John Rasor – “The salesian brother’s spiritual identity” in “Journal of Salesian studies”

This study will look at how the Salesian brother’s vocation appears in official Salesian writings while Don Bosco was founding the Salesian Congregation, and at how the Congregation has theologically reflected on that vocation as part of its renewal of its Constitutions. It will then examine how this identity has been applied.

This study will therefore show the brother’s identity to be inspired by the charism of the founder, and renewed in the spirit of Vatican II. Indeed, the Congregation sees in this vocation a path to holiness, making it a spiritual identity. The title of this study suggests three components of this identity: lay, religious, and youth minister. I will attempt to trace the development of each of these in the documents and practices considered.


  • 1. Writings From the Founding Period
    • 1.1. Names
    • 1.2. Don Bosco’s Constitutions
    • 1.3. The 3rd and 4th General Chapters
    • 1.4. The Constitutions and General Chapters on Formation
  • 2. Identity in Today’s Rules
    • 2.1. Summary of the Renewal Process
    • 2.2. The Special General Chapter and World Congress of Salesian Brothers
    • 2.3. General Chapter 21
    • 2.4. Fr. Vigano’s 1980 Letter: Lay and Priestly Dimensions in One Community
    • 2.5. General Chapter 22 and the Constitutions (1984)
    • 2.6. Names
  • 3. Application of the Salesian Brother’s Spiritual Identity
    • 3.1. Example: Artemide Zatti
    • 3.2. Be Saints!
    • 3.3. General Chapter 25
    • 3.4. Program: Finding and Forming Vocations
    • 3.5. Program: Project of Animation
    • 3.6. Program: Cereda’s Guidelines
  • 4. Summary

Reference time period: 1853 – 2002

J. M. Rasor, The salesian brother’s spiritual identity, in «Journal of Salesian studies», 12 (2004) 2, 271-319.

Reference institution:
Institute of Salesian Studies
Institute of Salesian Studies

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