America. From 1st to 5th May 2024, at the Chapalita Institute, in Zapopan, Guadalajara, in the State of Jalisco in Mexico, the 5°th Continental Meeting of the Salesian School in America (ESA V) is held on the theme: “Together, for the present and the future of Salesian education in America”.

More than 200 participants – Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesians of Don Bosco, members of the Salesian Family, and lay people involved in Salesian realities – from 25 countries of the entire American continent, will meet to strengthen strategies and celebrate progress.

For 30 years (1994-2024), the educative processes in the Continent have found a collaborative epicenter, which gave birth to the Salesian School of America (ESA), as a forum for reflection and a common path. SDB, FMA, and other groups of the Salesian Family have enriched this synodal journey, focusing on young people and their integral development.

The starting point can be found in May 1994, when the “Latin American Study Meeting on the Salesian Educative Process and Emerging Cultures” was held in Cumbayá (Ecuador), convened and coordinated by the Youth Pastoral Councilors: Sister Georgina McPake (FMA) and Don Lucas Van Looy (SDB). The meeting was attended by 117 Delegates/s from the different American Provinces of both Congregations.

Some FMA and SDB, present at the first meeting of 1994, in an interview share their experience and vision of how this path has allowed a growth in the understanding of the reality of youth in strategic decisions within the Provinces and in the emerging challenges for Salesian education. A few impressions:

 “In Cumbayá I we experienced the ferment of all the Latin American schools, our worries, our possibilities. We found the Preventive System as pedagogy, pastoral, and spirituality, already as a possible attempt to form a network of reflection and common action.” (Sister Ivone Yared, FMA Brazil)

“On a personal level, that meeting was very important because it meant for me the beginning of a deeper and more committed work at the service of the Schools of the Province, as part of the Provincial Coordination Team. Within our wonderful Salesian vocation, which leads us to give all our energies to God for the good of the education of young people.” (Sister Patricia Perisset, FMA Argentina)

The future of the Salesian School of America as a continental network must continue to be a significant contribution to Salesian educational reflection, consolidating the educational presence in America, for the good of all, especially the most disadvantaged. It is important, underlines Sister Olga Winkelried, FMA of Peru, that “we walk with the same criteria, leaving aside everything that hinders the construction of the ideal proposed in these meetings. I believe that this is an exciting challenge and that it will be possible to the extent that we attend to the continuity of those who animate the processes, as well as the involvement of ALL agents, starting with men and women religious, so that we can contribute to the transformation of our societies, which have so much need of good Christians and honest citizens who contribute to the integral good of all.”

It can be seen that in these 30 years, the Salesian School in America (ESA), gradually becoming an animation body, has fostered a path of unity and collaboration between Countries and regions as well as, more generally, between various initiatives. It has given rise to processes that guarantee education in the contemporary world, addressing current challenges from different perspectives and converging on short and medium-term work plans, always in a shared design, with a continental vision.

The upcoming meeting in Guadalajara will be a new opportunity for all to promote vocational and pastoral engagement in the educational mission, looking for ways forward to give children and youth the formation they need and help them to live fully as good Christians and honest citizens of the 21st century.

Among the participants in the event will be Sister Ivone Goulart Lópes, FMA, collaborator of the Sector of Youth Ministry and referent for the Salesian School of America; Sister Herlinda Palomino FMA and Sister Sarah Garcia, Sector’s collaborators; Sister Ausilia De Siena, Councilor for Social Communication; and several Provincial Coordinators for Communication of the Provinces of America.

Full interview

To follow the event


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.