The Salesians of Don Bosco, formally known the as Society of St Francis de Sales, came into being not as a merely human venture but by the initiative of God. Through the motherly intervention of Mary, the Holy Spirit raised up St John Bosco to contribute to the salvation of youth, “that part of human society which is so exposed and yet so rich in promise”. The Spirit formed within him the heart of a father and teacher, capable of total self-giving: “I have promised God that I would give of myself to my last breath for my poor boys”
St Francis De Sales (1567 – 1622)
St John Bosco (1815-1888)
St John Bosco was a follower of the spirituality and philosophy of Saint Francis de Sales.
At the heart of the Salesian approach is a gentle strength that respects the dignity of each person, an approach pioneered by St Francis de Sales from whom the Salesians take their name. St John Bosco (founder of the Salesian Order) took that Salesian spirituality and used it to develop a healthy way of working with the young, developing teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, a method that became known as the Salesian Preventive System.
St John Bosco dedicated his works to St Francis when he founded the Salesians of Don Bosco. St Francis became noted for his deep faith and his gentle approach to the religious divisions in his land. He is known also for his writings on the topic of spiritual direction and spiritual formation.