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  • Writer's pictureDavid OMalley

Happy Birthday Salesians!

The Birthday of Salesian Work

Dear Salesian Colleagues, happy birthday. Our Salesian work is 178 years old today.

The details of an encounter Don Bosco had with a poor youth are outlined in an attachment below. 

This conversation was seen by Don Bosco as the spark that led to his whole work with young people.

It started with listening and built an educational relationship that continues to transform lives because it engages the heart.

Happy Birthday!

On the feast of Mary Immaculate, December 8, 1841, the first sign of Don Bosco's life work came into focus. While vesting for Mass, the priest heard the sacristan shrieking at a poor young boy who had sneaked into the church to get warm. "Here, call the boy back," cried Don Bosco, "he's my friend!" The boy came over to Don Bosco.

Don Bosco asked, "What is your Name?"

"Bartholomew Garelli" the boy answered.

"How old are you Bartholomew?"

"Sixteen," answered the boy.

"Can you serve Mass?"


"What do you do?"

"I'm a bricklayer," he responded, head lowered.

"Your mother and father..." Don Bosco continued.

"I'm alone," the boy responded sadly.

"Can you whistle?" Don Bosco broke in.

"Of course, I can whistle!" exclaimed Bartholomew laughing.

And that friendship, struck up on the spur of the moment, began Don Bosco's worldwide ministry to bring young people to God.

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