Brazil – 120 years of Salesian North-East Province: at the service of life

09 February 2022

(ANS - Recife) - To better assist young people in situations of social vulnerability, the "St Luigi Gonzaga" Province of Northern Brazil was founded on 20 January 1902, now extended to the North-East of the country and known as the Province of Brazil-Recife (BRE). The Salesian missionary Fr Lorenzo Giordano (1856-1919), former rector of the first Salesian house in that region, was its first Superior.

120 years later, the time has come to thank God for the many fruits of the perseverance and work of the Salesians in the Province, who incessantly spent their lives to build it up and put it at the service of young people in need.

In this sense, the Salesian past pupil Afonso Cesário de Sousa, author of a book on the transforming power of education, wrote (Da casa de taipa ao limiar do saber - a força transformadora da educação - From the mud house to the threshold of knowledge - the transforming force of education): "The precarious living conditions of several generations in our Brazil, especially in the North-East, limit the perspectives of many Marys, Joões, and José… ”. And his brother Adonias also testifies: “I owe everything to the Salesians. With the Salesians, I learned to speak in public, to participate in the theater, to write books, to compose music and to play the piano, accordion, saxophone, the bombard and guitar. These instruments have helped me and still help me today to face the problems that have been presented to me in the most diverse situations that require me to make decisions. Through my life with the Salesians, I have learned to face the facts and events of life in a critical, mature and balanced way."

The various testimonies told with affection and gratitude by past pupil Afonso in his book reveal the importance of education and the Salesian charism in the life of many young people reached by the tireless work of the Salesians scattered throughout the eight states of the North-East.

"Salesian formation, based on the binomial 'Good Christians and Upright Citizens', is not frustrated by the departure of one or the other in-formation, nor by the non-adhesion of the majority of its students to Salesian religious formation, because, in any case, it contributed to the formation of the character and personality of its recipients,” Afonso himself affirms.

The Province does not exist for itself. Its purpose is to bring together Salesians and laity in their common effort for the integral salvation of the young. Communities such as: Aracaju, Areia Branca, Caetés, Carpina, Fortaleza, Jaboatão (Colony and Oratory), João Pessoa, Juazeiro do Norte, Lajedo, Matriz de Camaragibe, Natal (Gramoré and São José), Oeiras, Recife (Bongi, Provincial House/Oratory of Curado and Sagrado Coração) and Salvador, all bring Don Bosco's gaze and affection to young people, especially the poorest.

Since 1884, the year of the arrival of the first six Salesians in the region - Fr Lorenzo Giordano and Fr Clelio Sironi; three clerics: Giuseppe Blangetti, Luigi Della Valle and Leone Battistini; and the Salesian brother, Carlo Rossetti - many years have passed. But today's Salesians know that they are called to write new pages of a history that is not over. There are still many young people who are in need of love, young people without a friend who listens to them and advises them on the way and on the path to good. And they know that Don Bosco is alive every time their gaze is sensitive to the needs of the young.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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