Salesian Agricultural School “Don Bosco” Uribelarrea
This story is something personal, although they were all a bit like that, this time I think it is more, hopefully help them find that place where God is waiting for them, from the hand of his Mother (Help in my case) or some Saint (Saint John Bosco for me).
When I was 7 years old I started my schooling in a Salesian school, close to the house where my parents lived at that time. I really had no idea what it was like to be a Salesian, and my parents did not know either, they only saw that it was a good school and that is why they sent me there.
If I liked something from school, it was the joy that was lived there, unlike what I saw in other institutes where the kids did not see the time to leave, we wanted to return, classes ended and in the afternoon we chose to return.
Over the years I still did not understand very much what it was like to be a Salesian, but I will never forget the words I learned there, Maria will get into your heart, this sentence was meaningless in those days.
One of the things that I remember most of that time were the soccer championships and the excursions that also included a game. Among those excursions there was one to a distant town about two hours from Buenos Aires called Uribelarrea, where there was a Salesian school with agricultural orientation. These tours were repeated every year or maybe two years but it was really one of the favorite places of all of us.
I recently learned that this school was celebrating 125 years of life, and this fact led me to write about it.
My visits to this place as a boy were repeated quite often, but I was distancing myself, without a real reason, until with two young children at that time, we decided to go on a weekend to visit the town and of course the school.
It was a beautiful afternoon of family bike riding and visiting places that started to move things inside me, at that moment my hard heart prevented me from seeing further (perhaps because of this I repeatedly ask them to open their hearts and let themselves be surprised).
That visit began to be repeated every so often, and more and more I enjoyed that place, which in itself did not have much, but if I kept part of my childhood.
A few months ago we came back again, this time alone with Andrea (our children are already great), but with a bicycle too. We toured the school, we entered the inner Chapel which is how they imagined very old, the patio, which, as in any Salesian school, is a great place for games and fun.
That day we could also go to the Celebration of the Mass in the Town, a very small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lujan although of course with an image of Don Bosco and Mary Help of Christians.
The town is a small town, close to the city of Cañuelas and Lobos, which makes many migrate to these cities and the town remains frozen in time, but this in itself is a very particular attraction.
In itself, the school is like many agricultural schools, and in itself, like many Salesian schools, the small inner chapel (of which I do not have any photos due to the lack of interior light) is simple, but what happens there, for those of us who were there for so many
Like Saint John Bosco (sorry for the exaggerated comparison) in that Celebration I understood everything. That phrase that the Salesians used to say when I was a child, “Maria will get into your heart” suddenly took on meaning, I felt excited just being in that place I had visited so many times when I was little, that place where I could go with my children, and that now I do with my wife, that place where Jesus, Maria and Don Bosco hug me very strong.
Some information about the institution
- The school currently houses 400 students, many of whom are pupils.
- It was the first agricultural school in Argentina and South America, where students have 200 hectares to work and learn.
- The first director was Father Valentín Cassini, one of the ten Salesians sent by Don Bosco in 1875 to our country.
- The idea of this school was born from an audience granted by Pope Leo XIII to Monsignor Lasagna, the second Salesian bishop. The supreme pontiff had asked him what establishments the Salesians had founded in the Argentine Republic. Lasagna replied that primary and secondary schools had been opened, as well as schools of arts and crafts. The Holy Father interrupted him insistently saying: ‘Your special mission in flourishing Argentina must be to found numerous agricultural schools for the cultivation of those extensive plains and also to bring to the fields so much youth that in the big cities they can not develop their activity and they end up losing their soul and body “
- With an important territorial insertion today it is presented as a Secondary School of Agricultural Modality. It has an enrollment of 400 students with a percentage of 50% of males and females.
- Uribelarrea is just two hours away from Buenos Aires, making the place an ideal getaway for a family bike ride, or a rest day.
- It has several places to have lunch, but I highlight one called Pueblo Escondido, which is an old field store.
- The Salesian school sells products manufactured by the students, especially cheeses, dulce de leche and salamis. Do not stop buying and enjoy those flavors.
- Visit the internal chapel of the College, but do not stop participating in a Celebration in the Chapel of the People, where few people really attend, which makes it more intimate and reaches more to the heart.