Carlo Socol – “The birth of the China province and the expansion of the salesian work in east Asia (1926-1927)” in “The beginning of the Salesian presence in east Asia”.

The China Mission, which started in 1906, was established as an autonomous entity on 1 January 1923, when the Visitatoria della China was erected, comprising 32 confreres and houses and works in Macao, Heung Shan and Shiu Chow. As new missions in Japan and Siam were being accepted or considered, the Sino-Japanese Province was erected on 28 May 1926. In December of that same year Fr. Pietro Ricaldone set out on a year-long extraordinary visitation of the Asian Missions.By the time the visitation ended in late 1927, there was a Salesian regional presence and a well established juridical structure in East Asia.

This brief paper intends to outline the juridical configuration and development strategies of the Salesian work in China and study the internal and external conditions that influenced its first expansion, in the years 1926-1927, in East Asia.La Missione Cinese, iniziata nel 1906, fu costituita come entità autonoma il 1° gennaio 1923, quando fu eretta la Visitatoria della Cina, composta da 32 confratelli e case e opere a Macao, Heung Shan e Shiu Chow. Mentre venivano accettate o prese in considerazione nuove missioni in Giappone e Siam, il 28 maggio 1926 fu eretta la Provincia sino-giapponese. Nel dicembre dello stesso anno  Pietro Ricaldone iniziò una visita straordinaria di un anno alle Missioni asiatiche. Alla fine della visita, alla fine del 1927, c’era una presenza regionale salesiana e una struttura giuridica ben consolidata nell’Asia orientale. Questo breve documento intende delineare il quadro giuridico e le  strategie di configurazione e sviluppo dell’opera salesiana in Cina e studiare le condizioni interne ed esterne che hanno influenzato la sua prima espansione, negli anni 1926-1927, in Asia orientale.


  • Introduction
  • 1. The juridical configuration of the Salesian work in China 1906-1926
  • 2. Development strategies of Salesian work in China 1906-1926
  • 3. Regional expansion of Salesian work in East Asia
    • 3.1. The Devolution of the MEPs, between internal crisis and strategic revision
    • 3.2. The Chinese political crisis and its weight on the options of the Congregation
    • 3.3. Development choices in tension between central strategies and local needs
  • 4. The visit of Fr. Ricaldone in China (1927)
    • 4.1. Reality
    • 4.2. Goals achieved
    • 4.3. Unsolved questions
  • Conclusions

Reference time period: 1890 – 1927

C. Socol, The birth of the China province and the expansion of the salesian work in east Asia, (1926-1927) in N.C. Impelido, The beginning of the Salesian presence in east Asia. Acts of the Seminar on Salesian history, Hong Kong, 4-6 December 2004. Vol.I, Don Bosco Press Inc., Hong Kong, 2006, 47-61.

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