|Italy – The contribution of Religious Institutes to the construction of the Italian welfare system|
|Italy – Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians for 150 years at the side of the young|
(ANS – Turin) – On Tuesday 6 March a few days before the end of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy – 17 March 2012 – in the prestigious “Barolo Palace ” in Turin there was cultural evening on the subject “Making Italians through education. Salesians ad Daughters of Mary Help of Christians for 150 years at the side of the young.”
The starting point was the work in two volumes “Salesians of Don Bosco in Italy: 150 years of education” edited by Fr Francesco Motto; and “The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Italy (1872-2010). Women in education”, edited by Sr Grazia Loparco – Sr. Maria Teresa Spiga (LAS, Rome 2011), books which had already been presented in various Italian cities, starting with the National Parliament in Rome.
Chaired by Dr. Marco Bonatti, editor of the newspaper “Voce del Popolo” the meeting was opened by Dr. Franco Fiortino, Secretary General of the Barolo Work who welcomed everyone and by the reading of a message from the Councillor for Work and Vocational Training in the Piedmont Region De Claudia Porchietto, in which she wrote “the daily admirable Salesian work on behalf of Piedmontese society constitutes the best proof of the uptodate nature and the force of the message of Don Bosco at this moment of serious economic-financial crisis and that of values.”
Talks were then given by three lecturers from the University of Turin. Analysing the subject of the 150 years of Salesian activity from the historical stand point, Prof. Giuseppe Bracco referred to the relationships with the Institutions; while Prof. Walter Crivellini suggested that the two volumes in question were a model for the study of many religious foundations which only recently had begun to organise their archival resourses.
Prof. Giorgio Chiosso, from the pedagogical point of view underlined the importance constantly attributed to the Salesian work of education as a factor in building up a sense of citizenship, of social stability of personal development. In addition the Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of Christians had directed the social aspirations of hundreds of thousands of young people, not only to making a living but the much broader ones of taking up a role in society on behalf of the weaker members, without overstepping themselves or cultivating illusions.
Through the traditional settings for Salesian education - festive oratory, school, college, vocational training workshops, nurseries, schools for girls, hostels for young workers – gradually spread throughout Italy but especially in Piedmont, Lombardy, Venice, Lazio and Sicily many Italians have grown up and been educated to be “good Christians” and “upright citizens.” There is probably no other Religious Congregation,” suggested Dr Chiosso, “which can count on such a notable series of local histories of Institutes, Colleges, Oratories so as to be able to speak about the Salesian presence as a fundamental page in the history of the education of the people in Italy.
The meeting ended with an expression of thanks by those responsible for the two volumes, who expressed the hope that what they had managed to do in summary form through diagrams, statistics and articles might be, from an historical point of view, amplified and studied at greater depth, as the Salesian work which had its birth in Turin at the time of Italian Unification, might continue its progress at the service of the young throughout the world.