Salesians of Don Bosco

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This article is about the religious order. For schools bearing the name, see Don Bosco School (disambiguation).
Statue of Don Bosco at St. John Bosco Parish Church, Taipei, Taiwan

The Salesians of Don Bosco (or the Salesian Society, officially recognized as the Society of St. Francis de Sales) is a Roman Catholic religious institute founded in the late nineteenth century by Saint John Bosco in order, through works of charity, to help the young and poor children of the industrial revolution. The Salesians' charter describes the society's mission as "the Christian perfection of its associates obtained by the exercise of spiritual and corporal works of charity towards the young, especially the poor, and the education of boys to the priesthood".[1] The institute is named for St. Francis de Sales, an early-modern bishop of Geneva. St. John Bosco died on the 31st of January 1888.


In 1845 Don John Bosco ("Don" being a traditional Italian honorific for a priest) opened a night school for boys in Valdocco, now part of the municipality of Turin in Italy. In the coming years, he opened several more schools, and in 1857 drew up a set of rules for his helpers, which became the Rule of the Society of St. Francis de Sales, which Pope Pius IX approved definitively in 1873. The institute grew rapidly, with houses established in France and Argentina within a year of the society's formal recognition. Its official print organ, the Salesian Bulletin, was first published in 1877. Over the next decade, the Salesians expanded into Austria, Britain, Spain, and several countries in South America. The death of Don Bosco in 1888 did not slow the institute's growth, and by 1911 the Salesians were established throughout the world, including Colombia, China, India, South Africa, Tunisia, Venezuela and the United States. The society continues to operate worldwide; in 2000, it counted more than 17,000 members in 2,711 houses. It is the third largest missionary organization in the world.[2]

The Order's members have come in for particular criticism in light of recent inquiries as to child abuse by members of the Catholic Church. In a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria, Australia, Australian professor Patrick Parkinson stated "I would say they [the Order] are not only unrepentant and defiant, they are untruthful. The lies which were told, the cover-ups, the attempts made to suppress my report, were breathtaking." The report had stated that, on attempts to extradite three of the Order's bishops to Australia, "two had been shunted off to Samoa, where the local archbishop was left totally in the dark as to the accusations that had been made against them, and the third was working in the Vatican."[3]

Logo of the society[edit]

The logo of the Salesians of Don Bosco is made up of two superimposed images: in the background a stylised “S” (Salesians) in white is formed within a sphere like a globe marked to the right and left by two cuttings between the hills/dunes The second image is in the centre of the globe bridging the “S” road. This is an arrow pointing upwards resting on three perpendicular legs on top of which are three closed circles making a stylised image of three people: the first of these in the midde and taller than the others is the point of the arrow, and the other two beside it appear as it were to be embraced by the central figure. The three stylised figures with the arrow pointing upwards can also be viewed as a simple dwelling with a sloping roof (thertypq;v e arms) and with pillars holding it up (the bodies of the three people).

The logo contains elements from German and Brazilian Provinces. It is designed with the central theme Don Bosco and the Salesians walking with the young through the world.


Relation to the traditional coat of arms[edit]

Traditional Coat of ArmsCurrent Salesian logo
Salesians of Don Bosco logo.svg
Three Virtues (Faith, Hope, Kindness)Star, Anchor, Inflamed HeartThree circles
Patron of the SalesiansImage of St. Francis de SalesStylized 'S'
Founder of the SalesiansThe wood (Bosco)Central figure of three persons
Perfection and AspirationMountains (height)Road (journey)
Virtue and SacrificeIntertwined palm and laurelCircular stylized heart / open arms of central figure
Salesian MottoRibbon containing Da Mihi Animas Caetera TolleSaint John Bosco with open arms

Process of logo selection[edit]

The new logo is the result of combining two logos already established for years in some parts of the Congregation: the German logo and the Brazilian logo.

The idea of combining the two came out of suggestions from an enquiry about the new logo conducted throughout the Congregation and from contributions by the General Council.

The combination, besides profiting from the mutual enrichment of the elements, is intended to be an expression of communion and of intercultural dialogue.

The artistic work of combining the two was carried out by the designer Fabrizio Emigli, from the Litos Company, in Rome.


The Salesians of Don Bosco are headed by the Rector Major and the society's general council; each of the ninety-four geographical provinces is headed by a Provincial. These officers serve six-year terms; the Rector Major and the members of the general council are elected by the Chapter General, which meets every six years or upon the death of the Rector Major. Each local Salesian community is headed by a superior, called a Rector (or more commonly, "Director"), who is appointed to a three-year term and can be renewed for a second three-year term.

The current Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco is the Very Reverend Father Angel Fernandez Artime. Father Artime, a Spaniard who most recently served as provincial in southern Argentina, was elected on Tuesday, 25 March 2014. Fr. Fernandez was born in Gozon-Luanco in Spain in 1960, and made his first profession in 1978. He took perpetual profession in 1984, and was ordained a priest in 1987. He holds a doctorate in pastoral theology, and a licentiate in philosophy and pedagogy. He has served the congregation as youth ministry delegate, director of the school at Ourense, member of the provincial council, and as vice provincial, and then provincial from 2000 to 2006, of Leon. In 2009, he was appointed Salesian provincial for southern Argentina, a post he held until his election as rector major. It was in this capacity that he came to know, and worked with, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) of Buenos Aires. He had been appointed in December as head of the new Seville province, though it has been impeded by his election as Rector Major.[4]

Map showing the regional organization of the Salesians of Don Bosco, dotted with the location of the headquarters of Salesian provinces and vice-provinces.
Salesian provinces and sub-provinces
Inter-AmericaLatin America - Southern ConeNorth EuropeWest EuropeItaly - Middle EastAfrica - MadagascarSouth AsiaEast Asia - Oceania
Antilles (ANT)Buenos Aires, Argentina (ABA)Austria (AUS)South Belgium (BES)Triveneto, Italy (IAD)Central Africa (AFC)Bangalore, India (INK)Australia-Fiji-Samoa (AUL)
Bolivia (BOL)Bahía Blanca, Argentina (ABB)North Belgium (BEN)France (FRA)Piedmont & Valle d' Aosta, Italy (ICP)East Africa (AFE)Chennai, India (INM)China-Hong Kong-Macau-Taiwan (CIN)
Central America (CAM)Cordoba, Argentina (ACO)Czech Republic (CEP)Portugal (POR)Lombardy-Emilia Romagna, Italy (ILE)SUB-PROVINCE
Ethiopia Eritrea (AET)
Dimapur, India (IND)Timor Leste (TL)
Canada (CAN)La Plata, Argentina (ALP)Croatia (CRO)Barcelona, Spain (SBA)Liguria-Tuscany, Italy (ILT)SUB-PROVINCE
Tropical Equatorial (ATE)
Guwahati, India (ING)South Korea (KOR)
Bogota, Colombia (COB)Rosario, Argentina (ARO)East Europe (EST)Bilbao, Spain (SBI)Sicily, ItalySUB-PROVINCE
French West Africa (AFO)
Hyderabad, India (INH)Japan (GIA)
Medellin, Colombia (COM)Belo Horizonte, Brazil (BBH)Great Britain (GBR)Leon, Spain (SLE)Northeast Italy (INE)SUB-PROVINCE
English West Africa (AFW)
Kolkata, India (INC)Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands (FIN)
Ecuador (ECU)Salvador, Brazil (BSD)Germany (GER)Madrid, Spain (SMA)Sardinia, Italy (ISA)SUB-PROVINCE
Angola (ANG)
Mumbai, India (INB)Philippines North (FIN)
Philippines South (FIS)
Haiti (HAI)Campo Grande, Brazil (BCG)Malta (MLT)Hungary (UNG)Sevilla, Spain (SSE)Sicily, Italy (ISI)SUB-PROVINCE
Madagascar (AFO)
New Delhi, India (INN)
Guadalajara, Mexico (MEG)Manaus, Brazil (BMA)Ireland (IRL)Valencia, Spain (SVA)Middle East (MOR)SUB-PROVINCE
Zambia-Malawi-Zimbabwe-Namibia (ZMB)
Tiruchy, India (INT)Thailand-Cambodia-Laos (THA)
Mexico City, Mexico (MEM)Porto Alegre, Brazil (BPA)Warsaw, Poland (PLE)  SUB-PROVINCE
Maputo (MOZ)
Panjim, India (INP)Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco of Vietnam (Vie)

Province Salesians of Don Bosco in Vietnam (Vie)
Address: 54 Road 5 - Quarter 4 - Linh xuan ward - Thu Duc district - Ho Chi Minh City
Telephone: (84-8) 37.240.473
Fax : 08.37240 647
Email :

Peru (PER)Porto Velho, Brazil (BPV)Pila, Poland (PLN)DELEGATION
Rwanda-Burundi-Goma (RBG)
Yangon, Myanmar (MYM)
East United States (SUE)Recife, Brazil (BRE)Wroclaw, Poland (PLO) SUB-PROVINCE
Colombo, Sri Lanka (LKC)
West United States (SUO)Sao Paolo, Brazil (BSP)Krakow, Poland (PLS) 
Venezuela (VEN)Chile (CHL)Slovakia (SLK)
 Paraguay (PAR)Slovenia (SLO)
Uruguay (URU)Ukraine (UKR)
Inter-AmericaLatin America - Southern ConeNorth EuropeWest EuropeItaly - Middle EastAfrica - MadagascarSouth AsiaEast Asia - Oceania


Salesian communities primarily operate shelters for homeless or at-risk youths; schools; technical, vocational, and language instruction centers for youths and adults; and boys' clubs and community centers. In some areas they run parish churches. Salesians are also active in publishing and other public communication activities, as well as mission work, especially in Asia (Siberia - in the Yakutsk area), Africa, and South America (Yanomami). The Salesian Bulletin is now published in fifty-two editions, in thirty languages.

In the 1990s Salesians launched new works in the area of tertiary education, and today have a network of over 58 colleges and universities. The official university of the Salesian Society is the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.

Women's institute[edit]

The women's institute is known as the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco or, more officially, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA).

Visitationist sisters, members of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, are also sometimes called Salesian Sisters, in honor of one of their founders, Saint Francis de Sales. However, the two societies are not the same and their membership does not overlap.

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


Based on Catholic Encyclopedia entry, abbreviated and rewritten for NPOV.

External links[edit]