Giovanni Bosco – “Beginning, extension and charismatic and institutional consolidation of the work at Valdocco” in “Salesian Sources 1. Don Bosco and his work. Collected works”

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. Three years later (1849), the oratory work at Valdocco had already extended to another two parts of the city (Porta Nuova, Vanchiglia), was frequented by around a thousand boys, but had been extended especially through school activities and a small boarding house. Three years later again (1852), always in view of tackling new needs of the youngsters, the structures at the Oratory at Valdocco were considerably extended with new buildings, including a new church, thanks also to the results of a raffle (lottery) which enabled Don Bosco to succeed in considerably broadening his circle of benefactors (no. 6). Amongst these were well-known city authorities and personalities invited to attend an academic performance put on by his evening classes for young working lads. The attention of this sub-alpine educator however was potentially addressed to a very wide circle of young people: young Piedmontese who needed moral education at a time of freedom of the press, by means of a newspaper for them (no. 2), to young apprentices at the Oratory whom he helped internally by means of a Mutual aid Society (no. 4) and whom he helped outside with regard to their rights from their employers in town (no. 5), to Italian youth in general and the ordinary people in the country needing protection at a time of strong secularisation, through a range of publishing initiatives.




Reference time period: 1846 – 1864

G. Bosco, “Beginning, extension and charismatic and institutional consolidation of the work at Valdocco” in “Section one. From the Pinardi house to Patagonia” in “Part one. Writings and documents on the history of Don Bosco and salesian work“, by Francesco Motto in “Salesian Sources 1. Don Bosco and his work. Collected work“, LAS-Kristu Jyoti, Rome-Bangalore 2017, 7-59.

Reference institution:
Istituto Storico Salesiano
Istituto Storico Salesiano

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