About the Salesians

The Salesians are a family of men and women founded by an Italian Catholic priest, Fr. John Bosco. Fr. John Bosco was popularly known as Don Bosco, using the Italian word “Don” to mean Father Bosco.

He began his work in Turin, Italy, in the mid-1800s by gathering poor boys and young men that had no place to live and little education. He established a place called an oratory where these young people could gather and call their home. It was the beginning of a movement grounded in John’s educational style based on reason, religion and loving kindness.

From among the young men at the oratory, he founded a religious congregation, the Salesian Society, which consisted of priests and brothers. Today, 124 bishops are Salesians, as is one in 40 priests worldwide. With over 14,000 professed members, the Salesians of Don Bosco are the Church’s second largest religious institute of men, exceeded only by the Jesuits.

A portrait of Saint John Bosco by Zachary Richoux, Class of 2024.

Under the inspiration of St. John Bosco Salesians commit themselves to practicing Don Bosco’s educational and ministerial approach and focusing primarily on the young and the poor through youth formation. Don Bosco was a follower of Saint Francis de Sales’ simple spirituality and philosophy of kindness.

With the help of Sr. Maria Mazzarello, Don Bosco founded a society for women, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, known as the Salesian Sisters, dedicated to the care and education of poor girls.

Today, the Salesians continue his mission of making each Salesian school, parish, youth center, a home where young people are welcome, a school where they learn the lessons of life, a parish where they gather to deepen their spirituality, and a playground where they can meet friends. Salesians offer a formation designed to help young people to reach their full potential and achieve happiness in this life and in the next.

The Salesians have laid the foundation at Archbishop Shaw since 1962 with the focus on developing the entire man – spiritually, physically and academically.

Don Bosco believed it was extremely important to develop the whole person, which is exactly what the Salesians are doing on the Westbank.

Archbishop Shaw High School is a formation experience for young men to prepare them for life especially by developing virtue. At the heart of that development is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ under the protection of the Blessed Mother—Mary Help of Christians. Salesians have a true love for the church, for joyful activities and a love for the Eucharist as part of our spirituality.

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