Don Bosco lost his father when he was two, an event that shaped his whole life. Growing up without a father’s love made him sensitive to young people on the margins, lost and in danger, to whom he became a father; a father to the ‘fatherless’.
The gospel image he found most expressive was that of the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep by name and is prepared to give his life for them. In his own life this became, ‘For you I study, for you I work, for you I live, for you I am even willing to give my life’. As the burden of caring grew, he gathered around him men and women, willing in similar fashion, to share their lives with the young and the poor. He chose Francis de Sales as patron for his gentleness and patience to guide them.
His life’s direction was confirmed by certain recurring dreams, the first of which, at nine years of age, never left him. It describes a field of young people at play and the young Giovanni getting involved with loud words and fists to stop them ‘swearing’. A man dressed in a white cloak appears whose face is dazzling. He calls the boy by name and asks him to take charge of the others but says that they can only be won over by gentleness and love. He then points to the lady beside him who takes the boy’s hand. She will teach him how to be sensitive to the most troubled hearts.
This then becomes his whole life, this desire to bring the good news of unconditional love to the young and to bring young people to accept Jesus as their closest friend. In the context of education (in the broadest sense), based entirely on ‘reason, religion and loving kindness’, he found a way to do this.
Don Bosco’s way is about presence, about family, about ‘being there’ for young people – sharing time, fun, prayer, encouragement, love. The credo of the Salesian family reads: ‘we believe that God awaits us in the young to offer us the grace of serving Him’.
The Salesian Way
Our spirituality is above all a spirituality of the heart that reaches out to people in practical life-supporting and life-enhancing ways, especially to the young, and among them those most at risk. It is at once contemplative and active. Salesian spirituality always seeks to recognise and uphold the dignity and respect due to all living beings. Anything less is considered a failure of understanding, a failure of spirit and heart. Tendencies to blame and exclude are recognised for what they are and are put aside in favour of attitudes of welcome and hospitality. Joy, like compassion and a gentle spirit, is intentional. There is no place here for the regressive ways of repression and violence, no place for unreasonable harshness or the arrogant selfishness of power. We believe that true spirituality plants seeds of integrity, care, compassion, kindness and happiness in the world and for the world.
We, the Salesians of Don Bosco, formally known as the Society of St Francis of Sales, was founded in 1859 by Saint John Bosco, there are currently 15,298 members in the Salesian Congregation, working in 132 countries around the world. Besides the Society of St. Francis de Sales, John Bosco also founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters), and the Association of Salesian Cooperators. Saint John Bosco always wanted to have lay people as part of his work and mission. The magnetism of his personality and the attractiveness of his educational philosophy have attracted many lay groups to become part of the Salesian Family. Thirty such groups have been officially recognised that have a total of 4, 02,500 members. These groups live in communion with each other, share the same spirit and, with specifically distinct vocations, continue the mission he began. Don Bosco’s Charism continues to inspire people of good will.
Salesian Province of Dimapur
The Salesian province of Dimapur, one of the ten in India, came into existence by bifurcation of the Guwahati Province and was canonically erected on 8th December 1981 with the Rector Major Very Rev. Fr. Egidio Vigano’s decree of canonical erection. The inauguration of the Province dedicated to St. Francis de Sales, was held on 18th June 1982 with Fr. Pulingathil Mathew as the first provincial. Late Bishop Alangimattathil Abraham, sdb of Kohima diocese presided over the inaugural ceremony. The province comprises the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Upper Assam, Manipur and Nagaland with an area of 2,55,168 sq. km having a population of 38.4 million. The provincial headquarters was established at Dimapur, a big town and the commercial hub of the state of Nagaland, situated at the boarder of Nagaland and Assam. At present the province has 52 centers and 246 Salesians serve in the province.
Don Bosco College Kohima
Salesians have been present in Kohima for over past 60 years, having established the Christ King Parish from where the confreres opened the present Don Bosco High school in 1971, which has served the people of Kohima Village for the past 41 years. The school has been upgraded into higher secondary level from 1995. The people and the Catholic Elders Association of Kohima Village have made a written request to upgrade the present Higher Secondary School into an Institute of Higher Education (Graduate College), to cater to the needs of the young people of the locality. Hence, Don Bosco College, Kohima came into existence and it is a gift given by the Salesian Province of Dimapur to the people of Nagaland, to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of St. John Bosco (1815-2015). It was officially inaugurated and established on 31st August by Rev. Fr. Nestor Guria SDB, Provincial and blessed by Most. Rt. Rev. James Thopill D.D Bishop of the Diocese of Kohima.