Giovanni Bosco – “Society of St Francis de Sales” in “Salesian Sources 1. Don Bosco and his work. Collected work”

On April 3, 1874, Pope Pius IX definitively approved the Constitutions of the Society of St Francis de Sales and on the following April 13 the competent Congregation of Bishops and Regulars promulgated the relevant decree.

The torturous history of this complex process in drafting the Salesian Constitutions is already known thanks to the critical edition of all the preparatory texts for the text approved in 1874 and for the first text to be translated into Italian (1875). Likewise known are the serious difficulties Don Bosco encountered in gaining the desired approval, due to opposition from the archbishops of Turin, Alessandro Riccardi di Netro first, but especially Lorenzo Gastaldi later, and also the many animadversiones from consulters and heads of the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars who were deputed to give this approval. The constant requests to the Pope with which Don Bosco solicited approval of the Constitutions, the moral support of bishops and cardinals who were in favour, and whom he had approached personally or by letter, failed to have the better of the legislation in force and the canonical practice of the era. These demanded reasonable time for experimentation and acceptance of the animadversiones, which Don Bosco instead felt ran contrary to the complete freedom of action which the Salesian Society, in his opinion, needed.


Reference time period: 1852 – 1885

G. Bosco, “Society of St Francis de Sales”  in “Section two. Don Bosco as  founder” 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 Works”, LAS – Kristu Jyoti, Rome – Bangalore 2017, 126-157.

Reference institution:
Istituto Storico Salesiano
Istituto Storico Salesiano

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