Over one hundred years ago, on November 28, 1898, three Salesians arrived in New York to initiate a Salesian apostolate among the Italian immigrants of that metropolis. In March of the previous year four of their confreres had undertaken a similar mission in San Francisco.
There had been several earlier abortive attempts to bring Salesians and their particular charism to North America: to San Rafael, California; Savannah, Georgia; and Boston, Massachusetts. This time-1897-1898-the circumstances and the mission were right, and the Salesian root was firmly planted.
This article describes the circumstances, the mission, the planting, and the first growth in New York.
- I. The New York Context
- 1. The City of New York
- 2. The Church in New York
- 3. Italians in New York
- 4. Italians and the Church in New York
- II. The Salesians in New York: Settling In
- 1. Arrival
- 2. Initial Efforts among the Italians
- 3. Increased Personnel for the Italian Mission
- III. The Salesians in New York: Firm Establishment
- 1. Acceptance of Transfiguration Parish
- 2. Reaching beyond the Italians
- IV. The Extraordinary Visitation of Father Albera
- 1. Father Paul Albera in New York
- 2. Aftermath of the Visitation
- 3. Expansion to Troy
- 4. Developments at Transfiguration
- 5. More Possibilities for Expansion
- V. Return to Saint Brigid’s Parish
- 1. Stabilizing the Italian Mission
- 2. Turning the Italian Mission into a Parish
- VI. Conclusion
Reference time period: 1897 – 1911
M. Mendl, “The zeal of the salesians is just the thing”. Founding of the salesian work in New York, in «Journal of Salesian Sudies» 11 (2000) 1, 83-154.
Institute of Salesian Studies