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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.


Monday, 23 April 2018 11:36

Salesian life and Vietnamese culture - BOVA

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Peter is a BOVA volunteer in Vietnam. Six months into his placement, he sends news about life at Don Bosco Dong Thuan, a residential vocational school in the southern province of Vinh Long, and what he is learning from his experience there. Above: Peter joins the family of a student for a new year lunch. Photos: Don Bosco My Thuan

Since my last update, I have a much better idea about what goes on in Dong Thuan. Simple things like remembering everybody’s name and the community timetable have made a real difference. I’m more aware of what activities are taking place and where I can contribute. Furthermore, the Fathers, Brothers and Sisters (Salesians) are aware of my limitations and have taken the care to help me understand more about the community. Having said this, my placement still has its ups and downs and is often challenging. But I feel lucky to live in this kind community and be frequently exposed to new experiences that are diverse and stimulating.


Inside the Community
After several months of community life, I’m continually impressed by the way in which the Salesians engage and work with the young students. They go the extra mile when it comes to exercising works of charity towards them.

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).

Tuesday, 14 August 2018 11:33

Farewell to Fr Cyril SDB!

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Fr Cyril Edamana SDB has returned to India after nine years' ministry in the UK.


He will be much missed by all those whose lives he touched at the schools and parishes in Battersea and Chertsey, and at Savio House. His absence will also be felt beyond the Salesian Family, especially by the Syro-Malabar Catholic community, to whom he was a valued support. 


From all of us the UK Province, thank you Fr Cyril. Good luck and God bless you in the future!

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.

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.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 16:31

BOVA volunteer Peter adjusts to life in Vietnam

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Overseas volunteering takes you out of your comfort zone and challenges your expections! BOVA volunteer, Peter, has been at his placement in Vietnam for just over a month, and still working out which way is up! Here, he candidly shares his thoughts about the joys and challenges he's meeting so far, and tells us about the Salesian community he is living in, and the work being done with young people. In the photo above, the young people and community of Don Thuang are celebrating Spetember birthdays. Peter is on the front row, 4th from the left.


I should mention before you start reading about my experience here that I'm still in a confused phase where I often have no idea what is going on, as I have only been in Vietnam for about five weeks! 75% of the boys and girls living in the Community speak only a few words of English and I'm pretty sure they have absolutely no idea what language I'm using when I try to make conversation in Vietnamese. In contrast, the English spoken by the Salesian fathers, brothers and sisters is very good but much more variable. I could not for the life of me explain how to play World Football Stars 2013/2014 Top Trumps to one of the senior fathers, called Fr Nguyen, during a long taxi ride. Communication is difficult. Dong Thuan is an incredible place, with incredible people, but I'm very aware some of the opinions I have written below might only be half the story, and they may change in the coming months of my placement.

I am an 18-year-old Salesian Volunteer, and have just finished my A Levels. I decided to apply for a placement with Bosco Volunteer Action for around 10 months in the year before going to University. I've found a lot of this first term really tough. Having said this, I have to say there have been many events and experiences here that I've thoroughly enjoyed and I'm very grateful to be here.

EducationalPreventiveSystemofDBToday Cover500


Don Bosco Publications is delighted to launch the English edition of The Educational Preventive System of Don Bosco Today, by Carlo Nanni SDB, renowned philosopher of education and Rector of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.


The book presents Don Bosco's approach, which is based on the awareness that education is not only a matter of instruction and the acquisition of skills, but also concerns the formation of intelligence, of freedom, of the capacity to love and to do good to others. Prof Nanni demonstrates how this tried and tested system is applied today, working with young people facing the issues of our contemporary society. 


Essential reading and inspiration for all who work with the young, this English edition was translated by Jim Gallagher SDB and Brian Jerstice SDB, by kind permission of the author.


Order online now from Don Bosco Publications: £10.00 including UK p&p. For overseas or bulk orders, please contact Don Bosco Publications: 01204 308811


Bernard, Mike and Helen, Jamie and Matthew, in the old Quad

On a glorious August morning, I tootled the short distance from home to Shrigley Hall, formerly the Salesian Missionary College, but a place I have only ever visited since it became a hotel. I was meeting up with Shrigley Old Boys Bernard O'Neill and Mike Kilduff, to find out about preparations for the reunion taking place from 7th - 9th September, when the boys of 1958 will celebrate their Diamond Jubilee. 

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