Don Bosco was born in a tiny little village called Becchi in northern Italy, on August 16, 1815. From an early age, he was drawn toward helping poor children. At the age of 9 he had a dream in which it was revealed to him that his life’s mission would be to help poor and disadvantaged youngsters. In 1835 he entered the seminary and supported himself by working as a tailor, blacksmith, shoemaker, carpenter, violinist, acrobat, and magician. All these talents came in handy during his lifetime of working with youngsters. He was ordained a priest on June 5, 1841, and settled down in the city of Turin. On December 8, 1841, he met an orphan Bartolomew Garelli, who became his first pupil. From that day Don Bosco’s work grew rapidly and he set up several homes and schools for poor and disadvantaged boys in Italy as well as in other parts of the world. Don Bosco died on January 31, 1888, and was canonized in 1934 as the Apostle of Youth.
The “Salesian Society” is an International Religious Organization within the Catholic Church, founded by Don Bosco to serve youngsters, especially those who are poor and disadvantaged. The key characteristics of the members of this Society are:
A special concern for the welfare of young people.
An attitude of loving kindness, optimism and cheerfulness.
A realistic perspective on life coupled with creativity and flexibility in action.
The use of an educative method called ‘The Preventive System’ which based entirely on reason, religion and loving kindness.
A deep trust in God and in his loving care for all people.
Presently there are close to 17,000 Salesians working in 128 countries spread out in all the five continents of the globe.
The first group of Salesian to come to India landed in Mumbai on January 6, 1906, under the leadership of Fr. George Tomatis. From Bombay they travelled to Thanjavur in South India where the first Salesian Institution in India was established. In 1922 the second group of Salesians, under the leadership of Fr. Louis Mathias, arrived in India and they began working in Assam. During the past 100 years that the Salesians have been in India, they have established educational institutions and other works for youngsters all over the country. Presently the Salesians in India are divided into 10 regions called “provinces”. There are over 2000 Salesians working in close to 300 institutions across the country.
Salesian Province of St. Francis Xavier Bombay (INB)
The Salesians began their apostolate in the city of Bombay in 1928 and from there it spread to other places in Maharashtra, Goa, and eventually all over western India. Their ministry in this region was blessed with rapid growth thanks largely to the phenomenal work done by Fr. Aurelius Maschio.
The Salesian Province of Bombay was officially established on January 31, 1972. It comprises the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in western and central India. There are presently 210 Salesians working in 33 institutions spread out over these four states. These institutions offer a variety of services to poor and disadvantaged youth.
Societas Sancti Francisci Salesii (Society of Saint Francis de Sales)
Da mihi animas; caetera tolle
(Give me souls; take away the rest)
Mary Help of Christians
St Francis de Sales
THE SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO