Arthur Lenti – “Expansion of the salesian work in the new world & ecclesiological confrontation at home” in “Don Bosco: history and spirit, vol. 6”

The main part of this Volume 6 (Chs. 1-5) of the series, Don Bosco: History and Spirit, continues the survey of the Society’s Institutional Expansion begun in the preceding chapter in its twofold aspect, external and internal. The external expansion is set in a different senario and context—no longer in Europe but in South America. Chapters 1-4 describe the implantation of the Salesian work in South America, and specifically (after a briefs anthropological and historical introduction by way of establishing a context) they tell the story of the Argentine offer and of Don Bosco’s acceptance, out of several option available to him (Ch. 1). It is noted that the original offer was for implanting the Salesian work on behalf of poor children and immigrants in Buenos Aires and the Plata area. Don Bosco, however, out of a new missionary awareness at the same time aimed at committing the Society to missionary apostolate properly so called, among the aboriginal native population, and he
eventually obtained Apostolic recognition (Chs. 2-3). Chapter 4 is a collection of appendices relating to the above. Chapter 5 describes a further internal institutional expansion, the “founding” (organization) of the Salesian Cooperators and connected structures, namely, the Work of Mary Help of Christians and the Salesian Bulletin. The last two chapters continue the discussion of further stages in the conflict between Don Bosco and Archbishop Gastaldi that had begun in connection with the approval of the Constitutions (1872-1874). The conflict,
for a variety of causes, increases in bitterness through 1874-1877 (Ch. 6), and becomes more acrimonious with the appearance of defamatory pamphlets against the Archbishop (Ch. 7, 1877-1882). It is brought to an end only by Pope Leo XIII’s intervention, imposing a document of reconciliation.


  • Chapter 1
    • Salesian Presence in South America I. Context, Establishment and Early Growth
  • Chapter 2
    • Salesian Presence in South America II. Don Bosco’s Vocation, Increasing Awareness and Decision for the Missions
  • Chapter 3
    • Salesian Presence in South America III. Salesian Missions in South America Established
  • Chapter 4
    • Salesian Presence in South America IV. Appendices and Comments
  • Chapter 5
    • The Salesian Cooperators and the Salesian Bulletin – The Work of Mary Help of Christians or Sons of Mary Project
  • Chapter 6
    • The Bosco-Gastaldi Conflict From the Approval of the Salesian Constitutions to the Appearance of Anti-Gastaldi Defamatory Pamphlets (1874- 1877)
  • Chapter 7
    • The Bosco-Gastaldi Conflict From the Appearance of the Anti-Gastaldi Pamphlets to the Reconciliation Enforced by Leo XIII (1877-1882)

Reference time period: 1840 – 1890

A.J. Lenti, Expansion of the salesian work in the new world & ecclesiological confrontation at home in Don Bosco: history and spirit, edited by Aldo Giraudo, vol. 6, LAS, Rome 2009.

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