- Origins of and reasons behind the Project
- The need for a Project
- Priority of animation and main lines of action
Fr. Arthur Lenti, in a second article, invites us to enter the political and ecclesiastical world of Don Bosco through his letters never published before in English. The letters add insight to the always intriguing question of Don Bosco’s involvement in the naming of bishops.
Fr. Arthur J. Lenti tells the story of Don Bosco’ s efforts to mediate between the Holy See and the Italian government during the tense years of Italian unification. Of special importance was the appointment of bishops. After offering background on the historical events leading to the estrangement between the Church and state in Italy, the author goes to the sources in an effort to answer the question why someone so politically unimportant as Don Bosco, should become involved in a capacity of “negotiator.”
Amongst the documents drawn up by the third (1883) and fourth (1886) General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation – which the founder also took part in – of particular merit is the new Regulations for the festive oratories and deliberations regarding Orientations for the working boys in Salesian houses. The two documents were published, as already recorded, in 1887.
In the years from 1853 to 1862, Valdocco was transformed from a festive Oratory—an open institution—into a complex work: hospice and boarding, college with boarding section, trade workshops, internal classes and publishing centre, amongst the most important sections.
The Programme—also called Regulations—of the school in Mornese was printed by Don Bosco at the Oratory Press like all the other Regulations for Salesian houses. The text copies many of the items in use at colleges he founded.
“One and not the last study by Don Bosco this year,” writes J. B. Lemoyne referring to 1863 “was the foundation of the college at Mirabello. He had written up its regulations, using the ones at the Oratory as a basis, specifying all the duties of individual superiors and of the pupils, changing what might not be appropriate for the nature of this Institute.” These “regulations,” that remained simply handwritten for many years, according to what we have from Lemoyne, “had to be the founding statute for all the other Houses that would be opened over time. This meant they were given much importance.”
This study of Don Bosco in a perspective of organizational virtues is intended to be in a circular hermeneutic relation with the present period of transformation in which the Salesians of Don Bosco find themselves.
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.