"The Joy of Sharing
God's blessing to the Young"
SALESIAN FAMILY
ASC
The Association of Salesian Cooperators began as part of Don Bosco's apostolic plan in favor of poor boys. In fact, from 1841 he had turned to many people for help. As his work developed, Don Bosco became aware of the growing need for cooperators (lay and priests) connected to the Salesian mission. He thought of bringing them together in an association as "extern Salesians" in the Congregation of St. Francis de Sales. But this was not approved by the Holy See. In time, he founded an autonomous pious union known today as a pious association with its Regulations approved by the Pope on May 9, 1876. Don Bosco sees the cooperator as co-responsible in th Salesian mission.
"To the Salesian cooperators is offered the same harvest as the Congregation of St. Francis de Sales with whom they intend to associate themselves." (RDB, IV).
Inserted in the world, "they continue to remain in the midst of their ordinary occupations, in the bossom of their families..." (RDB, III) They are able to take on a common spiritual commitment: "No exterior works are prescribed for Salesian Cooperators. but so the their life can in some way be like that of the Salesians who live in a Religious Community, they are recommended to be modest in dress, frugal at table, simple in domestic furnishings, chaste in speech, exact in the duties of their state." (RDB, VIII)
APOSTOLATE
Every Cooperator is called to live the mission of the Church with a Salesian spirit, but each one lives the apostolic commitment in a way that fits in with his or her famly and professional responsibilities, talents, attitudes, gifts or grace received, formation, even state of health: ' bringing everywhere a special concern for needy young people.'
The three dimensions to the apostolate of every cooperator includes:
Personal witness
Christian animation of the affairs of the world
Collaboration in the pastoral activities of the Church
In the Philippine South Province, the Salesian Cooperators Centers are in these presences:
DBTC Center
Lawaan Center
Liloan Center
Lourdes Center
PROVINCIAL Center
Mati Center
Minglanilla Center
Pasil Center
Victorias Center

ST. FRANCIS DE SALES BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH PATRON OF THE SALESIAN FAMILY

Born in Savoy in 1567, Francis studied philosophy and theology at Paris and took his doctorate in civil and ecclesiastical law at Padua. After priestly or ordination he offered himself to his bishop for the work of bringing back to the Catholic faith the Calvinists of the Chablais. AS Bishop of Geneva, but with residence in Annecy, he preached a great deal and implemented the reforms of the Council of Trent. As a noble and discerning spirit and learned in the humanities, he was a great spiritual director, he opened the paths asceticism to all (shown in his work, Introduction to the Devout Life), and showed that the essence of the spirituality life lay in the love of God (this is the theme of his work, Treaties on the Love of God). He understood the importance of the press; as a man of action he set up a Thonon an Academy which brought together the keenest intellects for the deeper study of science and the professional training of the young. With St. Jane de Chantal he founded the Order of the Visitation. He died at Lyons on December 28th, 1622, but his feast is kept on January 24th, which is the anniversary of the transferring of his remains of Annecy.

He was canonized in 1665, proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1877 and officially named patron of Catholic journalists and writers in 1923. Don Bosco drew his inspiration from the apostolate, the loving kindness and the humanism of Francis de Sales. For this reason he chose him as the patron of the Salesian Society.

The life of Francis de Sales was marked by spiritual and actual poverty and a deep fidelity to prayer. Francis spoke from the heart, with Christian simplicity. In founding the Visitation Order he broke with tradition, as the nuns wore lay dress and were not enclosed. Like Ignatius of Loyola, he moved monastic spirituality into the market place- an example followed by Julian Tennison Woods and Mary MacKillop about three hundred years later when they founded the Sisters of St. Joseph in Australia.

St. Francis de Sales was, and through his books still is, a good spiritual director. His guidance was firm, sure and kindly, and often couched in a friendly sense of humour. He did not take himself too seriously, whether at the Court of France, among the peasants at Chablais, or with the Calvanists in Geneva.

The freedom to flow along with God characterized his guidance, as we see in the growth of the Visitation Order, in his own openness to contemplation, in his ability to find God all around him and to use his keen powers of observation to illustrate his teachings. He took examples from everywhere.

SOME SAYINGS FROM THE WORKS OF ST. FRANCIS DE SALES

Love seeks that which it has already found, not to have it, but to have it forever.
We become what we love, like the mirror which takes in the countenance without diminishing the looker.
May I make use of every moment to praise you.
He who preaches with love is preaching well enough against heretics even though he does not utter a word against them.
Contemplation is simply the mind’s loving, unmixed. Permanent attention to the things of God.
Desire to obtain divine love causes us to meditate, but the love obtained causes us to contemplate.
Love urges the eyes continually to look more attentively at the loved beauty, while sight forces the heart to love it ever more ardently.
Beware of all brooding introspection: God’s spirit cannot dwell in a soul forever occupied in self-analysis.
If you are attacked by sadness or bitterness, lift up your hearts to God; then seek relaxation. Hold a cheerful conversation, go out for a walk, read one of your favourite books, sing a holy song. In this way you will gradually ward off all spiritual melancholy.
In short, devotion is nothing else than the spiritual agility and vivacity which charity works in us, or we work by charity’s aid, with alacrity and affection.
A man who has scarcely any love for God has scarcely any more hatred for sin. Love is the first- in fact the very principle and source- of all the passions.
When a man has more light in his intellect for wondering about God than warmth in his will to love him, he ought to be on his guard.
A lifting up in prayer without a lifting up in living is not from God.

SPIRITUALITY

THE LAY APOSTOLATE
The church comprises of many ministries, vocations and charisms: the LAY FAITHFUL, the ORDAINED, and those CONSECRATED BY RELIGIOUS VOWS. In recent years the role of the Laity has been greatly emphasized. The following quotes from the Documents of the 24th General Chapter of the Society of St. Francis de Sales (the Salesians) highlight the importance that the role of lay people has within the Church. The theme of this General Chapter was: Salesians and Lay people: Communion and Sharing in the Spirit and Mission of Don Bosco.
The lay faithful through the consecration of Baptism and Confirmation are called to be signs of the Kingdom in the world, dealing with temporal matters and ordering them to God. The secular character is the distinguishing element of their Christian existence. They live the common vocation to holiness in work, in the family, in politics and economics, in science and art, and in social communication, with a commitment to human advancement and evangelization. The lay Christian is therefore a member of the Church in the heart of the world and a member of the world in the heart of the Church.
From the standpoint of communion and the sharing of Don Bosco’s mission, the lay member of the faithful will be at the center of your capitular work. The common vocation to holiness and mission- this double dimension which then reduces to a single one with two aspects, bringing in all the members of the church.
The mission to the young and the poor has a particular secular dimension because it is a charism that has been raised up in the church for the world. The charism of Don Bosco, precisely because it is educative and ranged on the side of culture, creates a singular harmony with tasks proper to lay people.
Don Bosco founded not only the Society of St. Francis de Sales but also the Institute of Mary Help of Christians and the Association of Salesian Cooperators. These groups and others born later make up the Salesian Family. The unity of the Salesian Family increases with the understanding of the common mission starting from the specific vocation of each member.

PRACTICAL HOLINESS
Salesian Spirituality for Today
“Wherever we may be, we can and should aspire to a perfect life.” So wrote St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), bishop and doctor of the church, nearly 400 years ago in his spiritual classic, Introduction to the Devout Life. Writing primarily for lay people, Francis stressed that God call all of us to holiness. Holiness is possible and, because God wills it, God’s will surely help those who seek to lead holy lives.
Together with his spiritual friend, St. Jane de Chantal (1572- 1641), Francis showed how people in all walks of life can grow holiness. Their ideas have become known as SALESIAN SPIRITUALITY. Like other schools of Christian Spirituality, Salesian Spirituality helps believers to develop a deeper relationship with God through Jesus. Its distinctiveness arises from the particular elements that it emphasizes.
MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE
Made in God’s image and likeness, all of us are called to the same end; union with God. Recognizing this, we treat each person with respect, even reverence. In the midst of a violent society- guns and gangs in the streets, abuse of all kinds, the angry thoughts and words that begin in our own hearts- Salesian Spirituality call us to gentleness.
We are gentle, first of all, with ourselves. Francis reminds us not to become upset and discouraged by our failings, but rather to pick ourselves up after a fall. He counsels: “Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself.” Gentleness with ourselves leads to gentleness with others. We learn to let go of judgmental attitudes and become more compassionate. The desire for retaliation or revenge- the source of so much violence in our world- gives way to forgiveness. We become peacemakers in our homes and in our society.
Salesian Spirituality recognizes that each person is unique and unrepeatable. Since each has different character and different gifts, holiness will be different for each of us. How, then, do I become holy? Quite simply, says Francis de Sales, by doing God’s will. He exhorts: “Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.” Recognizing that God’s will is found in our vocation or state in life, Salesian spirituality stresses the importance of carrying out the ordinary duties of our vocation- a challenge indeed for today’s men and women. Stretched by the demands of family and job, beset by financial concerns, worried about the future, we may want only to run away- in our imagination, if not in fact. Perhaps we will find God in some less hectic setting! Francis reminds us, however, that God is near to us in the busyness of our vocation. “It is not tranquility which brings God close to our hearts; it is rather the fidelity of our love,” he says.
Following God’s will calls for ongoing, prayerful and discernment. In Salesian thought, discernment often involves a certain balancing. On the one hand, we need a certain openness or flexibility, to respond when the Spirit call us to new ways of thinking and acting. On the other hand, perseverance in one’s vocation is essential for spiritual growth. Francis reminds us: “Just as a shrub that is often transplanted cannot take root and as a result cannot come to maturity and yield the desired fruit, so that soul that transplants its heart from plan to plan cannot profit or gain proper growth in perfection, since perfection does not consist in beginnings but in accomplishments.”

DO ALL THROUGH LOVE

Salesian Spirituality challenges us to become holy- to become saints! Salesian Spirituality is often described as a “spirituality of the heart”, the divine and the human heart caught up in passionate love for each other. Love alone motivates and sustains our quest for holiness. “Do all through love, nothing through fear,” urges Francis.

But love is hard work. It requires sacrifice and letting go. In an age that over-emphasizes seld-actualization and self- fulfillment, Salesian Sprituality points in a different direction. It calls us to interior discipline, to a consistent practice of the “little virtues”: patience with aging parents or rebellious teenagers, gentleness, humility with friends and co-workers, and simplicity in our lifestyle. In the quiet of our hearts we learn to turn everything over to God, to die to self, to live totally for Jesus. Salesian thought recognizes that spiritual progress come slowly, and often, at great cost. Yet it also recognizes that in turning our hearts to God, in doing God’s will, we find our greatest happiness and fulfillment.

THE PRESENT MOMENT

We only have the present moment, the here and now, in which to respond to God. But focusing on the present can be difficult. We may regret past actions, or fret about an uncertain future. Even positive memories, or daydreams about happy time to come, can distract us from the present opportunities. How is God showing himself to me right now? How can I respond with a loving word or deed? If we are unduly preoccupied with either the past or the future we may miss how God is calling us to be with Him, right now. Instead, Salesian Spirituality invites us to trust in God’s providence. Either God will protect us from misfortune or he will give us the strength to bear it. With confidence we can “cast our cares before God, because God cares for us.”

SALESIAN GROWTH THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS

Salesian Spirituality is profoundly relational. It realizes that spiritual progress comes in and through relationships. Within the family, for example, we are challenged to grown daily in the little virtues. As we perform ordinary tasks- cleaning, cooking, helping with homework etc- with extraordinary love, we find God. We truly become like Jesus, as we follow his example of generous service.

Personal spirituality grows within the Christian community. As we gather to hear God’s word and celebrate his presence, we are energized by the faith and commitment of others. They challenge us to offer our gifts to the community, to move us beyond self- preoccupation to a concern for the common good.

Within this community certain spiritual friendships may develop. Salesian Spirituality values such friendships as a gift from God. Already in love with God, the friends grow in love for each other, and express this love in generous, often creative, service to the community- indeed to the world.

SALESIAN OPTIMISM

When we fear and doubt close in on us, Salesian Spirituality points to signs of hope- yes, even joy. True, sin and its terrible effects have entered the world. But sin is not the final word. God has spoken his final word in Jesus. Jesus offers us the grace to fulfill our human potential- to become lovers of God and neighbor, to grow in holiness- to become saints. Trusting in God’s providence, knowing that God will ultimately turn everything to the good, Salesian Spirituality radiates optimism. Whether in the midst of great trials or great joys our hearts can be at peace, secure in the knowledge that “the same God who takes care of us today will take care of us tomorrow and always.”

THE PREVENTIVE SYSTEM

More than being some kind of treatise, the preventive system is something that can be most clearly seen in the life and action of Don Bosco. Nevertheless it can be part of the life and action of one today who would wish to emulate Don Bosco.

An essential feature of Don Bosco’s approach is his interest in the young person as PERSON, and in his or her COMPLETE FORMATION AS A HUMAN BEING AND CHRISTIAN.

His total vision is characterized by:
• A variety of pastoral and educational offerings
• A hierarchy of objectives subordinated to the single aim of the salvation of the individual
• His clarity concerning the direction of his educative action

Fundamentals of this total vision of Don Bosco lie in:
• His life as a priest and educator
• His concept of the fullness of salvation as a way of forming young people
• His positive view of the human being and human values
• His realistic appreciation of sin as something that hinders the full development of the person.

To be able to put into practice today Don Bosco’s approach, the following is essential:
• To maintain as the final purpose of pastoral and educative action the integration of faith and life
• To establish a strict relationship between the formation of the person and his or her sanctification
• To prepare educators who, through their lives, will be models and witnesses of this whole approach to development. (NB: Educators are not solely teachers here. An educator can be a parent or other significant adult in the lives of the young)
• To create an environment in which all this becomes possible.

LOVING-KINDNESS, REASON AND RELIGION SUM UP THE PREVENTIVE SYSTEM

(a) LOVING-KINDNESSS: AN EDUCATION RELATIONSHIP

Loving-kindness is a special quality of friendliness on the part of the educator which inspires cooperation and confidence on the part of the one being educated. Don Bosco based his education on charity: the pedagogy of the heart. The basic traits of this approach are:Education is a thing of the heart Confidence and familiarity are basic to the system
Familiar presence is an indispensable element
The environment / surroundings provide for an education as a relationship that goes on between educator and the one being educated.
Jesus Christ is the model for this relationship.

THE REAL SITUATION THAT YOUNG PEOPLE FIND THEMSELVES IN TODAY SPURS US ON TO PUT THE PREVENTIVE SYSTEM INTO ACTION.
PEDAGOGY OF THE HEARTS IS MORE THATN EVER NEEDED GIVEN THE FREQUENT ABSENCE OF LOVE.

More than a simple one to one relationship is required. The Preventive System implies a group of people acting on behalf of the young, and this group:
Develops its own interpersonal relationships
Develops relationships between itself and the young
Develops relationships between the young themselves

For Don Bosco, love translates into ASSISTANCE- lively participation in the world of the young and a personal interest shown in each one.

Assistance for Don Bosco is:
• The fruit of love
• Educative presence
• A realistic appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of personal development.

An educator must:
• Enter into an actual meeting with the young
• Relate empathetically with them
• Stress the interiorisation of values
• Educate to responsibility in daily life
• Seek ever-new ways of being present.

ANIMATION is the way that Salesian assistance actually occurs.

(a) REASON AND EDUCATIVE “REASONABLENESS”

Reason is the element which binds religion and loving kindness. Religion, for example, has to be “reasonable”. So must affection and kindness. The basis for this reasonableness for Don Bosco is the belief in the inner strength of the one being educated, and to his/ her openness to goodness and truth.
Reasonableness is shown in various ways:
• By means of clear ideas and aims accompanied by flexibility towards circumstances and persons.
• The help given to the young to act out of conviction
• The calm atmosphere created around them
• The importance given to instruction and cultural and technical formation

Don Bosco expressed many of his ideas in a letter all about punishments in which he urges that corrections be offered in a spirit of reasons and loving-kindness.

For correction to be educative it is required that:
It not be harsh
Recourse be had to moral sanctions where possible
Look for the right moment
Eventual action to be inspired by reason, love and faith.

Among those elements which can be readily translated into today’s terms are:
• Reason as interpersonal dialogue
• Reason as education in depth
• Reason as initiation into critical evaluation
• Reason as personal awareness and respect for the individual
• Reason as a help to the young person in understanding their inner resources.
• Reason as functional, flexible and decentralized structures.
• Reason as a positive offering.

(c) RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY
Don Bosco assigned primary importance to religion as a system and in its practice, in conjunction with reason and loving-kindness, it constitutes one of the basic pillars of human selfhood. Its relationship to the other two elements is that it is their deepest expression.

SO, WHAT IS MEANT BY RELIGION?

Inasmuch as religion is seen as public life, for Don Bosco it meant the living out of the Catholic faith in its doctrine, sacraments and lifestyle In today’s more secularized atmosphere, religion is to be understood as the recognition of God as father and the acceptance of a lifestyle in conformity with this conviction.

Among the manifestations and religious offerings provided by Don Bosco in his system and educational praxis, we can list:
The climate or religious environment
The religious viewpoint about life
Solid catechetical instruction
Religious practice of prayer and sacramental life freely accepted
The proposal of a personal path to holiness

The ideals of holiness presented by Don Bosco is one of youthful holiness, and demonstrates certain basic attitudes:
Life as a place for encounter with God
Christ to whom life is open and in whom one finds fullness of meaning
Human fullness- happiness and commitment to others
Experience of Church as communion and service
Mary, known as Help of Christians, who has experienced our life and already lived it admirably as a way to holiness.

THESE ASPECTS OF SALESIAN YOUTH SPIRITUALITY CANNOT BE CONSIDERED SEPARATELY. THEY WORK TOGETHER MUTUALLY AS A UNIFIED PROPOSAL OF A CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE.

The Assistant as Animator:
• Operates according to a way of understanding the human person
• Seeks to propose happiness in life as an objective
• Uses a method which frees the individual (i.e.. which is not paternalistic or constructing)
• Establishes a youthful style
• Sets up a strategy which educates in a unified way

Don Bosco insisted on the importance of the environment as a vehicle for values. He saw this environment as:
A family spirit between educators and ones being educated
A place where happiness and interior calm reign
Where the young can express themselves freely
Demanding teamwork and an educative community
To set up such a climate in a world influenced by so many other agents (for good or ill), it is necessary to:
• See it as something belonging to the whole community
• Involve the young themselves in the process
• Keep close contact with their families
• Look out for gospel elements in that environment

The educational environment becomes a complete reality involving persons, relationships and organization.

THE PREVENTIVE SYSTEM OF DON BOSCO
REASON:
• Belief in the basic openness & goodness of the ones with whom we share our mission- staff, parents & students.
• Flexibility towards circumstances & persons
• Calm & supportive environment
• Dialogue & respect
• Functional, flexible & decentralized stuctures
RELIGION (CARE)
• “Religious” outlook on life & the human person
• Establishing a “religious” climate or environment
• Open to formation- as a process not an end in itself
• Apostolic outlook
• “religious” practices
• Responsible & caring services

Founding and Renewing of the Salesian Cooperators

Chronology: From Don Bosco’s Friends to World Federation

1841: “From the beginning of the work of the Oratories in 1841, there were enthusiastic and keen priests and lay men.” is how Don Bosco begins his little sketch of the origin of the Cooperators in their regulations of 1876.

1845: Don Bosco got some indulgences from Pope Gregory XVI and applied them to his Cooperators

1846: Fr. Borel takes over the direction of the oratory in Don Bosco’s sickness. Mamma Margaret moves into the Pinardi shed with him when he recovers in the autumn.

1849: Don Bosco gives hospitality to the cleric Antonio Savio when the archdiocesan seminary closed. He added four other candidates (Felix Reviglio, Joseph Buzzetti, James Bellia). Only one, Bro. Buzzetti, joined the Salesian Society (not until 1877), but all were of great help.

1850: Don Bosco uses the term “Congregation of St. Francis de Sales” to refer to him and his helpers. Besides them, the Provincial Pious Union of St. Francis de Sales is a group of lay people aiming to spread good looks. (Compare with the original title of Salesian Bulletin in 1877.) Don Bosco asked Pius IX for spiritual favors for a Congregation of St. Francis de Sales, meaning the staffs of the several Oratories. This is the first time the name appears on a public document.

1852: Archbishop Fransoni, by letter from exile in Lyons, appoints Don Bosco head of the Oratories of St. Francis de Sales, St. Aloysius and of the Guardian Angels; gives him faculty to give the habit to clerics destined for service in the Oratories.

1853- 1862: First shops at Valdocco; staff is nearly all outside craftsmasters.

1859: Salesian religious foundation: the Salesian Society.

1861: Fr. Ciattino, pastor of Maretto accepted on May 11th “as a tertiary” member. He sis listed in a handwritten roster as “Tertiary Cooperator.” Rua’s copy of the first Salesian catalogue has him as an “extern member.”

1862: Fr. Pestarino joins the Salesian Society. He functions as an extern at Mornese.

1864: Decretum laudis for the Salesian Society. But the Constitutions’ chapter on “externs” is rejected. In 1867, 1869 and 1873 Don Bosco tries to put that chapter of the rules for externs in an appendix to the Constitutions. This is not successful.

1874: Constitutions of the Salesian Society approved, but without the externs. Don Bosco turns instead to the Cooperator project as a means to preserve the idea.

1857-1888: Cooperators help to outfit missionary expeditions.

So, the Cooperators have essentially the same scope as the Salesian Society, and a life as close as possible to religious. Don Bosco even says some would go to the cloister if they could.

Don Bosco explained the scope of the Cooperators to Fr. Lemoyne in 1884: their scope is not to help the Salesians, but the Church’s pastors… instruments in the hands of the bishops. This is a change from the 1876 regulations. Already in 1876, Don Bosco was calling the Cooperators “Catholic Freemasons”.

The 1895 Bologna Congress, in Fr. Rua’s words, aimed at ‘the good of souls, and especially a new and powerful thrust for Christian education of the young and for a true regeneration of society…’ The Salesian Bulletin said it was to answer Leo XIII’s call for the Catholic Congresses to confront the church’s enemies. As a matter of fact, however, relations between the Catholic Congresses and the Cooperators were minimal up to 1895: the leader of the Congresses, a lawyer named Giambattista Paganuzzi, was at this Cooperators’ Congress at Bologna.

By the 1930 Congress at Bogota, some were asking why have Cooperators when there was Catholic Action. When Fr. Ricaldone took over in 1932, and Fr. Titrone died in 1935, the steam seemed to go out of the Cooperators’ movement. The need for reconstruction after WW 11 brought back some interest.

GC17 and GC18 recommended study of Catholic Action in formation houses for brothers. Pius XII, addressing the Cooperators at Castelgandolfo in 1952, called them ‘auxiliaries’ of Catholic Action. He put the Cooperators’ apostolate squarely in the framework of lay apostolate.

Fr. Egidio Vigano (Rector Major 1978-1995) says that Don Bosco came at the beginning of a new, industrial age; the former agrarian age had passed away. The new age was one of massive popular participation in society, and he wanted the Cooperators to participate massively in a Christian way. That is why he started with so many different kinds of helpers, right from the beginning.

When the Cooperators came to the 20th General Chapter of the Salesians, they said they preferred the name ‘Salesians who are Cooperators’ rather than ‘Salesian Cooperator’.

Their new rules (The Rule of Apostolic Life, 1995), says in Art. 3:

“3. A True Salesian in the World”
Cooperators are Catholics who, while living their faith within the framework of their own secular condition, draw their inspiration from Don Bosco’s apostolic project:
- by committing themselves to the same mission among the young and the poor, in partnership and a brotherly way,
- in close communion with the other members of the Salesian Family,
- working for the good of the church and of society,
- to the best of their ability.”

1858 Constitution Art 1.1
Purpose of this Congregation
1. The purpose of this society is to gather together priests, clerics and laymen who wish to strive after perfection by imitating Our Divine Savior’s virtues, especially through works of charity on behalf of destitute youth.

1875 Constitution Art 1.1
The purpose of the Society of St. Francis de Sales.
1. The purpose of the Salesian Society is the Christian perfection of its members, all spiritual and corporal works of charity towards the young especially poor ones, and also the education of the young clergy. It consists of priests, clerics and laymen.

1876 Regulations for the Cooperators
The fundamental scope of the Salesian Cooperators is to do good to themselves by leading a life which is similar to that which is observed by religious in the Common Life as far as they are able… This has for its principal end an active life in the exercise of charity towards one’s neighbor and especially towards youth who are in moral danger.

Some Reflections on the Life of the Cooperator……..

A Salesian Cooperator is a lay person who wants to take seriously the living and working for the apostolic project of St. John Bosco. It is a commitment that is born from a deep conviction to follow Christ, inspired by a generous “Salesian Heart”, that is able to respond to God’s call out of her or his experience of the Salesian charism, educative method and style of relationship.

Cooperators are people who, while maintaining the lay condition, are certain that God is calling them to go beyond helping the Salesian Sisters, Fathers and Brothers, towards becoming “Salesian” in their own right. In short, “true Salesians in the world” (family, workplace, society, the church), the mission of loving and caring for young people. Especially the poor and abandoned.

It is a response to God’s love, brought by the Salesian experience, that is matured from the baptismal call, following a very particular lifestyle- the Salesian style.

In this way the figure of the Cooperator constitutes a model for a lay person to live fully the Salesian Spirit and mission, without the religious vows.

Our Salesian commitment is simply to love the same way we were loved- to be a Salesian loving presence in our family unit, in the family of our Christian communities, especially around young people, in being instruments of God’s love to them, and bringing God into our places of work and into society.

Give me souls take away the rest is what I strive for as a Cooperator. I try to live my life in the Salesian Spirit. Our monthly Mass and Formation and the Congress, gives me a spiritual and practical wealth which ensures that I “think Salesian” in all my day-to-day- endeavors.

The Salesian Cooperators were founded to rouse many Christians from their languor and to spread the power of love.
(Don Bosco: MB 18, 161)

WHO IS SALESIAN COOPERATOR?

We can ask the question: “Who or what is a Salesian Cooperator?” Our answer would consist of the following six characteristics:

The lay Cooperator (man or woman) is a conscious, convicted Christian

1. Whom the Holy Spirit has inspired and made choose (VOCATION)
2. All the values of their lay Christian life (SECULARLY)
3. In the Salesian world, as a disciple of Don Bosco (SALESIANITY)
4. In a fraternal and organized form (as a member of a structured Association) and in communion with the other members of the Salesian Family (FRATERNITY- COHESION)
5. Fully part of the local and universal church (ECCLESIALITY)
6. All this according to their own situation and with their own natural and given abilities ( PERSONALIZATION).

WHAT DOES A COOPERATOR DO?

Salesian Cooperator
A Vision for Australia
1998-2000

1. TOWARDS THE NEW MILLENNIUM
To go in search of the young, through Jesus, sharing, growing and rejoicing together in God’s love
“The future of the world and the Church belongs to the younger generation. Christ expects great things from young people”- John Paul II- Tertio Millennio Adveniente, #58
The Salesian Cooperators are right behind them
2. WHO ARE WE?
Why do you call yourself a Salesian Cooperator?
The Don Bosco Test: If Don Bosco came to visit you now and ask you: “Are you one of my Salesians? What are you doing here? What would you reply?
3. WHAT DO WE DO
Participants in the Salesian Mission- animators, supporter
Supported by being “associated”
Don Bosco’s works of charity- being with young people, loving them and educating them.
4. WHERE ARE WE GOING?
Extend the mission and participation
Get involved with young people and families in need
Get lay people involved. Ask for cooperation.
Extend the Salesian “experience”- the Salesian Spirit.
5. HOW?
Promoting- communicating
Welcoming people (especially the young)
Offering and giving formation
Giving support- a journey together
Lots of involvement opportunities
More spiritual support and contact
7. PROMOTION-COMMUNICATION
Open attitude to the local community- SDB, FMA, lay collaborators, others
Getting to know people- meeting with SDB, FMA communities; open days, family days.
Producing quality material- brochures, printed articles and newsletter.
FORMATION
Establish formation programs
Train formation facilitators & Leaders
Develop flexible strategies
Produce quality support material
SUPPORT
Contact with the Salesian Family
Visit to units- Provincial Delegates
Regular activities, formation days, training workshops, social gatherings & celebrations
Financial solidarity & responsibility
Newsletter
INVOLMENT WITH THE YOUTH
Link with camps, youth groups, family groups
Supports of Youth Ministry Provincial Delegate
A youth centre
Assist with the training of leaders
LAY COLLABORATORS
Build and strengthen links
Common understanding and strategy with SDB/ FMA
Training and recruiting grounds
Include lay volunteers
OTHER MISSION ACTIVITIES
Involvement in schools and education
Parish ministry- collaborative ministry
Mission and development aid- fundraising
Any other areas???
COMMITMENT TO GROWTH
1993 average age: 53 years
2003 average age; 63 years or 39 years???
A solid, vibrant & active association
Doing good for the young here and abroad
LET’S DO IT!

ADMA
Don Bosco founded the Association of Mary Help of Christians, including it in the spirituality and mission of the Salesian congregation through tasks which could be undertaken by the majority of ordinary people. In directions written for the associates, Don Bosco asked them to 'Promote devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Help of Christians.'
The 'Shepherdess' in the dream of nine-year old Giovanni shows the people to whom his mission would be directed and how it would be carried out. In 1844, Don Bosco dreams of lambs following him to his destination; a courtyard, a church; many lambs being transformed into shepherds; a second wonderful big church with the words 'Here is my house, from here my glory spreads out.' In reply to the questions the 'Shepherdes says 'You will understand when you see.'

In his 1845 dream, he sees many young people, a small church and then a bigger church. The Shepherdess moves forward a little, points and says 'I want God to be honoured in a very special way in this place where Avventore and Ottavio were martyred.

On 5 April 1846 Don Bosco recognizes the Pinardi shed which he had seen many times in his dreams, and he begins to understand.

From that day until 9 June 1868, when the Church of Mary Help of Christians was consecrated, he sees his dreams coming true, the house built, pilgrims arriving. To them he entrusts the task of spreading the glory of Mary Help of Christians throughout the world.

On 18 April 1869 the association was recognized by Msgr. A. Riccardi, Archbishop of Turin.

On 5 April 1870 it was raised to Archon-fraternity status by Pope Pius IX, and granted the right to include associations of the same name and with similar aims in the Archidocese of Turin.

In 1877 this right was extended to cover all of Piedmont.

In 1889 Pope Leo XIII authorized the association in all Salesian churches.

Five years later, in 1894, the faculty was extended to all Salesian houses.

Finally, in 1896, the association was granted the right to include assocations attached to diocesan churches.

For more information contact: Fr. Godo Atienza SDB

DAMAS
IDENTITY
The Association Damas Salesianas is a group of committed Catholic lay woment in the Christian community and involved as Christian in civil society, who consititute a private association of the faithful. We promote legitimate secular autonomy and we work for the transformation of society in accordance with the teaching of the Gospel.

CHARISM
The Holy Spirit offers our institution to the Church, to society, and to women today, for the work of human development and evangelization, sensitive to the signs of the times, by means of our particular methods and structures.

MISSION
Evangelization through human promotion in order to build a civilization of love.
The Association Damas Salesianas aims to involve women today, without distinction of class, in social work, human promotion and evangelization.

SPIRITUALITY
The Damas Salesianas live through their spirituality through action, through giving, through sacrifice, through generous commitments to the service of others. This spirituality is nourished through prayer, the Eucharist, and devotion to Mary Help of Christians, Don Bosco and St. Micheal.

ALUMNI

VDB
HISTORY

The Women Volunteers of Don Bosco was founded by Blessed Philip Rinaldi.

Fr. Rinaldi, while being spiritual director of the FMA Oratory in Valdocco, worked intensively with the help of the sisters for the spiritual and human formation of young girls who expressed the desire to consecrate themselves to God while continuing to live in the world.

The association of Zelatrici began with an interesting meeting which took place on 20 May 1917. This was followed by regular monthly lectures where Fr. Rinaldi traced out a programme of life and outlined the structures of the association.

After the death of Fr. Rinaldi, the association experienced a period of inactivity, but it did not die. Fr. Garneri took up the reins of the association in 1943 due to the interest of Luigina Carpanera.

The publication of the Apostolic Constitution Provida Mater by Pope Pius XII in 1947 influenced the rebirth of the assocation. They changed their name to Oblate Cooperators of St. John Bosco as they resume their journey on 5 August 1953 and in 1959 adopted their present name.

In 1964, the Women Volunteers of Don Bosco was officially recognized by the church as a pious association. Seven years later, it was recognized as a secular institute of diocesan right. In 1978, it received teh approval of Pope Paul VI as a secular institute of pontifical right.

On 24 June 1990, the Constitution was promulgated and renewed during the third General Assemby and was definitively approved by the Holy see.

IDENTITY and MISSION

1. The Volunteer is consecrated to God called as a consecrated secular Salesian to serve her brothers and sisters through the ministry of the Church.
2. The mission of a consecrated secular Salesian is lived unobtrusively that makes her able to carry out effectively and everywhere the task assigned to her by the Church, which is that of witnessing through her life.
3. Professing and living teh evangelical counsels, the volunteer expresses her fundamental option for Christ whle living in the world, and with nothing to distinguish her from others.
4. Like most members of the secular institutes, the volunteer do no live in community, but live in communion of life, united by a strong sense of belonging to the institute.

For more information you may contact the Ecclesiastical Assistant: Fr. Godofredo Atienza, SDB

FMA