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st. bosco biography

Don Bosco was born in the hamlet of Becchi, not far from Turin in northern Italy, on 16th August 1815. His father died before he reached two years of age, and his mother Margaret, a saintly woman, gave him a healthy religious upbringing.

Like St. Joseph in the Gospels, God spoke to John Bosco in his dreams, and in this way revealed to him many future events.

Already at the age of nine, John Bosco had the first of these man prophetic visions of “dreams” as he preferred to call them.

In this vision, a lady told him that he would be called to bring the Gospel to young people.

While still a teenager, John would often gather a group of boy together, and entertain them. He had a gift for conjuring and this he coupled with religious instruction, using stories from the lives of the saints of from the Bible, and finishing up with a hymn of decade of the Rosary.

The Oratory
After some initial difficulties he managed to undertake studies for the priesthood and was ordained on June 5th, 1841. Several months later his first “dream” became a reality. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1841 Don (“Father”) Bosco was vesting for Mass, when the sacristan noticed a boy nearby and asked him to server the Mass. The boy replied ashamed, “I cannot.” The sacristan insisted and when the boy again refused, gave out to him and chased him away. But Don Bosco called the boy back, asking him to stay for Mass.

Afterwards Don Bosco talked to the boy and learned that he was an orphan and although already sixteen, could neither read nor write nor had he made his First Communion. He didn’t go to instructions because he was too big for children’s classes.

“If I give you instruction alone, would you come?” Don Bosco asked.

“Oh yes,” the boy answered.
“Well, when shall we begin?”
“At once,” was the reply.

After first saying the a “Hail Mary” for help, Don Bosco gave the lad instruction for half an hour, beginning with the Sing of the cross. He then gave him a medal of Our Lady and asked him to come back on the following Sunday.

That Sunday the boy brought other boys with him and soon the famous “Oratory” had become a reality in Turin.

Don Bosco Spent his Sundays from dawn till nightfall with his boys, teaching them, playing them, saying Mass for them, hearing their confession and taking them on walks through the countryside. The group would meet in a field of church, but eventually Don Bosco was given an old barn. Slowly, by stages, this grew into the immense Salesian Mother House, the world famous Oratory of Turin.

But Don Bosco had a lot of work to do before his would come about.

After a while many of the boys started to come not only on Sundays and Feast Days, but also during the week in the evenings after school or work. Don Bosco realized that the boys needed more than one day a week with him, and began to allow them to stay in his house during the week. He set up a school for them while his own mother became a mother to them. Together they trained the boys in good habits and frequent use of the sacraments and gave them an education.

Two Congregations
As some of the boys started to join the seminaries and become priests, Don Bosco’s reputation as an educator of youth grew. Requests started to come for him to set up hi “oratory” in other places. He soon came to realize that he needed to set up a religious order.

He began to prepare the best and most reliable of his young assistants and with ecclesiastical approval, the Salesian Society came into existence.

Today it is the third largest congregation for men in the Catholic Church.

By 1874 Don Bosco had obtained final approval for both the Salesian Society and an order of nuns, the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians.

The nuns were to do for girls what the Salesian Society was doing for boys.

There were many obstacles put in Don Bosco’s way in this work, but he managed to overcome them with the support of the different Popes whom he was always close to.

John Bosco the Teacher
Don Bosco was a gifted educator of youth. A wonderful example of this was when he sought and eventually obtained permission from the Minister of Home Affairs to take out for a day in the country the youth in a detention center.

Under his care, the young people flocked out of the gates of their institution. They had a glorious day in the country and all returned to their place of detention in the evening, grateful to Don Bosco and with generous resolutions to make up for the past.

Special place for Our Lady
Our Lady had appeared to Don Bosco in his first “dream” at age nine and sent him his first pupil on the feast of her Immaculate Conception.

Don Bosco constantly turned to her for help and guidance. He taught all his boys a deep and tender devotion to Our Lady and to invoke her, especially under the title Help of Christians.

This led him eventually to build the greatest church of the Salesian Society, the famous Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin.

Prophecy
Don Bosco had an extraordinary gift of prophecy and foretold many things about the future of his Salesian Society. He also foretold public events, papal election, the rapid recovery of many who were ill and the imminent death of several great figures. In fact for many years not on pupil of the Oratory died without his foretelling it quite a long time before.

Among Don Bosco’s many prophetic visions, some were spreading the Gospel in mission lands. Gradually this began to happen, and the Congregation started to spread its work to mission territories, fulfilling Don Bosco’s prophecies one by one.

Salesian Cooperators
In his later years Don Bosco was sought after wherever he went. People of all ranks and classes came to him for advice or help, including many Cardinals and Ministers of State. On the other hand, many priests and lay people had helped Don Bosco with his work over the years. This eventually led to the foundation of the their main branch of Don Bosco’s work, the Association of Salesian Cooperators. The Popes of the time not only gave it their approval and blessing, but even placed themselves at the head of the list of members. Soon the Association had spread all over the world.

Don Bosco’s health collapse in 1887 and he died on December 21, 1888. He was beatified on June 9, 1929 and canonized on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1834. In 1946 he was proclaimed patron of Catholic publishers by Pope Pius XII.

 

 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS

DECEMBER 1
ST. EDMUND CAMPION
St. Edmund lived in the sixteenth century. He was a very popular young English student who was a great speaker. 

DECEMBER 2
ST. BIBIANA
St. Bibiana's father Flavian had been prefect of the city of Rome in early Christian times. 

DECEMBER 3
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER
St. Francis Xavier, the great missionary, was born at Xavier Castle in Spain in 1506.

DECEMBER 4
ST. JOHN DAMASCENE

St. John lived in the eighth century. He was born in the city of Damascus of a good Christian family

DECEMBER 5
ST. SABAS

St. Sabas, born in 439, is one of the most famous monks of Palestine.

DECEMBER 6
ST. NICHOLAS

St. Nicholas is the great patron of children and of Christmas giving.

DECEMBER 7
ST. AMBROSE

St. Ambrose was born around 340. He was the son of the Roman governor of Gaul.

DECEMBER 8
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY

Our first parents offended God by sinning seriously.

DECEMBER 9
BLESSED JUAN DIEGO

St. Juan Diego is well-known because the Mother of God appeared to him.

DECEMBER 10
ST. JOHN ROBERTS

St. John was born in Wales in 1577. Although he was not a Catholic, he was taught by an elderly priest.

DECEMBER 11
ST. DAMASUS I

ST. Damasus was born in Rome and lived in the fourth century-exciting times for the Church.

DECEMBER 12
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

We celebrate the event of Mary's appearances on Tepyac Hill in Mexico.

DECEMBER 13
ST. LUCY

St. Lucy, the beloved saint, lived in Syracuse, Sicily. She was born toward the end of the third century.

DECEMBER 14
ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS

St. John was born in Spain in 1542. He was the son of a weaver.

DECEMBER 15
ST. NINO

St. Nino was a Christian girl who lived in the fourth century.

DECEMBER 16
ST. ADELAIDE

St. Adelaide was born in 931. At the age of sixteen, this Burgundian princess was married to King Lothair.

DECEMBER 17
ST. OLYMPIAS

St. Olympias was born around the year 361. She belonged to a great family of Constantinople.

DECEMBER 18
ST. FLANNAN

St. Flannan lived around the seventh century. He was the son of an Irish chieftain named Turlough. Flannan was educated by the monks.

DECEMBER 19
BLESSED URBAN V

Blessed Urban's name before he became pope was William de Grimoard.

DECEMBER 20
ST. DOMINIC OF SILOS

St. Dominic, a Spanish shepherd boy, was born at the beginning of the eleventh century.

DECEMBER 21
ST. PETER CANISIUS

ST. Peter, a Dutch man, was born in 1521. His father wanted him to be a lawyer.

DECEMBER 22
ST. CHAEREMON AND ST. ISCHYRION AND OTHER MARTYRS

The third century was marked by Roman persecutions of the Church.

DECEMBER 23
ST. JOHN OF KANTY

St. John, the Polish saint, was born in 1390, the son of good country folk.

DECEMBER 23
ST. MARGUERITE D'YOUVILLE

St. Marguerite was born in Quebec, Canada, on October 15, 1701.

DECEMBER 24
ST. CHARBEL

St. Charbel was born Youssef Makhlouf on May 8, 1828, in a mountain village in Lebanon.

DECEMBER 25
CHRISTMAS, THE BIRTHDAY OF JESUS

The time had come for the Son of God to become man for love of us.

DECEMBER 26
ST. STEPHEN

St. Stephen's name means crown. He was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown.

DECEMBER 27
ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE

St. John was a fisherman in Galilee. He was called to be an apostle.

DECEMBER 28
THE HOLY INNOCENTS

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Wise Men came from the east to worship him.

DECEMBER 29
ST. THOMAS BECKET

St. Thomas Becket was born in 1118, in London, England.

DECEMBER 30
CST. ANYSIA

St. Anysia lived in Thessalonica toward the end of the second century.

DECEMBER 31
ST. SYLVESTER

St. Sylvester dates back to early Christian times, to the reign of Constantine.

 
ABOUT ARCHANGELS
SAINT MICHAEL
St. Michael the Archangel Story
History of St. Michael the Archangel Prayer
St. Michael the Archangel Prayers
St. Michael the Archangel Apparitions
The Chaplet of St. Michael Archangel
Novena to St Micheal the Archangel
Litany of St. Michael the Archangel


SAINT GABRIEL

St. Gabriel Prayer

SAINT RAPHAEL

St. Raphael Prayer
 
PHOTO OF THE MONTH


Tour of the Relics of the Passion
(International Center for Holy Relics)
www.HolyRelics.org

 
REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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Immaculate Conception of Mary
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