A ‘Past Pupil’ or a ‘Friend of Don Bosco’ is a person who by attending an oratory, a school or another Salesian Presence, received a preparation for life, based on the principles and values enshrined in Don Bosco’s Preventive System: reason, religion and loving-kindness. 

The aim of every past pupil and friend of Don Bosco is to live the life of ‘honest citizens and good Christians’, the raison d’etre of the educational approach modelled by Don Bosco. The organisation aims to help and assist past pupils and friends to be ‘the salt of the earth and the light of the world’.

The History

The Story of the Past Pupils’ movement or the World Confederation of Salesian Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco begins in 1870 when Don Bosco was celebrating his feast day. On that day a group of former students returned to the Salesian Oratory in Valdocco to be with Don Bosco to celebrate with him and to offer the gift of a coffee set as a token of their gratitude for what he had done for them. For the Confederation of Past Pupils of Salesian centres this is seen as the foundation day of the now world-wide organisation and is an event marked annually on 24 June.

In 1908, thanks to Blessed Philip Rinaldi, the third successor to Don Bosco, the organisation approved its first statute. Today the Past Pupils’ movement is present in over a hundred countries and includes more than a hundred thousand members drawn from Salesian schools, oratories, youth centres and friends. The Past Pupils are the largest of the groups that form part of the movement known as the ‘Salesian Family’. 

Gifted and Called to Serve

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

This worldwide movement is built around a common purpose of celebrating life, honouring freedom and the promotion of Truth, Solidarity, Fraternity and Communion. Each member is invited to fulfil these values daily in their private, family, and professional lives. In local federations and as part of the worldwide confederation members are helped to live these values and support the promotion of the Common Good as stated in the Social Teaching of the Church.

The Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco are called to change minds, move hearts, and inspire lives. This requires strong conviction and a deep commitment. They are invited to draw on their experience of being educated according to the Salesian system and its values, skills, and competences so as to be empowered to partake in building the Kingdom of God. Don Bosco wanted his past pupils and friends to be united and serve others. 

Past pupils and their families were always close to Don Bosco’s heart. He invited the young people that went through his centres to become positive examples in their own families and for the communities they would live in. 

150 years milestone

The organisation of Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco celebrated its 150th anniversary on 24 June 2020, the anniversary of that first visit by Carlo Gastini and his friends to Don Bosco in Valdocco. To honour the occasion, the World Confederation has prepared a limited edition of 150 coffee sets. In Ireland we have two of these sets available and will offer them as a prize in the Don Bosco Aid Draw 2021, which will take place on 7 December 2021. If you wish to participate in the draw, contact the Don Bosco Aid office requesting a draw ticket (while they last).

Prayer and Promise

Each member of the Movement of Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco is invited to make his own the words of this prayer:

GOD, OUR FATHER, THROUGH THE MEDIATION OF YOUR SON, JESUS, AND THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF SAINT JOHN BOSCO, give heed to the prayers of the Salesian Past Pupils all over the world.

WE THANK YOU for the invaluable gift of education which we have received, under the enlightened guidance of the Salesians, which have instilled our lives with the Salesian Spirituality.

WE ASK YOU WITH FAMILIAL TRUST, give us strength and courage to live the human and Christian message, in Society and in the Church. Encourage us to become “good Christians and honest citizens”.  Help us to live together and promote solidarity in our Association and beyond it. Strengthen our faith, hope and charity.

WE PROMISE to fight against injustice, blackmail, superficiality and indifference, and to defend at all costs, the values inspired by Don Bosco’s teaching, especially the value of life, freedom and truth with a spirit of social, political and financial commitment, and to be, “the salt of the earth and light of the world” with a strong influence in the world and in the Church.

WE BEG YOU to watch over our Salesian Family, our dear ones and all of us. Amen.

More information

For more information on the activity of the Past Pupils Worldwide visit: https://exallievi.org/

If you would like to know more about the Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco in Ireland, contact Fr John Campion SDB at: exallievi@sdb.ie