In a meeting with a Salesian from Peru, I had the great joy of hearing about a work which profoundly imprinted the following thought upon my heart: DON BOSCO WOULD DO THE SAME.
Casa Don Bosco
The story of this new Salesian presence in Lima, Peru is what I want to share with you. The house into which these young people and families are received is called Casa Don Bosco. Since 2018, four years ago, they have welcomed young immigrants and refugees. The work began with the welcoming of five boys, all still minors who had arrived at the Salesian house without papers from Venezuela. They were living on the streets of Lima, trying to survive. Then they received the invitation to go to Casa Don Bosco. I thought, ‘This is the same path that Don Bosco took in Valdocco at the beginning of the Oratory in the little Pinardi house’.
A different house, a different life
It was in this house that those boys began their ‘different life’ in Lima. Since then, more than 600 young people have passed through that house where they find a stable environment. Currently, forty-seven young people live in the house. Seven of them are young adults who have families or young wives whom they have brought with them.
Casa Don Bosco is becoming well-known among these young people and young adults, since they spread the word among themselves. Those who wish to live there share their life with other young people, their educators, and the Salesian confrere who accompanies the project and follows up on day-to-day life in the house. This Salesian is there for the young people across the whole of the day, staying up until the last ones arrive home, usually those who work in the hotel industry.
At the end of their workday, around 1:00 am, they come to Casa Don Bosco to get some rest. Imagining my Salesian confrere being a friend, a brother, and a father to them, waiting until that very late hour for each young man returning from work and inviting him to join himself and two other educators for dinner, truly touched my heart. Again, I said to myself: Don Bosco would do the same.
They also help these boys prepare necessary documents, receive psychological help from volunteer psychologists, and provide some training. The only important thing is that they are young people who need help. That is the only documentation they need to present. Everything else will sort itself out.
Sharing the good news
The important thing is that the Casa Don Bosco is changing the lives of many young people or young married couples for the better. Perhaps realities such as lived by these young people and Casa Don Bosco are not always discussed in the news. Perhaps we ‘feed’ daily on terrible and hard-to-take news, but the good that is sown every day also exists. It is that good that must be shared and made known.
Thank you, dear friends, for also welcoming this good news with big hearts. I remain convinced that Don Bosco would be doing the same today.
I wish you all the best.
Don Ángel Fernández Artime, SDB