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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

MAY 1
ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER
This is St. Joseph's second feast day on the Church calendar of celebrations. We honor him also on March 19. St. Joseph is a very important saint.

MAY 2
ST. ATHANASIUS
St. Athanasius was born around 297 in Alexandria, Egypt. He devoted his life to proving that Jesus is truly God.

MAY 3
ST. PHILIP AND ST. JAMES
Both of these saints were part of the original group of Jesus' twelve apostles.

MAY 4
BLESSED MARIE-LEONIE PARADIS
Blessed Marie-Elodie Paradis was born in the village of L'Acadie in Quebec, Canada. It was May 12, 1840.

MAY 5
ST. JUDITH OF PRUSSIA

St. Judith lived in the thirteenth century. She was born in Thuringia. This was in what is now central Germany. She wanted to model her life on the example of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

MAY 6
BLESSED FRANCOIS DE MONTMORENCY LAVAL

Blessed Francois was the first bishop of Quebec City, Canada. He was born in 1623 in a small town in France.

MAY 7
BLESSED ROSE VENERINI

Blessed Rose was born in Viterbo, Italy, in 1656. Her father was a physician. Rose entered the convent but returned home after a few months.

MAY 8
BLESSED CATHERINE OF ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Catherine was born on May 3, 1632, in a little village in France. She was baptized the same day.

MAY 9
BLESSED NICHOLAS ALBERGATI

Blessed Nicholas was born in Bologna, Italy. Nicholas' family could afford to send him to the university where he began to study law.

MAY 10
ST. ANTONINUS

St. Antoninus lived in the fifteenth century. Even as a boy he showed that he had good sense and will power.

MAY 11
ST. IGNATIUS OF LACONI

St. Ignatius was the son of a poor farmer in Laconi, Italy. He was born on December 17, 1701.

MAY 12
ST. NEREUS, ST. ACHILLEUS AND ST. PANCRAS

Sts. Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers who died around 304. They were probably Praetorian guards under Emperor Trajan. We know little else about them.

MAY 13
ST. ANDREW FOURNET

St. Andrew Fournet was born on December 6, 1752. He was from Maille, a little town near Poitiers, in France. Andrew's parents were religious people.

MAY 14
ST. MATTHIAS

St. Matthias was one of Our Lord's seventy-two disciples.

MAY 15
ST. ISIDORE THE FARMER

Saint Isidore was born in 1070, in Madrid, Spain. His parents were deeply religious. They named their son after the great St. Isidore, archbishop of Seville, Spain.

MAY 16
ST. UBALD

St. Ubald lived in twelfth-century Italy. He was an orphan raised by his uncle, a bishop. Ubald was given a good education.

MAY 17
ST. PASCHAL BAYLON

St. Paschal, a Spanish saint, was born in 1540. From the time he was seven, he worked as a shepherd. He never had the opportunity to go to school.

MAY 18
ST. JOHN I

St. John I was a priest of Rome. He became pope after the death of Pope St. Hormisdas in 523. At that time, Italy's ruler, Theodoric the Goth, was an Arian.

MAY 19
ST. CELESTINE V

Peter di Morone was the eleventh of twelve children. He was born around 1210 in Isernia, Italy. His father died when he was small.

MAY 20
ST. BERNARDINE OF SIENA

St. Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380 in a town near Siena, Italy. He was the son of an Italian governor.

MAY 21
BLESSED EUGENE DE MAZENOD

Blessed Eugene was born in France in 1782. He became a priest in 1811. Father Eugene was sensitive to the needs of the poor and he ministered to them.

MAY 22
ST. RITA OF CASCIA

St. Rita was born in 1381 in a little Italian village. Her parents were older. They had begged God to send them a child. They brought Rita up well.

MAY 23
ST. JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI

St. John Baptist Rossi was born in 1698 in a village near Genoa, Italy. His family loved him. They were proud when a wealthy couple visiting their town offered to educate him. His parents knew the couple and trusted them.

MAY 24
ST. DAVID I OF SCOTLAND

St. David was born in 1080. He was the youngest son of St. Margaret, queen of Scotland, and her good husband, King Malcom.

MAY 25
VENERABLE BEDE

Venerable Bede, the English priest, was famous as a saint, a priest, a monk, a teacher and a writer of history. He was born in England in 673.

MAY 26
ST. PHILIP NERI

St. Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in 1515. As a child, his nickname was "Good little Phil." He was always so jolly and friendly that everyone he met loved him.

MAY 27
ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY

St. Augustine was the abbot of St. Andrew's monastery in Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great chose him and forty other monks for a mission dear to his heart.

MAY 28
BLESSED MARGARET POLE

Blessed Margaret was born in 1471. She was the niece of two English kings, Edward IV and Richard III. Henry VII arranged her marriage to Sir Reginald Pole.

MAY 29
ST. MAXIMINIUS

St. Maximinius was a bishop who lived in the fourth century. It is believed that he was born in Poitiers, France. As a young man, he heard of a saintly bishop of Trier, in Gaul.

MAY 30
ST. JOAN OF ARC

St. Joan was born in 1412. Her hometown was Domremy, a little village in France. Jacques d'Arc, her father, was a hard working farmer.

MAY 31
THE VISITATION OF MARY

Visitation means "visit." The Archangel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby.

 
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?

 
NEWS ARCHIVE & ACTIVITIES

EVENTS
Holy Relics of Advent in Hawaii
Miles Christi Women's Retreat

NEWS
The Sacrament of Marriage
Bishops Shield Pope Against BBC Assault
Much Work Remains in Many Areas

Vatican Appeals for Least Developed Countries

MAINPAGE ARTICLE
Immaculate Conception of Mary
Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Feast of St Jude the Miraculous Saint
Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima


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