Salesians of Don Bosco

Salesians of Don Bosco
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Coat of arms of the SalesiansSalesians logo.svg
Logo of the Salesians
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Map showing the regions marked with the locations of provincial and vice provincial headquarters.
MottoDa mihi Animas cætera tolle ("Give me souls, take away the rest")
Formation18 December 1859 (1859-12-18)
FounderSt. John Bosco
TypeClerical Religious Congregation (Clerical religious institute of pontifical right)
HeadquartersDirezione Generale Opere Don Bosco,
Via Marsala,
br/> Roma
Membership (2014)
15,298 (14,731 without novices and bishops)
Formerly called
Society of St Francis of Sales
Statue of Don Bosco at St John Bosco Parish Church, Taipei, Taiwan

The Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB; also known as the Salesian Society; officially named the Society of St Francis de Sales) is a Roman Catholic Latin Rite religious institute founded in the late nineteenth century by Italian priest Saint John Bosco to help poor children during the Industrial Revolution.

The Salesians' charter describes the society's mission as "the Christian perfection of its associates obtained by the exercise of spiritual and corporal works of charity towards the young, especially the poor, and the education of boys to the priesthood".[1] The institute is named after Francis de Sales, an early-modern bishop from Geneva.


In 1845 Don John Bosco ("Don" being a traditional Italian honorific for priest) opened a night school for boys in Valdocco, now part of the municipality of Turin in Italy. In the following years, he opened several more schools, and in 1857 drew up a set of rules for his helpers, which became the Rule of the Society of St. Francis de Sales, which Pope Pius IX approved definitively in 1873. The Society grew rapidly, with houses established in France and Argentina within a year of the Society's formal recognition. Its official print organ, the Salesian Bulletin, was first published in 1877.

Over the next decade the Salesians expanded into Austria, Britain, Spain, and several countries in South America. The death of Don Bosco in 1888 did not slow the Society's growth. By 1911 the Salesians were established throughout the world, including Colombia, China, India, South Africa, Tunisia, Venezuela and the United States.

The Society continues to operate worldwide; in 2000, it counted more than 17,000 members in 2,711 houses. It is the third-largest missionary organization in the world.[2]

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