Rik Biesmans – The Magna Carta of the salesian educational system

The original Dutch study of The Magna Carta of the salesian education consists of two volumes. The first volume contains comments on the first part of manuscript D (Ms. D) with the text for the teachers and assistants at Valdocco. Some years later Fr. Gaston Deneve, SDB finished the second volume, commenting on the second part of Ms. D with almost the complete letter sent From Rome on 10 May 1884 to the boys at the Oratory in Valdocco, and offering further considerations concerning both parts.

Julian Fox and Emmanuel Camilleri kindly reviewed and corrected this translation. To make the comparison with the original Italian texts easier we have prepared an Auxiliary or Supplementary Booklet consisting of six columns. This was realized by Jos Biesmans, SDB and Eugeen Vanhoof, a committed cooperator. In the second volume of the Study we have indicated the pages concerned between brackets.



  • Section 5. Comment on the second large part of Manuscript D, that is of the second part of the so-called final ‘long version’
  1. The transition to taking over the instructions to the boys from the letter that had been sent to them
  2. Five tasks for the boys
  3. Dwelling on the regrettable consequences of the lack of peace in the heart
  4. The boys’ confession practice
  5. The last tasks Don Bosco has to accomplish on the occasion of the forthcoming feast of Mary Help of Christians on 24 May
  6. Specific, added tasks applicable to everyone, the big and the small among them, to clear away the barrier at Valdocco as preparation for the feast of Mary Help of Christians
  7. Don Bosco’s again waking up according to the ‘long’ or unified version
  8. Transition to minor considerations from the letter to the boys
  9. Reflections in which Don Bosco talks to his boys in the first person
  10. The signatures of the letter to the boys and the combined version
  • Section 6. The reverse side of the medal or the boys’ collaboration in the educational process
  • Section 7. The ‘extended text for the Salesians’ and the letter to the boys as attempts to eliminate and overcome major shortcomings in the practice of the Preventive System and aspects of a malaise in the Valdocco Oratory as described in the first section (vol. 1) of the entire study
  • Section 8. The combined or ‘long version’ in the light of meetings and events that took place especially after Don Bosco’s return from Rome
  • Section 9. General conclusion

Reference time period: 1880 – 1884

R. Biesmans, The Magna Carta of the salesian educational system, vol. 2, Don Bosco provincialaat, Sint-Pieters-Woluwe 2010 (Don Bosco Studies, 18).

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