21 Dec 2017
Salesian Cooperators: 30,000 in 60 countries
(ANS – Rome – December 20) – The history of the Salesian Cooperators dates from the time of Don Bosco, who from the beginning of his ministry wanted to collaborate with laity in the service of education for the young. At least as early as 1850 he associated them to his mission in Valdocco, Turin. Their official existence was recognized in 1876. Here is a brief historical overview of this important branch of the Salesian Family, characterized by its originality and specificity.
The identity of the Salesian Cooperatos lies above all in their mission: the construction of a truly human world and the building up of the Church, local and universal, especially by the young. Don Bosco wrote that “becoming Salesian Cooperators is a practical way to become useful to society and to promote good morals.” Don Bosco spoke yet again of “honest citizens and good Christians”! It is about grasping the meaning of these words and translating them today into true and concrete commitment.
The Salesian Cooperator must “belong to the masses and take the floor,” wrote Fr. Giuseppe Casti, Salesian world delegate for Salesian Cooperators. This means that the Salesian Cooperators must be the voice of those who have no voice – the poor, the socially disadvantaged. “The search for the common good requires an ongoing search, a gradual progression. It requires perseverance and a certain rigor,” he added.
In an epoch like the present one, the Salesian Cooperators must be able to face the emergencies that challenge them and the challenges and expectations of the weakest and those most threatened by economic and political insecurity. And this according to an ethic that fosters growth, rejects vanity, and seeks truth. Don Bosco was a dreamer, and he wanted his successors to be realist utopians.
Today, the presence of Salesian Cooperators is growing all over the world and on all six continents. Their number exceeds 30,000 members, spread across 60 countries, as stated by the world secretary of the Association of Salesian Cooperators, Filippo Servili. Their different missions and lifestyles color their actions wherever they are. As Don Bosco said: “You will complete the work that I begin. I sketch; you add the colors.”
Source: Don Bosco Aujourd’hui, the French edition of the Salesian Bulletin