Who Are Salesian’s?

In 19th century Turin, Italy, a priest-educator, Don Bosco, turned his focus towards the orphaned and homeless child labourers of the city – and the Salesians legacy was born.

Fr Eunan McDonnell, Provincial of Ireland

For years, Salesians have been dedicated to one simple but profoundly important mission: to help young people who live in poverty – both materially and spiritually.

In 2019, the Salesian family in Ireland marked a hundred years of working and supporting young people and their families in this country – and today you will find Salesians wherever there is work to be done with needy young people.

From schools to youth clubs and homes for the homeless. From working as missionaries with street children to serving as chaplains in schools – Salesians are here to give our valuable young people hope, love and the chance of a better future.

Why We Are Needed

The world has developed in so many ways – yet we continue to live in a time where children are helpless victims of poverty and neglect.

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – as a plan of action to end poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change – ensuring that no one is left behind. Sadly, we continue to leave people and places behind. Too many children are abandoned, left homeless, abused or forced into lives of slavery and cruelty. Too many live without hope, help and spiritual guidance.

Ireland is socially and economically very different from 18th Century Turin, when Don Bosco began his work with young people. But they share one commonality: both are societies in transition, with the risk of values being forgotten and points of reference set aside. The Salesians exist to ensure that the needs and nurturing of the young are not forgotten, and that it is through them that we can build an authentic Christian community.

Our Mission

Following in the footsteps of our founder Don Bosco, we believe that a safe, healthy passage from childhood into adulthood is the right of every child.

Don Bosco believed in the importance of giving the young roots – a solid foundation, from which they could lift themselves up and reach heaven, becoming torchbearers within society.  To do this, Don Bosco entered their world and learned their language –introducing them to values and skills that would allow them to walk tall and reach beyond their fears, insecurities and challenges.

This vision gave birth to the Salesians of Don Bosco and continues to drive us today. It is a part of every Salesian initiative in Ireland  – from the hospitality of our community houses and the acceptance a youngster receives at a Don Bosco Care Centre, to the practical support of one of our community projects.

The Salesian Mission is about ‘being there’, with understanding, faith and love. It’s about making time, listening with respect, celebrating giftedness and learning to make a difference. Always looking within the eyes and heart of God.

Salesians Ireland Today

Salesians Ireland is just one part of our global congregation which have over 15,000 members – Religious Brothers and Priests who work in 134 countries worldwide.  We represent a broad range of initiatives in schools, parishes, chaplaincies, community outreach and care homes, and are involved in  youth ministry, spiritual direction, retreat work, university work and international missionary work.

Find out more at Salesians of Don Bosco website.

The Salesians’ Way

  • The Salesian way of life is one of community, solidarity and belonging – never individualism and isolation.  Daily, Don Bosco would tell the young people he worked with: “Without you I can do nothing, Without you I am nothing”. At Salesians Ireland we continue this living tradition of ‘working together’.
  • We invite people to join us as professed Salesians, as co-operators and past pupils, as co-workers, as benefactors and volunteers.
  • We do not limit our reach to the young people of Ireland. As an international congregation we have the capability to offer support to  young people and their families throughout the world – making a real difference in their lives.
  • We strive to make sure no one is left behind – a value God would want, and which Don Bosco upheld always.
  • We celebrate life and creation –for this is the essence of life and that which holds the potential of our creator, God the Father.