Rik Biesmans – “Assistance. The essence of Don Bosco’s Preventive System (1876-1884) – Part 2” in “Journal of Salesian Studies”

In the course of the exposition so far it often appeared that one of the doubtless objectives of assistance, consists in preventing evil, disorders, and especially what Don Bosco summarily calls “offending God.”

Trough constant presence and infuence he wants to prevent the boys’ positive development from suffering or being damaged. He wants to safeguard every chance for the betterment of their human and spiritual development.



  • The assistance Don Bosco wanted is preventive in two ways
  • The protective aspect of assistance
  • The presence of the educators
  • Assistance will forestall harmful influences
  • A constant presence that averts transgressions, and precludes the necessity of punishments
  • The constructive, equipping or promotional function of assistance
  • Constructive assistance is the main aspect
  • Positive assistance means admonishing the youngsters in time
  • To assist also means to give good advice
  • Assistance consists in encouraging and stimulating
  • Assistance implies that the educator knows how to reward
  • Assistance as actual help
  • Efficacious help while teaching
  • Helping sick boys
  • Rendering services in many ways
  • Assistance as “sharing life,” especially during recreation
  • Assistance as personal and collective guidance
  • Personal accompaniment
  • Brief, but efficacious contacts, instigated by the educator
  • Contacts made through the initiative of the boy himself.
  • Written personal advice
  • Personal guidance in the sacrament of penance
  • Personal approach when punishing
  • Collective guidance through “short goodnight talks”
  • Influence on the whole community by means of a “bouquet”
  • Strennas
  • Items of attention concerning formation and smooth administration
  • Formation through sermons
  • Influence through the spread of good books
  • Education through membership of youth movements
  • Reciprocal supplementing of collective and personal formation
  • Assistance through on-going formation
  • Final reflections

Reference time period: 1876 – 1884

R. Biesmans, Assistance. The essence of Don Bosco’s Preventive System (1876-1884) – Part 2, in «Journal of Salesian Studies» 16 (2015) 2, 141-187.

Reference institution:
Institute of Salesian Studies
Institute of Salesian Studies

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