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.”
+ 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.
Saint John Bosco 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. For this reason, he is often honored as the patron saint of magicians and jugglers.
“He knew how to create an impressive system of education by bringing the Church back into contact with the masses, which the Church was losing… For us who are outside the Church and outside every church, he is really a hero, the hero of preventative education and of the family school. His followers can be proud.”—An anti-Catholic critic writing of John Bosco
To learn more about the Salesian Fathers and Brothers:
St. Philip the Apostle Province (Eastern U.S. and Canada), click here.
Province of St. Andrew (Western U.S.), click here.
To learn more about the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters):
Eastern Province, click here.
Western Province, click here.
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.