A to Z

This is the Salesian Glossary.
A tool to deal with Salesian language.
Based on Salesian Termbase.


1a età

Someone in the 0-30 age group. Different cultures distinguish age groupings in different ways. One would be unlikely to find, in English, terms like `first age', 'second age' etc., as recorded here. In fact there are probably only three general groupings in English: young, middle-aged, elderly, and the boundaries are rather flexible for these. Amongst the 'young' category, English might distinguish infants, children, adolescents (teenagers), young adults. Having said that, there is, in the UK, the University of the Third Age, so at least that term is recognised as 'older people no longer in full time work'. Hence in Italian there is also 2a età (30-60), 3a età (60-75), 4a età (75 upwards).


Abandoned (abbandonato)

As found most frequently in the phrase `poor and abandoned': (young) person neglected, orphaned or forsaken.

Abito talare

Clerical dress, habit, cassock.


(Salesian) Association of Biblical Scholars, established in 1983 by the then Rector Major, Fr Egidio Viganò.

Abside (presbiterio)

Sanctuary (where we find the altar in a church). Careful not to think of presbiterio as `presbytery'.

Accompaniment (accompagnamento)

Often, but not only found in the phrase `vocational accompaniment': act of support by a person for another individual or a group.

Acolyte (accolito, accolitato)

In reference to the `ministry of acolyte', this is an early stage of the preparation for priesthood. In more general terms, an altar server.

Academy (accademia)

A semi-religious or cultural programme often performed on the vigil of a major feast day.


Association for those who cultivate Salesian history. An institute for promoting Salesian history by supporting research, updating and collaboration between members of the Salesian Family. ACS may also stand for Atti del Capitolo Superiore, a forerunner of the ACG or Atti del Capitolo Generale

ACSSA (Associazione dei cultori di storia)

Cultural Association for Salesian History. This body is the umbrella group for the ACS.

ADMA or Association of Mary Help of Christians

(Associazione Devoti Maria Ausiliatrice). A group founded by Don Bosco `to foster veneration of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary Help of Christians'.

Ad gentes

A reference to the mission to go out to all nations, drawn from Mt 28:19-20, and also the Vatican II Decree on the missionary activity of the Church by that name.

Ad multos annos

May you have many more years to come! Usually a sung refrain on festive occasions.

Ad nutum

An appointment (e.g. by the Rector Major) which is by the appointer's decision alone and requires no further explanation. Someone appointed ad nutum only remains in that task until the one who appointed him so desires, or dies or ceases to hold office.

Advisory Council

May also be referred to as a consulta. An administrative group which helps a sector or its department to evaluate, research, study, offer guidelines and materials for regular updating.

Afflictus lentae ...

The complete Latin phrase is afflictis lentae celere gaudentibus horae, meaning `time flies when you are having fun and drags when you are not!' The first thing the seminarian John Bosco saw on entering the seminary, on a sundial affixed to the wall in the courtyard, and it became a kind of motto for him.


A Salesian geographical region comprising presences on the African continent and the island of Madagascar.


"Charity" in Greek, intended as love that comes from God. Fraternal meeting of the community of origin, setting out to eat together as brothers, usually in connection with the Eucharist.


Acts of the General Council: the official organ for the promulgation of directives of the Rector Major and his Council. Comes out 3 or 4 times a year. Earlier known as Acts of the Superior Chapter or of the Superior Council


White linen tunic, tied at the waist by a cincture, used by the sacred minister when celebrating the liturgy.

Albera, Paul

Second successor of St John Bosco as Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation. Elected after the death of Michael Rua (1910).


Cheerfulness. There is also Don Bosco's linguistic device (mnemonic) for his boys: allegria, studio pietà, or cheerfulness, study and piety.

Alma mater

"Nourishing mother". Latin phrase used to describe the university from where one graduates, but often extends to one's old school.


Ara or stone intended for sacrifice. For Christians it is also the banquet table of the Community. The altar is placed in the sanctuary and must be positioned in the centre. The altar represents Christ. For this we honour it (kiss, incense ...) and not just any objects can be placed there.

Altar boy

The young person who helps the priest presiding at the liturgical celebration: he accompanies the priest, carries the bread, wine and water to the altar, collects the chalice, etc. Known as ministranti, chierichetti, piccolo clero in parts of Europe.


Cf. setting and pastoral sector.


Used by the Salesian Sisters to refer to what Salesians SDB call a `Sector'.


Another term for a lectern, or place from which the Scripture readings are proclaimed.

America South Cone

A Salesian geographical region comprising presences in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Amici di Don Bosco

Cf. Friends of Don Bosco.


Cf. Loving kindness.

Animation (animazione)

A characteristic style of Salesian leadership drawing from the fundamental meaning of `animate' which is to give life, or soul to something or someone, that is to say, to motivate.


Animator, but perhaps `leader' is a better term in English. Animazione is animation or leadership depending on context.

Annals of the Salesian Society (Annali)

The `Annals of the Salesian Society' is a set of 4 hefty volumes with a total of 2887 pages, written in 1940-41 and covering the period of the Salesian Society from 1841 onwards.


Salesian information agency, also referred to generally as Salesian News Agency, though it now produces a wider range of materials, hence the change to 'information'.


Cf. Year Book.

Apostolic administrator

Prelate who, in a manner similar to that of the bishop, governs a particular church in the name of the sovereign pontiff, for special and particularly serious reasons.

Apostolic Delegate

Representative of the Pope without diplomatic title who, in the area assigned (the Apostolic Delegation), which usually includes several dioceses, apostolic vicariates and prelatures, observes the conditions of the Church to keep the Holy Father informed.

Apostolic Nuncio

The Pope's representative in a country. As a diplomat, carries out functions within his competence with the Government of that country. At the same time, serves as pastor in special relationship with the national episcopate.

Apostolic Prefecture

Ecclesiastic district or special Church that for important reasons has not yet been established as a diocese and is entrusted to the pastoral care of an apostolic prefecture.

Apostles of the Holy Family (Apostole della Sacra Famiglia ASF)

Member group of the Salesian Family, founded in 1889 in Messina by Card. Guarino.

Apostolic See

The term `Apostolic See' can refer to any see founded by one of the Apostles, but, when used with the definite article, it is used in the Catholic Church to refer specifically to the see of the Bishop of Rome, whom the Catholic Church sees as successor of Saint Peter, the leader of the apostles.


Examine closely, investigate, get to know better.


From Greek hapsis, node or keystone. Part of the church which occupies the opposite end to the facade. It is generally semi-circular and a little higher.


A somewhat archaic term used in reference to the boys at the Oratory at Valdocco who were working outside or studying a trade, as distinct from `academic' students. Cf. Working boys.

Asceticism (ascesi)

The means (whether negative as through self-denial or abstinence, or positive, as in the exercise of natural and Christian virtues) by which a complete conformity with the divine will may be attained.


Don Bosco's term for novices. Means those enrolled.

Asociación Damas Salesianas

Member group of the Salesian Family. Association of Catholic lay women founded in 1948 in Caracas, Venezuela. Often referred to by the shorter title (capitalised) DAMAS, not an acronym but a shortened version. May be called `Salesian Women' in English.


A centre of Salesian vocational guidance with a preferred target group, viz., young men interested in Salesian consecrated life who have already completed some post-secondary studies. This does not rule out other candidates but is rather a statement of preference.

Assistance (assistenza)

A Salesian style of presence to young people which meets all their real needs; a form of total human development. Total charitable activity on behalf of young people.


Extraordinary Assembly of the Blessed Michael Rua Community in Rome, otherwise known as the Pisana Community.

Aula magna

Latin for `great hall' or auditorium.

Autumn outings or walks

Excursions organised by Don Bosco from Valdocco to his birthplace and surrounds, that took place around the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (first Sunday of October).

Auxilium Cristianorum

Help of Christians. Often in reduced form as l'Ausiliatrice or Maria SS. Ausiliatrice in Don Bosco's Italian. The English Help of Christians does not translate the Italian Ausiliatrice but the Latin form - or would it be better to say that the Italian Ausiliatrice does not translate the Latin Auxilium Christianorum? In non-Christian or secular settings, Salesians might simply use the term Mary Help.



A grape type (name of wine) typical of the Monferrato region around Don Bosco's home town of Castelnuovo.


Giulia Vittorina Colbert di Maulévrier (1785-1864), was born in Vandea and was a descendent of the great Colbert, a minister for Louis XIV. In 1807 she married Marquis Tancredi Falletti di Barolo, whom she got to know in Paris at Napoleon I's court. She was then Marchioness Barolo. They were very religious (and both have had their Cause of Beatification introduced), but not having children they decided to put their wealth to the advantage of social and charitable works. With this in mind they founded an institution, the Opera Pia Barolo, which still exists today. When Don Bosco was presented by Fr Borel to Marchioness Barolo, she immediately recognised the gifts this young priest had. To encourage him to accept the role as spiritual director at the Little Hospital, she not only left him free to deal with all the boys who would seek him out for catechism, but she agreed he could gather his weekend Oratory in the new building not yet finished (the Little Hospital of St Philomena).


Title granted to certain more important church. There are 'Greater' or 'Lesser' basilicas. The best known basilica in the Salesian world - and the first - was the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin. Another is 'Sacro Cuore' (Sacred Heart) in Rome. In recent years St John Bosco's at Cine Città and the Church of St John Bosco at Colle Don Bosco have been assigned the honour of 'minor basilica' (as are all the aforementioned basilicas).


A team game especially enjoyed by Don Bosco and the boys at the Oratory and long thereafter! Consists broadly in two teams lined up against their own base line. A member from the other team may only tag (catch) a member from the other team who has run into play before him. Once tagged, that player becomes a prisoner. Any player from the opposite side who gets as far as the opposition's base line (barra) has 'broken' (rotta) the line and gains a point. Every 3 prisoners is also worth a point. Prisoners can be freed by touching the outstretched hand of the last prisoner caught.

Bartholomew Garelli

A Salesian traditional story of how and when Don Bosco's work of the Oraotry began, not recounted before he wrote the Memoirs of the Oratory in the mid 1870's but first recounted fully in Bonetti's serialized version in the Salesian Bulletin 1879. The story lends belief to the symbolic date of December 8th for the beginning of Don Bosco's work. In the original draft for Memoirs of the Oratory Don Bosco had begun to write an 'N', not a 'G' for the surname. Did this mean Nome, or was it another surname? For the purposes of the story it doesn't matter. The boy might have or might not have existed, or if he existed might have had another name altogether. Perhaps he was a fictional representative of the reality - that Don Bosco began his work with a simple catechism lesson. In this sense it can be said to belong to the charismatic aspect of the Salesian tradition.

Becchi, The (i Becchi)

The hamlet in Monferrato, part of the village of Morialdo which belonged to what was then the town of Castelnuovo d'Asti (now Castelnuovo Don Bosco) where St John Bosco was born. Note that the term is plural in Italian, and we retain the definite article as part of the name. The hamlet was a mere cluster of four homes when Don Bosco lived there.

Bernardi Semeria Institute

On the eve of Don Bosco's Beatification (2 June 1929), Fr Philip Rinaldi, third successor of the Saint, thought about building a centre for education and technical education of young people at Colle. With this in mind, and also thinking of future pilgrimages, he bought (24 January 1929) the Biglione-Damevino farmstead with all its land but not including the portion to the north of the Cottage as he would have liked to have done. Here, in 1938-1943, through the efforts of Fr Peter Ricaldone, fourth successor of Don Bosco, they built the large institute donated by lawyer Pietro Bernardi, an uncle of Father Semeria, a Barnabite, well-known writer and preacher.

Biblioteca degli scrittori latini

Collection of Latin Writers published by Don Bosco in 1866.


The Cascina Biglione was the homestead for the main farming property at the Becchi where the Bosco family lived and where John Bosco's father worked. The house (where John Bosco was actually born) was pulled down when the Basilica at Colle Don Bosco was built in the 1960s.

Biographical Memoirs

An expanded biographical narrative concerning Don Bosco, written in a largely chronological order and amply documented. Comprises 19 volumes.


Goodness, kindness.

Borel, Giovanni

Member of the diocesan clergy in Turin who was Don Bosco's right hand man during the early days of the Oratory, including the wandering oratory. Don Bosco had first met him when he was at the seminary in Chieri. He would often spell his name as Borelli.


Italian for a village or a hamlet. One might find Salesian reference to Borgo Dora, for example, the suburb next to Valdocco which, in Don Bosco's time, housed many youth gangs.


Piedmontese Bòsch, meaning `wood'. Surname of Don Bosco, obviously! Don Bosco would play with the word sometimes: "I call myself Bosco di Sales" (which meant Bosco of a soft and pliable kind of wood, in contrast to Bosco nespola, which was hard wood).


Since Vatican II we call the breviary the Prayer of the Church, or even the Liturgy of the Hours, but it is essentially the same thing.


Cf. Goodnight.

Buttigliera d'Asti

An agricultural centre located on the edge of the fertile Chieri plain, 299 metres above sea level, Buttigliera had around 1,600 inhabitants in the 19th century (today closer to 2,000). It is on the road from Riva di Chieri to Castelnuovo, 4 km from the Becchi. In 1829, from 5 to 9 November, a triduum was preached at Buttigliera to gain the indulgences granted by Pius VIII for the extraordinary Jubilee year. People from nearby villages attended, amongst them Fr Calosso, the new chaplain at Morialdo, and John Bosco, who had just returned from his time at the Moglia farm. On the way back the priest had an opportunity to observe some of the boy's gifts and he offered him help. It was an encounter between the old man's wisdom and spiritual experience and the fresh receptivity of the teenager, and it would be a fruitful and providential meeting.


Cafasso, Giuseppe

Member of the Turinese clergy, first encountered by young John Bosco when the former was a 1st year student of theology at the seminary.

Cagliero, Giovanni

John Cagliero. As a boy, a member of the first group to be invited to form the Salesian Society at the Oratory. On 26th January 1854, Cagliero, Rua, Rocchetti, Artiglia, together with Don Bosco, gathered in his room at his request and the proposal was made to exercise practical charity towards their neighbour. This event was also the first when the name Salesian was applied. He became the first Salesian Bishop while Don Bosco was still alive, and led the first missionary expedition to South America. Later became Cardinal.


A pdf format newsletter produced by the Missions Department. An initiative which arose as part of the 2009 Salesian Mission Day campaign

Calosso, Giovanni

The young John Bosco's priest-friend whom he loved more than a father, by his own estimation.


Don Bosco's rooms at Valdocco.


Cardinal who presides over the Apostolic Chamber. During the vacant seat, he is responsible for temporal administration of the Vatican. Formally establishes the Pope's death and arranges the Conclave. One Salesian Cardinal, Tarcisio Bertone, has held this post.

Canção Nova

Member Group of the Salesian Family, a Private International Association of the Faithful in canonical terms, Canção Nova has as its main objective to evangelise through media: TV, Radio, Internet and audiovisual products, book publication and sales, CDs, videos amongst others.

Canonical Mission

The principle means of acquiring the power of jurisdiction, a power that could only be exercised by clergy, according to the 1917 Code of Canon Law. In the Revised Code, the term is replaced, in canon 812, with mandatum (mandate). There are various interpretations of what this means but what seems common is the need for ecclesiastical authorisation for those teaching theological disciplines in Catholic colleges and universities.

Canon Law

May also be referred to as the Code of Canon Law, or just The Code. The canon law of the Catholic Church is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Church to regulate its external organisation and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church.

Capriglio and Cecca

Two kilometres from the Becchi we find Capriglio (230 metres above sea-level), a small village made up of hamlets spread around those hills. At Cecca (on the right for someone coming from the Becchi towards Capriglio), we can still find the house where Don Bosco's mother Margaret was born on 1 April 1788, the sixth child of Melchior Occhiena and Domenica Bossone. About a kilometre from the Occhiena house is the parish plaza at Capriglio. Margaret, baptised there the day she was born, attended this church all the time she lived in the area and this is where she married Francis Bosco on 6 June 1812.

Ca ri mè fieuj

[Piedmontese] literally, My dear children. Regularly used by Don Bosco to address either his boys or his Salesians.


Possible false friend: instead of `letter' it might mean 'charter'. Best not to render it as `card'.

Casa Moretta

Fr Borel and Don Bosco were tossed out of every place they took the wandering oratory to. They began looking for a new place. St Martin's church at the Molassi was not good enough for their catechism classes; they were also thinking of beginning evening and Sunday classes for young working boys: so they needed better premises and ones that could be heated. In Valdocco (just about where we find the parish church, in piazza Maria Ausiliatrice no. 15/A) Fr Giovanni Battista Antonio Moretta (died 1847) had a two-storey building part of which he was renting out. He happily met the two priests' needs by renting out three rooms in November 1845.

Casa Pinardi

Pinardi House, the original setting for the stable Oratory, where Don Bosco rented a shed at the back and an adjoining pocket of land and gradually rented out rooms until he acquired the entire house and property from Mr Pinardi.


Mama Margaret's, Don Bosco's house at the Becchi.

Castelnuovo Don Bosco

This fertile agricultural centre in Asti Province, well-known for its viticulture and associated products, stands on a hill in the lower Monferrato, at 240 metres above sea level and is fed by the Traversola stream. It is 30 km from Asti but leans towards Turin by preference, only 20 kms away or thereabouts. Today it has some 2,800 inhabitants, while in Don Bosco's time it would have been closer to 3,000. It includes four other largish villages: Bardella, Nevissano, Ranello (where Dominic Savio's grandparents lived) and Morialdo. It was the chief town in the local district with jurisdiction over Albugnano, Berzano, Buttigliera, Moncucco, Mondonio, Pino and Primeglio. This was Don Bosco's home town, now named after him, but it was also the birthplace of other famous people in the 19th century. We can recall: St Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860), confessor and friend of Don Bosco's, and a great spiritual director and formator of priests; Blessed Joseph Allamano (1851-1926), nephew of Cafasso's, pupil of Don Bosco's and founder of the Consolata missionaries; Cardinal John Cagliero (1838-1926), one of Don Bosco's first disciples and who began the Salesian work in South America; Bishop John Baptist Bertagna (1828-1905), the first cleric to live in at the Oratory, then became professor of moral theology and Rector of the Pastoral Institute and finally auxiliary bishop and Rector of the seminary in Turin. Both the young John Bosco and the young Dominic Savio went to school at Castelnuovo.


Education in the faith. Christian, holistic and fundamental formation, the purpose of which is the confession of faith.


The study of catechesis. More to do with the processes used in teaching the faith.


The person responsible for encouraging religious aspects, catechetical formation, groups, religious education ... Part of a model guiding the development of the educational work of the Salesian Congregation until 1972 when it ceased to be codified as such in the Constitutions. Each community and work used have a `Catechist'.


A period of early training in Christian life. At times catechumenate also refers to the commitment of rediscovering and deepening the faith of those who are already members of the Church or baptized.


Seat, symbol of authority and teaching. We talk about the Cathedra of Peter with reference to the doctrinal authority of the Pope and Episcopal Cathedra to indicate the seat of the bishop in the cathedral, the symbol of his doctrinal authority. Hence the expression ex cathedra, meaning to speak with supreme authority.

Catholic action

A non-political lay organisation under the direct control of the Italian bishops, established in 1924.

Catholic Readings (Letture Cattoliche)

A periodical publication of an apologetic nature, of small books written for common people, and published by Don Bosco

Catholic social teaching

The teaching body of the Church that has developed since the end of the nineteenth century with the awakening of a sense of justice for the inhuman conditions of employees. Later, it expanded to social aspects such as peace, relations between people, family, education, consumption, democracy, human rights, work. Among the key principles of the social doctrine there are solidarity, subsidiarity and the common good.

Cause (of beatification and canonisation)

With reference to a Catholic who in life, in death and after death has enjoyed a reputation of holiness by living all the Christian virtues in an heroic manner, or enjoys a reputation of martyrdom because, having followed Christ more closely, he or she has sacrificed their life in the act of martyrdom.


Cf. Volunteers With Don Bosco


A document from the Bishop or Religious Superior allowing a priest to celebrate Mass.

Cenno storico

Cf. Historical outline.

Cenni storici

Cf. Historical outlines.

Central Assistant

Derived from the canonical term 'ecclesiastical assistant', viz, the priest who is officially responsible for the Don Bosco Volunteers (DBV or VDB) or Volunteers With Don Bosco (CDB).

Centro Formazione Professionale CFP

In English this is translated as a Vocational Training Centre VTC.

Ceria, Eugenio

Fr Eugene Ceria, an early biographer and confidante of St John Bosco's.


Centro Salesiano do Adolescente Trabalhador or Salesian Teenage Worker Centre, founded in May 1973 in Minas Gerais, Brazil, by Salesian Brother Raymundo Mesquita to help young people qualify to enter the workforce.

Ceti popolari

Poor people in general. The gloss chosen here is that of C. 29. Similar Italian terms: ambienti popolari, adulti del basso popolo.


A gift or power conferred by the Holy Spirit on a Christian for the good of the Church, e.g. the Salesian charism.

Charter of Identity of the Salesian Family

The Charter of Identity of the Salesian Family, (aka Charter of charismatic and spiritual identity) announced at the concluding session of the 28th Salesian Family Spirituality Days in 2011, is viewed as an essential step towards presenting the Salesian Family as a true, authentic movement for the salvation of the young, officially recognised as such by the Church.

Chávez Villanueva, Pascual

Fr Pascual Chávez Villanueva was elected Rector Major by the 25th General Chapter, 3rd April 2002, and again by the 26th General Chapter in 2008; he was the ninth successor of Don Bosco and the first non-Italian of non-Italian parentage to lead the Congregation (Fr Vecchi was Argentinian but of Italian parentage).


Flourishing and ancient city about halfway between Turin and Colle Don Bosco. The young John Bosco spent ten years of his life there, perhaps the most formative decade for him in every way, as a school student, then seminarian. It is also the birthplace of Mother Mapalena Morano.

Cinque lustri

Title of a history of the Oratory by Giovanni Bonetti, a chronicler of Don Bosco's. It was translated into English as Don Bosco's Early Apostolate, but has long been out of print. Lustri refers to a decade.

Circumscription (circoscrizione)

"Normally the circumscriptions of our Society are provinces and vice-provinces. As regards other eventual juridical circumscriptions, their internal structure and representation at the General Chapter will be defined in the decree of erection, in line with Salesian spirit and tradition" (SDB Constitutions C. 156). The broader term found in general ecclesiastical usage is `ecclesiastical circumscription', but while in frequent use (e.g. in the Annuario Pontificio or in important communications such as Pope Benedict XVI's letter to Chinese Catholics) it is so broad an understanding of limitation that it begs for clearer definition.


A member of the clergy in general terms. Someone who has received at least the first stage along the way to ordination to the priesthood. But sometimes in Salesian discourse it is applied to a member of the Society who has declared (at end of novitiate) his intention to be a priest.

Coadjutor (coadiutore)

A Salesian helper (coadjutor) in Don Bosco's early terminology but who quickly became distinguished as what we know now as the Salesian Brother or lay Salesian. The term 'coadjutor' is found for the first time in the register of the names of the pupils at Valdocco in December 1854, where it appears next to the name of the 30-year-old Alessio Peano, but apparently implies nothing of a religious nature. It was a delicate touch on the part of Don Bosco in respect of those whom others used call simply 'servants'. For Don Bosco this person was something more, a collaborator. There were coadjutors with vows and those who were simply paid workers, as time went on. It was only in 1883 that GC3 reserved the term officially for lay Salesians. Many English-speaking provinces prefer just 'brother'; occasionally one hears 'lay brother'. And yet another variant is 'coadjutor brother'.

Codex Iuris Canonici CIC

Cf. Canon law above.


Possible false friend: instead of `coherence' it may mean 'consistency'.


Possible false friend: instead of `collaborator' it may mean 'helper', `mission partner' etc.

Colle Don Bosco

The hill, literally, but remains untranslated - a place name applied today for where Don Bosco was born. Today it refers to the entire complex of buildings and memories of Don Bosco's childhood and is a place of pilgrimage dominated by the large Basilica.


(boarding) College. The term today may translate simply as college, but in Salesian contexts in Italy it has usually implied boarders. Be aware that in the US 'college' would be an inaccurate rendition, applying as it does only to a post-secondary institution. The 'invention' of the Salesian collegio was a significant development in DB's later period. It gives rise to collegializzazione in Italian, barely translatable in English but referring to a significant shift in Salesian work including during Don Bosco's time, when he began to respond to requests for boarding schools. Be aware of a possible false friend in translation - the word may not be `college' but `boarding school' in a Salesian context.


A regular talk or chat between a confrere and his Rector. What Salesians once called the rendiconto or `manifestation'. Be aware of a possible false friend in translation - the word may not be `colloquium' but `friendly talk' in a Salesian context.


Be aware of a possible false friend in translation - the word may not be `colony' but `holiday camp' in a Salesian context.

Comollo, Luigi

John Bosco's best friend as a boy, whom he met in the 5th year of high school (Retorica, Ginnasiale) 1833-4, and whose life he wrote up as one of his first books concerning the life of holiness he wanted to encourage amongst the boys at the Oratory in Valdocco.

Communications ecosystem

The gamut of involvement and personal attitudes of those who agree to create an environment which is a real community of sharing ideals, values, relationships at the level of daily living in a community and a neighbourhood understood as either 'virtual' or 'real'. This definition is found in the 2nd edition of the Salesian Social Communications System.


A unified body of individuals as in: (a) the Salesian community broadly speaking = the Salesian Society (b) the Salesian community as a local grouping = the religious community (c) a group linked by common policy as in the educative and pastoral community = EPC with Salesian religious community as the animating nucleus.


Ecclesial communion in Salesian style is relationships lived with bontà (kindliness)

CMB Community of the Mission of Don Bosco

A Private Association of the Faithful as understood in Canon Law, which gained membership of the Salesian Family in 2010. The group has its general headquarters in Bologna at the Salesian Parish of the Sacred Heart. It came into existence in 1988 in formal terms (though founded in 1982 in the Diocese of Bologna by a group of lay people following the intuitions of the Holy Spirit) and was juridically set up in 1994. The group is part of the Salesian Youth Movement in Italy, Madagascar, Burundi, Argentina. Its three key features are unity, charity towards the young and the poor, and living simply in a Salesian family style.




Be aware of a possible false friend in translation - the word is not necessarily always translated as `companion' but `school mate' or `friend' in a Salesian context.

Companion of Youth

First published in 1847 by Don Bosco, the Il Giovane Provveduto (the shorter form of the title!) which has been traditionally translated into english as The Companion of Youth, went through 118 editions. He lived to see it translated into French, Spanish and Portuguese. There was a version for girls called, in English, 'The Companion of the Young Christian Woman', La figlia Christiana Provveduta, 1878) which went through 28 editions


Be aware of a possible false friend in translation - the word is not necessarily always translated as `condition' but `situation, circumstance'.

Conference of St Francis de Sales

A group established by Don Bosco in 1854 or 1855 intended for mature young men to help with the work of the oratories.


An important term for Don Bosco who frequently recommended confidence in one's confessor, confidence in the Superior, confidence in Mary Most Holy, confidence in God the loving Father. At the first meeting between Don Bosco and Dominic Savio we note the mutual confidence between the two, (expressed by Don Bosco explicitly in his account of the meeting) from the very beginning. This confidence flowered into holiness.

Confidential reminders for Rectors

Oringally a letter Don Bosco wrote to his close assistant Fr Michael Rua whom he had appointed as the first Rector outside of Valdocco, at Mirabello. It then developed into a set of reminders for all Rectors.


The term `confrere' (plural `confreres') has been Anglicised from the French, without accents, and is used in connection with brothers in religious life.


Youth Meeting (but with specific reference to a European gathering of young people from the Salesian Youth Movement).


Usually in sense of The Congregation (SDB). Not normally used of the FMAs, who prefer `Institute'. But consider the Salesian history of the term. It was 1859 before the Salesian Society formally came into existence, yet for ten years prior to that, and according to Don Bosco, virtually from 1841, a group of priests had banded together to help him with the work of the Oratory in una specie di congregazione. Here the term is used in its more general sense for the time, e.g. the Marian congregations, groups of the faithful who banded together for pious or charitable purposes. When John Bosco was a boy in Chieri as a student, they had a `congregation' - Sunday liturgy.

Congregation of St Michael the Archangel CSMA

Religious Congregation of Pontifical Right founded by Blessed Bronislaus Markiewicz in Poland in 1921; member group of the Salesian Family

Congregation of the Sisters of the Resurrection

Religious Congregation of Diocesan Right founded in Guatemala by Fr Joseph Puthenpura SDB on 15 September 1977 from a small group of nine volunteers who wished to serve their 'fellow campesinos'.


God's initiative, through the ministry of the Church, in dedicating someone to His service.

Consecrated Life

"Life consecrated through the profession of the evangelical counsels is a stable form of living in which the faithful follow Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit and are totally dedicated to God who is supremely loved. By a new and special title they are dedicated to seek the perfection of charity in the service of God's kingdom for the honour of God, for the building up of the Church and the salvation of the world. They are a splendid sign in the Church as they foretell the heavenly glory." (Canon 573, 1).


The fundamental code containing the essential elements which define the identity and mission of the Society, the purposes it proposes and the spirit which animates it, as well as the major indicators referring to organisation of the community. (CIC, can. 587)


Cf. Advisory Council


Dissent. 1968 was the classic year of student dissent throughout Europe, with huge student demonstrations and battles between progressives and others. It was felt also in a number of European Salesian student settings.

Continuing formation

See also Ongoing formation. The continuation, the completion and the updating of initial formation: it has as its scope the living of the Salesian apostolic project with an energy which is both joyful and creatively faithful.


A community of persons, especially though not essentially, of nuns, under the direction of a religious superior. The term is sometimes used of Salesian communities in Japan, the Philippines.

Convitto (ecclesiastico)

Cf. Pastoral institute


Cf. Playground.

Council of the Work

Refers to a council made up of a particular work in a Salesian setting (or several works together under a single council). It is an awkward term in English and is usually called for what it is - parish council, oratory council etc..

Councillor for Formation

Member of the General Council with the "duty of furthering the integral and ongoing formation of the members; he follows with particular care the phases of the period of initial formation to ensure that in them the content, arrangement of studies, formation methods and structures provide the conditions necessary for growth in the Salesian vocation" (C. 135).

Councillor for Youth Ministry

The 19th General Chapter substantially defined the role of this Councillor, following a criterion of unity in pastoral activity and the central place that young people play in Salesian life.

Councillor for Social Communication

Member of the General Council who has the duty to animate the Congregation in this area. He promotes activity in the Social Communication sector and coordinates in particular, at world level, centres and structures which the Congregation manages in this field (C. 137).

Councillor for the Missions

Member of the General Council who "fosters the missionary spirit and commitment throughout the Society. He coordinates initiatives and directs activity in the missions so that it may respond in a Salesian way to the urgent needs of the peoples to be evangelised. It is also his duty to see that provision is made for the specific preparation and updating of the missionaries (C. 138).

Creative fidelity

Appropriate forms of a witness which is capable of responding to the needs of the times without departing from an Institute's initial inspiration (Bl John Paul II in Vita Consecrata, no. 37)

Cronaca della casa

House chronicle. In the Biographical Memoirs we find a conference by DB to Rectors, 2nd Feb 1876, where he recommends the keeping of a chronicle in each House.

Culture of vocation

A culture of vocation is essentially systematic, a communal rather than an individual and spasmodic activity.


The body of provincials from provinces which share responsibility for a studentate. The purpose is to define rights and duties of provinces, the role of the local provincial and the areas and forms of collaboration. The term is in wider use in Europe, e.g. Germany, Holland, where it is the controlling body of a administrative board for an academic or scientific institution.


Da mihi animas cetera tolle

"Give me souls, take away the rest." Often left in its Latin form, this is the motto adopted by Don Bosco from the time he began the work of the Oratories (his own claim), though it did not become an official motto until the debate, late in his life, over the wording to include in the Congregation's Coat of Arms, where he insisted on this motto as one which had characterised his work from the beginning.

Daughters of Mary Help of Christians FMA

This religious family has its origins in the heart and mind of St John Bosco and in the creative fidelity of St Mary Domenica Mazzarello. Don Bosco chose the name Daughters of Mary Help of Christians because he wanted a living monument of gratitude to his Madonna.

Daughters of the Divine Saviour HDS

Female Religious Institute of Diocesan Right, founded by Salesian Bishop Pedro Arnoldo Aparicio (1980-1992), as catechists and teachers they are at the service of poor children and youth whom they aim to educate by the Preventive System. Don Bosco's motto, Da mihi animas caetera tolle (give me souls, take away the rest), has become Oportet Illum regnare (it is necessary for Christ to reign!). Member group of the Salesian Family

Daughters of the Queenship of Mary DQM

A Secular Institute of Diocesan Right. Recognised as members of the Salesian Family on 12 July 1996. Founded by Fr Carlo Torre sdb in Thailand. They have split into two groups, one of which is now known as the Sisters of the Queenship of Mary SQM. This latter group are not a secular institute but a diocesan Congregation.

Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary HH SS CC

Religious Congregation of Pontifical right founded by Blessed Louis Variara at Agua de Dios in 1905. Admitted to membership of the Salesian Family on 23 December 1981.


Cf. Volunteers of Don Bosco.


Cf. Don Bosco International.


Cf. Don Bosco Network.

Decretum laudis

A pontifical decree whereby a Diocesan Congregation is considered to have reached a point of development where it is granted to become a Congregation of Pontifical Right with all the consequences thereof.

Delegation Delegazione

Local communities with a certain unity amongst them but without the prerequisites necessary for erection as a vice-province may be set up as a delegation with the approval of the Rector Major, after a request has come from the provincial, with the consent of his council. A delegation is usually set up when distance or other reasons prevent the Provincial from taking proper care of some local communities as described above (according to C. 159 of the SDB Constitutions). Examples of such in the Congregation include: Eritrea, Congo Brazzaville, DRC Congo west, Sudan, AFO west (Senegal, Mali,Guinea Conakry), Bielorussia, Malta, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mongolia, Cambodia, Indonesia,PNG-SI.


There is an important distinction to be made between between a Salesian 'department' dicastero, and a 'sector' settore, the latter being the superordinate concept. A department is an administrative arrangement to get things done. A sector belongs to the charism as such.

Departments of the mission

A directive of GC26 in view of the need for greater coordination between the Departments for Youth Ministry, Social Communication and the Missions, especially for animating sectors of shared activities ... in each case safeguarding the unique and organic nature of Salesian pastoral ministry.

De Sales, Francis

Chief Patron Saint of the Salesian Congregation. Don Bosco chose him for conscious (a meek and mild Saint who expressed the kind of characteer, patience, virtues needed in men who were to look after unruly boys) and perhaps less conscious set of reasons too - he was a popular Saint in Piedmont which was part of the Savoy kingdom at the time John Bosco was growing up, his style informed seminary life at Chieri, and his picture was given prominent place in the Rifugio where Don Bosco began his priestly ministry. Francis de Sales was born on 21 August 1567 in the Chôteau de Sales into the noble Sales family of the Duchy of Savoy, in what is today Thorens-Glières, Haute-Savoie, France. In 1602, Bishop Granier died, and Sales was consecrated Bishop of Geneva, but resided in Annecy (now part of modern-day France) because Geneva was under Calvinist control and therefore closed to him. His diocese became famous throughout Europe for its efficient organization, zealous clergy and well-instructed laity, monumental achievements in those days. Along with St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Sales founded the women's Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (Visitandines) in Annecy on 6 June 1610. Despite his friendship with Denis-Simon de Marquemont, the archbishop nonetheless restricted the freedoms of de Sales' new order in 1616 by ordering that its members live cloistered lives. In December 1622 Sales was required to travel in the entourage of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, for the Duke's Christmas tour of his domain. Upon arrival in Lyon, he chose to stay in the gardener's hut at the Visitandine monastery in that city. While there he suffered a stroke, from which he died on 28 December 1622.


Beneficiary. In the plural, destinatari it may often be translated as `the ones we are sent to' or something similar.


Devotion is distinguished from devotions as prayer is from prayers. Note its history in Salesian terms - a favoured term of St Francis de Sales with particular meaning, probably close to what today we would call 'apostolic charity'.

Diaconate (and Deacon)

From Latin Diaconus. In Greek, it means service. Today the permanent diaconate has been reinstated. There are a number of Salesian permanent deacons. But normally, for Salesians, it is the final stage before ordination to priesthood.


Stands for: Delegato Ispettoriale per l'Animazione Missionaria, and means: Provincial Delegate for Mission Animation

Dimissorial letters

Letter from Bishop or Major Superior to ordaining Bishop of candidate for ordination, giving the go-ahead for the ordination.

Director of novices

The term used in the Constitutions is 'Director of Novices', as this is the term used in the Code of Canon Law in English (Collins, 1983). In the Latin edition the term is novitiorum magister or 'master of novices' in English. Common parlance tends to continue to use this latter, or a variation of it (such as 'Novice Master').


More properly known as the General Directory: these items contain norms valid for the entire Congregation, on specific topics (e.g. the Formation Directory, otherwise known as the Ratio institutionis et studiorum - FSDB). There is also a directory at province level, known as a Provincial Directory.


The Italian term direttore, which Don Bosco applied to the leader of a (canonical) community is translated as 'director' in American English and 'rector' in British English.

Direzione Generale (Opere Don Bosco)

General Administration Works of Don Bosco. The official title for the General House (Generalate) in Rome, often shortened to Direzione Generale.

Disciples, The

Founded in India. In January 2009, the Rector Major and his Council recognised the institute as a member of the Salesian Family. Founded in India, the institute consists of two principal branches (men and women) having their own separate juridical structure. The institute has a President, who is elected by the General Assembly. He is assisted by his Council formed up of the General Coordinator and the respective General Councils of each of the branches. Like other secular institutes, they make the profession of the evangelical councils. The sisters are sent two by two mostly to the villages for their apostolate. They teach catechism, help in the parishes, run balwadis, etc. The brothers are sent to work mainly in the institutions. They are also working in many of the bishops' houses. They follow a simple life style based on the Gospel values and are ready to do any work given to them especially in the remote areas.


Beware false friend, `docile'. It usually means obedient, gentle, well-behaved.


Avoid `sweetness'. Usually means kindness, gentleness.


An acronym formed from Italian words meaning Salesian Mission Sunday. Now deprecated in favour of SMD, Salesian Missions Day (or Salesian Mission Day).


Father. Don Bosco preferred `don' as a personal reference (`sac.' or sacerdote is what he used in correspondence to sign off). The choice of don over padre is linked to the distinction in Italy between diocesan clergy who use don and religious priests who use padre. Italian often writes the term in lower case as `don'.

Don Bosco

Founder of the Society of St Francis de Sales, the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Salesian Cooperators Association, and inspirer of a vast movement of persons who in different ways work for the salvation of the young. (Cf C. 5 SDB Constitutions). Born at Castelnuovo d'Asti 14th August 1815, he was educated to faith and to a consistent practice of that faith by his mother, Mamma Margaret. At age 9 he had a dream which from then on he claimed gave him the direction for his life - the education of the young. By age 10 he was already gathering them for games and prayer. Ordained 1841 he took Da mihi animas caetera tolle as his life's motto. He developed a style and practice based on reason, religion and loving-kindness, known as the Preventive System and taught young people how to be reflective, to encounter Christ especially in one another. He educated them to faith, to a sacramental life and to practical charity and service. He died on 31st January 1888.

Don Bosco International DBI

Don Bosco International is an international NGO operating in accordance with Belgian law (AISBL: Association internationale sans but lucratif) with members who represent several Salesian institutions in Europe: the General Council in Rome, some Salesian provinces and some Salesian networks for young people in Europe.

Don Bosco Network DBN

Don Bosco Network is a worldwide federation of Salesian development NGOs founded in 2010 whose vision, mission and actions are based on the values and principles expressed by the Salesian tradition of solidarity with the poor.

Dream Post (or Pillar)

Built in 1929, this is on the western slope of the hillside about 20 metres from the Cottage where John Bosco lived as a child at the Becchi. It is a reminder of the famous dream at nine years of age, and features the work of artist Pietro Favaro, copied from the original kept in the Church of the Salesian Institute at Alassio.


In English this is either a medical doctor or someone with a doctorate as a university degree. In Italian it may be those, but may commonly also be applied out of courtesy - in which case it is best not translated at all in English.

Dynamic fidelity

The term comes from Evangelica Testificatio 1971. It is used in reference to being faithful to the founding charism but also faithful to contemporary circumstances.


East Asia-Oceania EAO

Salesian geographical region involving the following countries: Australia, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Fiji, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.

Ecclesiastical Assistant

The canonical term for the Salesian priest who is officially responsible for the Don Bosco Volunteers (DBV or VDB) or the Volunteers With Don Bosco (CDB).


Original Italian term employed by Don Bosco for the person whose task it is to administer the material goods of the community in dependence on the Direttore (Rector or Director). The term `economer', which is not an English word as such, is a loan calque, in linguistic terms (has borrowed the meaning from Italian, but also the word, using legitimate English word-forming procedures) but the end result is peculiarly 'Salesian' and may not be understood by the general public. Hence we have `Economer General', 'Provincial Economer', the first of which seems to be pretty much ingrained in Salesian discourse in English. Many communities in the English-speaking world use another term at local level such as administrator, treasurer, bursar.


The Grupo Edebé, formed from the initials EDB or Editorial Don Bosco in Spanish, is a consortium of 4 publishing houses in Spain, publishing in Spanish and in other languages used in Spain. It has twinning arrangements with publishers also in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Mexico, and is one of the largest publishing houses in Spain.


Be aware of a false friend here. The word is `publisher' not 'editor' in English.

Editrice S.D.B.

Simply a title applied by the General Administration of the Salesian Congregation (probably required by Italian law to denote a published item as non-commercial) to anything published under its name, e.g. materials for animation and government of the Congregation.

Education to the faith

The Salesian process of education to the faith was outlined in GC23: it achieves in practice a synthesis between education and evangelisation which is a feature of the Salesian education system; it presents a dynamic interrelationship between four elements/dimensions of the process - human maturity, encounter with Jesus Christ, belonging to the Church, commitment for the Kingdom.

Educative and Pastoral Community EPC

The first and fundamental element in realising Salesian Youth Ministry, the EPC is a community involving young people and adults, in a friendly, familiar atmosphere. The Salesian SDB community is regarded as 'the animating nucleus' of the EPC.

Educative and Pastoral Plan

A basis for planning and evaluating works chosen in line with the Congregation's basic options: oratories, youth centres, schools, centres for young workers, parishes, missions ... which involves objectives, methods, features with due regard to geographical and cultural differences.


When we find the term `educator' in Salesian discourse, and we find it often, we need to bear in mind that the concept in Italian (from which language most of the references have derived) is wider than in English. Whereas in English the concept has a + specialist feature (hence teacher, administrator of a school, someone who has studied the theory, etc.) in Italian educatore could be a parent, parish priest or other non-specialist in the field of education as such. A Salesian is an educator (and pastor) by dint of profession, not because of some particular study of the field, though in almost every instance this latter would eventually apply.


The complex of policies and activities inherent in the planning, putting into practice and evaluation of processes and products aimed at creating and strengthening communications ecosystems (cf. this term in its own right) in educational settings, be they face to face or virtual.

Elementi giuridici

Complete title in Italian is Elementi giuridici e Prassi Administrativa nel Governo dell'Ispettoria Juridical Elements and Administrative Praxis in Governing the Province.


Cf. Year Book.


Not to be confused with inculturation. Enculturation is the process by which a person learns the requirements of the culture by which he or she is surrounded, and acquires values and behaviours that are appropriate or necessary in that culture.


Apart from its general meaning, it has a specific meaning in Salesian discourse in reference to the Act of Entrustment to the Blessed Virgin, to be distinguished from the 'Act of consecration'.


Cf. Educative and Pastoral Community


Collection of letters.


Cf. Educative and Pastoral Plan


Team, from the French but widely used in Italian, including the accent. plural is équipes even in Italian.


Congress of Past Pupils from Europe.

Europe Central-North Region

A Salesian geographical region proposed by GC27 to replace an earlier configuration of European Provinces: comprising Provinces in North Europe and France-Belgium South.

Europe North

A Salesian geographical region until the 27th General Chapter, comprising all countries from Germany and Austria eastwards (in Europe), plus other associated areas (.e.g. Malta, Tunisia, Morocco ...)

Europe West

A Salesian geographical region until the 27th General Chapter, comprising France, Belgium South, Spain and Portugal

Evangelical councils

The more complete phrase encountered by Salesians in their texts is `the practice of the evangelical counsels', or `the profession of the evangelical counsels'. The term `evangelical counsels' is synonymous with the vows.

Evangelisation (evangelization)

The clearest understanding of evangelisation is to be found in Pope Paul VI's Evangelii Nunitiandi: "For the Church, evangelizing means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new …."


The situation of someone who, while remaining a member of the Institute, in fact lives outside it with permission from the competent authority, though with suspension of certain rights and duties.

Exercise for a Happy Death

A monthly practice common to the spirituality of Don Bosco's time, which involved a serious examination of conscience with the thought that this could be the last opportunity before death. These days it has become the regular monthly recollection for Salesian communities.

Extern Salesian

The term is of historical interest, as Don Bosco looked for ways to build more inclusive communities following his spirit. He was not permitted to achieve this in the way he originally expressed it in his early Constiotutions:"Any person, even one living in the world, in one's house, in the bosom of one's family, can belong to this society ... He takes no vows, but shall try to practise those portions of the present rule that are compatible with his age and condition".

Extraordinary visitation

A six yearly visit to a Province arranged by the Rector Major (a visit he may make personally) and normally assigned to a regional or other councillor to conduct in his name. The delegated 'visitor' has the delegated power of jurisdiction required by the nature of the visit.


False friends

There can be many kinds of friends in Italian: you can have amici del cuore (close friends), amici fraterni (fraternal friends), amici per la pelle (best friends), but watch out for falsi amici (false friends)! Since Italian is more Latinate than English, and bearing in mind the question of register (Latin = educated, French = upper-class and exotic, German = down-to-earth), the translator has to be very much on guard: `veracity' v. `truth', `lateral' v. `side, 'verdant' v. `green' etc. It goes well beyond a question of register however. There are so many `false friends', using this as a generic term here to cover false cognates and some phrases as well, that can waylay us when translating from Italian to English. The following are all traps: infatti = `in fact' when it really means `indeed'; attualmente used to mean `actually' when it means `currently'; simpatico = `sympathetic' where it really mean `pleasant, friendly'; secondo me = `according to me', but would be better as `in my opinion': conoscere = `to know' when in the context of `to meet' (for the first time)'; libreria = `library', but is really a bookshop; lettura = `lecture' when it means `reading'; conferenza = `conference' when it is really used to mean 'lecture, talk'; morbido = `morbid' when it means `soft'; sensible = `sensible' when it really means `sensitive'; eventuale, eventualmente = `eventual' or 'eventually' when it means `possible' or 'likely'; assistere = `assist' when it means `attend' or even 'be witness to'; controllo = `control' when it means 'check'. There are many, many more! A typical Salesian list might include: carta, coerenza, collaboratore, collegio, colloquio, colonia, compagno, condizione, docile, economo, editore, emarginati, esercizi spirituali, fisionomia, formazione, fragilità, geniale, giaculatoria, globale, incaricato, integrare, interessare, irrinunciabile, itinerario, lettorato, liminalità, linguaggio, missionario, monsignore, operativo, orfano, organico, organismi, passività pastorale, paternità, patrimonio, pedagogia, pietà presbiterio, presidenza, preventività procura, professionale, profetico, progetto, promozione, protocollo, radiografia, regolamento, responsabile maggiore, ricoverato, rilanciare, rttorato, santuario, scusa, sessennio, sinergia, territorio, vicario, volontariato.

Family spirit

The Salesian style of life which had its origins firstly at the Becchi and then especially at Valdocco from the time Don Bosco brought his mother there to be with him in his work for poor children.

Festive oratory

Oratory gathering on feast days, meaning Sundays and holy days.

Filippi field

Probably in February 1846 Don Bosco and Fr Borel rented a nearby field belonging to the Filippi brothers, to gather the growing number of boys but also to avoid further eviction from public land or because they were disturbing private dwellers. The field was to the east of casa Moretta, had a hedge around it and an old shed where they could keep items used for games.


Good actions, small act of sacrifice, but also, little (usually exhortative, edifying) stories. The term has a range of meanings in Salesian use - probably today, the last of the three meanings, little stories, is the most common. Fioretti salesiani are the kinds of little examples, brief personal edifying stories.


Be aware of a possible false friend here. The word is less likely to be `physiognomy' and more likely to be `special character, shape'.


Collected statistics of Salesian personnel as at 31 December every year.


Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice. Cf. Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

Fondo Don Bosco

The section of the Central Salesian Archives (ASC) relating to Don Bosco.

Fondo di solidarietà del Rettor Maggiore

Rector Major's solidarity fund. Monies usually sent to The Centre by the provinces and disbursed according to need, directly by the Rector Major (though after hearing from the province where the request comes from).


The Fondazione DON BOSCO NEL MONDO, is the publishers for the Italian Bollettino Salesiano, and the body authorised to receive offerings addressed to the Direzione Generale Opere Don Bosco account. Its purpose is to promote, support development of Salesian Works and Missions around the world as a charitable fund.

Formal education

Learning which takes place in a special institutional context, for example instructional, and leads to some kind of certification. In terms of content it refers to the disciplines involved.


Salesian formation takes its starting points from both the individual human being involved, and the project which is the Salesian mission as passed on to us by Don Bosco. Seen this way Salesian formation continues the work of the founder, and his spiritual fatherhood, fosters fidelity to the unity of the charism and commitment to its further development, and places the gifts of nature and grace in a balanced perspective. Don Bosco is the model (SDB Constitution 97 makes it clear that Don Bosco is a 'sure guide') but we also remind ourselves (C. 96) that Jesus too 'called his Apostles individually to be with him'). The chief agent of formation is always the individual being formed, and his life experience which he learns from. The method of formation is living and working for the common mission. A valid plan of life is essential for all this to happen. Salesian Formation is usually understood as initial, (period of temporary vows) specific (priest or brother), ongoing (for all of one's Salesian life.


Be aware of a possible false friend here. The word, especially in an educational context, might well mean `education' rather than `formation'.

Frame of reference

Apart from its obvious general meaning, it is applied to an outline of the philosophy and theology behind key Salesian sectors, such as the Youth Ministry Frame of reference, or the Missions Frame of reference, or the Salesian Social Communications System.


A grape type found around Monferrato and especially in the area around Castenuovo Don Bosco.

Friendly Societies

The term is of historical interest. In 18th and 19th centuries in context of Don Bosco's Piedmont, Catholic secret societies generally dedicated to the defence of the Catholic faith and the institutional Church sprung up, at first chiefly through the spreading of good books. Don Bosco wanted to avoid his fledgling Society being confused with these, and others or a more anti-Catholic nature.

Friendly talk

A regular talk or chat between a confrere and his Rector. What Salesians once called the rendiconto or `manifestation' and today, in Italian, known as the colloquio

Friends of Don Bosco

Unofficial grouping to cover those who sympathise with and act closely according to Salesian principles (and in collaboration with Salesians) but who are not official members of the Salesian Family.

Fuga mundi

Latin for `flight from the world'. A phrase used in a certain kind of spirituality which sees the world as a place to avoid.


Generala, the

A `modern' correction centre for juveniles built in 1845 as part of King Charles Albert's reforms. It was located some 10 miles south west of Turin, on the road to the little town of Stupinigi.

General Administration

The translation of Direzione generale, fundamentally made up of personnel from the Blessed Michael Rua Community of the Generalate in Rome, whose specific function is to assist, in various forms of service, the Rector Major with his council in their mission of unity and animation of the Congregation and the Salesian Family (taken from the Directory of the Bl. Michael Rua Community).

General Chapter

The principal sign of the Congregation's unity in diversity. It has supreme authority over the Society and exercises this in accordance with law. It can lay down laws for the whole Society, treat matters of great importance, elect the Rector Major and members of the General Council.

General Council

The group which cooperates with the Rector Major in the animation and government of the Congregation (C. 130)

General House, Generalate

House directly dependent on the Rector Major, based in Rome.


This word means clever, intelligent, shrewd ... and not `genial'. It is a very common `false friend' in translation.


We do not translate this with the word that appears to be most obvious! `invocation' or `aspiration', or `brief prayers' sounds much better today.


From giovani exallieve and refers to young past pupils. Adopted as a term in Europe and Latin America.


In the Casati school reform (1859) the five-year course of secondary studies was called ginnasio. In time the term came to designate middle school. Nowadays it is less in use. Divided into a lower section of three years and an upper section of two years, ending with a comprehensive examination and diploma (licenza).

Giovane provveduto

Cf. Companion of Youth.


Beware of a possible false friend here: rather than `global' it may be `overall', `total' or similar.

Glory of God and the salvation of souls

The glory of God and the salvation of souls was the oft-repeated phrase of Don Bosco, expressing the deepest purpose of his mission.

Good Christians and upright citizens

Translation of the phrase buon cristiano e onesto cittadino. A shorthand phrase used by Don Bosco to represent his educational manifesto, traditional in flavour but ever open to new interpretation.


A practice Don Bosco took from his mother, when she came to stay with him at the Oratory. Today, the term is exended to cover other situations; it may well be the first word of the day, therefore a `Good Morning', or `Good Morning Talk'. By Don Bosco's own definition, the Goodnight was the "key to good moral conduct, to the good running of the house, and to success in the work of education."

Grace of unity

The term finds its basis in the Special General Chapter, and while not used as such in the Constitutions, takes its notion from the phrase in C. 21 "admiring in him [Don Bosco] a splendid blending of grace and nature."

Grand Chancellor

The highest authority in a pontifical university, inasmuch as he is delegated by the Pope. It is usually the bishop of the city where the university is located, but in the case of the Salesian Pontifical University (UPS) in Rome, the Rector Major is always the Grand Chancellor.



The life and works of the saints, from a literary and scientific perspective.


A mission gathering (of young people) for the purposes of inspiring people to missionary activity. Remains in its original Swahili form. Used by Salesians since 1993 to refer to a missionary gathering, usually of young people, for mission animation. Normally capitalised in English since it refers to an event.

Hill of Beatitudes

When Pope John Paul beatified Laura Vicuña in 1998, he named the hill outside the Basilica of Don Bosco as the Hill of Youthful Beatitudes.

Historical outline

Translation of Cenno storico. Document of an official nature bearing the date 1854, wherein Don Bosco describes the beginnings of the Oratory and the kind of young people who first drew his attention and his commitment.

Historical outlines

Translation of Cenni storici. Document of an official nature written by Don Bosco, bearing the date 1862, wherein he describes the beginnings of the Oratory and the kind of young people who first drew his attention and his commitment. The Cenno storico and the Cenni storici are two separate items with two separate dates.

Home attached to the Oratory

Translation of Casa annessa. House at the Oratory which began as a shelter for homeless youngsters then later for youngsters working at a trade in the workshops at the Oratory; later a boarding school.

House Council

Cf. Local council

Humanism (Salesian humanism)

Salesians readily recognise the Christian humanism of Francis de Sales and of Don Bosco with its optimism, openness to the world, but its equally strong emphasis on charity toward human beings. Salesian humanism is a term that implies everything positive in the life of people, in things, in history.

Human rights

As Salesians education to human rights, especially those of children, is a privileged way of bringing about, in various contexts, a commitment to prevention, holistic human development, building up a more equitable world, a more just and healthy world. the language of human rights also allows for dialogue about and introduction of our pedagogy in the different cultures around the world.


I Becchi

The Becchi. The hamlet where Don Bosco was born and grew up, until he moved to Chieri for his late primary and secondary school studies.


Means the tendency to a bourgeouis lifestyle but might be best rendered in English as a tendency to a soft and easy lifestyle, which is what it intends to say.


The transfer of a cleric to a diocese, prelature or congregation.


Italian term used in reference to someone in charge, which is how it should be translated in English: person in charge, or `the one in charge', rather than as in-charge used as a noun, which is merely adjusting the Italian word and its meaning to English (A calque, in linguistic terms).


The integration of Christian faith in human culture(s). Not to be confused with `enculturation'.

Initial formation

A process of development at the beginning of consecrated life which passes through every stage of personal maturity - from the psychological and spiritual to the theological and pastoral.

Initial (or first) proclamation

Primary proclamation is addressed to non-believers and those living in religious indifference. Its functions are to proclaim the Gospel and to call to conversion. It is the beginning of a process aimed establishing relationships or stirring up the mind and heart to be interested in knowing Jesus Christ and, in the final analysis, have faith in him. It is followed eventually by kerygmatic proclamation (Aparecida Conference, Brazil) which refers to the content of proclamation, meaning the core of the Christian faith.


Probably best rendered as `holistic'. The meaning of the Italian integrale is slightly different to the word `integral' in English, the latter implying that something is `essential' to something, an integral part of. It can also mean that in Italian, but may often be found in its sense of holistic, all-round, complete.


A Salesian geographical region comprising Canada, the U.S., countries of Central America, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Peru


Be aware of a false friend here. The word does not so much mean `to interest oneself in' as `to be involved, to be concerned with'.

Inter gentes

Trans: among the peoples. The FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops Conference) Fifth Plenary Assembly defined mission in Asia as "being with the people, responding to their needs, with sensitiveness to the presence of God in cultures and other religious traditions, and witnessing to the values of God's kingdom through presence, solidarity, sharing and word".


Be aware of a false friend here. The word does not so mean `unrenounceable' but `essential, inalienable'.


Translated as `Provincial' in English, rather than as `Inspector'. According to Don Bosco's own explanation: "The Pious Society was divided into inspectorates in compliance with Chapter 9, Article 17 of our Constitutions, which reads: 'If need arises, the Rector major, with the consent of the Superior Chapter, shall appoint Visitors, and shall delegate to them a certain amount of responsibility over a stated number of houses, whenever their distance and number may require it. Such Visitors or Inspectors shall act in place of the Rector Major...." 1874 approved Constitutions).


Istituto Storico Salesiano. Cf. Salesian Historical Institute

Italy-Middle East

A Salesian geographical region until the 27th General Chapter comprising Italy and Middle Eastern countries such as Israel, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and other countries associated wuth provinces in this region (e.g. Lithuania)


Not easy to translate except in context. Very often it implies a set of strategies to achieve a goal - so `set of strategies' will often fit. Otherwise, `pathway', possibly `curriculum'. It all depends.


Cf. Salesian Institutes for Higher Education

Iuvenum Patris

`Father of the Young'. Letter of Pope John Paul II to Salesians, Salesian Family, youth, Christian educators on occasion of 1988 centenary of Don Bosco's death.


Jovenes y Desarollo

Young people and development. The Jóvenes y Desarrollo Foundation is a Development NGO commtited to the education of youth in underdeveloped countries through cooperation projects aimed at holistic formation. It came into being as an association in 1988 through the initiative of a group of Spanish Salesian Past Pupils involved in human development.

John the Juggler, monument to

To be found in the south-east corner at the Becchi, between the Graglia house and the farming museum. It recalls John Bosco as a child, attracting his young listeners which his acrobatic and magic skills, while catechising them.



cf. loving kindness


Lay, lay person, laity

The identity of the Christian without any further additions. That which pertains to the Christian people. In the 19th century and for a good part of the 20th, throughout the Western world, the concept of 'lay' had a strong accusatory character in reference to Church and religious symbols. This 'lay' tendency was especially marked in France and is still very much present in the French legal system and culture. Within the ecclesiastical context, 'lay' includes women and men religious who are not priests (not part of the hierarchical structure, therefore). In this case it is a positive concept, and enables us to speak of lay consecrated, the layperson who has marked him or herself in relation to God by a public or ritual act (consecration). It is worthy of note that this term was used by DB himself, e.g. in the first constitutional text 1858 on the scope of the society. It predates the term coadjutor and in fact in that text is more a reference to what DB called his salesiani esterni (lay people living in the world with his spirit) than it is to coadjutors.

Lectio divina

The Latin term for "holy reading". Originally it was the reading of the Bible mainly among the monks, without scientific intention, but spiritual. Today it is advocated as a practice amongst the faithful generally, a way of savouring the Word of God through meditation and contemplation, leading to action.

Le Amicizie

Friendly societies of the 18th and 19th centuries. With influence in the social context in which Don Bosco grew up and exercised his ministry. They were secret societies generally dedicated to the defence of the Church (faith and institution). In Don Bosco's own time they were less secret and more pastorally oriented.


Be aware of a false friend here. The word does not mean `lectorate', but 'Ministry of Reader'.

Letture Cattoliche

Cf. Catholic Readings.

Libellus supplex

Part of the process for beatification and canonisation. The Libellus is the written request with which the postulator, in the name of the petitioner, officially asks the competent Bishop to initiate the cause on the virtues or the martydrom of a Servant of God.


High school.


Be aware of a possible false friend here. In context it can sometimes mean, 'expression, vocabulary' rather than `language'. It is also true that the Italian linguaggio has rather broader extension than it usually does in English, hence music, theatre are readily referred to as linguaggi.

Liturgy of the Hours

Also known as the Prayer of the Church or the Breviary (older term). Liturgical celebration prepared by the Church to sanctify the passage of time by means of praise and supplication. For this it is divided into "hours", which correspond to different times of the day or night.

Local council

Sometimes known as House Council. "In every local community there shall be a council composed of confreres in perpetual vows and no longer in initial formation, in number proportional to the number of confreres and to the requirements of their activities".


The Logo of the Direzione generale (not to be confused with the Salesian stemma or coat of arms) has now been largely adopted by Salesians around the world. It is a combination of the German and Brazilian Salesian logo. Understandably, those two countries use their own.

Loving kindness

English translation of amorevolezza. Supreme principle and soul of Don Bosco's preventive method; demonstrated love is effective and affective, attested to by deeds which can be perceived.

Luoghi salesiani

Salesian places, where Don Bosco was born and lived and worked.



The Virgin Mary. It is common in Salesian parlance to speak of Don Bosco's Madonna.


Indicates those in the Church who have the task of teaching correct doctrine: Pope and bishops (and in this case the term most likely commences with a capital `M'). The term is also used in a more restricted sense of the Salesian magisterium, indicating the official documentation of teaching of the Congregation.

Major superior

The term is a canonical one pertaining especially to government of a juridical circumscription C.620. Also known as Religious Ordinary (C. 134,1) because he enjoys the 'ordinary' power of jurisdiction and government in the internal and external forum over members and communities in matters established by law. A Provincial is a major superior.

Mama Margaret

Don Bosco's mother, and regarded as the originator of the Salesian family spirit. It is important not to generalise the term family spirit which each Congregation lays claim to, but to retain the historical individuality of the Salesian family spirit as experienced with Mamma Margaret at Valdocco, as it is one of the fundamentals behind loving kindness in the Preventive System.

Marian Circle

A commemorative gathering of the Salesian Family, involving a Hail Mary together on 8 December in memory of the `founding' event of the Salesian Congregation, as explained by Don Bosco himself - his encounter with a certain Bartholomew Garelli in the sacristy of the Church of St Francis of Assisi in Turin, where he invited him to begin his catechism lessons. The description of this occasion in the Biographical Memoirs tells us that Don Bosco began with a silent but fervent prayer to Mary that she might help him save this boy's soul.

Mary Mazzarello

Complete name: Maria Domenica Mazzarello. Co-foundress of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians with Don Bosco.

Mary Help of Christians

Don Bosco's personal devotion to Mary was solidly founded on the Church's traditional Mariology (Mother of God/Christ, Theotokos) and on traditional popular devotion as simply Our Lady (the Madonna). His devotion to Mary under particular titles, including Immaculate Conception and Help of Christians, appears as an aspect of his perception of Mary's basic presence in the Church. However, his devotion to and use of the term 'Help of Christians' came later - after 1860. It would seem that it was the apparition and miraculous events of Spoleto 1862 that precipitated his interest and use of the term. Don Bosco's narration of his dream of the Two Columns (May 30 1862) seems clearly connected with the event - one of the columns bears the inscription `Help of Christians'. This, along with Spoleto, was tied to political, revolutionary and anticlerical events in Italy. In 1868 Don Bosco indicated that there was "a very special reason why the Church in recent times wished to invoke Mary as Help of Christians."

Mediterranean Region

Region proposed by GC27 to replace an earlier configuration involving Europe and the Middle East: made up of the Provinces of Italy, Middle East, Portugal, Spain.

Memorie Biografiche

Cf. Biographical Memoirs.

Memoirs of the Oratory (MO)

Written by Don Bosco, covering three decades of his life, and in a sense, unfinished. "Therefore I am now putting into writing those confidential details that may somehow serve as a light or be of use to the work which Divine Providence has entrusted to the Society of St Francis de Sales....Now what purpose can this chronicle serve? It will be a record to help people overcome problems that may come in the future by learning from the past. It will serve to make known how God himself has always been our guide. It will give my sons some entertainment to be able to read about their father's adventures..." (Don Bosco, in his preface to the MO).


The carrying out of an ecclesial mission according to a recognised charism, approved and sanctioned by the Church for the building up of the Body of Christ. Ministry is realised through different tasks but without being identified with them. Teaching or catechesis are not the same as Salesian Youth Ministry, for example, though Salesian youth ministry may well involve teaching and catechesis.

Missionary expedition

An unbroken Salesian tradition every year since 1875, when Don Bosco sent the first missionary expedition to Argentina, led by the then Father and later Cardinal John Cagliero.

Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians MSMHC

Religious Congregation of Pontifical Right, founded by Bishop Stephen Ferrando SDB in North East India in 1942. "The Congregation devotes itself firstly and especially to the missionary apostolate, therefore evangelization and religious education, especially of women and children from the villages will always be a priority amongst the apostolic and charitable tasks of the Missionary Sisters".


Be aware of a possible false friend here. In Italian the word is both a noun and an adjective. You need to determine which to render it corretly in English, and it may even be rendered as `mission' (used as an adjective).


The fundamental meaning of 'mission' comes from its Latin root, missio or `sending', and even while this would have been appreciated by Don Bosco in his time, the only way he would have understood the term would have been in the sense we so often find him referring to it - foreign missions, activity to convert benighted savages, such was theological understanding of the day. After the Second Vatican Council the Church came to appreciate mission and missions as something to be seen within the mystery of the Church. Mission today is now further specified by speaking of ad gentes (to the people (the old foreign missions) or inter gentes (the idea of inculturation of faith in another culture).

Mission office

"To support our missionary activity" is the briefest and most simple partial definition found in the Salesian Regulations (R. 24). For the rest there is no clear definition but a number of descriptions are available. Today there is a variety of names for a variety of bodies along these lines. A special meeting of Mission Offices in 2013 in Bonn came up with this definition: The MO is an entity, juridical or otherwise, instituted and owned by the Salesian Provincial Community (C.44, C.58 Salesian Constitutions), fully at the service of the Salesian Charism. It facilitates the spreading of the Gospel message in society, raising interest in the Salesian Mission worldwide, and through different forms of fund raising helps to sustain Salesian ministry, vocation and formation where this is most needed.

Mission territory

(canonical) mission territory: a geographical territory where local clergy and hierarchy are not yet established or insufficient, therefore dependent on the Congregation `Propaganda Fidei' (Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples)


Missions are those "particular undertakings by which the heralds of the Gospel, sent out by the Church and going forth into the whole world, carry out the task of preaching the Gospel and planting the Church among peoples or groups who do not yet believe in Christ. . . . The proper purpose of this missionary activity is evangelization". (Ad Gentes, no. 6).

Moglia farm and Moncucco

In February 1828, one of the most critical times in financial terms but also because the problems with Anthony (as the older brother he felt responsibility for managing the family's affairs), Mama Margaret thought it best to send John away from home for a while. Given the failed effort to do this at the Càmpora farm in Buttigliera, she sent him off again in the direction of Mondonio and Moncucco to find work. Perhaps the Moglias, since they knew him and had good fertile land, would accept him. And in fact they dud. The hamlet was well located between Moncucco and Mombello. Louis, who was the head of the family, had married Dorothy Filippello from Castelnuovo and they had two children: Catherine, five and George, three. The uncles, John and Joseph, lived with them and their sisters Anna and Teresa, who were 18 and 15 respectively. In the early days of November 1829 his uncle Michael Occhiena visited. He saw his nephew and also noted how keen he was to continue with studies, so he encouraged him to come back to the Becchi and said he would help ease any tensions with Anthony, and help him. That's how John came to leave the Moglia farm. This providential invitation from his uncle was what led to the encounter, a few days, later, with Fr Calosso on the road from Buttigliera.


2 kilometres from Castelnuovo, on the road to Gallareto and Montechiaro, 4 kms from Morialdo if we take the road across the hill, we come across Mondonio, the village where Dominic Savio died on 9 March 1857.


Bishop (and sometimes, Monsignor). In English ecclesiastical terminology a monsignor is not a bishop but a domestic prelate. It is better, therefore, not to confuse the terms and to refer to a bishop as a bishop not as a Monsignor.

Morialdo (Murialdo)

A small village 2 kms further on along the top of the hill from the Becchi. It is connected with people who played a major role in Don Bosco's life: Fr Calosso, who was the chaplain at St Peter's church there. Fr Cafasso, whom he met as a young cleric on a village feast day. Dominic Savio, who was living there at the time he was introduced to Don Bosco.

Mortuary letter

A letter, usually written by the Rector of the community or on some occasions by the Provincial, written after a confrere has died, providing the salient facts of his life and mission.

Mulini Dora, Molassi

The site of the St Martin's Chapel, one of the early spots for the wandering oratory. The Mulini Dora or Molassi are not there today. It was a group of buildings where they ground wheat, but also pressed olives and prepared hemp. There were also communal ovens for baking bread.

Mutual Aid Association

Of historical interest from Don Bosco's time at the Oratory in Valdocco. An association of working youngsters he established within the Sodality of St Aloysius as insurance against temporary unemployment or sickness on the part of his working boys.


The term hardly needs definition. It is included here to highlight the fact that Salesians in many provinces around the world have been responsible for preserving the culture in this way. In terms of Salesian origins, some of the best known Salesian museums are the ethnological and missionary museum and the farming museum at Colle Don Bosco, another at Valsalice with a magnificent mineral collection from Piedmont, and so on.

Mutuae relationes

Normally left in its Latin form, this document was published in 1978, May 14th, as a joint publication of two Vatican Congregations or departments - the one for religious life and the one for Bishops. It deals with the relationships desired between Bishops and Religious.

Mystique, mystical approach, mystics

There has been heightened interest in this aspect of consecrated life in recent times. It implies that the da mihi animasis lived every inch of the way to its extreme consequences - an apostolic life permeated with the mystique of a bloodless martyrdom so as to truly conform to Christ in total self-donation for the sake of the Kingdom.



A list of persons who have died within a certain period of time, in the case of the Salesians, from 1859 onwards.

New evangelisation

The term was first coined at the Puebla Conference 1979 but given impetus by Pope John Paul II. In 1985 he applied it particularly to Europe. He said that in Europe's new situation the Church "is called to propose a new evangelisation, a creative synthesis between the Gospel and life". The Gospel leaven has not weakened nor is Europe's womb dead. New evangelisation in Europe looks forward without losing its historical memory. One of the great insistences of John Paul II in relation to Europe was that it preserve its Christian and Catholic roots, and this is why it needed a new evangelisation. But it has much woder extension, including in the same Pope's references. By new evangelisation he meant a pastoral project of the whole Church to transform cultures in the light of the Gospel, thus building what he called "a civilisation of love".

New frontiers

The term came to particular prominence in reference to AGC390, Fr Chávez' letter on Social Communications (With the Courage of Don Bosco on the New Frontiers of Social Communication). The term begins its Salesian life, it seems, in 1989 with a reference from Fr Viganò in the context of Christifideles Laici and `new evangelisation'. Pope JPII refers to these new frontiers when apressing GC23 in 1990, and Fr Viganò continues to refer to it. Fr Vecchi broadens it out in one sense with nuove frontiere giovanili (new youth frontiers) but in another sense begins to direct it to the Salesian mission. This is where it begins a `new life' - and GC25 further develops the term in a `mission' context. Then Fr Chávez begins to look at sectors of the mission - and one in particular, social communications. Finally he chose it as one of the challenges of the Congregation to be discussed at GC26. Here it is closely tied to the Salesian mission.

Nihil obstat

Declaration by the Holy See that it has no objection to proceeding with the Diocesan Inquiry into the cause of beatification and canonisation of a Catholic.

Non-formal education

Any kind of volunteer educational activity occurring outside the school setting; it may be offered in the work place, in group discussions, or by taking part in activities and projects organised in civil society.


Non Government Organisation. The diversity of NGOs strains any simple definition. They include many groups and institutions that are entirely or largely independent of government and that have primarily humanitarian or cooperative rather than commercial objectives. They are private agencies in industrial countries that support international development; indigenous groups organized regionally or nationally; and member-groups in villages. NGOs include charitable and religious associations that mobilize private funds for development, distribute food and family planning services and promote community organization. They also include independent cooperatives, community associations, water-user societies, women's groups and pastoral associations. Citizen Groups that raise awareness and influence policy are also NGOs. There are many Salesian and Salesian-inspired NGOs.


Nine days of private or public devotion to obtain some special grace.


The novitiate is the beginning of the Salesian religious experience in following Christ. (SDB Constitution 110). `novitiate' may also refer to the place where this experience takes place.



Long before DB used this word in terms of a religious vow, he was using it in the context of the early Oratory for his boys. The vow of obedience comes first in Don Bosco's enumeration of the three vows. It has pride of place in the Dream of the Ten Diamonds. "In the Congregation", Don Bosco said "obedience is everything".


Name day. In most English-speaking countries the person's birthday is celebrated. In Italy and other Catholic countries (or formerly so) the name day or day of the Saint one is named after is celebrated.

Ongoing formation

The natural and essential continuation of the process experienced in initial formation.


Be aware of a possible false friend here. It may be better translated as `practical, working'.

Opere edite

Published works (of Don Bosco). Published in 1877 by Don Bosco, this booklet (5" x3.5", 59 pages, counting title page and frontispiece) contains the Regulations of the Oratory of St Francis de Sales fpr the Externs. In more recent times there has been the publication of Opere Inedite, Don Bosco's Unpublished Works, by the ISS .

Oratorian heart

A part of common Salesian parlance since Fr Viganò or more correctly since GC21. In reference to the original style of Don Bosco at the Oratory in Valdocco.


As defined in classic Salesian terms: "a home, a school a church and a playground". The prototype of every Salesian work.

Oratory criterion

Fundamental criterion (or criteria) drawn from the Oratory experience and codified in C. 40.

Oratory of St Francis de Sales

The name given to the gathering of boys who flocked to the Valdocco site on Sundays for church services, recreation and religious instruction. The same name designates `the Home attached to the Oratory of St Francis of Sales' for boarders (apprentices and students). The Home is often simply referred to as `the Oratory'.


Be aware of a possible false friend here. It may almost certianly mean a group or entity, or body (in an organisational sense) rather than `organism'.

Our Lady of the Rosary chapel, the Becchi

A small room in Joseph Bosco's house which he gave over to use for a chapel and which Don Bosco dedicated to Our lady of the Rosary (1848). It was a focal point for the summer holidays, Autumn Walks, and the clothing with the cassock of Michael Rua and Joseph Rocchietti. Almost certainly Dominic Savio prayed there at the time of his first meeting with Don Bosco (1854).

OPP Overall Provincial Plan

Translates Progetto organico ispettoriale and in literal terms would be `organic' provincial plan, but this is not a preferred translation in English. Essentially a strategic plan for the province.



Project of Apostolic Life: official document of the Salesian Cooperators contain the Statutes and Regulations.


A parish is a certain community of Christ's faithful stably established within a particular Church, whose pastoral care, under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, is entrusted to a parish priest as its proper pastor.

Particular Church

There are two kinds of particular Churches, 1. Local particular Churches. A diocese is the most familiar form of such local particular Churches, but there are other forms, including that of a territorial abbacy, an apostolic vicariate and an apostolic prefecture: "Particular Churches, in which and from which the one and only Catholic Church exists, are principally dioceses. Unless the contrary is clear, the following are equivalent to a diocese: a territorial prelature, a territorial abbacy, a vicariate apostolic, a prefecture apostolic and a permanently established apostolic administration."[Canon 638] 2. Autonomous particular Churches, also known as "Sui Iuris Churches". These are aggregations of local particular Churches that share a specific liturgical, theological and canonical tradition. They have also been called "particular Churches or rites".[Orientalium ecclesiarum, 2] The largest such autonomous particular Church is the Latin Rite. The others are referred to collectively as the Eastern Catholic Churches. The larger Eastern Catholic Churches are headed by a bishop who has the title and rank of patriarch or major archbishop.


The central idea expressed by GC25, then, finds development in a gamut of repeated phrases in the RM's public discourse up to the year 2006: it is largely a `passion of' and a 'passion for', or passsion + adjective - for the world, for God's holiness, for Christ, for men (people), for our mission; of Don Bosco, of (St) Paul; educational passion, Gospel passion, pedagogical passion, intense passion.

Particular law of the Society

Based on the Church's universal law, it is made up of the following: the Constitutions, the General Regulations, the Deliberations of General Chapters, the General Directories (which includes the Ratio, the Provincial Directories and other Provincial Chapter deliberations.

Pastoral animation setting

Refers to the multiple activities or educative and pastoral arrangements to be found across all our works and the more traditional Sectors (from Salesian Youth Ministry Framework 2013).

Pastoral or activity sector

Refers to the educational and pastoral structures in which the Salesian mission is carried out (from Salesian Youth Ministry Framework 2013).

Pastoral charity

An apostolic impetus that makes us seek souls and serve God alone.

Pastoral Institute

Translation of Convitto ecclesiastico. A specific reference to the pastoral institute frequented by Don Bosco in Turin after his ordination.

Past Pupils (of Don Bosco)

Originally boys who frequented the Oratory at Valdocco in Don Bosco's time, hence 'Past Pupils of Don Bosco' is the complete term, still today.


Be aware of a possible false friend here. Rather than `paternity' it means `fatherliness'.


The PDO (Planning and Development Office) is an entity, juridical or otherwise, instituted and owned by the Salesian Provincial Community (C.44, C.58 Salesian Constitutions), fully at the service of the Salesian charism in the province. It participates in the restructuring, re-shaping and re-dimensioning of the Salesian works. It serves as a link, a bridge, between the consecrated Salesians and civil society in the work of promoting youth development and empowerment, justice, and holistic human development. It is recognized in the province's Directory with due approval of the Provincial Chapter. (As defined at a meeting of Salesian PDOs in Hyderabad in 2011).


The PDO (Planning and Development Office) is an entity, juridical or otherwise, instituted and owned by the Salesian Provincial Community (C.44, C.58 Salesian Constitutions), fully at the service of the Salesian charism in the provinceWhile the term clearly means `pedagogy', there is a need for some caution when translating this word since it is more widely in use in Italian, especially in its derivatives, than in English. Frequently in English, pedagogia can be rendered by `education'. In Italian and for DB pedagogy was not just formal instruction or theory of education, both of which it tends to be in English, but the entire process involving home, school, Church etc.


Progetto educativo pastorale salesianoCf. Educative and Pastoral Plan.

Personal Plan of Life

A way of bringing together one's desires, energies and values in a personal project of life, in which one assumes responsibility for one's growth and lives to the full the deepest motivations of one's vocation.

Personal media

An emerging digital communications media, incorporating interactivity in its design, and allowing users not only to consume media products, but also to create them, (Shiregu Miyagawa, professor of linguistics and communication at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).


Religious faith and devotion, expressed in prayer, the sacramental life and religious practices.

Pious Society (of St Francis de Sales).

Don Bosco used add in reference to 'Pious Society' to make it clear that his 'society' was not one of political or even of secret leanings, but a society interested only in good. The Superior Chapter in 1925 decided that Pia (Pious) would be attached only to the Pia Unione dei Cooperatori Salesiani (Pious Union of Salesian Cooperators). This latter too is now a deprecated term. Don Bosco had originally employed the `Pious' reference in a context where a `Society' was often secret, political and often if not usually anticlerical. By 1925 it was considered that this context no longer applied and that the term 'Society' was not in danger of misinterpretation.

Planning mentality

A progressive process towards concrete and verifiable objectives, with clear options regarding priorities and orders of sequence.


Translation of cortile. As it functioned at the Oratory, one of Don Bosco's original creations: large enough to allow a great number of young people to take part in games.


Progetto Organico Ispettoriale.Cf. Organic Provincial Plan

Pontificio Ateneo Salesiano PAS

Salesian Pontifical Athenaeum, an earlier name for what is now the Salesian Pontifical University, UPS.

Poor and abandoned

An expression typical of Don Bosco which refers to any kind of poverty: physical, economic, spiritual cultural, at its broadest. They may be young people up to 25 years of age, but mostly between 12-20. In fact, Don Bosco's definitive vocational option.


The stage where the newly professed Salesian strengthens his own vocational growth and gets ready for practical training, gradually integrating faith, culture and life through a deeper understanding of the experience of religious life and Don Bosco's spirit, and an appropriate philosophical, pedagogical and catechetical preparation in dialogue with culture.


Not an official term in the Salesian Ratio but some provinces designate the advanced stage within the pre-novitiate (which is an official term) as postulancy, and even have two stages, that of pre-postulancy and postulancy, e.g. in the Philippines.


The person who officially petitions the competent Church authority to initiate and conduct the process of beatification and canonisation. In the case of the Salesians, the Postulator General, assisted by a Vice Postulator for a cause.


An evangelical counsel, thus `evangelical poverty'.

Practical Training

The stage of vital and intense coming to grips with Salesian activity, brought about within pastoral and educative experience, which helps the confrere to mature in his Salesian vocation and to ascertain his vocational suitability for perpetual profession.


We speak of personal and community prayer, not strictly distinguishing the two but noting that one arises from the other. We speak also of Salesian prayer, synonymous with apostolic prayer, with the chief reference points being St Francis of Sales and Don Bosco. Don Bosco was different to many Saints in this regard - his prayer was profound but in terms of formal prayer, appeared minimal. This became a point of contention during the process of canonisation. It is also a feature of our contemporary Salesian 'theology', expressed as the grace of unity, or in St Francis of Sales' terms as the ecstasy of action.

Predilection for the young

The by now formulaic phrase predilection for the young is enshrined in C.14. This love of predilection has its basis in a universal love that can only be of God Himself. It is an expression of pastoral charity and gives meaning to Salesian life.


Of historical interest. A role in Don Bosco's early formulation of the Salesian Congregation: "... takes the place of the Rector and his principal office will be to administer temporary affairs, take charge of the coadjutors, carefully watch over the discipline of the boys ..." (1875 Constitutions).

Prefect General

Of historical interest. Besides acting in the stead of the Rector Major, should he be absent, he also saw to: administration -Past Pupils and Salesian Cooperators - oversaw the Salesian Bulletin preparation - departing missionaries and those temporarily returning home.

Prefect of studies

Of historical interest. Person responsible for discipline and for academic and organisational aspects.


The stage of formation in which the candidate to Salesian life deepens his vocational choice, maturing especially in his human and Christian aspects so as to be suitable to begin the novitiate.

Presbyter (P)

Priest. As found in the Year book (Annuario) especially as the abbreviation `P'.


1. `Presence' in the sense of a Salesian style of being with the young: cf Assistance. 2. A broader reference than 'House' in the technical sense of a canonically erected Religious House. A `presence' is the fact of there being one or more Salesians in a determined place for a determined mission (i.e. with the permission of the appropriate religious authority).


It has become common to refer to the 'presidency', say, of the Past Pupils World Confederation, meaning the executive council, the elected group who surround the president. This meaning is already found in the European Union, but is less common in other parts of the English-speaking world where the meaning of `presidency' is restricted to the first sense indicated above.

Preventive System

Don Bosco's method, the term borrowed from his own times, but his approach is peculiarly his own. "An integration of beliefs, attitudes, actions, interventions, means, methods and structures which have progressively constituted a characteristic general way of being and acting, both personal and in community, of Don Bosco, of individual Salesians and of the Family". (Viganò)

Primacy of God

Hardly needs any definition, just to say that it has been a key element of much of Fr Chávez' magisterium concerning Salesian consecrated life and spirituality.


Mission Office, Mission and Development Office, Planning and Development Office - the entity has taken up a variety of forms (and names) over the years. `Mission Office' (Cf. separate entry) is the original term (1947, New Rochelle), then translated into Italian as procura. A Planning and Development Office or PDO (Cf. separate entry) may exist as a distinct entity alongside a Mission Office. There are other possible variations of the original term such as missions office or missionary office, in minor use here and there. `Procure' simply does not exist as a noun in English and should be avoided in this sense. It is a verb, and not always with salubrious meaning.

Procurator General

The person who deals with the Apostolic See on behalf of the Congregation.


The complete term is `religious profession'. Whereas it is God who calls and consecrates a person, it is the person who responds by way of the act of profession, via a formula (cf C. 24). Hence it is a public, visible act denoting a choice and commitment. It finds its source in baptism and begins a new form of existence.


In Salesian discourse, especially in Italian, there is a wide variety of `projects', drawing substantially from emphasis on an idea, possibly accompanied by plans for its realisation. But there are also much more concrete plans. English often prefers the word 'plan' to 'project'.

Project Europe

The 26th General Chapter requested that "the Rector Major with his Council define the nature and the objectives of the Congregation's intervention on behalf of a renewed Salesian presence in Europe"(CG26, 111). Already in his closing address at GC26 the Rector Major offered some initial explanations and guidelines in this regard; subsequently other steps were taken.

Project of animation and government

The planning process, initiated by the Rector Major but developed with the help of his Council, which takes place at the beginning of a six year period, i.e. immediately after a General Chapter, and which guides the following six years. Here again, English prefers to speak of a six year plan. Cf. `project' above.

Promise of charity

On 26th January 1854, according to a note by Don Rua, four young men along with Don Bosco came together in DB's room and were invited to undertake a proving period in the practical exercise of charity toward neighbour, which would then be a promise but ultimately would be vowed. Instead of using the word novitiate which may have frightened them off, Don Bosco cleverly used proving time. Note how he had in mind, however, (after a year of proving time!) the professing of a vow.

Promozione integrale

Probably best rendered as `holistic development'. The meaning of the Italian `integrale' is slightly different to the word `integral' in English, the latter implying that something is `essential' to something, an integral part of. It can also mean that in Italian, but may often be found in its sense of holistic, all-round, complete.


Difficult to translate in a single word and we need to see the context - could be main actor in a situation (as in the theatre but not only). The derivative protagonista is often 'chief character, chief actor'.


Very often in a Salesian context this this is a register. e.g. protocollo ispettoriale is the file which registers all correspondence relating to provincial offices. In practice it may be a number or code assigned to an item. There is a Registry Office (Ufficio Protocollo) which links the ufficio anagrafico and the archives at the General Administration HQ in Rome.


`proto' meaning `first'. The Salesian proto-martyrs are Sts. Louis Versiglia and Callisto Caravario.


Salesian English has chosen the more widely known term `province' to designate what is known in a tradition stemming from Don Bosco himself as ispettoria in Italian. In his earliest Constitutions he made no specific provision for establishing `provinces' as we understand them (i.e. territorial divisions under a canonical major superior), but did divide the Society as it was then into four `inspectorates'. Rome called this an 'uncommon practice' and requested `provinces' with due ecclesiastical (Holy See no less!) permission. Don Bosco continued to argue that Pope Pius IX had recommended the use of terms more consistent with the spirit of the [secular] times.


The superior who oversees a group of houses. In terms of Canon Law a Major Superior and a Religious Ordinary.

Provincial Chapter

The fraternal gathering in which local communities strengthen their sense of belonging to the provincial community, through their common concern for its general problems. It is also the representative assembly of all the confreres and local communities.

Provincial Conference

Two or more provinces formed into a group constituted by the Rector Major with the consent of his Council, after consulting the provinces concerned. This choice is made when parallel situations or similarity of problems allows for a closer union between said provinces.

Public Schools

In a Salesian historical context this will usually be in reference to Don Bosco's time in Chieri as a school student. Secondary schooling in the State of Savoy, until the Minister Boncompagni reform (1848), were divided into six classes of ‘Latinitas’ (Sixth, Fifth, Fourth, Grammar, Humanities and Rhetoric) plus two years philosophy. They were known as the Royal schools (the city schools were more important and were under royal finances), or Public Schools (those in smaller towns and under local finances). Each class had one teacher. Seventy was the maximum number of students in a class. When the number exceeded this, they could split into two classes — but still under the same teacher. The school year began on 3 November and finished at end of June for philosophy, and on 15 August for Rhetoric and end of August for the others. Discipline was given special attention both in school and outside the school timetable. The Prefect of Studies was in charge of discipline, and while John Bosco was at school, this post was held by the Dominican, Pio Eusebio Sibilla.


Quarto settore

Fourth sector - a term emerging in socio-economic description (regarding Private and Public sector boundaries). It refers to the blurring of sectoral boundaries such that organisations may have a distinctly social mission but employ business practices. Third sector would refer to volunteer organisations.


A period lasting five years and typically applied to the period of five years following priestly ordination, but could equally apply to Brothers after Final Profession.


Radicalità evangelica

Radical approach of the Gospel. The term has become prominent for Salesians because it is incorporated into the main theme for GC27. It can be traced back at least as far as 1983 in an apress by Pope John Paul II to the Plenary session of the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, hence we can note its key context: consecrated life. However, that is not the only context. It is also used in the context of priestly life.


Overview. Avoid transliterating as radiography, which exists in English but with an entirely different meaning to the one intended here. A core element of the English term 'radiography' - a kind of x-ray view of things, is certainly part of the meaning of the Italian term as used in Salesian texts, but it could be misleading to use that term in translation.


Practical guide for formation of Salesians of Don Bosco, the Ratio fundamentalis Institutionis et studiorum as it is known in its complete title (also known as Formation of the Salesians of Don Bosco or FSDB), "sets out in an organic and instructive way the complexus of principles and norms concerning formation which are found in the Constitutions, general Regulations and other documents of the Church and of the Congregation". (R. 87).


Especially as found in the trinomial of reason, religion, loving-kindness.

Religious discipline

Despite its `disciplinary' connotation, it is term that needs to be tied to the word `disciple'. Our sense of religious discipline as Salesians is to be disciples of the Lord and of Don Bosco.


The term 'manifestation' is now largely obsolete in Salesian usage, replaced by 'friendly talk'. The other meaning is an accounting term.


Part of the threefold set of terms which form the basis of the Preventive System (reason, religion, loving-kindness), the term refers to a sense of balance and measure in personal relationships.


Translation of direttore in British English (or `Director' in American English). The superior of a local community. He must be a priest, perpetually professed for at least five years, and is appointed by the provincial with the consent of his council and the approval of the Rector Major. He is first in order of responsibility for the religious life of the community, its apostolic activities and the administration of its goods.

Rector Major

Superior of the Salesian Society, successor of Don Bosco, father and centre of unity of the Salesian Family.

Reference person

In reference to Project Europe: A person whose task it is to "keep the confreres informed about developments and be in contact with ANS and with the site of the Direzione Generale for a wider communication of information". (Fr Cereda, 28 July 2009 Prot. 09/0800).


A group of provinces assigned to a General Councillor who is therefore known as a Regional Councillor. The constitution of the groups of provinces is made by the General Chapter.

Regional councillor

Member of the General Council whose task it is to "promote a more direct liaison between the provinces and the Rector Major and his council. (They) look after the interests of the provinces assigned to them. (They) foster in the general council a knowledge of the local situations in which our mission is carried out.

Registry office

The office which links the ufficio anagrafico at the Salesian administrative centre (Direzione Generale) to the Salesian Central Archives.


They contain the concrete practical applications of the Constitutions to matters of universal import and are consequently valid throughout the Congregation.


Remains of the body of saints, usually of their bones. By extension, objects that belonged to a saint.


Along with reason and loving kindness, part of Don Bosco's threefold approach to the Preventive System. The term indicates that Don Bosco's pedagogy is essentially transcendent, in so far as the ultimate educational objective at which it aims is the formation of the believer. For him the properly formed and mature man was the citizen with faith, who places at the centre of his life the ideal of the new man proclaimed by Jesus Christ and who bears courageous witness to his own religious convictions.

Renenta fountain

At the foot of the Sussambrino hill, right on the road, there is a brick arch covering an old basin which collected waters from a nearby spring. This is the so-called Renenta fountain, named after the hillside that runs from Sussambrino in the direction of the Becchi.


Refers to the duration in office of the Rector Major. It has no single word equivalent in English.

Ricaldone, Pietro

Rector Major from 1932 to 1951. Peter Ricaldone, the fourth successor of Don Bosco, governed the Salesian Congregation for around twenty years. A man with notable gifts of intellect and government, he gave considerable impulse to the spiritual and professional formation of Salesians, to the development of institutes of higher culture (witness the Pontifical Salesian University - UPS), missionary expansion, to catechetical and apologetic animation, to publishing and Mass Media enterprises, and to many other sizeable initiatives .

Ricceri, Luigi

Rector Major from 1965 to 1977. Luigi Ricceri was a Sicilian. From the moment of his election he clearly and succinctly declared what would become his basic programme of government: 'Forward with Don Bosco alive today, in order to respond to the needs of our time and the expectations of the Church'. He pursued this intention consistently through to the end of his mandate, on the eve of which Fr Ricceri again reaffirmed: 'The objects of our mission is the young, thrust by our era into a position of central importance. They have become an explosive and uncontainable force'. His period as Rector Major, at a time of social and cultural upheaval, was accompanied by and tested right from the start by the strong youth reactions of the 60's Besides the young themselves, these times also involved the many institutions connected with them: schools and associations, educators and legislators, state and ecclesial bodies .


The Refuge. In Salesian parlance a reference to the establishment run by the Marchioness Barolo in Turin where DB first began his pastoral ministry. Its full title was Opera Pia sotto la protezione di Maria Vergine Rifugium Peccatorum. In English this could be rendered as The Home of Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners.

Rua, Michele

Michael Rua. 1837-1910, first successor of St John Bosco. English refers to him as Don Rua, Don Michael Rua. We Anglicise the Christian name since he is so well known, but keep the Italian Don as a traditional reference. That does not stop anyone from referring to him as Fr Rua of course. Beatified 1972.

Rule of Life

Both the description (the fundamental charter) of the evangelical inspiration for a way of life lived in community and the norms for living this life in practical terms, i.e. following the Lord through a particular spiritual discipline and apostolic method.


Sacro Cuore (Sacred Heart)

The meaning is Sacred Heart, but it may often be in reference to the last church built by Don Bosco - in Rome, near Termini Railway Station, at the behest of the Pope. In 1900, Fr Rua consecrated the Salesian Congregation to the Sacred Heart. Many formation Houses are called by this name too.

Sala della comunità

Perhpas the best equivalent is `parish hall' in English, but the concept of a community gathering spot for all kinds of cultural and religious events within a parish community is much stronger in Italy.


In specific reference to followers of Don Bosco: "On the evening of January 26, 1854, we were gathered in Don Bosco's room. Present were Don Bosco, Rocchietti, Artiglia, Cagliero and Rua. Don Bosco suggested that, with the help of the Lord and St Francis de Sales, we should engage in the practical exercise of charity toward neighbour. This would be in view of making a promise of it - and later, if possible and appropriate - a vow to the Lord. From that evening on those who were committed, or would in the future commit themselves, to this exercise were called `Salesians'."

Salesian Bulletin

A magazine founded by Don Bosco in function of the (Salesian) mission, addressed to public opinion more than to the institution, meaning by this that it is sensitive to being a part of the circumstances that human beings and the Church experience today, and offers a Salesian reading of these facts, especially regarding youth and education.

Salesian Central Archives

A central depository which has the function of preserving the documentary heritage of the Congregation.

Salesian Christology

One which highlights the 'traits of the figure of the Lord' to which our mission has made us `more sensitive'. (cf. C. 11) Fr Chávez in his letter in AGC 384, 2004.

Salesian Cooperators Association

Association founded directly by Don Bosco, to help him in 'the work of the oratories', whose members may be lay or clerical, but who do not take any vow by virtue of their membership.

Salesian Family

Don Bosco inspired the start of a vast movement of persons who in different ways work for the salvation of the young. He himself founded not only the Society of St Francis de Sales but also the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Association of Salesian Cooperators. These live in communion with each other, share the same spirit and, with specifically distinct vocations, continue the mission he began. Together with these groups and with others born later we make up the Salesian Family. (C. 5)

Salesian Historical Institute ISS

An officially constituted body which sees to historical research concerning the Congregation.

Salesian humanism

The term is relatively recent in Salesian SDB writing (though more common in reference to St Francis of Sales) after Vat. II and in GC 23 (1990) especially where it speaks of a new humanism. Salesians readily recognise the Christian humanism of Francis de Sales and of Don Bosco with its optimism, openness to the world, but its equally strong emphasis on charity toward human beings. Salesian humanism is a term that implies everything positive in the life of people, in things, in history. For the Salesian Sisters it also means a special understanding of the place of women in the world and in society and in the Salesian mission.

Salesian Identity Card

A deprecated term for what is now known as the Charter of Salesian identity.

Salesian Institutes for Higher Education IUS

The name stands for all the study centres such as the colleges, or centres for higher studies that are guided and administrated by the Salesian Congregation (the Salesians of St John Bosco) around the world: 30 centres in 18 American, Asian and European countries. IUS does not include all the other university academic Salesian centres that are specifically meant for the ecclesiastical formation (philosophy and theology) of members of the Salesian Congregation.


The term "Salesianity" (salesianità) has been in use for some years to indicate a collection of aspects inherent in the spiritual, pedagogical, pastoral, religious and historical patrimony of our life as Salesians of Don Bosco.

Salesian Mission Day SMD

Since 1988 a mission theme has been offered to the entire Congregation. All Salesian communities are able to get to know about a missionary situation in a particular continent. There is no fixed date for SMD. Some also call it Salesian Missions Day.

Salesian Missions

By Salesian Missions we intend: Missionary involvement in first evangelisation, implanting the Church and the Congregation; Missionary involvement amongst ethnic minorities; Missionary involvement for a missionary mentality in territories of ancient and great religions; Missionary involvement in urgent new mission situations and new 'areopagi', Immigration, refugees, youth unemployment ...

Salesian Movement

The 19th General Chapter had already lamented that there was "little or no Salesian movement' for lay missionaries". By the time the Constitutions were renewed, C. 5 contained reference to a "vast movement of persons", but concept of a Salesian Movement (in English at least, given more prominence by use of the capital S and M) was not further clarified until the 24th General Chapter. Then in 1997 in his letter recognising 25 years of the Salesian Family as formally structured, indicated that the Salesian Movement came about because of the more formalised understanding of the Salesian Youth Movement. As he puts in that letter: "It should be emphasized that the urgency of the Movement derives from the mission to the young and the poor. The Salesian community is well aware that the commitment to be "missionaries of the young" cannot be realized without a vast movement of persons working together with shared responsibility. From this requirement stems the need for the educative and pastoral community in all Salesian works. From the same requirement follows the effort to gather together in the neighbourhood a network of collaborators, friends and sympathizers willing to carry out "good works". Working alone carries with it the risk not only of isolation but also of inefficacy."

Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart SOSC

Religious Congregation of Pontifical Right founded by Salesian Bishop Joseph Cognata, the Salesian Oblates of the Sacred Heart are a Congregation of active life with a missionary purpose: "the coming of the kingdom of God in the most needy places." They dedicate themselves particularly to the education of children in pre-schools, and to formation of youth, particularly in regard to catechetics and helping youth groups together with the parish priests.

Salesian Social Communication System

An integrated and unified communication project. (Fr Martinelli to Salesian Bulletin editors, 1998). The SSCS is also a book, first produced in 2005 by the Department of Social Communication, Rome, updated in a second edition in 2011.

Salesian Society

"Our Congregation is approved...We are no longer private individuals but a Society, a visible body." (BM IX, 26). Society of St Francis de Sales (complete official title), Salesian Congregation, Pious Salesian Society (of historical value but deprecated as a term), Pious Society (also deprecated), Salesians of Don Bosco (the most common title in ordinary use today), Salesians (normally understood as SDBs, within the context of the Salesian Family of Don Bosco, but when `Salesian' is understood as an adjective, it could apply more generally).

Salesian spirit

When the Regulations speak of `Salesian spirit' they are describing the characteristic features of the Gospel experience tested in the school of Don Bosco as an original style of life. a synthesis of criteria of judgment and of methodology of action. It is not a conceptual analysis of relationships with God and one's neighbour. Neither is it the doctrinal presentation of the spirituality of a state or ministry, but the description of the spiritual features which identify the Salesian vocation.


A number of Salesian Centres bear this name, including one at the Generalate in Rome where, amongst other things, the General Chapters of many Rome-based Religious Congregations are held because of its large assembly hall (Cf. separate entry, aula magna) and accommodation facilities.

Salesian Youth Movement

A movement with an educational character offered to all young people to make them subjects and protagonists of their human and Christian development, with a missionary slant, open to those at a distance, with a desire to make an impact in the locality and in civil society and to be an active part of the local Church. Youth groups and associations which, while retaining their autonomy in organisational terms, identify with Salesian spirituality and pedagogy constitute, in an explicit or implicit manner, the Salesian Youth Movement. It is encouraged and led not only by Salesians SDB but my many member groups of the Salesian Family.

Salesian Youth Spirituality

A process of baptismal growth and maturity marked by living each day cheerfully and optimistically, in friendship with the Lord, in a church community and in responsible service of others. GC23 produced a brief outline of Salesian Youth Spirituality with its important dimensions of daily life, encounter and friendship with Christ, gradual introduction to the life of the Church and a life of service.

Salvation of souls

This phrase summed up, for Don Bosco, what he was about, his mission, especially as applied to young people. We employ less individual kinds of references today (salvation of the world, history of salvation, salvation of the young, Christ and his salvation, Christian salvation, the mission of salvation) without losing sight of the importance of the original phrase of Don Bosco's - in its complete form it would be `for the glory of God and the salvation of souls'.


A sacred or holy place. Also called a Shrine. For example the small Sanctuary to Mary Help of Christians at Colle Don Bosco (built between 1915-18). Even the basilica at Valdocco could be referred to as a Sanctuary.

San Giovanni di Riva

2 kms from Riva di Chieri, in a tiny hamlet belonging to S. Giovanni, lies the house where Dominic Savio was born (2 April 1842). It has been carefully restored in recent years by young Salesian Cooperators and Past Pupils from Turin. They have restored some parts but also transformed other parts into something entirely different, a spirituality centre and camp site for youth groups.

San Giovanni Evangelista (St John the Evangelist)

Church built by St John Bosco in Turin, near the San Luigi Oratory (second oratory built by Don Bosco near Porta Nuova railway station).

Sanità, sapienza, santità

Don Bosco employed a number of linguistic devices with his boys, mnemonics really, based on alliteration and this is one of them: health, wisdom and holiness, literally speaking.

San Pietro in Vincoli, St Peter in Chains

A cemetery not far from Valdocco. One of the places Don Bosco used for the wandering oratory, but were thrown out of due to complaints from the chaplain's housekeeper. Both the housekeeper and chaplain died within a few days of Don Bosco's eviction!


Don Bosco retained the term in his reference to some of the native populations he wished to evangelise, drawing his anthropological and ethnographic data most likely from Romantic literature and nineteenth-century encyclopedias.

Savio, Dominic

1842-1854. The first Saint in the Salesian Family, and the youngest Saint in the Church at 15 years of age. First fruits of Don Bosco's preventive system

Scientifico (S.)

While it would appear to mean `scientific' and in fact does, nevertheless in Italian this term might be applied more broadly to a general range of well-prepared items or discussions, not only science or scientific in nature. Something similar happens with scienze when, for example, used in reference to a University Faculty like Education. In this case we would not normally translate it in English as 'Sciences of...', just Faculty of Education.

Sciuscià (S.)

The shoeshine boys in Rome in the post-war period.

Scholasticus (S.)

This Latin term and its corresponding abbreviation `S', is used in the Year book or annuario to designate a Salesian seminarian attending an institute of philosophy or theology.


(1) close examination of a voting procedure (e.g. cf C. 153 and the reference to voting for a Rector Major at the General Chapter) (2) Juridical requirement (Canon Law) for ordination, regarding qualities required. Cf Can. 1051. (3) A more general process of evaluation or assessment of a candidate in initial formation. (4) A community process of examen and evaluation (as in scrutinium paupertatis, or scrutinium castitatis, or scrutinium orationis).

scrutinium castitatis

Cf. Scrutiny above.

Scrutinium orationis

Cf. Scrutiny above.

Scrutinium paupertatis

Cf. Scrutiny above.


Acronym which stands for Salesiani Don Bosco (in English, Salesians of Don Bosco).


Secularity. The generally positive employment of this term in Salesian literature is a phenomenon of Vatican II. Prior to that, the term had the sense of 'fuga mundi,' flight from the world, and was generally a negative thing. Salesian secularity is a phenomenon that we now see in groups such as the Volunteers of Don Bosco VDB and the Volunteers With Don Bosco CDB. It does not stop there - there are many other groups along these lines. As used in Salesian texts from Fr Ziggiotti onwards. In Fr Ricceri's period of leadership the SGC took up consideration of the range of terms: secularisation, secularity, secularism. The first of these terms is indicated as an historical process by which men and women take up responsibility in the world. Note the term secularity most often collocates with consacrata or consacrazione, in post-Vatican II texts, therefore is seen as a positive dimension of human existence. Not to be confused with secularisation (as now understood in negative terms) or with secularism which either in English or Italian are perceived to be negative.

Secretary General

Person at the service of the Rector Major and his Council and as a notary.

Secularisation (secularization)

Other than its meaning more closely attached to `secular' or becoming secular, it is also a technical canonical term for a priest who leaves his Congregation and is incardinated in a diocese.


A key area of Salesian mission as defined formally by the Salesian Constitutions (cf Italian edition C. 133, 134) but cf. the term `pastoral and activity sector' as employed by Youth ministry to mean the multiple activities or educative and pastoral arrangements to be found across all Salesian works and the more traditional sectors indicated above.


The Società Editrice Internazionale (International Publishing Society) is a cultural expression of the Salesian Congregation. SEI is a development with roots in the Società per la diffusione della Buona Stampa (Society for spreading good literature) founded by Don Bosco in 1859. Its official constitution goes back to 1908.


Seminarian (rather than seminarist).

Sensus ecclesiae

Our awareness of being in, and of the Church.


Salesian educative and Pastoral Plan Cf. Educative and Pastoral Plan

Sequela Christi

The following of Christ. The term is more often left in its Latin form. Note that the Italian form is almost identical, differing solely by an 'h'. It is an ancient term in Christian spirituality, in reference to either the apostolic following of Christ, or the imitatio Christi in general Christian life. Today used more frequently in reference to consecrated life.

Servant of God

The Catholic whose cause of beatification and canonisation has been initiated.


Six year period.


We are likely to find the Italian term ambiente, which we can often, though not always translate with 'setting', in frequent use in Salesian discourse today. It will often be in combination with an adjective such as popolare, in which case the phrase might be rendered as 'ordinary folk', or 'ordinary poor people', according to circumstance. It is another way of saying ceti popolari, which we find in the Italian version of the Constitutions.


In Salesian discourse it often has the meaning a criterion for significance of a work. "The significance of a provincial project depends on the resources of the SDBs and laity placed at the service of animation of activities and works." (Acts of GC24)


Teamwork, synergy, with a preference for the former in mot cases.

Sister Announcers of the Lord

Congregation of Diocesan right, founded by Bishop Ignazio Canazei after the inspiration of St (Bishop) Louis Versiglia, Shiu Chow (China), 30 May 193. Admitted to the Salesian Family 28 July 2005.

Sisters of the Charity of Jesus CSJ

Founded in Japan (Miyazaki) in 1937 by Fr Cavoli under direction from Mons. Cimatti. Members of the Salesian Family. Formerly known as Sisters of Charity of Miyazaki CSM.

Sisters of Jesus the Adolescent IJA

Female religious Institute of Diocesan Right, founded by Salesian Bishop Bishop Vicente Priante on 8th December 1938. The Congregation seeks to live out its mission by offering an evangelising response to the concrete problems of Particular Churches: through popular education, family ministry, social activities, and special attention to children and the elderly.

Sisters of Maria Auxiliatrix SMA

Congregation of Diocesan Right founded by Fr M.C. Antony SDB on 13 May 1976, in Tamil Nadu, to "look after poor and abandoned young girls". Member of the Salesian Family.

Sisters of Mary Immaculate SMI

Religious Congregation of Diocesan right, founded by Bishop Louis La Ravoire Morrow 12, December 1948 in Krishnagar, India. They were founded originally under the name "Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate" in 1922 then refounded as Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate Help of Christians but more commonly known as Sisters of Mary Immaculate.

Sisters of the Queenship of Mary

Cf. Daughters of the Queenship of Mary. The distinction is canonical - one group is a Secular Institute of Diocesan Right while the 'Sisters' are a Religious Congregation of Diocesan Right.

Sisters of the Resurrection

A Religious Congregation of Diocesan right. Founded by Fr Jorge Puthenpura SDB, in Guatemala, 15 September 1977. Admitted to membership of the Salesian Family 16 July 2004.

Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary SIHM

Founded in Bangkok Thailand 1937 by Bishop Pasotti. Members of the Salesian Family.

Sisters of St Michael the Archangel (Michaelite Sisters)

Founded by Blessed Bronislaws Markiewicz and Servant of God Mother Anna Kaworek. Congregation of Diocesan right. Member of the Salesian Family.

Social communication

A sector which constitutes one of the apostolic priorities of the Salesian mission (cf. C. 43). For Salesians, then, it goes back to the charismatic beginnings of the Congregation, Don Bosco's work of the oratories, which extended to activities such as the spreading of good literature, theatre, academies, music ... and publishing. At one point he said "Our publications tend to form an ordered system, broadly encompassing all classes forming human society" (In his Circular on spreading good literature).

Società di allegria

Society for a good time. A group of friends formed by the young John Bosco into a group with a handful of rules. Though it was a small, boyish effort at the time, and soon dissolved once John Bosco entered the seminary, the concept behind it ultimately developed into Don Bosco's extensive work for the transformation of society. When he developed his idea of the `good Christian, honest citizen', he gradually widened his understanding of this phrase to include the transformation of society more generally.

Society of St Francis de Sales

The official designation for what is other known as the Salesian Society, or Salesians of Don Bosco.


Latin term used to describe the assistant to the novices. Used as such and not translated.


A Christian virtue. It seeks to go beyond itself to total gratuity, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It leads to a new vision of the unity of humankind, a reflection of God's triune intimate life.

Sons of Mary

Late vocations to the priesthood, or young priestly candidates between 16-30 years of age. The reference is in fact to late vocations and the Opera dei Figli di Maria or 'Sons of Mary Programme'. More accurately, the Sons of Mary (young men between 16-30) were the fruits of the Opera di Maria Ausiliatrice or Work of Mary Help of Christians, presented to Pius IX in 1874 along with the proposal for the Salesian Cooperators. Both projects were approved in May 1876 by the Pope. Hence the 'Sons of Mary' were the fruit of the group's effort to recruit and educate priestly vocations.

South Asia

Salesian region involving the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, (Kuwait, Yemen).


In the sense in which it is (rarely) found in Salesian discourse, it is a keepsake, a collection of advice or reminders given by Don Bosco (e.g. to the first missionaries).

Specific formation

The formation stage which completes the basic formation of the Salesian pastor and educator along the lines of his specific vocation as a brother or priest.

Spirit of Mornese

A term coined especially by Fr Viganò in his letter of 1981 in reference to the founding spirit of Sr Mary Mazzarello, a spirit akin to the spirit of Valdocco. In fact Fr Viganò distinguishes between the Salesian charism, which is the common gift of the Spirit to all members of the Family, and the 'spirit of...' which is the human response, e.g. of Don Bosco or Mary Mazzarello.

Spiritual Exercises

This term is usually reserved for reference to the Ignatian style. In English we would just say `Retreat'.

Spiritual Testament

Don Bosco's final written message to his Salesians on 24 December 1887, which actually carries the title in his own writing: "Memorie dal 1841 al 1884-5-6 per sac. Gio. Bosco a' suoi figliuoli Salesiani".

Srugi, Simaan (Simon)

Venerable Simon Srugi was born at Nazareth on 27 June 1877, as the last of ten children. An orphan of both the parents already at the age of six, he was sent by his aunt to the Catholic Orphanage of Bethlehem in 1888. It was run by Canon Belloni and from 1891 by the Salesians. He felt so much at home that at the age of 16 he asked to become a Salesian. Thus he became a Coadjutor-aspirant in the Agricultural School of Beitgemal. He spent the rest of his life in that house, exactly 50 years, and left it only to go to heaven. He was involved in many activities with great love. Simon was the teacher ("Mu'allem Srugi") of many Muslim children and was referred to as "good as a cup of honey".


Italian term for 'coat of arms'. The Salesian Coat of Arms (not to be confused with the Logo), designed by Professor Boidi, appeared for the first time in a circular letter of Don Bosco's on 8 December 1885.


In a text for the Salesian Family only we would not normally translate the term, partly because it does not have an easy translation and we have a right to our own jargon, but mainly because we assume the target audience's prior understanding. This assumes that the reader (or listener) does actually understand precisely where the term comes from. Strenna would be understood by the general population in Italy, except that it might be understood today as a 'book given for Christmas'. This is not so far off the mark even for the Salesian context. Originally a custom of the ancient Romans, the strenna (Latin strena or possibly from the goddess Strenia) was, in the 19th century, already linked to prose and poetry. It was in this context that Don Bosco gave individuals a few helpful words, first of all individuals at the Oratory, but then extended to the group, and not so much for Christmas as for New Year. The 'gift' was almost always a few well-chosen words to someone who knew his audience and who in turn knew him. It could also be a physical gift, probably in writing. If we were to translate strenna as 'motto' or 'slogan' we would be doing it a disservice in terms of how it was understood in Don Bosco’s earlier context (less so later when it was addressed to his Salesians), but we may be describing it correctly for the way it is employed today.


A term less in use today to refer to a house of philosophy or theology.

Superior Chapter

The name given to the group of councillors which, under Don Bosco, made up the central government of the Society. Now deprecated as a term.

Superior Council

The name given to the group of elected members who made up the central government of the Society for a brief period from 1966 until 1984. Now deprecated as a term.

Structures for animation and government of the Congregation

These structures touch on: the composition and functioning of the General Council and their election; provincial conferences; extraordinary visitation; team visit; Acts of the General Council (AGC); six year animation programme; communications media (ANS and


Te Deum

Latin words: "To you, O God". A famous hymn (begins with those words) of thanksgiving recited in the Liturgy of the Hours on special occasions where the Church sings in solemn thanksgiving.

Team visit

An animation and governance tool used by the Rector Major and the General Council for meeting up with the different Regions in the Congregation.


Small-scale theatre. DB often referred to and in fact encouraged teatrino in contrast to teatro, possibly because he considered the large scale theatre as too worldly. This would be consistent with his view (from first meeting Cafasso as a young seminarian) that worldly shows are not for the priest or religious person. His understanding of teatrino, however, was also conditioned by necessity - especially during the time of the wandering Oratory, or on the autumn walks.


A database of terminology, usually in a multilingual format. There is a Salesian termbase behind this glossary, for example.

Terminology management

Terminology management is primarily concerned with manipulating terminological resources for specific purposes, e.g., establishing collections of terminological resources for publishing dictionaries, maintaining terminology databases, or ad hoc problem solving in finding multilingual equivalences in translation work.


One of the forms of expression developed in its own particular way by Don Bosco (cf. teatrino as a separate entry) to create a climate of cheerfulness, education and morality. It is to be distinguished from public theatre.


The original acts of the Diocesan Inquiry into the cause of beatification and canonisation.

Transept (with two semitransepts)

A transverse section, of any building, which lies across the main body of the building.[1] In Christian churches, a transept is an area set crosswise to the nave in a cruciform ("cross-shaped") building in Romanesque and Gothic Christian church architecture. Each half of a transept is known as a semitransept. If the cruciform means that all parts of the resultant `cross' are of equal length, the church is designed according to a Greek cross. Otherwise it is a Latin cross.

Translation memory TM

Repository of "source texts segments explicitly aligned with their target texts counterparts". It can, in fact, can be considered as a data bank from which translators can retrieve already translated segments that match a current segment to be translated.


Summary. A collection of papers, or a folder which has the seal of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on it and which contains the Acts of the Diocesan investigation into the heoric virtues of the person in question.


A period of three days of prayer, usually preceding a feast day.


Union with God

The key divine dimension of Salesian spirituality and activity


Canonically erected by the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities by a decree of 3 May 1940 under the then title: "Pontificio Ateneo Salesiano" (PAS). Given title "Pontificia Studiorum Universitas Salesiana" by Pope Paul VI (and hence known as UPS) by Motu Proprio Magisterium vitae, 24 May 1973.


Casket, Reliquary. In Salesian discourse this term would immediately point to the glass container, effectively a reliquary, containing the body (wax, but with some relics, bone fragments) of a Salesian Saint such as John Bosco, Dominic Savio, Mary Mazzarello....It is also a 'false friend' in the sense that it it is translated as 'urn' it is not in keeping with the meaning of the English word 'urn' which is a kind of vase, a receptacle which may hold the ashes of the dead (or of a certain cricket series!), or liquids such as water or tea.



A small booklet which contains general procedures, regulations of an administrative nature.


The region of Valdocco was on the outskirts (in Don Bosco's time) to the north of Turin, between the river Dora and the roadway leading to the Fucina della canne, flanked by Borga Dora and Porta Palazzo. It was the area in which Don Bosco established himself by renting the so-called Pinardi 'shed' in April 1846, thus beginning the work which still has its Motherhouse in that place.


Volunteers of Don Bosco or Don Bosco Volunteers. The Institute was founded by Fr Philip Rinaldi but under another name: Devotees (Associazione delle Zelatrici in Italian). This occurred on 20 May 1917. The group was given some impetus by the Apostolic Constitution Provida Mater (Pius XII February 1947) which officially recognised the idea of Secular Institutes. In 1953 the group changed its name to Cooperator Oblates of St John Bosco and then in 1959 to its current designation. In 1964 the group received its first official recognition by the Church and was erected as the Pious Association of Volunteers of Don Bosco. In 1978 it was recognised as a Secular Institute of Pontifical Right.

Vecchi, Juan

Rector Major from 1996 - 2002. Juan Edmundo Vecchi Monti, was born at Viedma (Argentina) on 23 June 1931, the youngest of seven children of a family of Italian emigrants who between 1898 and 1906 moved from Emilia Romagna to Argentina in a period in which many Italians dreamed of escaping from the poverty of their own country by finding work and tranquility in foreign parts. He will be remembered as an innovator in youth pastoral work, but also for his outstanding gifts of government. He could listen and give due weight to all suggestions and opinions, and to individual needs. He had a strong sense of fatherliness and of fidelity to the founder's charism, and was moreover a competent leader and animator of teamwork, sensitive and open to signs of the times.


Title conferred (since 1913) with the Decree on the heroic practice of virtue as part of the process for beatification and canonisation.

Via Lucis

From Latin, 'way of light'. 14 stations, but not 'of the cross'; instead they are based on events after the Resurrection. The classic example of this can be found in the Basilica of St Jon Bosco at Colle Don Bosco.

Vicar of the Rector Major

The first collaborator of the Rector Major in the government of the Society.

Vice Province (Visitatoria)

A juridical circumscription similar in nature to a 'province', though not enjoying the complete autonomy of the latter.

Vice Rector

The first collaborator of the Rector. He takes his place in matters which have been especially entrusted to him and, if the Rector is absent or impeded, in everything concerning the ordinary government. He must therefore be a priest.

Vicuña, Laura

A significant example of holiness in the Salesian Family and as a result of the work of the Salesian Sisters. Beatified in 1988 at Colle Don Bosco. The event gave rise to another term, the Hill of the Beatitudes


International association of youth volunteers for the advancement of women, operating under the auspices of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

Viganò, Egidio

Rector Major from 1977 - 1995. Egidio Viganò was a native of Lombardy, but deeply rooted in the Latin-American culture because of his long stay in Chile (1939-1971). Strengthened by culturally significant traditions and a good theological school (where he was also a teacher), he took part in Vatican Council II as an expert, bringing to that the pastoral and educative experiences he had gained overseas along with a scientific rigour. As the Superior General of a relevant Religious Institute and of many other associated groups, he was particularly attentive to the world's problems and especially the Third World.


Prayer or liturgical celebration on the eve of a Feast day.


A non-profit NGO (non-government organization) involved in solidarity initiatives and international cooperation; an educational agency working for disadvantaged young people.

Virtual community

A community of people sharing common interests, ideas, and feelings over the Internet or other collaborative networks.

Visitation Sisters of Don Bosco

A Religious Congregation of Diocesan Right founded by Bishop Hubert D'Rosario in India in 1983. member of the Salesian Family.

Voluntary service

A practical way of commitment and gratuitous service among the very poor as volunteers in the context of vocational guidance of the young.

Volunteers with Don Bosco CDB

Recognised as a Public Association of the Faithful, approved by the Archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela. They are seeking equal status as a Secular Institute with the Don Bosco Volunteers.


Wandering oratory

Movement of Don Bosco's initial group of boys from place to place until they settled at the Pinardi property, April 1, 1846.

Witnesses of the Risen Lord TR

Lay Spiritual Movement. On 8th December 1984 the Easter Project was born: TR 2000 (Testes Resurrectionis - Acts 1:21) with its own charter. Thus the TR Movement came about as a place where friends who shared the same ideal and desire could meet: to experience more closely in daily life and in the circumstances of each day, the good news of the Resurrection, as a source of life and happiness.

Word in the ear

A simple ploy of DB's to pass on a word of comment, encouragement or even reproof in the midst of a game or other activity.

Work and temperance

Motto of the Salesian Society, originally expressed in Latin as labor et temperantia. After the annual retreat at Lanzo Torinese in 1876, Don Bosco told the confreres this: "Work and temperance will see the Salesian Congregation flourish. You will explain these words; repeat them, insist on them. You will have a handbook printed that explains them and makes it well understood that work and temperance are the legacy you leave the Congregation and at the same time will also be its glory. "Are you convinced? Have you understood it well? This is the legacy you will leave them; and say clearly that while your sons follow this, they will have followers from the south, north, east and west".

Working boys

From Italian artigiani Boys learning a trade in one of the workshops at the Oratory.


Don Bosco's laboratorio. At the time of Don Bosco (therefore a specific and now archaic meaning) workshops were closed medieval-type shops with limited scope. They did not 'graduate' skilled labour, therefore we are not describing what would later develop into vocational training.

Work of Mary Help of Christians

Association founded by Don Bosco engaged in recruiting and educating priestly vocations (Cf. Sons of Mary).

World Executive Secretariat WES

A term employed by the governing structures of the Salesian Cooperators., or more completely is a collection of related, hyperlinked web pages (otherwise known as a website) containing text, images, video and other digital assets addressed relative to a URL or Universal Resource Locator more commonly known as a web address. Alongside, forms part of the official digital face of the Salesian Congregation. It is a dynamic, ongoing web presence which plays its part in animating, forming, informing and producing on behalf of the Salesian Family and exists at the express will of the Rector Major and his Council.



Year Book

The yearly general listing of Salesians and Houses in the Congregation. Variously known still by its Italian nomenclature: Annuario Elenco. This latter is deprecated though still widely in use.

Youth Centre

An environment for older youth, is attentive to their needs, is based very much on group relationships, personal contacts and commitment.

Youth Ministry

Youth Ministry is described in SDB C. 133 as a `special sector' of the Salesian mission under the leadership of a Councillor. Youth Ministry can also be defined as the basic frame of reference for Salesian ministry to the young, and it is elsewhere described as a fundamental style of animation. This is all summed up in C. 14: "Our vocation is graced by a special gift of God: predilection for the young: "That you are young is enough to make me love you very much". This love is an expression of pastoral charity and gives meaning to our whole life".



Fervour, enthusiasm, devotion. In Salesian texts it is likely to be found in reference to 'zeal for souls', 'apostolic zeal'. In more recent times one notes the term being far less used, and in fact substituted, during the time of Fr Pascual Chávez as Rector Major, by passion (`passion for God and for humanity') Cf. passion in separate entry.


One variant of the Christian name of Blessed Zephyrinus (Ceferino) Namancurá.

Ziggiotti, Renato

Fr Ziggiotti was the first Salesian Rector Major after the generation formed directly in the school of Don Bosco, Founder, and he saw it as necessary to 'fall in again'. His service was exceptional.


Skull cap of Jewish origins used by the Pope (white), the cardinals (red) or by the bishops (purple).