The Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Founded in Bogota (Columbia) in 1905 by the Salesian, Fr. Luigi Variara, who was moved with pity towards those stricken with leprosy and towards their children. The Sisters apostolate, therefore, is to assist the lepers, to instruct the girls of the poorer families and prepare them for life, to teach children Christian doctrine, to promote Catholic Action and to take care of the churches. At present the Sisters number about 357 and work in various dioceses in Columbia. The diocesan process towards the beatification of the founder, Fr. Luigi Variara, is in course of preparation.
The Sisters of the Congregation ‘Caritas’
Founded at Miyazaki (Japan) through the initiative of the Salesian, Vincenzo Cimatti, who later entrusted their direction to Fr. Antonio Cavoli, also a Salesian. They care for abandoned children and old people, and undertake other missionary activities proper to the country. The Society now has 13 houses (11 in Japan and 2 in Korea) with 104 professed members and 44 novices.
The Missionary Catechist Sisters
Founded in 1940 by Bishop Stephen Ferrando, the Salesian bishop of Shillong (India). They are a Diocesan Society, with about fifty members, and are concerned especially with schools and children.
The ‘Ausiliatrici’ Sisters
Founded in 1937 in Bang Nok Khuek (Thailand) through the initiative of Bishop G. Pasotti, a Salesian and the Prefect Apostolic of Ratburi. These Sisters are co-workers with the missionaries in spiritual and material necessities (kitchen, laundry, care of the church, the education of girls by teaching in the schools and participation in parochial activities.) At present the ‘Ausiliatrici’ are at work in 8 Missionary Centers and have 40 professed members, 8 novices and 20 aspirants.
The Sisters of the Manifestation
Founded in 1928 at Shiu-Chow (China) by Bishop Louis Versiglia, the Salesian bishop who drew up their Rule. The object of the Sisters is to assist with catechism in the missions to take charge of schools and to attend to the cleanliness of the church. Mgr. Canazei, the Salesian who succeeded bishop Versiglia after the bishop had been murdered for the Faith, obtained approval of the Rules from the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. When the communist troubles broke out, 14 Sisters stayed in China and were heard of no more. The rest went to Hong Kong. Here, they have the Bishop Versiglia elementary school, with 1,600 children. They teach catechism in three parishes and have a house for aspirants and novices. The government has recently given them land for a grammar school.
The Pious Union of Mary Mazzarello (a secular institute)
Founded at Buenos Aires (Argentina) by Fr. Aloysius Pedemonte, Salesian, on August 15, 1939. The members can be active with the vow of celibacy, or participating (married). The object of the Pious Union is the perfection of the members and the giving of good example in Christian life in the midst of their families. In particular, they are active auxiliaries in the parishes, teach catechism in schools, in outlying districts, and have work rooms for poor churches and for needy families. They also look after children of working class families. The Pious Union was recognized and commended by Pius XII.
The Oblates of Christ (Societas Christi pro emigrantibus)
Founded by Cardinal Augustus Hlond, the Salesian Primate of Poland. Their first house was at Potulice (diocese of Poznan) in 1932. There are both priests and laymen. Their object is to give spiritual and material assistance to Polish emigrants, and to place them especially in parishes abroad where there are large groups of their fellow nationals. Today the Society numbers some 200 priests and about 60 laymen. They work in small communities of assistance in France (12 centers), Germany, Canada, Brazil and Australia.
The Salesian Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart
Founded by Bishop Joseph Cognata, the Salesian bishop of Bova (Italy), in the Holy Year 1933, to give spiritual assistance in the poorest and most needy places in his diocese. They soon spread to other equally needy dioceses. Their apostolate, distinctively missionary in character, is exercised in welfare centers for children, workshops, festive oratories, parochial catechism classes and other works of Catholic Action. The Congregation has now 35 Missions, distributed as follows: 15 in Calabria, 16 in Sicily, 4 in Sardinia, 9 in Lazio, 5 in Tuscany, 1 in Emilia and 3 in Lombardy. The Mother House was transferred to Rome in 1952.
The Sisters of Mary Immaculate
Founded in 1950 by the Salesian bishop of Krishnagar (India), Bishop Louis La Ravoire Morrow. Their apostolate is to care for the poor and needy of the diocese without distinction of race or caste. After they have spent some years of preparation in hospitals, colleges, and in courses of social studies, the Sisters go in twos or fours to make periodic visits especially to the most distant and poorest villages in the diocese, and stay there for some time. While there, they give religious instruction, teach prayers and hymns, personal and domestic hygiene, the care of infants, etc. They also visit and look after the sick. So far, their apostolate is limited to the one diocese.
It was Don Bosco’s own happy idea to have, alongside the Salesians, a select group of extern Associates who, though not bound by the common life or by vows, would employ themselves in the same spirit and the same field of apostolate in the world. The times were not, however, ripe for such a venture, which would then have seemed too bold. The idea was taken up again in providential circumstances by the Servant of God, Fr. Philip Rinaldi who, in 1917, formed an association of ladies in Turin who, whilst staying in the world, bound themselves to God by a vow of chastity. They also pledged themselves to cultivate their own sanctification in a climate of voluntary poverty, religious obedience, and generous apostolate in the service of souls, and especially among youth, in the spirit of Don Bosco.
The fifth Successor of Don Bosco, Fr. Renato Ziggiotti, gave renewed life to the Association and, faithful to the Salesian motto “With Don Bosco and with the times,” adapted it to modern needs. He also enrolled it in the providential movement of Secular Institutes, under the name of the Auxiliaries of Don Bosco. The Association has today spread to Italy, France, Belgium and Spain and other parts of the Salesian world. Today, known as the Don Bosco Volunteers in the United States, the VDB is a secular institute and has been approved and continues to grow.