Arthur Lenti – “Institutional expansion” in “Don Bosco: history and spirit, vol. 5”

This fifth volume in the series, Don Bosco: History and Spirit, is chiefly devoted to a description of the institutional expansion of the Salesian work. The first two chapters describe the school reform legislation in the Kingdom of Sardinia, noting that the secularization of the public school was the first significant step taken by the liberal revolution in its program aimed at a general secularization of society and the gradual elimination of the Church’s influence.In this context Don Bosco’s historic decision to undertake the school apostolate in a major way in Piedmont and Liguria is understood as part of the Church’s effort to counteract the process of secularization. This may be rated as the the first great “external” expansion, spanning the 1860s and early 1870s. A second expansion described in the last chapter (Ch. 8) spans the decade 1875-85 and sees the Salesian work established in France and Spain, and further in Italy. This presentation is preceded, by way of context, by a brief historical survey of united Italy under the governments of the radical Left (from 1876), and by an even briefer sketch of the political-social situation in France in the first decade of the Third Republic (1875-85)–all this in the pontificate of Leo XIII (from 1878).


  • Chapter 1
    • Liberal School Legislation and the Oratory School
  • Chapter 2
    • Expansion of the Salesian Work in Turin, Piedmont and Liguria (1863-1875)
  • Chapter 3
    • Don Bosco and Mary Immaculate Help of Christians in Historical Context
  • Chapter 4
    • Don Bosco’s Unofficial Mediation Between the Holy See and the Italian Government for Bishops’ Appointment (1865-1874)
  • Chapter 5
    • The Founding of the “Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians” (1862-1876)
  • Chapter 6
    • The Lay Salesian (Salesian Brother) and the Salesian Lay Vocation in Don
      Bosco’s Ongoing Reflection
  • Chapter 7
    • Historical context 1876-1890
  • Chapter 8
    • Foundation and Early Development of the Salesian Work in France, Italy and Spain (1875-1888)

Reference time period: 1840 – 1885

A.J. Lenti, Institutional expansion in Don Bosco: history and spirit, edited by Aldo Giraudo, vol. 5, LAs, Rome 2009.

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