- 1. STRUCTURE AND HISTORY OF THE REGION
- Andean Zone
Fr. Michael Mendl, in his research has discovered “a long missing letter” that states Don Bosco’s refusal to send Salesians to New York in 1848. This letter completes Michael Mendl ‘s article in the Journal on founding Salesian work in New York. (Vol. XI, No. I, Spring 2000).
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.
As in the earlier article, so also in the present one, besides transcribing and translating pertinent archival documents (chiefly letters), I will try to provide an essential historical framework designed to make the sequence intelligible.
Congratulations on your hundred years of faithful work with and for Don Bosco, with and for young people and with and for so many good people of this great country, to bring the message of the Lord to the young in their own context.
For the beginning of our centennial celebration we are gathered together here as a family in the place where the Salesians established their first presence in the United States of America. When we compare our present- day situation with that at the moment of our arrival we find much for which we must be grateful to God.
Recently the Central Salesian Archives released the files of the Rua rectorate on some 1,750 microfiches. This boon has made archival research in that rectorate possible even for students residing away from the Central Archives.
That is part of the well known talk which Don Bosco gave to his boys when they were forced to move from place to place for their Sunday gatherings. That became known as the wandering oratory. This is the story of another transplanting, another wandering.
Over the last number of years “Salesian Spirituality,” first articulated by Francis de Sales and Jane Frances de Chantal, has attracted renewed interest in English-speaking countries.
Theirs has been called a “spirituality of the heart,” and their prayer style has been dubbed intuitive, simple, spacious but unified and holistic.
A young Italian immigrant, Angelo Petazzi, watched anxiously as the English steamship, the Werra, approached New York harbor. Clutched in his hand was a letter from the then Salesian superior general, Father Michael Rua, which informed him of the impending arrival of a group of four Salesians in New York. At their head was Father Raphael Piperni.