Upon the persistent request of many people in Turin, and as a result of his own perceptions, Don Bosco resolved to take steps in setting up an Institute that would reach out to many poor and abandoned young girls.
It so happened that in the township of Mornese, situated in the hills of Monferrato, a young woman by the name of Mary Domenica Mazzarello was accompanying a group of young women who together with her, were dedicated to helping young girls learn a trade and while doing so, guided them in their Christian development.
It was August 5, 1872, when, with the first professions, the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians was born. Thus after an intense preparation of prayer and meditation, not forgetting the fatherly encouragement of Pope Pius IX, he was able to raise up this new congregation of sisters.
The Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians has its origin in the heart and mind of St. John Bosco and in the creative fidelity with which St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello and her Sisters assumed the project he intended, that of being called ‘Daughters of Mary Help of Christians’ (Salesian Sisters), a living monument of gratitude to our Lady.
Springing from the same Founder, this Institute has the same aim and program as that of the Salesians: that is, the religious perfection of each member by means of the observance of the vows, and by an apostolate among the young, especially the more needy. Identical too is their motto: Da mihi animas, caetera tolle (Give me souls, take away the rest) and identical is their spirituality
Don Bosco created a vast movement of persons to bring the Gospel of Jesus to young people and to work for their benefit. He himself founded the Society of St. Francis de Sales (Salesians of Don Bosco), the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters), the Association of Salesian Cooperators, and the Association Devoted to Mary Help (ADMA). Since then other groups have formed. Today 31 groups make up the Salesian Family spread throughout the world. These Groups have specifically distinct vocations but they live in communion with each other, share Don Bosco’s charism of ministering to the young especially those who are poor and at risk.