Founder of the Salesians and the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians (1815-1888)
+ John was born in Turin, Italy. Following the death of his father, his mother, Venerbale Margherita Bosco, worked to support the family as best she could.
+ Against great odds, John was ordained a priest in 1841 and, soon after, he founded the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales.
+ A gifted teacher and leader, “Don Bosco” developed an education system based on “reason, religion, and kindness.” He was able to construct workshops to train boys as tradesmen, schools for arts and sciences, and schools for liberal arts for boys preparing for priesthood.
+ In his ministry, he was always guided by this principle: “Jesus began to do before he began to teach.” He would often use magic tricks and games to attract the attention of poor boys who would often not want to have anything to do with a priest.
+ To secure the future of his work, he founded the Salesian Priests and Brothers and, with Saint Mary Mazzarello, the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians.
+ Saint John Bosco, the “Apostle of Youth,” died on January 31, 1888, and was canonized in 1934. Because of the magic tricks he would perform to attract the attention of the youth whom he sought to serve, John Bosco has come to also be honored as a patron of magicians and jugglers.
For prayer and reflection
“The man of compassion guides and teachers his brothers with the gentle care of the good shepherd for his sheep.”—Benedictus Antiphon from the Common of Teachers (Liturgy of the Hours)
To learn more about the Salesian Fathers and Brothers:
St. Philip the Apostle Province (Eastern U.S. and Canada), visit: http://www.salesians.org/
Province of St. Andrew (Western U.S.), visit: www.donboscowest.org
To learn more about the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters):
Eastern Province, visit: www.salesiansisters.org
Western Province, visist: www.salesiansisterswest.org
O God, who raised up the Priest Saint John Bosco
as a father and teacher of the young,
grant, we pray,
that, aflame with the same fire of love,
we may seek out souls and serve you alone.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.