- Don Bosco in France, Spain, Portugal and Southern Belgium
- The beginnings, a successful planting of the charism
- Spectacular development
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.
The financial contributions asked for and obtained from public authorities and institutions were certainly not enough to help him confront the huge expenses of the Salesian Work. It was necessary to appeal to private charity. Logically, Don Bosco turned especially to families and individuals who had financial possibilities, meaning those belonging to the nobility, mostly large property owners, and the upper and middle class of the time who were notably ready to dispense charity. Some of these, albeit modest in their private savings, could actually find an outlet in educational and charitable works such as those of Don Bosco.
The first seven documents offered here belong in some way to the first missionary expedition which sailed from Genoa on November 14, 1875.
Relationships between Don Bosco and Archbishop Gastaldi went through two different stages, one of great understanding and cooperation, and another of notable difficulties and conflicts. The watershed could be considered to be Gastaldi’s transferral from the Episcopal See of Saluzzo to being Archbishop of Turin in 1871.
From 1863 onwards the Salesian work which arose at Valdocco and through other oratories in Turin began to expand rapidly, as already indicated, through numerous foundations first in Italy—Piedmont, Liguria (no. 18) and then in other regions—and finally in France and Latin America (nos. 21, 24, 25, 27).
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.