Monday, March 23, 2009

Salesians of Don Bosco

The Salesians of Don Bosco (or the Salesian Society, originally known as the Society of St. Francis de Sales) is a Roman Catholic religious order founded in the late nineteenth century by Saint John Bosco in an attempt, through works of charity, to care for the young and poor children of the industrial revolution. The Salesians' charter describes the society's mission as "the Christian perfection of its associates obtained by the exercise of spiritual and corporal works of charity towards the young, especially the poor, and the education of boys to the priesthood"[1]. The order is named for St. Francis de Sales, an early-modern bishop of Geneva.


Traditional Salesian Coat of Arms.

In 1845 Don John Bosco (Don = Sir) opened a night school for boys in Valdocco, now part of the municipality of Turin in Italy. In the coming years, he opened several more schools, and in 1857 drew up a set of rules for his helpers, which became the Rule of the Society of St. Francis de Sales, which Pope Pius IX approved definitively in 1873. The order grew rapidly, with houses established in France and Argentina within a year of the society's formal recognition. The order's official print organ, the Salesian Bulletin, was first published in 1877. Over the next decade, the Salesians expanded into Austria, Britain, Spain, and several countries in South America. The death of Don Bosco in 1888 did not slow the order's growth, and by 1911 the Salesians were established throughout the world, including China, India, South Africa, Tunisia, and the United States. The society continues to operate worldwide; in 2000, it counted more than 20,000 members in 2,711 houses. It is the third largest missionary organization in the world.[2].

Logo of the Order

New logo of the Salesians of Don Bosco. It contains elements from German and Brazilian Provinces.



The LOGO of the Salesians of Don Bosco is made up of two superimposed images: in the background a stylised “S” (Salesians) in white is formed within a sphere like a globe marked to the right and left by two cuttings between the hills/dunes The second image is in the centre of the globe bridging the “S” road. This is an arrow pointing upwards resting on three perpendicular legs on top of which are three closed circles making a stylised image of three people: the first of these in the midde and taller than the others is the point of the arrow, and the other two beside it appear as it were to be embraced by the central figure. The three stylised figures with the arrow pointing upwards can also be viewed as a simple dwelling with a sloping roof (the arms) and with pillars holding it up (the bodies of the three people).

Various Elements of the New Logo

  • Don Bosco, the Salesian and young people: Three stylized figures represent St. John Bosco reaching out to the young, and his call for Salesians to continue his work
  • The Salesian charism and the preventive system: The road represents an educational journey for the youth, the house represents Bosco's Oratories of Reason, Reasoning, and Kindness (three columns of house).
  • The Salesian charism, relevant and worldwide: The background is a stylized heart that is also reminiscent of a globe.

Relation to the Traditional Coat of Arms

Traditional Coat of Arms New Salesian Logo

Three Virtues (Faith, Hope, Love) Star, Anchor, Inflamed Heart Three circles
Patron of the Salesians Image of St. Francis de Sales Stylized 'S'
Founder of the Salesians The wood (Bosco) Central figure of three persons
Perfection and Aspiration Mountains (height) Road (journey)
Virtue and Sacrifice Intertwined palm and laurel Circular stylized heart / open arms of central figure
Salesian Motto Ribbon containing Da Mihi Animas Caetera Tolle' Saint John Bosco with open arms

Process of Logo Selection

The new logo is the result of combining two logos already established for years in some parts of the Congregation: the German logo and the Brazilian logo.

The idea of combining the two came out of suggestions from an enquiry about the new logo conducted throughout the Congregation and from contributions by the General Council.

The combination, besides profiting from the mutual enrichment of the elements, is intended to be an expression of communion and of intercultural dialogue.

The artistic work of combining the two was carried out by the designer Fabrizio Emigli, from the Litos Company, in Rome.


Map showing the regional organization of the Salesians of Don Bosco, dotted with the location of the headquarters of Salesian provinces and vice-provinces.

The Salesians of Don Bosco are headed by the Rector Major and the society's general council; each of the ninety-four geographical provinces is headed by a Provincial. These officers serve six-year terms; the Rector Major and the members of the general council are elected by the Chapter General, which meets every six years or upon the death of the Rector Major. Each local Salesian community is headed by a superior, called a Rector (or more commonly, "Director"), who is appointed to a three-year term and can be renewed for a second three-year term.