In the fall of 1870, for reasons that have never been documented, Don Bosco did not answer Archbishop Joseph Alemany’s invitation to travel the El Camino Real in the land of El Dorado.
What is puzzling is that at the onset Don Bosco had accepted the archbishop’s call to send missionaries to the city of San Francisco in 1870: “It is our intention to dispatch our Salesians to St.Vincent’s (Orphan Asylum] some time during the first six months of 1871 -but certainly no later than November of the same year.”
Yet, not until 1875 would the first Salesian missionaries take “the road less traveled” en route to the Argentinean hinterland of Pategonia. Why was the road to California five years earlier not taken? What went wrong?
Reference time period: 1850 – 1884
M. Ribotta, “The road not taken”–The Salesians’ circuitous road to North America, in «Journal of Salesian Sudies» 1 (1990) 2, 47-67.
Institute of Salesian Studies