The Salesians of Don Bosco are a religious congregation of Brothers and Priests . We were founded in 1859 by Saint John Bosco. Don Bosco’s mission was clear and simple: to be a friend to young people who were poor, abandoned or at risk, and in so doing to be a friend to Christ. Wherever the Salesians work, our mission is the same, but its expression changes to suit the particular context. So you will find Salesians in schools of all kinds, youth clubs, in homes for homeless or abandoned children; working with street children; missionaries; chaplains in schools, colleges and universities and in parish work. There are currently almost 16,000 members (priests and brothers) in the congregation, working in 131 countries around the world.
Why the name Salesians?
John Bosco had a great admiration for St Francis de Sales (1567-1622). Francis, who was born near Geneva, 21 August 1567, was patron saint of Piedmont and Savoy and much loved by John Bosco. He admired his joyful, optimistic spirituality and simplicity of life. St. Francis used a simple metaphor to sum up his work when he said: ‘you catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than a barrel full of vinegar.’ In other words: Love is stronger than violence or force of any kind. Because of the gentleness of his approach, he chose him as a patron of the Congregation, hence the name Salesians. He wished his followers to be filled with the spirit of Francis de Sales – a kindness that was all-embracing, a gentleness that was strong, a love that was humble and a faith that was steadfast.