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St. John Bosco: father and teacher of youth

St. John Bosco: father and teacher of youth

Who was Saint John Bosco?
You have probably heard about him many times, especially in small parish communities.
He has always been associated with children, due to his life, constantly in contact with youth.
His feast day is 31 of January and he is considered today the Patron Saint of Apprentices, Editors and Publishers, Schoolchildren, Magicians and Juvenile Delinquents.
Discover more about Saint John Bosco, by reading the following paragraphs.

St. John Bosco image

Representation of St. John Bosco
Source: Aleteia >

Life and dreams of St. John Bosco

Born on 16 August 1815 in Becchi (Italy), St. John Bosco, whose original name was Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco, is such a famous Catholic Saint of Christianity who dedicated his whole life to children in need. He was born in such a poor and austere environment: his birth came just after the end of the Napoleonic Wars which ravaged his area; furthermore, there was also a drought and a famine at that time. At the age of two, John lost his father, leaving him and his two older brothers to be raised by his mother, Margherita, declared venerable by the Church in 2006.

Since he was only a child, he attended church and became very devout. Even though his family was very poor, he and his mother always found enough to share with the homeless who sometimes came to the door seeking food, shelter or clothing.
At the age of 9, he had the first of several vivid dreams that would influence his life: he dreamt a multitude of boys who swore as they played. Among them, he encountered a great and majestic man and woman who told him that in meekness and charity he would “conquer these your friends”. At the same time, the lady said “Be strong, humble and robust. When the time comes, you will understand everything”. This dream in particular influenced John for the rest of his life.

The call of John Bosco

Shortly after, he witnessed a traveling troupe of circus performers and thought that if he learned their tricks, he could use them to attract others. He studied their tricks and learnt how to perform some himself. This is the reason why he is considered even the patron saint of Magicians. One day, he staged a show for the kids he played with and at the end of the show he recited the homily he heard earlier in the day, inviting his neighbors to pray with him. Soon after, John discerned the call to become a priest. Since being a priest required an education, he found a priest willing to provide him with some teaching and a few books. His older brother, instead, became angry for this and whipped John, saying “he is a farmer like us”. For this reason, as soon as he could, he left home to look for work as a hired farm laborer. He was only 12 when he departed, a decision hastened by his brother’s hostility.

The mission of John Bosco

In 1835, John Bosco entered the seminary and for six years he prepared himself to be a priest, that became in 1841. His first mission was in Turin, a city in the throes of industrialization which had slums and widespread poverty. On this occasion, he was known as Fr. Bosco and worked with the children of the poor. While visiting the prison, Fr. Bosco noticed a large number of boys, between 12 and 18 years old whose conditions were deplorable. He understood he wanted to do more for them!
For this reason, he went into the streets of Turin and started to meet young men and boys where they worked and played. He used the tricks he learnt when he was a child to capture attention and shared with the children his message for the day.

Father Bosco with the youth

Representation of Father Bosco

Father Bosco and the youth

Since he was used to spending a lot of his time with children, he really knew their necessities well: in fact, he worked tirelessly seeking work for boys who needed it and searching for loggings for others. But he was not alone! His mother Margherita reached him to help him with his mission. From that time, she was known as “Mamma Margherita” and by the 1860s Fr. Bosco and his mother were responsible for lodging 800 boys.
Another mission of Fr. Bosco was his negotiations for the workers’ rights: a common problem was the abuse of apprentices, with their employers using them to perform manual labor and menial work unrelated to their apprenticeship. For this reason, he is also considered the Patron Saint of apprentices.

He even identified boys he thought would make good priests and encouraged them to consider a vocation to the priesthood and then prepared those who responded favorably in their path to ordination.

Church of St. John Bosco in Rome, ItalyChurch of St. John Bosco, Rome (Italy)
Source: Agenzia Info Salesiana >

The organization of Fr. John Bosco

In 1859, John Bosco established the Society of St. Francis de Sales, with one purpose: carrying on his charitable work, helping boys with their faith formation and to stay out of trouble. This organization still exists and continues to help people, especially children around the world.
Fr. Bosco died on January 31, 1888, which was established as his feast day. He was then canonized on Easter Sunday, 1934 and he was given the title “Father and Teacher of Youth”.

If you are devoted to St. John Bosco or his figure was significant in your life, you may be interested in this large resin statue, completely hand-painted by our artisans.

St. John Bosco large statue in hand-painted resin




Related articles:
A prayer to the sick and suffering children to St. Clare of Assisi→
How to help your teenager develop faith skills→
Prayers for grandchildren: how to protect them through prayer→


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