Don Bosco sees Salesian works for poor youth 40 years before Salesians came to Calcutta

1886: Don Bosco dreams of Salesian works in Calcutta.

9th April 1886: Don Bosco dreams of Salesian works for marginalized youth in Calcutta.

Kolkata (C.M. Paul) – This year 2015 marks the launch of 90th year of the establishment of the first Indian province of the Salesian in 1926 at the then Catholic Orphan Press, situated in the Cathedral premises till 1972. Since then the Don Bosco headquarters of the mother province Kolkata is situated at 52A Radhanath Chowdhury Road, close to the famous Kolkata landmark “Loreto Convent Entally.”

There is a fascinating story of Don Bosco seeing the multitude of activities in taking shape in the then capital of the British Empire, Calcutta.

On the night of 9th April 1886, two years before his death, Don Bosco had a dream in which he saw the future expansion of his work for youth. He saw himself surrounded by an immense crowd of youngsters. A shepherdess, the same he had seen in a dream at the age of nine, appeared and asked him to look to his left and read what he saw. He saw a mountain and a sea and then hills and then again further mountains and seas and read the words VALPARAISO and SANTIAGO. The shepherdess then asked him to look to his right, and he saw mountains and seas and read the word PEKING. He then saw a brilliant streak of light starting from Peking and ending in Santiago, passing through the heart of Africa. And then there appeared from Santiago to Central Africa ten Don Bosco Institutions. A little later there appeared from Central Africa to Peking ten other institutions. Over these he read the names of three great cities – Hong Kong, CALCUTTA, and Madagascar.

“How am I going to do all these” Don Bosco asked. “The distances are so immense and I have so few men to help me”.

“Do not be afraid”! The shepherdess assured Don Bosco. This will be accomplished by your followers and the followers of your followers and their followers”.

The dream became a reality when the Do Bosco Fathers and Brothers came to Calcutta in 1925 and took charge of the Catholic Orphan Press, on the grounds of the Catholic Cathedral Portuguese Church Street.

The Cathedral grounds and buildings belonged to the Archdiocese of Calcutta and the Don Bosco Fathers and Brothers felt they needed a place of their own to give permanency to their work, which was basically educational and youth oriented. Their target was a plot of land big enough for a school.

The project received a big boost when in 1952, Fr. P. Doro, in-charge of the Don Bosco Charities Fund, struck gold – the First Prize in the Irish Sweep and the plot for Don Bosco School Park Circus was bought.

SALESIAN FAMILY INSTITUTIONS IN GREATER KOLKATA TODAY
1926 – 1972 Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary Brabourne Road
1928 – St John’s School Bandel
1933 Bandel Don Bosco
1928 Bandel Church
1933 Don Bosco Liluah
1955 Don Bosco Park Circus
1973 Provincial House Tengra
1974 Auxilium Parish Gobra
1976 Don Bosco Nitika Tengra
1979 Don Bosco School Bandel
1985 Ashalayam, Howrah
SALESIAN SISTERS
Park Circus
Dum Dum
Bandel
Barasat

SISTERS OF MARY IMMACULATE
Ballygunje
MSMHC Sisters
Liluah
Ichapur
Bandel
ALUMNI & COOPERATORS in all above institutions

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