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11/10/2012

The Social Tradition of
Salesian Education
DBYN network meeting
October 2012, Logroño, Spain

Overview
• Overview of the session
– Introduction
– Don Bosco – training boys to earn a living
– Rerum novarum
– 3 followers of Don Bosco
• Don Rua
• Don Bertello
• Don Scaloni

– Questions

Introduction
• DBYN master plan 2011 – 2013
– Emphasis on youth unemployment

• Parallel Don Bosco & present EU
– Change of society (industrialisation & service society)
– High rates of youth unemployment

• Don Bosco = historic model
– Towards 2015
– 2012  history of Don Bosco
– Development up to 1910 = towards formalisation

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11/10/2012

Michael Ribotta, Training Boys to Earn a Living:The beginnings of Vocational
Education at the Oratory
Michael Ribotta, Don Bosco’s Battle Against Illiteracy

TRAINING BOYS TO EARN A LIVING

Training boys to earn a living
• Young workers in factories & workshops
– First target group Don Bosco
– Work = no time for education
– “High illiteracy & low morality”
– “not churchgoers & no friends”

• Risk = no work = prison
– Vagrancy
– Street gangs

Training boys to earn a living
• Solution 1- Battle against illiteracy
– Socio-economic disadvantage
– Moral risk

• Good christians & responsible citizens
– Moral & socio-economic
– Morality more important than competence
– Language aimed at evangelisation
– Arithmetics aimed at morality (ex: question)

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Training boys to earn a living
• Solution 1- Battle against illiteracy
• Pragmatic development
– Sunday school
– Evening school
– Lancaster model of pupil – assistance
– New metric system italy
– Printing of text books

Training boys to earn a living
• Solution 2 - Mutual Aid Society
– Political context  constitution 1848
– Guilds evolve into Mutual Aid Societies
– “Mutual Aid Society of the Oratory of St. Francis of Sales”
– Don Bosco in his time was strongly recognised for
pioneering in this field (but not historically first)

• Manual
– Social & welfare benefits
• Illnes & unemployment (rules 1 – 8)

– Spiritual obligation
• Sacraments every 2 weeks (rules 8,12,14)

Training boys to earn a living
• Solution 3 - Work contracts
– Early records since 16th century
– Agreement employer & parents
• Employer = “in loco parentis”
• 7 years apprenticeship = trade + moral education

– In practice = Cheap labour, no education

• Work contract Don Bosco
– Disclaimer responsibility Don Bosco (rules 4,5,7)
– Rules on Work conditions (rules 1,3,4,5)
– Rules on Christian & moral education (rules 2,5)

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Training boys to earn a living
• Solution 4 - Own workshops
– Moral reason - Blasfemy in factories & workshops
– Educational reason - Vocational training
– Pragmatic reason – cost reduction (books, ...)

• Milestone = Printers workshop in1861
– Books disseminate “morality & education”
– From focus on “production” to “instruction”
– Difficulties finding right educators
– Highly regarded internationally (cf. Prizes)

Training boys to earn a living
• Solution 4 - Own workshops
• Second general Chapter
– Development more vocational schools

• Third General Chapter
– Defining 3 general aims for education
• Religious-Moral
• Intellectual
• Professional

• 1889  1910
– Formalisation of Vocational training in schools

Francis Desramaut, The Social Question in Life of Fr. Michael Rua

RERUM NOVARUM

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Rerum novarum
• 1891
– Encyclic
– Don Bosco = inspiration (pilgrimige to valdocco)
– Slow implementation

• Social question as seen through the Catholic
Church
– Criticism on Socialism
– Sociology of Durkheim in stead of Marx

Rerum Novarum
• 4 Foundations
1. Right of free property, enterprise & trade

In contrast to “community of goods” of Socialism

2. Worker & employer make free arrangement

Morality > capitalism & Justice > economics

3. State is responsible for justice

Law protects weakest in society

4. Dominance of the state needs to be avoided

System of intermediate associations in which workers decide
freely to participate in

• Question:
– Do you recognise Don Bosco’s solutions in these 4
foundations?

Rerum Novarum
• First international congress of Cooperators
– 1895
– First translation of R.N. in Salesian family
– Focus: workers from the view of young workers

• Rules for cooperators as employers clearly reflect
“concerns” of Don Bosco
– Blasfemy
– Mutual Aid
– Religious & moral education
– Employer has responsibility in education

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Francis Desramaut, The Social Question in Life of Fr. Michael Rua
José-Manuel Prellezo, Scuole Professionali Salesiane (CNOS/FAP)
Freddy Staelens, Scaloni’s publicaties

3 FOLLOWERS OF DON BOSCO

3 followers of Don Bosco
• Don Rua
– First successor of Don Bosco
– Social activism

• “National Society for the Protection and Mutual Aid of
Young Female Workers”
– Human resources  Salesians
– Support FMA  healthy holidays in mountains

• Trade union actions
– Social mediator in conflict at ‘Anselmo Poma Textile Mill”
– Rallies together with trade unions in the city of Charleroi

3 followers of Don Bosco
• Don Bertello
– Responsible for development learning curricula
professional schools
– Influenced by Rerum Novarum

• Sociology as part of curriculum
– First year = actors within society
– Second year = processes between actors society
– Third year = Criticism on Socialism

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3 followers of Don Bosco
• Don Scaloni



Founder and first provincial SDB in Belgium
Provincial in UK
Past-pupil professional school under Don Bosco
Professional school in Liege in the model of Valdocco

• ‘Capital et Travail’
– Manual for sociology in last 3 years vocational training
– Reading of Marx through Rerum Novarum
– Pragmatic creation  intense political conflict
• Catholics Socialists
• 4th edition = 2 books ‘Capital et Travail’ & ‘Le Socialisme’

– Influence on Joseph Cardijn? (“worker-priest” - founder of JOC)
• Obligatory literature theology students Cardinal Mercier in Leuven
• Cardijn = Librarian during theology studies in Leuven under Mercier

QUESTIONS

Questions
• Do you personally know this part of Salesian
history/tradition ?
• Does your Salesian province still work in this
Salesian tradition ?
• Is this tradition still relevant for your work in
your sending organisation ?
• Can this tradition be relevant for Don Bosco
Youth-Net ?

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