Gragnano (Italy). “I am happy that you are having fun, that you are playing, that you are happy; this is a way to become saints” (Don Bosco). On the facade of the Vincenzo D’Amato Institute in Gragnano in the Southern Province of Our Lady of Good Counsel (IMR), line by line, nuance by nuance, the increasingly vivid face emerges of St. John Bosco, Founder of the Salesian Congregation.
The hand of street artist Leticia Mandragora, already author of two other wonderful murals in the city of pasta, paints it with singular skill. The saint’s gaze on Via Vittorio Veneto comes to life and is colored with an expression that invites, welcomes, embraces. “Come and play with us” he seems to say, clutching a tennis ball. The bust stands as a bulwark over the regions and towns that make up the Southern Province: Puglia, Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Albania, and Malta.
Before him, books and some tools symbolize the instruments and objectives of his educational action: education, formation, and work.
For ninety years, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have pursued these goals in the territory of Gragnano by spreading the echo of the Salesian charism. For generations, the D’Amato Institute has been a reality that dedicated itself to young people, offering them a space in which to grow and have fun, guided by the three cornerstones of Don Bosco’s Preventive System: reason, religion, and loving kindness.
The project is wanted and supported with the offerings and the affection of the Gragnanese population, who have shown that they are able to find the necessary resources to improve their city and to combat degradation and educational poverty.
The mural work of art stands as a seal placed by the citizenship for the ninety years in which the heart of Don Bosco has continued to beat in thousands of young hearts and in the hands of those who, in the name of faith, continue to carry on his work.