History

The spirit behind this initiative was the blessed Fr. Filippo Rinaldi, who then became the third successor of Don Bosco and Rector Major of the Salesian Congregation. The project was however completed by the Salesian missionary, Fr. Maggiorino Borgatello. This missionary gains credit for having documented the life and civilisation of some of the peoples of Latin-America. On returning to Italy, worn-out by 26 years of missionary work, he became guardian of the Sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians and enthusiastically dedicated himself to the collecting, study and exhibition of material that had arrived from various quarters in the meantime. The inauguration of the museum took place 23rd May, 1918, the eve of the feast of Mary Help of Christians. Fr. Borgatello lived a further 11 years during which his work would be further enhanced and valued. After his death, everything entered into shadow and silence until, following the work to enlarge the sanctuary (1934-1938) and the Second World War (1939-1945), the material could not be found.

But Mary wanted the sanctuary to have a “lower sanctuary” that would document the value and vigour of popular Marian piety. This happened in 1978, sixty years after the inauguration of the first Marian collection. As a result there came the visual testimony to the Virgin’s prophetic words to Don Bosco: “Here Is My House, From Here Comes My Glory “. In October 1978, the documentation was transported from Bologna to Torino and placed in the crypt of the Sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians. “The Historical Marian Archive” thus becomes the Turin “Salesian Centre of Marian Historical and Popular Documentation”. The Salesian missionary Fr. Demetrio Zucchetti, for many years the energy behind the missionary magazine, “Missionary Youth”, provided this initiative not only the rooms it occupies, but also his glass cabinets and other equipment. This made it possible to immediately organise the centre and get it working. Since that date, the Sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians has once more had a Documentation Centre.

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