• Official title: Society of Saint Francis de Sales
  • Alternative title: Salesians of Don Bosco
  • Date founded: 18 December 1859
  • Founder: Saint John Bosco
  • Salesians: 14,486 (14,056 without novices and bishops)
  • Nations: 133
  • Regions: 7
  • Provinces: 90
  • Groups in the Salesian Family: 32

We, the Salesians of Don Bosco, officially known as the Society of Saint Francis de Sales, are recognised in the Church as a clerical religious institute of pontifical right, dedicated to apostolic works. We are a male religious congregation dedicated to apostolic and missionary activity and to the many works that Christian charity has given rise to, but above all at the service of young people, especially the poorest and most abandoned.

Open to the cultural values of the countries in which we work, we try to understand them and welcome their values, to embody the message of the gospel.

The needs of young people and popular groups, the desire to act with and in the Church’s name move and guide our pastoral action for the advent of a more just and more fraternal world in Christ.

Founded by St. John Bosco, a nineteenth-century Italian educator, we are present in 133 countries.

This official website of our international community seeks to let you know what we do, how we do it and why we believe that what we do is worth our life and our death.

By walking with young people you take part in this adventure!

Preventive system

Don Bosco began to give a place to boys without a home to go to. He taught them to work, and to love the Lord; he sang, played and prayed with them. With the first boys came his first helpers. Thus he developed his famous educational method, the Preventive System. “Be with the boys, prevent sin through reason, religion and loving kindness. Become saints and educators of saints. Our boys must know they are loved”.

Over time the first helpers, with the help of Pope Pius IX, became a Congregation aimed at the salvation of the young, fighting all forms of poverty and taking as its own the motto: “Give me souls, take away the rest”.

Young Dominic Savio is the first fruit of the Preventive System. Mary Help of Christians, who always supported Don Bosco in his work, obtained many graces for him, even extraordinary ones, as well as the funds necessary for his enterprises. She helped him build the Basilica which bears her name.

Salesian Sisters and Salesian Cooperators

With the help of Saint Mary domenica Mazzarello, he founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. With benefactors and committed lay people he gave life to the Salesian Cooperators.

Don Bosco died exhausted from work at age 72, on 31 January 1888. Today the Salesian Family is throughout the world.

Pope John Paul II declared him ‘Father and Teacher of Youth’ on the centenary of his death.