When Salesians and others associated with the Salesians speak about Don Bosco’s method of education, they refer to a system which has its foundations on three pillars.
These are (in Don Bosco’s language): reason, religion, loving kindness. Many books have been written to try to unpack these three elements.
I believe that in our days the most challenging one to explain, and to live, is the second one – that of religion. For many people this is a “private” matter – which is partly true. But religion for Don Bosco was an essential component of a well educated person. Our human relations and value system, the search for happiness, a commitment to justice, respect for the natural order, living and behaving as children of God and members of His family, acting in a moral way… are all issues and challenges directly linked with religion. Don Bosco insisted in giving practical and external expression to one’s religious beliefs. We cannot claim to remain faithful to our Salesian tradition of education if we do not take seriously the religious aspect.
The month of May had special significance for Don Bosco; it was the month dedicated to honouring Mary, the Mother of Jesus; and in turn the Mother for many of the boys without a home and a family that Don Bosco cared for. He was fond to address Her with the title Help of Christians. In her honour, he built a magnificent church in Turin, and founded an Order of women with the title of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. It’s interesting that at the time when Don Bosco was developing his work for young people, the Bishops of the young colony of Australia placed this new nation under the patronage of Mary Help of Christians. Mary, under this title is now recognized as the Patroness of Australia. We celebrate her feast each year on 24 May.
As Australians, as Christians, as followers of Don Bosco’s way, I invite you to honour Mary on Monday 24 May.
Fr Frank Bertagnolli SDB
Source: Dominic College