Who They Are in the Church

The Don Bosco Volunteers (VDB) are a Secular Institute of Pontifical Title in the Church, with the constitutive elements of CONSECRATION, SECULARITY, SALESIANITY.

CONSECRATED – Constitution 3: The Volunteers offer themselves completely to God by their profession of the evangelical counsels, to live fully their baptismal covenant. SECULAR – Constitution 4: The Volunteers are lay women who, through vocational choice, live in the world and, like leaven, contribute to its sanctification. SALESIAN – Constitution 5: The Volunteers live their vocation by making their own the Salesian charisma which identifies them in the Church and in the world.

In the Salesian Family

The Don Bosco Volunteers, founded by Don Rinaldi, third successor of Don Bosco, constitute the branch of Consecrated Secular Life together with the components of Consecrated Religious Life (SDB, FMA, other institutes) and the Lay non consecrated life (Salesian Cooperators, ex-pupils and other associations) Constitution 7: The Institute, even in its autonomy and proper characteristics, is and recognizes itself as a living part of the Salesian Family.


Constitution 6: The Volunteers, urged by the loved Christ, wish to be salt of the earth and the light of the world. They participate in the evangelizing task of the Church which sends them. Their apostolic action is aimed above all toward those who were the principal beneficiaries of Don Bosco’s mission. As members of a secular Institute they live alone or with their families. The Institute does not have works of its own.

Origin Foundation Growth


Turin: at the girls’ oratory, Valdocco, a group of young women already part of the company of Mary’s Daughters, asked don Rinaldi who was their spiritual guide, to create a kind of Society of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in the world (to be able to live a kind of consecration remaining in the world.)

October 26, 1919

The first and solemn function of the profession of the group of the first seven numbers of the society of St. Francis of Sales and Mary Help of Christians.

December 5, 1931

Don Rinaldi dies. There are 16 consecrated members.

March 19, 1959

With the Rector Major don Renato Ziggiotti, the associates call themselves Volunteers of Don Bosco; they are spread throughout different Countries, there were 248 at the time.

May, 1961

The Association becomes autonomous.

January 31, 1971

At Turin, the constitutions and the Secular Institute of Diocesan Right are approved. They number 464 all over the world.


First General Assembly of the Institute: they number 611.

August 5, 1978

Recognition as Secular Institute of Pontifical Right, with the approval of the Constitutions.


Second General Assembly. They number 740.


Third General Assembly. They number 897.

June 14, 1990

Definite approval of the new Constitutions June 24: Their promulgation.

July 15-25, 1995

Fourth General Assembly on the theme Secularity and Salesian mission. 71 Volunteers participate.

Diffusion and Organization of the Institute

There are 1,247 Don Bosco Volunteers, present in 36 countries: West Europe: 512, East Europe: 234, Africa: 9, North America: 9, South America: 386, Asia: 96, Oceania: 1.

Organization General Assembly: normally every six years. Superior. President General. She is assisted by a central council (eight Councilors and an Administrator). In the Regions: Regional Assembly- Regional President with a Council. Local groups (six to twenty-five Volunteers): Local President with a council. Where there are less than six, subgroups with a President are formed.

Incorporation into the Institute

Admission Single women of at least 21 years and not over 35 years; sufficient health to take part in the life of the institute; psychological and affective maturity appropriated to age and situation, availability for spiritual, professional and cultural renewal, oriented towards apostolic life as the Salesian consecrated laity; not professed in other Institutes of consecrated life, have sufficient time and freedom to assure moments of prayer and for formative and organizational commitments of the Institute, sufficient financial autonomy.


A year of pre-aspirantship; three years of the aspirantship; six years of temporary profession (three yearly, plus a triennium); perpetual profession.

For information

Istituto Secolare Volontarie di Don Bosco
Via Aureliana, 53
00187 Rome Italy
Tel. 39 – 6 – 4883946
Fax. 39 – 6 – 4870688
Fax. 39 – 6 – 4870688
E-mail: [email protected]

Source: La Famiglia Spirituale di Don Bosco Don Bosco’s Story