Salesian Family

The Salesian family is an ecclesial reality spread throughout the world, based on the charism of its founder Don Bosco. Currently it comprises 31 officially recognized groups with a total of 402,500 members living in mutual communion and continuing their mission. A vast movement of people who, in diverse ways, work for the benefit of youth that started with the Society of St. Francis of Sales (Salesians of Don Bosco), the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) and the Association of Salesian Co-operators. Spiritual father of the community, according to Don Bosco himself, is the Rector Major, his successor. The unity of the congregation is supported and enhanced by the Council of the Salesian Family which meets every year. The “Identity card of the Salesian Family” – a document that contains the identifying traits of the groups – states that one of the essential criteria for recognizing a new group is “the sharing of the spirit, of the educative method and of the missionary style, that is, of the spiritual and pedagogical patrimony of Don Bosco”.

Don Francesco Cereda, Sdb, Vicar of the Rector Major

Who are SDB ?

What is the meaning of ‘SDB’?

 ‘SDB’ is the acronym for ‘Salesians of Don Bosco’.

What does it mean to be a ‘Salesian of Don Bosco’?

To be a ‘Salesian of Don Bosco’ means to belong to a Catholic organization of men who dedicate their entire lives to God through a generous service to young people, especially those who are poorer and disadvantaged. This way of life entails professing the three vows, living in communities, educating and evangelising young people after the example of Don Bosco.   

Why the name ‘Salesians of Don Bosco’?

 St. John Bosco, an Italian saint of the nineteenth century was called ‘Don’Bosco by his boys because ‘Don’ in Italian means ‘Father’. Today he continues to be fondly remembered by the same name. He founded an organization that would take care of poor youth. He called his followers ‘Salesians’, a name he took from St. Francis de Sales, a popular saint of his native place in northern Italy. He chose St. Francis de Sales as the patron of his society and encouraged his followers to imitate the saint’s gentle humanism.

Are there other groups that are called ‘Salesians’ besides the ‘Salesians of Don Bosco’?

 Yes there are other groups that use the name ‘Salesian’. St. Francis de Sales, a Doctor of the Catholic Church, gave birth to a unique school of spirituality which is generally referred to as ‘Salesian Spirituality’. Other groups that live this spirituality as their own also refer to themselves as Salesians. The title ‘Salesians of Don Bosco’ aims to clarify that its members live the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales according to the style and charism of Don Bosco.

 

 Where are the SDBs in the world and how many are they?

 The Salesians of Don Bosco are scattered in 131 countries across the globe. They number approximately 15,500. They serve young people in more than 2000 institutions. 

 

What is the aim of the Salesians of Don Bosco?

 Very briefly, the aim of the SDBs can be stated as follows: ‘to be signs and bearers of the love of God for young people, especially those who are poor.