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Br Robert, Fr Gerry (Provincial) and Br Lukasz


On Wednesday 29th August, our two brothers from Poland renewed their vows in the chapel at St Joseph's community, Bolton. The young Salesians are entering their second year of practical training and will spend the year in our Province, working in chaplaincy and ministry with young people.

Wednesday, 05 September 2018 16:20

Volunteering at Bolton's Destitution Project

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Salesian Cooperator, Paul Barnes, writes about the Salesian ethos he finds in his community's response to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers though the Destitution Project in Bolton, where he is a volunteer. Paul is pictured above left, with Battersea past pupil, David O'Keefe.


Since coming back to Bolton from Cornwall in 2016, I have been reintroducing myself to life in the community, including my local Parish of St Edmund's and St Patrick's, and it was through church that I was introduced by a Thornleigh past pupil, Denis Madden, to what is known as the Destitution Project.


I have recently started there as a volunteer and am finding it very fulfilling. The project was set up in 2015 and is held in the Methodist Victoria Halls, although it is non denominational. It opens each Wednesday from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm. Its main purpose is to support and befriend refugees and asylum seekers including those who have failed to obtain refugee status. There are about 28 volunteers at the moment and over 125/150 on a regular basis.

Friday, 24 August 2018 10:06

Celebrating Blessed Maria Troncatti

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On 25th August we celebrate Blessed Maria Troncatti, a Salesian Sister, who trained and worked as a Red Cross nurse in military hospitals in the First World War, and was a missionary in Ecuador for many years.


She was part of an initially tiny group of Sisters engaged in evangelisation and care for the Shuar people of the Amazon forest, looking after their physical needs as nurse, surgeon and dentist, and their spiritual needs as catechist, envangeliser and role-model. The work she began in an isolated and dangerous environment continues today.


Blessed Maria was killed in a tragic plane crash on 25th August 1969. She was beatified in 2012.


Read more about her remarkable life



Father, who enkindled an active love in the heart of Blessed Maria Troncatti,
ready to spend her life without reserve for the good of every person,
grant us the graces that we ask through her intercession,
and make us capable of imitating her faith
and her ardent love for you and our neighbour.
Through Christ Our Lord.



Thornleigh Salesian College Bolton

Congratulations to Year 11 students at Salesian schools, and to their teachers, as they celebrate their GCSE results in the first year of major changes affecting the exams and grading for most subjects in England.



Fr Bob Gardner SDB, with permission from custodian, English Heritage, said Mass in the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey Canterbury, during this week's Sacred Lands pilgrimage. 


Sent to convert the English by Pope Gregory in 597, St Augustine founded the abbey the following year, and it became the resting place of Archbishops and kings of Kent. In the reforms of St Dunstan of Canterbury, the abbey was placed under the Benedictine Rule, and rededicated to St Augustine. It was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538.


Peter with Anita from BOVA at Thornleigh House

Peter Hampshire has recently returned from an overseas placement with Bosco Volunteer Action (BOVA) in southern Vietnam, where he joined Don Bosco Dong Thuan, a residential vocational school. When he visited Thornleigh House for a post-placement “debrief” with BOVA Coordinator Anita, I asked him about his impressions of the project and the country, and the difference the experience has made to him.

I spent most of my time supporting community activities, teaching some English, and supporting the students with their music, sport, prayer time, and just generally joining in with meals and activities. The age range was mostly 15-22, but the oldest was 24 and the youngest was 13. The students come from all over Vietnam and they have very different backgrounds - some are very rich and some are very poor. Most of them come from socially tough backgrounds, maybe their parents have split and they've had difficult things to deal with.


I think the main motivation for families sending them was to help them appreciate the importance of education, and to give them a good education and good values. They were trained in vocational skills as well, mechanics and engineering for the boys, sewing and hair and beauty for the girls. They can almost guarantee the students a job after they graduate from the school, so it's a good system. When they leave, some go back to live with their families and work near home, but many go to Ho Chi Min City for work, and they’ll find places to live there.


Friday, 17 August 2018 13:47

Salesian schools celebrate A-level results

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This year's A-level results day in England and Wales fell on Don Bosco's birthday, and we're sure he was praying for young people every bit as much as their familes and friends were.  The Salesian schools we've heard about so far had a lot to celebrate on 16th. Pictured above are students from Battersea (top) and Farnborough (bottom).

Thursday, 16 August 2018 11:34

Fr John Dickson: 50 years a Salesian of Don Bosco

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As we all celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary this week, Fr John Dickson SDB had an additional cause for celebration. Fifty years ago, on 15th August 1968, he became a Salesian of Don Bosco.


Fr John is a highly respected historian who has published widely on Salesian history, especially on the foundation of the mission to England. He is currently Rector of the Chertsey community, and for the past six years, has been the RC Chaplain at the Royal Holloway, University of London. He is pictured above with Royal Holloway's Chaplaincy & Faith Support Intern, Nina Mattiello Azadeh.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018 15:54

It's our founder's birthday!

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Our founder, St John Bosco, was born on 16th August, 1815, in a tiny hamlet called Becchi, in the hills of the Piedmont area of Italy.  His family were agricultural labourers, and John was only a toddler when his father died, leaving his young widow Margherita to bring up three boys alone. She was a resilient and resourceful woman, who instilled compassion and charity into her family despite their own poverty, and brought her boys up strong in faith.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018 10:46

Sacred Heart Battersea closed for redecoration

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Sacred Heart, Battersea, the first Salesian church ion the country, will be closed until 12th September 2018 while the building is redecorated. It is a great time of change in Battersea as work is also being done on the other parish church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Joseph's. On 12th October, the newly renovated Sacred Heart church will be at the centre of celebrations for the 125th Anniversary of its consecration.

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