Pietro Braido – Don Michele Rua primo autodidatta «Visitatore» salesiano. Relazione di «ispezioni» nelle prime istituzioni educative fondate da don Bosco

Sembra ormai accertato che don Bosco è all’origine di una straordinaria esperienza educativa più che di una teoria pedagogica sistematica. Può ritenersi altrettanto indubitabile che la sua effettiva comprensione non possa essere garantita dalla sola analisi (teologica, filosofica, pedagogica, psicologica, sociologica e simili) dell’apparato concettuale ad essa soggiacente. Integrativa, anzi primaria, dovrebbe considerarsi l’attenta ricerca dei fattori contestuali che le conferiscono la caratteristica fisionomia vitale, esperienziale. Tra essi entrano certamente in gioco le persone, l’ambiente (o gli ambienti), la temperie culturale e affettiva. Continue reading “Pietro Braido – Don Michele Rua primo autodidatta «Visitatore» salesiano. Relazione di «ispezioni» nelle prime istituzioni educative fondate da don Bosco”

Giovanni Bosco – Interventions to solve the matter of Bishops’ ‘Temporalities’ (1872-1874)

The Law of Guarantees on 13 May 1871 and decrees applying to this required that for newly appointed bishops to enter into possession – the so-called temporalities – they had to present the Minister with the original decree of appointment and formally ask for the exequatur to be granted. This act, in the Holy See’s judgement, implied recognising the Kingdom of Italy which came into being in 1861, and included part of the Papal States ‘illegally’ taken from the Pontiff.

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Giovanni Bosco – Indicators to the Holy see for the choice of new bishops for vacant sees (1867-1877)

One of the most difficult conflicts to resolve in relationships between the Holy
See and the new Kingdom of Italy was that of the dozens of Episcopal sees left vacant
for political reasons. Both parties were aware of the seriousness of the situation, but
attempts to exit from the situation were shipwrecked by the persistent serious friction
brought about by proclaiming a Kingdom which comprised territories taken from
the Papal States (1861). Only in 1865-1867 did a process of détente coming
into place, where, having overcome mutual resistance, the Holy See succeeded in
appointing many bishops with the agreement of authorities of the Kingdom.

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Giovanni Bosco – Confidential letters to the Pope concerning the political situation (1858-1867, 1873)

In the years immediately preceding and following Italian Unity (1858-1866), Don Bosco kept constantly in touch with Pius IX by letter. He did this not only for interests directly relating to his work, but also in reference to the worrying situation the Church was going through in Piedmont, to encourage him in his defence of the faith against the enemies of religion, and to pass on to him any likely reserved information in his possession. As already indicated, Don Bosco was with Pius IX and his Secretary of State, Card. Antonelli, on the Roman question. Slowly however, he became convinced that a too vigorous resistance to the “revolution” was becoming ever more pointless, even risked worsening the situation, so after the capture of Rome he chose, also politically, the principle of doing whatever good could be done.

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Giovanni Bosco – Salesian Cooperators Association

The Salesian Cooperators association, which came into being in 1876, just two years after the approval of the Constitutions of the Salesian Society, is the last group that Don Bosco founded. As with ADMA he did not ask the Holy See for formal, canonical approval of the association; he considered it sufficient for the aims of the Salesian Cooperators Association to gain moral recognition through the granting of indulgences by the Pope and favourable recommendation by some bishops.

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Giovanni Bosco – Association of Devotees of Mary Help Of christians

When he had built the church of Mary Help of Christians at Valdocco in Turin in 1868, Don Bosco had it consecrated with an entire cycle of celebrations made available for the public domain through an appropriate booklet. Then he set out to make it an attractive centre for prayers, thanks and donations through a second larger book. Still not satisfied he sought to give stability to general devotion to Mary under the title of Mary Help of Christians through a lay association which bore that name.

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Giovanni Bosco – National and international geographic expansion of salesian work

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).

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Giovanni Bosco – Beginning, extension and charismatic and institutional consolidation of the work at Valdocco

Don Bosco, at the advice of his spiritual director, St Joseph Cafasso from autumn 1844 to summer 1846 lived at the Barolo Refuge as chaplain of the Little Hospital of St Philomena, opened in August 1845. In the same place and in other temporary places not far from Valdocco, he carried out his early priestly ministry on behalf of boys, mostly immigrant lads who had no parish of reference. On the vigil of his move to the Pinardi house, he drew up for the civil authorities of the city of Turin, who were responsible for and concerned about public order, a very brief account of his three years of catechetical activity, indicating the aims and results he had achieved that were positive both for civil society and the Church (no. 1).

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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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Michael Ribotta – The Roman Letter of 1884 and its aftermath

In retrospect, one can appreciate why Don Bosco had become so distraught by the message that was played out in his dream (reverie?) during his Roman sojourn of 1884. His old friends, Joseph Buzzelli and Ferdinando Valfre, had demonstrated all too realistically what he could expect when the educational principles of his Sistema Preventivo and the “love environment” he strove so hard to cultivate for 40 years at the Oratory had been allowed to dissipate.

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