Michael Mendl – “The zeal of the salesians is just the thing. Founding of the salesian work in New York” in “Journal of Salesian studies”

Over one hundred years ago, on November 28, 1898, three Salesians arrived in New York to initiate a Salesian apostolate among the Italian immigrants of that metropolis. In March of the previous year four of their confreres had undertaken a similar mission in San Francisco.

There had been several earlier abortive attempts to bring Salesians and their particular charism to North America: to San Rafael, California; Savannah, Georgia; and Boston, Massachusetts. This time-1897-1898-the circumstances and the mission were right, and the Salesian root was firmly planted.

This article describes the circumstances, the mission, the planting, and the first growth in New York.


  • Introduction
  • I. The New York Context
    • 1. The City of New York
    • 2. The Church in New York
    • 3. Italians in New York
    • 4. Italians and the Church in New York
  • II. The Salesians in New York: Settling In
    • 1. Arrival
    • 2. Initial Efforts among the Italians
    • 3. Increased Personnel for the Italian Mission
  • III. The Salesians in New York: Firm Establishment
    • 1. Acceptance of Transfiguration Parish
    • 2. Reaching beyond the Italians
  • IV. The Extraordinary Visitation of Father Albera
    • 1. Father Paul Albera in New York
    • 2. Aftermath of the Visitation
    • 3. Expansion to Troy
    • 4. Developments at Transfiguration
    • 5. More Possibilities for Expansion
  • V. Return to Saint Brigid’s Parish
    • 1. Stabilizing the Italian Mission
    • 2. Turning the Italian Mission into a Parish
  • VI. Conclusion

Reference time period: 1897 – 1911

M. Mendl, “The zeal of the salesians is just the thing. Founding of the salesian work in New York”, in «Journal of Salesian studies», 11 (2000) 1, 83-154.

Reference institution:
Institute of Salesian Studies
Institute of Salesian Studies

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