ROME (C.M. Paul) – Two Salesians each from over 90 provinces gathered to mark Don Bosco’s first successor Don Rua’s death centenary at the Salesian Generalate in Rome, 29 to 31 October. According to a published list there are 242 participants including over 30 Salesian Sisters. Salesians from Asia (both South & East Asia) are over 40.
Some 30 sessions are spread out over a period of three days (29 to 31 October) bringing together a wide array of presenters from all sections of the Salesian Family. The congress fare looks stimulating and the content exotic including material from the Vatican Secret Archives which revealed a certain preferential treatment by the Popes in favour of the Salesian congregation during Don Rua’s period of rapid expansion of the congregation.
Fr Julian Fox, the secretary of the Social Communications department at the Headquarters says, though the presentations could be mainly in Italian, lot of material on Don Rua is available in the official website www.sdb.org
Besides the programme translated into English, two of the early addresses are also available in English along with Fr Francis Motto’s “two personalities, two inseparable names” is available in English. The presentation by the official of the Vatican Secret Archives Alejandro Dieguez is also available. Add to that the presentations by Dr Jose Vettath of Guwahati province and Dr Mathew Kaplikunnel of Bangalore province.
The Bangalore province has the ‘Life of Fr Michael Rua‘ (from the Desramaut original in French) published in English language. Some 6,000 letters of Don Rua Collection is available in SDL (Salesian Digital Library).
In January 1888 Don Rua inherited from Don Bosco some 700 Salesians scattered in 64 houses in 6 countries. After 22 years as Rector Major, at his death in 1910, Don Rua left behind 4,000 Salesians working in 341 houses in 30 countries. Pope Paul VI beatified Don Rua in 1972 and called him ‘the river maker’. There is a YouTube presentation of Don Rua under the title THE RIVER MAKER, by the creative team at Don Bosco IMAGE Kochi, Kerala. http://www.youtube.com/user/DonboscoImage?feature=mhum