Meet the People Behind Our Charitable Foundation
We are a foundation seeking to support people in need, including the youth.
In 1994, an attorney working with the Salesians of Don Bosco in Columbus, Ohio, recommended that a foundation be established to support the young people and programs offered by the Salesians at all their locations in the New Rochelle Province, eastern U.S.A. In 1995, he made the first contribution to open a savings account which could be used to start a foundation. During the years that followed, additional contributions were acquired by generous benefactors from across the country.
A board of trustees was formed to oversee the investments. The St. Philip the Apostle Foundation was incorporated in the State of New Jersey on March 31, 1999. Each day since then we endeavor to carry out our mission: To provide a means for improving the quality of life of young people in accordance with the teachings of St. John Bosco.
Who Are Don Bosco and the Salesians?
Popularly known as Don Bosco, St. John Bosco is one of the most beloved of modern saints. He was born in 1815 in Italy. From his childhood, he wanted to dedicate his life to keeping youngsters close to God. As a boy he used to repeat to his friends the Bible stories he had read or sermons he had heard. From traveling jugglers, acrobats, and magicians he learned tricks and put on his own shows; the price of admission was joining in the common recitation of the Rosary.
As a young priest Don Bosco served in Turin, Italy. Hordes of boys were descending on the capital, looking for work in the factories and construction projects. Many of these youths were orphans, many were seasonal workers from the outlying farmlands, and those with families were usually poor and often had family problems. Don Bosco devised a plan to care for delinquents after their release and to keep boys out of trouble.
He called the institution that he envisioned an “oratory,” a place of prayer.
It was much more than that; it was a place to play and make friends, a school, an employment service, and a home. Every Sunday and feast day Don Bosco gathered the poor and the abandoned youths of Turin, heard their confessions, said Mass for them, preached in language they could understand, led them in games and hikes, told them stories, listened to their problems. He found them places to stay; before long he opened a hospice that eventually housed hundreds. He found them jobs with reputable employers. He opened a night school, and later a trade school and what we would call a college prep program.
Don Bosco placed his work under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales, known for his patience and gentleness, qualities essential to educators. Hence the institution was called the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales. He also had a great devotion to Mary, Help of Christians.
Around 1850 Don Bosco began singling out youngsters who might become good priests;
in return for helping him with catechism lessons and supervision, he offered them an education. Some of these youths decided to stay with him, and in 1859 with 22 of them he formed the Society of St. Francis de Sales—the Salesian Society. In the 1870s, with St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello he founded the Salesian Sisters to do the same sort of work for poor girls.
Today, the Salesians are the second largest religious order in the world, serving in 132 countries which are divided into 88 provinces. The St. Philip the Apostle Foundation supports the work of the Salesians in the province of the Eastern USA, known as the Province of St. Philip the Apostle.