Salesian Spirituality

Don Bosco taught his Salesians and the young people they served that it was easy to be a saint. “Do the ordinary things in an extraordinary way,” he told them. He taught that it was not necessary to look for extraordinary ways to be holy or practice virtue. “Accept what the day brings.” He taught them just to do what they had to do each day, but do it well and offer it as a prayer.

The spirituality of the Salesians was shaped at different times by four great saints: St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), St. Jane de Chantal (1572-1641), St. John Bosco, (1815-1888) and St. Mary Mazzarello (1837-1881). It has also been deeply influenced by the courageous and joyful inputs of an increasing number of young people including St. Dominic Savio (1842-1857) and Blessed Laura Vicuna (1891-1904).

There is nothing complicated about Salesian spirituality; it is as simple as it is profound. It was intended for everyone regardless of their station in life. The first book St. Francis de Sales wrote on spirituality, Introduction to the Devout Life, was written for a young married woman with a family. Don Bosco wrote books on spirituality for the young and taught his collaborators to use an educational method of reason, religion, and loving-kindness. St. Dominic Savio, himself a teenager, was able to tell a new boy at Don Bosco’s oratory, “Here we make holiness consist in being cheerful.” The tools of the Salesian are the daily Eucharist, devotion to Mary, and a cheerful way of living that offers daily work as a prayer