Giovanni Bosco – Prevention and education (1877-1878): The Preventive System in the Education of the Young

The Preventive System in the education of the young (1877) is one of the most important and widespread documents by the founder of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. It is the first more or less complete account—despite its small size—that Don Bosco had put together on his educational approach. It is with this “small treatise” that his reputation as educator and pedagogue became so intimately linked.

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Giovanni Bosco – “Memoirs of the oratory”

Written over several occasions between 1873 and 1875, the manuscript of the Memoirs of the Oratory remained unpublished by Don Bosco’s explicit will. However Fr John Bonetti drew on it abundantly for his History of the Oratory of St Francis de Sales, (which found its way into English under a different title Don Bosco’s Early Apostolate) published as a series in the Salesian Bulletin between 1879 and1886. And Fr John Baptist Lemoyne included it in its entirety in the first volumes of the Biographical Memoirs, adding in other information and anecdotes drawn from other witnesses. The first complete edition of the Memoirs appeared in 1946. The decision to put the book in the public domain in its entirety was motivated by the universal dimension that the Saint has taken on, as Eugene Ceria wrote in the presentation: “Today Don Bosco has become part of history and also been listed among the saints.”

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Giovanni Bosco – Educational reading and spreading good books (1860-1885)

“Don Bosco,” Fr Michael Rua writes in a brief note in 1867 “sad at seeing the great evil that was happening especially amongst young students because of bad literature, planned to set up an association of good classical and modern literature.”

The plan became a reality the following year, when he began publishing the “Library for Italian Youth” or “Library of Italian Classics.”

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Giovanni Bosco – Pedagogical and didactic principles and disciplinary matters (1846-1879

The ten brief documents that follow—some perhaps less known than the previous ones in Salesian history—are also interesting from the point of view of the maturing and practice of Don Bosco’s educational system. We have a necessarily limited selection here of personal letters to people responsible for public education, or to young people and teachers, and circulars on pedagogical and didactic issues.

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Giovanni Bosco – Don Bosco’s educational method in confidential discussions with a politician (1854) and an elementary school teacher (1864)

“Even though these were written down later (1881-1882), two presentations which Don Bosco made regarding his educational system are trustworthy. They were conversations that took place in 1854 and 1864. The first was with a Minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia, Urban Rattazzi; the other with an elementary teacher, Francis Bodrato.”

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Giovanni Bosco – Educational experiences in the school and family setting (1855)

The “document that properly begins the representation of Don Bosco’s real experience as an educator is The Sway of a Good Upbringing. Here we find the Director of the Oratory of St Francis de Sales as catechist, counsellor and confidant of young Peter”, even if he “is in the shade and not fully defined.”

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Morand Wirth – La morte e l’aldilà nei sogni di don Bosco. Tra spiritualità e pedagogia

L’immaginario escatologico nei sogni di don Bosco è analizzato da Morand Wirth, che ripercorre i numerosi riferimenti alla morte e all’aldilà presenti nei racconti dei sogni, rilevandone i punti di contatto con la concezione dei “novissimi” presente nella religiosità dell’Ottocento e la ricchezza di spunti pedagogici con cui don Bosco sa presentare ai suoi ragazzi la tensione verso il definitivo. Continue reading “Morand Wirth – La morte e l’aldilà nei sogni di don Bosco. Tra spiritualità e pedagogia”

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