Our long and proud history began on August 16, 1815, upon the birth of our founder, St. John “Don” Bosco. At only nine years old, John had a dream which called him to dedicate his life to the education of poor and disadvantaged young people.

John followed his calling by entertaining and influencing his peers, even as a child. In 1841, he was ordained a priest and in 1859, established the Society of St. Francis de Sales – popularly known as the Salesians. It was the beginning of a movement grounded in John’s educational style, based on reason, religion and loving kindness. Or, to put it more simply, “work and temperance.”

Since their humble beginnings, the Salesians have inspired many others to follow the path of St. John Bosco, including St. Dominic Savio. Growth over the decades has enabled the Salesians to expand into regions of the world where the need is greatest. Today, we are located in more than 130 countries and touch the lives of millions of children and families.

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Helping and inspiring
one another


So many children and families around the world lack access to clean water. Your monthly gift to our Clean Water Initiative will help build wells and supply fresh water to those who need it most.

Young girl drinking water

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"If we are one in heart, we can do ten times
as much."
- St. John Bosco