The Salesians of St. John Bosco

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St. John Bosco

The Salesians are a religious Congregation of priests and brothers founded by Saint John Bosco in 1859. He lived in Turin, in the North of Italy at the time of the Industrial Revolution. Even before becoming a priest he used to gather poor and abandoned boys from the streets, educating them to becoming good Christians and honest citizens. He used to say: Education is a matter of the heart.

​In the footsteps of their founder, the Salesians of Don Bosco (S.D.B.), work preferably among the young as educators. Their educational practice rests on three pillars, inherited from Don Bosco: reason, religion and loving kindness. The foundation of that system wants to be a sympathetic understanding of the young and an active presence among them, helping them to grow. Salesian lifestyle is both practical and academic, with great emphasis on experience of living in community and working with young people.

St. John Bosco

Salesian Relationships with the Young

Don Bosco asked Salesians to treat the young as their teachers. To learn the needs, hopes, and insecurities of young people should be paramount in the minds and the hearts of Salesians. This attitude of reverence is rooted in the recognition of God’s unfolding presence in every young life. The Salesian serves this inner spirit in the young by growing into the Gospel image of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.

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The Preventive System of Education

St. John Bosco was an exceptional educator. His acute intelligence, common sense and profound spirituality led him to create a system of education that develops the whole person - body, heart, mind and spirit. It enhances growth and freedom while putting the child at the centre of the whole educational enterprise.

To distinguish his method from the repressive system of education prevalent in 19th century Italy, he called his own method the ‘preventive’ system – because it seeks to prevent the need for punishment by placing the child in an environment in which he/she is encouraged to be the best one can be. It is a congenial, friendly and holistic approach to education.

It creates a climate that ‘draws forth’ (educere) the best in the child, that encourages the child’s complete and fullest self-expression, that assists young people in acquiring habits that will lead them to opt in favour of what is good, healthy, joyful and life-enhancing.

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