don Bosco begins his youthful apostolate in Turin with a catechism lesson.
1842 (2 April)
Birth of St Dominic Savio.
Don Bosco begins the evening schools.
1846 (12 April)
Don Bosco settles at Valdocco.
Opens a second Oratory at Turin-Porta Nuova.
Don Bosco considered mentally ill by those to whom he confides his apostolic project.
From 1851 to 1875
1851 (2 February)
His first clerics don the cassock.
1852 (31 March)
Don Bosco is officially recognised by his Bishop as the director of three Oratories in Turin.
Don Bosco opens the internal professional schools, founds his first musical band and, with the Catholic Readings launches his first popular magazine.
1854 (26 January)
Calls his first helpers ‘Salesians’.
1854 (2 October)
Meets Dominic Savio.
1855 (25 March)
First step for the newly founded Salesian Society: The cleric Rua professes his first vows before Don Bosco.
Fr Domenico Pestarino founds an association at Mornese (Alessandria) from which the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians will develop.
1856 (25 November)
Mamma Margaret dies.
1857 (9 March)
Dominic Savio dies.
First visit by Don Bosco to Rome and to the Pope.
1859 (9 December)
Don Bosco communicates his decision to found the Salesian Congregation.
1859 (18 December)
Don Bosco sets up the first Salesian Superior Chapter.
1860 (12 June)
26 Salesians subscribe to the Rules of the Congregation.
Don Bosco accepts the first lay member amongst the Salesians: Coadjutor Brother Joseph Rossi.
Don Bosco opens the first printing press.
1862 (14 May)
The first 22 Salesians profess vows before Don Bosco.
1863 (20 October)
Don Bosco opens the first house outside Turin (at Mirabello Monferrato).
1864 (23 July)
The Salesian Congregation receives its first recognition by the Holy See (Decree of praise).
1864 (October)
Don Bosco meets Mary Mazzarello at Mornese.
1865 (13 November)
First academic degree obtained by a Salesian (Fr John Baptist Fancesia).
1868 (9 June)
Consecration of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin.
1869 (18 April)
Don Bosco founds the Archconfraternity of Mary Help of Christians in Turin.
1870 (June)
The Society of Past Members of the Salesian Oratory is born, from which the Association of Past Pupils of Don Bosco will develop.
1870 (September)
First house outside Piedmont opened (at Alassio, Province of Savona).
1872 (5 August)
The Institute of the FMA founded at Mornese.
1874 (3 April)
The Holy See approves the Salesian Constitutions.
1875 (11 November)
The first Salesian missionary expedition departs for the Americas.
1875 (21 November)
First Salesian house outside Italy is opened (Nice, France).
From 1876 to 1900
1876 (9 May)
The Holy See approves the Association of Salesian Cooperators.
1877 (August)
Don Bosco publishes the first number of the Salesian Bulletin.
1877 (1 September)
The FMA open their first house outside Italy (at Nice, France).
1877 (5 September)
The Salesians hold their first General Chapter.
1877 (14 November)
The first six FMA depart Italy for the missions in the Americas.
First contact between the Salesian missionaries and the Indians of Patagonia.
Salesians and FMA open their first missionary works in Patagonia (Argentina).
1881 (14 May)
Mother Mary Mazzarello dies.
Beginning of the Salesian work in Spain.
1883 (February-May)
Visit of Don Bosco to France.
1883 (14 July)
Beginning of the Salesian work in Brazil.
The FMA hold their first General Chapter.
1884 (7 December)
The first Salesian Bishop (Bishop John Cagliero).
Visit of Don Bosco to Barcelona.
1887 (19 March)
Beginning of the Salesian work in Chile.
1887 (14 May)
Consecration of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart - Rome.
1888 (31 January)
Don Bosco dies (leaves behind 773 Salesians and 393 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.
Don Bosco's cause of canonisation opens.
Salesians and FMA open works in Palestine and begin their work in Asia. The Salesians enter Africa (Algeria).
FMA begin activity in Africa with a work in Algeria.
1897 (September)
Salesian work in Central America begins.
From 1901 to 1950
Fr Luigi Variara founds the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Colombia.
The Salesian work begins in India - Tangore.
1908 (31 July)
Fr Rua founds the Publishing House SEI in Turin (At that time it was known as the 'Anonymous International Society for the Spread of Good Literature'
Fr Paul Albera, elected 2nd successor of Don Bosco
The Holy See approves the Institute of the FMA.
First Salesian Cardinal (John Cagliero)
Fr Philip Rinaldi founds a lay association from which the secular institute of the Don Bosco Volunteers will eventually develop.
Fr Philip Rinaldi elected as 3rd successor of Don Bosco.
Salesian work in Australia begins.
Bishop Louis Versiglia founds the 'Announcers of the Lord'Sisters in China (transferred now to Hong Kong).
1929 (2 June)
Don Bosco is beatified.
Fr Peter Ricaldone elected as 4th successor of Don Bosco.
Bishop Joseph Cognata founds the Salesian Oblate Sisters in Italy. (Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart).
1934 (1 April)
Don Bosco declared Saint.
Fr Anthony Cavoli founds the Sisters of Charity of Miyazaki (later changed to Sisters of Charity of Jesus) in Japan; Bishop Gaetano Pasotti founds the Handmaids of the Immaculate Hearts in Thailand.
1938 (20 November)
Mother Mary Domenica Mazzarello is beatified.
The Ateneo Salesiano opens in Turin (today the Pontifical University in Rome).
Bishop Stephen Ferrando founds the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians in India
The Publishing House LDC opens.
1946 (24 May)
Don Bosco declared patron of Catholic publishers.
The missionaries expelled from China transplant their Salesian work in the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan
1950 (5 March)
Dominic Savio beatified.
From 1951 to 1975
1951 (24 June)
Mother Mary Mazzarello declared Saint.
General Chapter (Turin). Fr. Renato Ziggiotti elected as 5th successor of Don Bosco.
1954 (12 June)
Dominic Savio proclaimed Saint.
1958 (17 January)
Don Bosco patron of apprentices - Italy.
19th General Chapter (Rome). Fr. Louis Ricceri elected as 6th successor of Don Bosco.
The National Centre for Salesian works (CNOS) set up as a representative body for Italy.
The FMA transfer their General House form Turin to Rome and celebrate their Special General Chapter for renewal there.
Special General Chapter for renewal of the Salesian Congregation (Rome).
Fr Michael Rua beatified.
From 1976 to 1999
1976 (13 November)
Bishop Louis Versiglia and Fr Callistus Caravario declared Martyrs.
21st General Chapter Rome. Fr Egidio Viganò elected as 7th successor of Don Bosco.
Project Africa follows on from GC21.
The VDB becomes an institute of pontifical right.
1980 (29 August)
First missionary expeditions of Indian Salesian missionaries to Africa.
1983 (15 May)
Bishop Louis Versiglia and Fr Callistus Caravario are beatified.
22nd General Chapter (Rome): the definitive revision of the Constitutions is approved by the Holy See. 8th December: promulgation of the Constitutions thus approved.
First centenary of the death of Don Bosco. Year of Grace (enriched through indulgences granted by His Holiness John Paul II) opened 31st January with a solemn celebration in Turin. Present were the Rector Major and General Council, four cardinals and 58 Salesian bishops.
1988 (14 May)
Salesians worldwide renew their profession of fidelity to the Founder.
1988 (2-4 September)
Extraordinary pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II to the places of Don Bosco: Becchi Chieri Valdocco. On 3rd September at Colle Don Bosco, Laura Vicuña is beatified.
1989 (31 January)
Centenary of Don Bosco concludes at Rome with a solemn civic commemoration at Campidoglia and with a concelebration in the grand Temple of Don Bosco at Cinecittá.
1990(2-4 September)
23rd General Chapter (Rome) on the theme: Educating the young to faith.
1990 (29 April)
Fr Philip Rinaldi is beatified.
1994 (5 November)
Sr Madeline Catherine Morano is beatified.
24th General Chapter on the theme: Salesians and Laity - communion and sharing in the spirit and mission of Don Bosco. Fr Juan E. Vecchi elected as 8th successor of Don Bosco.
1998 (24 May)
Ecclesial recognition of the Volunteers with Don Bosco, in the Archdiocese of Caracas.
1999 (13 June)
Pope John Paul II beatifies 108 Martyrs in Warsaw, amongst whom the Salesian priest Joseph Kowalski and 5 young members of the Salesian Oratory in Poznan.
From 2000 to the present
2000 (30 e 31 January)
For the Feast of St John Bosco in the year 2000, the Rector Major and his Council meet at Colle Don Bosco. In the afternoon of 30th January a solemn Concelebration at which, together with the inauguration of the reconstruction of the Temple of Don Bosco, the Salesian celebrations for the Junilee Year commence, with a Message to young people. The following day, 31st January, from the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, a Message to the Salesian Family.
2000 (1 October)
Solemn canonisation in St. Peter's Square, of the two Salesian Protomartyrs, Bishop Louis Versiglia and Father Callistus Caravario.
2000 (11 November)
In the light of the celebration of the Great Jubilee Year 2000, and on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the first missionary expedition (1875) the Rector Major sends out an extraordinary missionary expedition from the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians; he gives the Crucifix and mandate to 113 missionaries (86 SDBs, 4 FMAs, 23 lay Volunteers). He also gives a special missionary Message.
2001 (11 March)
In St Peter's Square in Rome, Pope John Paul II includes in the ranks of the beatified 233 Spanish Martyrs, 32 of whom belong to our Salesian Family, from the Provinces of Barcelona and Valencia (29 SDBs, of whom 7 were Brothers, 6 Clerics, 16 priests, 2 FMA and one lay collaborator).
2002 (January 23)
Fr Juan Vecchi dies.
2002 (24 February-20 April)
25th General Chapter (Rome) on the theme: The Salesian Community Today - fraternal life, gospel witness, animating presence amongst the young. Fr. Pascual Chávez Villanueva elected as 9th successor of Don Bosco.
2002 (14 April)
In St. Peter's Square in Rome, John Paul II proclaims Brother Artemide Zatti, Fr. Louis Variara and Sr. Maria Romero Meneses FMA as Blessed.
2004 (25 April)
St Peter's Square Rome, Pope John Paul II beatifies Fr Augustus Czartoryski, Sr Eusebia Palomino and Alexandrina da Costa, Cooperator.
2004 (5 September)
On the Piana di Santorso, near Loreto, Pope John Paul II beatified Alberto Marvelli, Past Pupil from the Salesian Oratory at Rimini.
2005 (19 June)
The Primate of Poland, Cardinal Józef Glemp, in the name of Pope Benedict XVI, beatified Fr Bronisław Markiewicz, a former Salesian, Founder of the Congregations of St Michael the Archangel.
2007 (28 October)
In Rome, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, in the name of Pope Benedict XVI, beatified Salesian priest Enrique Saíz Aparicio and 62 companions, martyrs, from Spain (Madrid and Seville).
2007 (11 November)
Chimpay, Argentina. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in the name of Pope Benedict XVI, beatified Ceferino Namancurá, a young Salesian pupil (son of a chieftain from the Pampas), who died in Rome in 1905.
General Chapter 26 (Rome) on “Da mihi animas cetera tolle”. Starting afresh from Don Bosco to reawaken the hearts of the Salesians. Charismatic identity and apostolic passion. Fr Pascual Chávez Villanueva was confirmed as the 9th Successor of Don Bosco.
2009 (18 December)
150th anniversary of the Founding of the Salesian Congregation. Salesians from around the world renew their profession as a sign of fidelity to their Founder.
2010 (29-31 October)
International Congress (Rome) for the centenary of death of Blessed Michael Rua.
2011 (31 January)
Rector Major's letter to the Salesians for the beginning of the three year preparation for the Bicentenary of Don Bosco's birth.
2012 (24 November)
Sister Maria Troncatti declared Blessed.
2013 (19 October)
In Budapest, in Hungary, in the name of Pope Francis, Card. Angelo Amato proclaims Salesian Brother István Sándor Blessed.
General Chapter 27 (Rome) on the theme: “Witnesses to the radical nature of the gospel”. Called to live in fidelity to Don Bosco's apostolic project. “Work and temperance”. Fr Ángel Fernández Artime elected as the 10th successor of Don Bosco.
Second centenary of Don Bosco's birth. “Year of grace” officially opened on 16 August with a solemn concelebration at Colle Don Bosco, in the presence of the Rector Major with some General Councillors, bishops, youth and representatives of the Salesian Family.
2014 (19-23 November)
Rome, International Historical Congress on the Bicentenary: “Development of Don Bosco's charism up until the first half of the 20th century”.
2015 (24 January)
Turin, Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, solemn concelebration with the Rector Major in the presence of all Salesian Family Councils in Italy.
Turin, at the Teatro Regio, the National Civic Celebration for Don Bosco's birth in the presence of the Rector Major, the Mayor of Turin and members of Salesian Family Group Councils.
2015 (19-21 March)
Rome, International Pedagogical Congress: “Educators of the young in our times, with Don Bosco”, organised by the Salesian Pontifical University.
2015 (21-25 May)
Turin, Meeting of Salesian Bishops.
2015 (21 June)
Turin, visit of Pope Francis and meeting with Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.
2015 (6-9 August)
Turin, 7th International Congress of Mary Help of Christians: “Hic Domus mea inde gloria mea. From Mary's home to our homes”, organised by ADMA, in the presence of the Rector Major and the worldwide Salesian Family.
2015 (10-15 August)
Turin, convocation of the worldwide Salesian Youth Movement on the theme: “Like Don Bosco, With the young, For the young“.
2015 (16 August)
Colle don Bosco: the Rector Major concludes the official celebrations of the Bicentenary with a solemn concelebration involving young people from the worldwide Salesian Youth Movement, Salesians, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and Salesian Family members.
2015 (28 October-1 November)
Turin, 6th International ACSSA Conference: "Perceptions of the figure of Don Bosco outside Salesian work, from 1879 to 1965".
2016 (6-10 April)
Rome, at the General House, first Seminar to promote causes for canonisation in the Salesian Family.
2017 (July)
The Rector Major with his Council decides on the temporary transfer of the General House to “Sacro Cuore” in Rome with its Basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart, built by Don Bosco at the request of Pope Leo XIII.
2017 (30 September)
Bratislava-Petržalka (Slovakia). Card. Angelo Amato is chief celebrant at the solemn concelebration during which he declared Titus Zeman to be Blessed and a “martyr of vocations”.
2017 (27 November-1 December)
Madrid, International Congress on “Youth and Family Ministry”.
2018 (10-14 April)
Rome, at the De La Salle Brothers General House,, the 2nd Seminar to promote causes for canonisation in the Salesian Family.
2018 (24 May)
The Rector Major announces the 28th General Chapter under the title: “What kind of Salesians for the youth of today?” to take place in Valdocco in Turin from 16 February to 4 April 2020.
2018 (9 June)
Turin, solemn concelebration with Bishop Renato Boccardo, Archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians.
2018 (20-23 September)
Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, Congress under the title of: “Youth, faith and vocational discernment”, in preparation for the 15th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
2019 (January)
The Rector Major with the General Council determines that the Salesian Headquarters will be based definitively at “Sacro Cuore” in Rome.