John Bosco was born in Castelnuovo d’Asti on 16 August 1815 of a peasant family.
His father, Francis Bosco, died when John was two, and Margaret Occhiena found herself raising Anthony, Joseph and John on her own.
With kindly firmness combined with boundless faith, Margaret, a wise educator, made a domestic church of her family.
John began to feel the desire to become a priest from an early age. He told of having had a dream at nine years old, which revealed his mission to him: "Make yourself humble, strong and energetic," a woman as resplendent as the sun told him, "and what you will see happening to these animals in a moment is what you must do for my children. I will teach you. In time, you will understand everything. " Since he was a boy, John had begun to entertain his companions with magic tricks, learned through hard training, alternated with work and prayer.
The older Fr Calosso helped him begin his studies with a view to the priesthood, which he had to face with difficulty until he left home due to opposition from his brother Anthony. He wanted John to work in the fields.
As a young student in Chieri, he started, the Society for a Good Time which brought together young people from the town. In June 1841 he was ordained a priest. His spiritual director, Fr Cafasso, advised him to perfect his studies at the Convitto ecclesiastico or Pastoral Institute.
Meanwhile, Don Bosco gathered the first boys around him, and organized a festive (weekend) oratory, which initially moved from place to place but ultimately settleed at Valdocco. Margaret, now a much older woman, agreed to come to Turin to help him and became "mamma Margaret" for the boys.
Don Bosco began to provide shelter to homeless orphans. He taught them a trade and to love the Lord. He would sing, play and pray with them.
The first co-workers also came from among these first boys. Thus his educational method developed, the famous "Preventive System": "Stay with the boys, prevent them from sinning with reason, religion and loving kindness. Become saints, educators of saints. Let our boys realize they are loved. " Over time, thanks also to the help of Pope Pius IX, these first helpers of his became a Congregation that aims at the salvation of youth, fighting every kind of poverty. Its motto became "Give me souls, and take away everything else."
The young Dominic Savio is the first fruit of the preventive system. Mary Help of Christians, who always supported Don Bosco in his work, obtained numerous graces, including extraordinary ones, and the money needed for all his enterprises. She also helped him build the Basilica by the same name.
With the help of Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello he founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Together with his benefactors and committed lay people he created the Salesian Cooperators.
Don Bosco died, exhausted by all his work, at 72 years of age on 31 January 1888. Today the Salesians are present throughout the world, and he has been recognized by the Church as "father and teacher of the young".
Pius XI, who had known him, beatified him in 1929 and canonized him on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1934.
|Significant historical dates|
|Don Bosco for us|
|Priest of young people|
|The first dream|
|The dream of the development of society|
|The style of Don Bosco|
|Don Bosco educational system|
|Don Bosco writer and editor|
|The half-divine book|
|Writings of Don Bosco|
|Circulars of Don Bosco|
|Bibliography of Don Bosco|
|Other aids on Don Bosco|
|Music on Don Bosco|
|Music on Don Bosco 2|
|Theatre on Don Bosco|
|World Art Gallery Galleria|
|Shelf of various other aids|