Arthur Lenti – Don Bosco’s beatification and canonization

This article is written by our own Arthur J. Lenti, of the Institute of Salesian Spirituality in Berkeley. The article studies “Don Bosco’ s Beatification and Canonization Story: Highlights and Sidelights,” and incorporates material that Fr. Lenti has developed for classes and retreats over the course of the last year.

For over a decade, Italian Salesians have had access to Pietro Stella’s critical study of the process of the beatification and canonization of the founder (this appeared in his third volume on Don Bosco’s religious outlook and spirituality published in 1988).

Most English-speaking members of the Salesian Family, however, have not seen this material, since the volume has not yet been translated. Fr. Lenti’s presentation is based on the work of Stella and the 1930s account by Eugenio Ceria, as well as on archival documents. Fr. Lenti states his purpose as “simply to tell the story of the processes leading to the canonization in summary, in fact almost schematically, allowing for occasional emphases and limited digressions.”

At the end of his article, Fr. Lenti offers two more pieces in appendix translations of Italian documents which describe the process involved in canonizing Don Bosco.

The first is a personal memoir by Francesco Tomasetti, procurator general of the Salesian Society with the Holy See from 1924 to 1953. Don Tomasetti wrote this “confidential memoir” at least 10 years after Don Bosco’s canonization. The pages have the immediacy of first-person narrative, and give an insider’s view of the grave difficulties encountered and overcome.

The second item is an essay by Pietro Stella in which he discusses the social, political and religious aspects of Don Bosco’s cause and of the celebrations that surrounded the canonization in 1934.



  • Introduction
  • I. Proposal and Aim
  • II. Schematic Preview
    • Basic Structure of the Process of Beatification
    • Basic Structure of the Process of Canonization
  • Part One: Process of Don Bosco’s Beatification
  • A. Process of Beatification: Ordinary, or Diocesan, Informative Process (June 4, 1980 – April 1, 1897)
    • I. Diocesan Court in Turin
    • II. Sessions and Witnesses (1890-1896)
    • III. Nature and Sampler of Depositions
    • IV. Conclusion of the Ordinary (Diocesan) Process: Preparation of the Protocols
  • B. Process of Don Bosco’s Beatification Apostolic Process by the Sacred Congregation of Rites (1907-1929)
    • I. Initial Considerations and Introduction of the Cause
    • II. Apostolic Process on Virtues, Holiness, Supernatural gifts (1907-1927)
    • III. The Apostolic Process on Miracles (1927-1929)
  • Part Two: Process of Don Bosco’s Canonization
    • I. Causes of Dominic Savio’s Beatification and of Don Bosco’s Canonization.
    • II. New Miracles for the Canonization
    • III. Consistories and Canonization
  • Appendix I – Sidelights of Don Bosco’s and Dominic Savio’s Causes for Beatification and Canonization
  • Appendix II – Don Bosco: Italian Saint or Catholic Saint?

Reference time period: 1890 – 1953

A. J. Lenti, Don Bosco’s beatification and canonization, in «Journal of Salesian Sudies» 10 (1999) 1, 65-144.

Reference institution:
Institute of Salesian Studies
Institute of Salesian Studies

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