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 a 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]

Salesian Coat of Arms

The Salesian Coat of Arms was designed by Professor Boidi. It was published for the first time in a circular letter of Don Bosco on 8 December 1885. It consist of a shining star, the large anchor, and the heart on fire to symbolize the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. The figure of St. Francis de Sales recalls the Patron of the Society. The small wood in the lower part refers to the Founder of the society; the high mountains signify the heights of perfection towards which members strive; the interwoven palm and laurel that enfold the shield on either side are emblematic of the prize reserved for a virtuous and sacrificial life. The motto Da mihi animas, caetera tolle meaning "Give me souls, Take away the rest" is featured at the bottom.

Logo of the society

The logo of the Salesians of Don Bosco is made up of two superimposed images: in the background a stylised “S” (Salesians) in white is formed within a sphere like a globe, marked to the right and left by two cuttings between the hills/dunes. The second image is in the centre of the globe bridging the “S” road. This is an arrow pointing upwards, resting on three perpendicular legs on top of which are three closed circles, making a stylised image of three people: the first of these in the middle and taller than the others is the point of the arrow, and the other two beside it appear as it were to be embraced by the central figure. The three stylised figures with the arrow pointing upwards can also be viewed as a simple dwelling with a sloping roof and with pillars holding it up (the bodies of the three people).

The logo contains elements from German and Brazilian provinces. It is designed with the central theme "Don Bosco and the Salesians walking with the young through the world."

  • Don Bosco, the Salesian and young people: Three stylized figures represent St. John Bosco reaching out to the young, and his call for Salesians to continue his work
  • The Salesian charism and the preventive system: The road represents an educational journey for the youth, the house represents Bosco's Oratories of Reason, Religion, and Kindness (three columns of house).
  • The Salesian charism, relevant and worldwide: The background is a stylized heart that is also reminiscent of a globe.
  • Color composition of the logo is:[3]
    •      - Foreground: Cyan 6%, magenta 100%, yellow 82%, black 0%.
    •      - Background: Magenta 22%, Yellow 44%

Relation to the traditional coat of arms

Traditional Coat of Arms Current Salesian logo
Stemma big.png
Salesians logo.svg
Three Virtues (Faith, Hope, Kindness) Star, Anchor, Inflamed Heart Three circles
Patron of the Salesians Image of St. Francis de Sales Stylized 'S'
Founder of the Salesians The wood (Bosco) Central figure of three persons
Perfection and Aspiration Mountains (height) Road (journey)
Virtue and Sacrifice Intertwined palm and laurel Circular stylized heart / open arms of central figure
Salesian Motto Ribbon containing Da Mihi Animas Caetera Tolle Saint John Bosco with open arms

Process of logo selection

The new logo is the result of combining two logos already established for years in some parts of the Congregation: the German logo and the Brazilian logo.

The idea of combining the two came out of suggestions from an enquiry about the new logo conducted throughout the Congregation and from contributions by the General Council.

The combination, besides profiting from the mutual enrichment of the elements, is intended to be an expression of communion and of intercultural dialogue.

The artistic work of combining the two was carried out by the designer Fabrizio Emigli, from the Litos Company, in Rome.


Ángel Fernández Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco (2014-present)

The Salesians of Don Bosco are headed by the Rector Major and the society's general council; each of the ninety-four geographical provinces is headed by a Provincial. These officers serve six-year terms; the Rector Major and the members of the general council are elected by the Chapter General, which meets every six years or upon the death of the Rector Major. Each local Salesian community is headed by a superior, called a Rector (or more commonly, "Director"), who is appointed to a three-year term and can be renewed for a second three-year term.

The current Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco is the Very Reverend Father Ángel Fernández Artime. Father Artime, a Spaniard who most recently served as provincial in southern Argentina, was elected on 25 March 2014. Fr. Fernandez was born in Gozon-Luanco in Spain in 1960, and made his first profession in 1978. He took perpetual profession in 1984, and was ordained a priest in 1987. He holds a doctorate in pastoral theology, and a licentiate in philosophy and pedagogy.

He has served the congregation as youth ministry delegate, director of the school at Ourense. He was a member of the provincial council of Leon, later serving as vice provincial, and then provincial from 2000 to 2006. In 2009, he was appointed Salesian provincial for southern Argentina, a post he held until his election as rector major. It was in this capacity that he came to know, and worked with, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis), the archbishop of Buenos Aires. Prior to his election as Rector Major, Artime was appointed in December 2013 as head of the new Seville province.[4]

Map showing the regional organization of the Salesians of Don Bosco, dotted with the location of the headquarters of Salesian provinces and vice-provinces.
Salesian provinces and sub-provinces
Inter-America Latin America - Southern Cone North Europe West Europe Italy - Middle East Africa - Madagascar South Asia East Asia - Oceania
Antilles (ANT) Buenos Aires, Argentina (ABA) Austria (AUS) South Belgium (BES) Triveneto, Italy (IAD) Central Africa (AFC) Bangalore, India (INK) Australia-Pacific (AUL)
Bolivia (BOL) Bahía Blanca, Argentina (ABB) North Belgium (BEN) France (FRA) Piedmont & Valle d' Aosta, Italy (ICP) East Africa (AFE) Chennai, India (INM) China-Hong Kong-Macau-Taiwan (CIN)
Central America (CAM) Cordoba, Argentina (ACO) Czech Republic (CEP) Portugal (POR) Lombardy-Emilia Romagna, Italy (ILE) SUB-PROVINCE
Ethiopia Eritrea (AET)
Dimapur, India (IND) Timor Leste (TL)
Canada (CAN) La Plata, Argentina (ALP) Croatia (CRO) Barcelona, Spain (SBA) Liguria-Tuscany, Italy (ILT) SUB-PROVINCE
Tropical Equatorial (ATE)
Guwahati, India (ING) South Korea (KOR)
Bogota, Colombia (COB) Rosario, Argentina (ARO) East Europe (EST) Bilbao, Spain (SBI) Sicily, Italy SUB-PROVINCE
French West Africa (AFO)
Hyderabad, India (INH) Japan (GIA)
Medellin, Colombia (COM) Belo Horizonte, Brazil (BBH) Great Britain (GBR) Leon, Spain (SLE) Northeast Italy (INE) SUB-PROVINCE
English West Africa (AFW)
Kolkata, India (INC) Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands (FIN)
Ecuador (ECU) Salvador, Brazil (BSD) Germany (GER) Madrid, Spain (SMA) Sardinia, Italy (ISA) SUB-PROVINCE
Angola (ANG)
Mumbai, India (INB) Philippines North (FIN)
Philippines South (FIS)
Haiti (HAI) Campo Grande, Brazil (BCG) Malta (MLT) Hungary (UNG) Sevilla, Spain (SSE) Sicily, Italy (ISI) SUB-PROVINCE
Madagascar (AFO)
New Delhi, India (INN)
Guadalajara, Mexico (MEG) Manaus, Brazil (BMA) Ireland (IRL) Valencia, Spain (SVA) Middle East (MOR) SUB-PROVINCE
Zambia-Malawi-Zimbabwe-Namibia (ZMB)
Tiruchy, India (INT) Thailand-Cambodia-Laos (THA)
Mexico City, Mexico (MEM) Porto Alegre, Brazil (BPA) Warsaw, Poland (PLE)     SUB-PROVINCE
Maputo (MOZ)
Panjim, India (INP) Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco of Vietnam (Vie)

Province Salesians of Don Bosco in Vietnam (Vie)
Address: 54 Road 5 - Quarter 4 - Linh xuan ward - Thu Duc district - Ho Chi Minh City
Telephone: (84-8) 37.240.473
Fax : 08.37240 647
Email : sdbvn@vnn.vn

Peru (PER) Porto Velho, Brazil (BPV) Pila, Poland (PLN) DELEGATION
Rwanda-Burundi-Goma (RBG)
Yangon, Myanmar (MYM)
East United States (SUE) Recife, Brazil (BRE) Wroclaw, Poland (PLO)   SUB-PROVINCE
Colombo, Sri Lanka (LKC)
West United States (SUO) Sao Paulo, Brazil (BSP) Krakow, Poland (PLS)  
Venezuela (VEN) Chile (CHL) Slovakia (SLK)
  Paraguay (PAR) Slovenia (SLO)
Uruguay (URU) Ukraine (UKR)
Inter-America Latin America - Southern Cone North Europe West Europe Italy - Middle East Africa - Madagascar South Asia East Asia - Oceania


Salesian communities primarily operate shelters for homeless or at-risk youths; schools; technical, vocational, and language instruction centers for youths and adults; and boys' clubs and community centers. In some areas they run parish churches. Salesians are also active in publishing and other public communication activities, as well as mission work, especially in Asia (Siberia - in the Yakutsk area), Africa, and South America (Yanomami). The Salesian Bulletin is now published in fifty-two editions, in thirty languages.

In the 1990s Salesians launched new works in the area of tertiary education, and today have a network of over 58 colleges and universities. The official university of the Salesian Society is the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.

Women's institute

The women's institute is known as the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco or, more officially, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA).

Visitationist sisters, members of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, are also sometimes called Salesian Sisters, in honor of one of their founders, Saint Francis de Sales. However, the two societies are not the same and their membership does not overlap.

Notable members

Mgr. Van Looy, Bishop of Ghent

See also


  1. ^ PD-icon.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "The Salesian Society". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2015-01-16. 
  2. ^ "About the Salesians in Ireland". 
  3. ^ "The Logo Of The Salesian Headquarters". Direzione Generale Opere Don Bosco. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Salesians' new leader worked with Bergoglio in Argentina". 

External links