Giovanni Bosco – “Salesian Cooperators Association” in “Salesian Sources 1. Don Bosco and his work. Collected works”

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.

First of all we publish the text of the Christian Union, which Don Bosco had printed at the beginning of 1874, before the Salesian Society was approved on 3 April (no. 49). Then comes a second text under the new title of Association for Good Works, printed in 1875, further developed than the earlier one and especially in that it had a new paragraph presenting the Salesian Society (no. 50). It seems we can attribute variations to Don Bosco’s hand. In 1876 at Albenga first, then Sampierdarena-Turin came the printed version of Salesian Cooperators, or a practical way of helping good morals and civil society (no. 51). In the same year at Genoa-Sampierdarena (OE XXVIII, 365-374), in Nice, Buenos Aires extended editions appeared with some modifications as well as a range of complementary texts: an introduction by Don Bosco on July 12, 1876, a petition to Pius IX on March 4, 1876, Pius IX’s Brief on May 9, 1876 and a list of indulgences. “The pious association of Cooperators” effectively gained official approval from the Archbishop of Genoa, Salvatore Magnasco only on December 15, 1877, and for that archdiocese, following a further edition that year to which the archbishop of Turin reacted vehemently. To these three texts of regulations we add here two circulars to the Salesian Cooperators which appeared in the Salesian Bulletin: one in January 1879 (no. 52) and another in January 1888 (no. 53). Don Bosco used these to inform them in a very familiar way of works that had been put in place the previous year and of what he was thinking of opening in the current year, thanks to their spiritual and financial help. He did not hide any problems or failures from them and encouraged them to continue with their generosity.

Reference time period: 1874 – 1888

G. Bosco, “Salesian Cooperators Association” 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, 184-214.

Reference institution:
Istituto Storico Salesiano
Istituto Storico Salesiano

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