Arthur Lenti – “Beginnins of the salesian society and its constitutions” in “Don Bosco: history and spirit, vol. 4”

This fourth volume of the series, Don Bosco: History and Spirit, focuses on the early Salesian constitutions as presented by Don Bosco for approval (1860-1874)–in the times of the Turin Archbishops–of Luigi Fransoni (in exile) and ensuing four-year vacancy, of Alessandro Riccardi di Netro (1867-1870) and of Lorenzo Gastaldi (1872-1874).In introductory Chapters 1 and 2, the process of approval is set in the context of the historic events of the unification of Italy by the taking of Rome and the dispossession of the pope, at the time of the First Vatican Council and of the Franco-German war. Out of these painful experiences, Don Bosco “prophetically” decries the hubris of the perpetrators of such injustices (France and Italy) and envisions God’s terrible chastisements in prophecies and letters of 1870-1873. The constitutions are discussed from a double point of view: first, under the aspect of the historical process of approval and of the principles that brought Don Bosco in confrontation with his Archbishops and the Roman authorities (Chs. 3-6); secondly, under the aspect of the novel religious outlook, profound insights and spirituality that Don Bosco sought to embody in
the constitutions (Chs. 7-10). To highlight this second aspect, selected articles from various chapters are chosen for discussion.


  • Chapter 1
    • Historical Survey of the Period 1861-1874
  • Chapter 2
    • Don Bosco’s Prophecies of 1870-1873
  • Chapter 3
    • Salesian Constitutions: Process of Approval–I (1858-1867)
  • Chapter 4
    • Salesian Constitutions: Process of Approval–II (1867-1871)
  • Chapter 5
    • Lorenzo Gastaldi (1815-1883)
  • Chapter 6
    • Salesian Constitutions: Process of Approval–III (1872-1874)
  • Chapter 7
    • Early Constitutional Texts – I: Preliminaries, Preamble and Historical Summary
  • Chapter 8
    • Early Constitutional Texts–II: Purpose of the Society
  • Chapter 9
    • Early Constitutional Texts–III: Form of the Society and Vow of Poverty
  • Chapter 10
    • Early Constitutional Texts–IV: The Vow of Obedience and Practices of Piety in the Early Constitutions

Reference time period: 1860 – 1885

A.J. Lenti, Beginnins of the salesian society and its constitutions in Don Bosco: history and spirit, edited by Aldo Giraudo, vol. 4, LAS, Rome 2008.

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