This centre, called “Salesian” because of its position and origin, could also be described as, some places where visitors and researchers are offered everything that can be gathered and catalogued regarding direct and marginal documentation of the history of devotion that the Christian people have shown towards the Mother of God, as well as all that has served and still serves “popular piety”. The driving force behind this centre was Fr. Pietro Ceresa, who died 19 April, 1997. For this reason it bears his name.
This is how he described its origins:
“In 1918, in the crypt of the sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians, their was the inauguration of the “Museum of the Worship of Mary Help of Christians” in the World. The origins of this museum date back to 1915, when the sanctuary wanted to celebrate the first hundred years since the institution of the liturgical celebration of Mary Help of Christians, initiated by Pope Pius VII, 15th September, 1815. At that time and among the many undertakings, it was thought of to prepare and equip an “exhibition of the worship of Mary Help of Christians in the world”.
However, as a result of the outbreak of the First World War (1914-1918), nothing was done. The expanded project becomes the “Museum exhibition of the devotion of Mary Help of Christians” and becomes reality, even if in a reduced form, in 1918, the year of the fiftieth jubilee of the consecration of the Sanctuary of the Help of Christians in Torino.