Italy – Don Bosco and Salesian missionaries in Patagonia at "European Academy of Religion"

13 March 2019
Photo: © Italian Salesian Buellettin

(ANS - Bologna) - During the annual meeting, 4 - 7 March, the Salesian Historical Institute (ISS), a member of the "European Academy of Religion", based in Bologna, screened the documentary film "A sud del sud - South of South" by Salvatore Metastasio. Financed by Don Bosco Missions and the Dicastery for Salesian Missions, in collaboration with ISS, the film aims to commemorate the centenary of the Salesian missionaries raising the cross at Cape Froward (Strait of Magellan) in 1913, on the occasion of the 1600th anniversary of the edict of Constantine. The Bologna screening was received with great interest by the public.

The Salesians, who had already presented the results of their historical research to the European Academy of Religion two years ago, through a conference on Salesian work in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century, were thus able to talk about the epic Salesian missionary journey in Patagonia through the film by Salvatore Metastasio.

The film narrates the journey of two Italians who meet in Punta Arenas, Chile, and then continue together to Cape Froward. The youngest, Diego, wants to know the world of the Yagan, because he plans to make a film about Darwin and his friendship with Jemmy Botton, the native aboard the brig "Beagle" on his famous journey of 1832. Instead, the elderly man, Alessandro, narrates having set out towards Patagonia to follow the traces of Don Bosco's dream about that land, which a Salesian had told him about when he was a child. The journey together will give birth to a friendship between the two that is, however, filled with misunderstandings.

It is the clash between science and faith, where a positive view of life is affirmed by the young, while a vision emerges on the part of the older man that cannot overlook the most fruitful part of life: the one that makes man feel part of a whole, a creature among creatures and awaiting a "revelation", which leads to reflect on the meaning of the Cross, seen not only as a religious symbol (for believers) but, above all, as a universal symbol of contact between sky and earth.

The film ends with the director who entrusts a particular message to everyone: "You do not see the infinite if you do not have it in your heart."


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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