Don Bosco's biography, with a focus on his educational work, may be divided into three periods:

A. the period of preparation (1815-l844)
B. the foundations of his educational activity (1844-1869);

C. the institutionalisation of his educational work (1870-1888).

A. The period of preparation
1815     (August 16) Don Bosco is born in the Becchi in the Municipality of Castelnuovo.
1817     His father dies.
1824     Fr. Joseph Lacqua, introduces Don Bosco to reading and writing.
1828     He becomes a labourer at the Moglia farm till late Autumn l829.
1829     He studies Italian and Latin under Fr. John Calosso
1830     He attends the Castelnuovo Public School.
1831     From November onwards Don Bosco attends the public school in Chieri to study grammar, the humanities and rhetoric.
1835     He enters the seminary in Chieri and begins his philosophy and theology courses.
1841     June 5, Don Bosco is ordained a priest.

B. The Foundations of his Educational Activity
1841     November, Don Bosco begins to gather young people in order to teach them, while he completes his studies in moral theology.
1844     October, Don Bosco is appointed chaplain to one of the works of Marchioness Giulia di Barolo.
1845     May – 1846 March, the Wandering Oratory begins at the Church of St. Peter in Chains. Successively, it is transferred to the Dora Mills, to the Moretta house and to the Filippi meadows.
1846     April 12, the Oratory finds its definitive location in the Pinardi Shed in the suburb of Valdocco. It is here that Don Bosco and his mother come to live. The evening school is started during the winter of 1846-1847.
1853     Don Bosco begins publishing and also opens a modest shoemaker’s workshop in the Oratory.
1854     Don Bosco has his first encounter with government minister, Urban Rattazzi who encourages him to form a Society, contrary to the prevailing anti-clerical climate.
1856     The first carpentry shop is opened at the Oratory; the first two high school grades are introduced.
1857     He introduces peer education in the form of Sodalities for young people.
1858     He presents to Pope Pius IX his plan for a religious society whose members will dedicate themselves completely to working for young people.
1859     He forms a society and names it after his patron Saint Francis de Sales. He calls it the ‘Salesian Society’. It is made up of lay and clerical members.
1861     The first printing press is authorised.
1862     A blacksmith’s shop is introduced.
1863     The first school outside Turin is inaugurated under the direction of Fr. Michael Rua, one of Don Bosco's first peer-educators.
1865     Don Bosco’s new project is a collection of writings from Latin authors for use in schools: Bibliotheca degli scittori latini.

C. Institutionalisation of his Educational activity
1869     The Pope approves the Salesian Society.
1870     The College at Alassio is founded.
1871     The College at Varazze and the Technical School in Marassi are opened.
1872     Don Bosco begins a female association to care for the education of girls The new society of women is called, 'Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians', and is popularly known as the 'Salesian Sisters'.
1874     The Salesian Constitutions are definitively approved by the Holy See.
1875-l887  The Salesian work spreads throughout Europe (France, Spain, England) and South America (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, etc.)
1876     The Union of Salesian Co-operators is approved.
1877     Don Bosco publishes his 'Treatise on the Preventive System' together with the 'Rules for the Houses'. The first General Chapter of the Salesian society is held. In August, the publication of The Salesian Bulletin begins.
1888     Don Bosco dies at 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday, January 31.

To this timeline we may add a few significant dates connected with South Asia
1906     Six Salesians come to India and take up the mission of Tanjore, Madras.
1922     Another group arrives in Assam, Northeast India.
1927     The Salesian presence in India is recognized as a province. 
2006     The Salesians in South Asia number 2379 and belong to 11 provinces – which include Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and some countries in the Middle East.

*Abridged and adapted from Braido, PNR, 127-130.
PHOTO: The house at Becchi where John Bosco dreamed his first dream
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