Confessor, Founder, “Father and Teacher of Youth”
16 August 1815
31 January 1888 (aged 72)
1 April 1934, Rome by Pius XI
Christian apprentices, editors, publishers, schoolchildren, young people, magicians
He was the youngest son of Francesco Bosco (1784–1817) and Margherita Occhiena. He had two elder brothers, Antonio and Giuseppe (1813–1862). The Boscos of Becchi were farmhands of the Moglia Family. John Bosco was born into a time of great shortage and famine in the Piedmontese countryside, following the devastation wrought by the Napoleonic wars and a drought in 1817.
Margherita, his mother, played a strong role in Bosco’s formation and personality, and was an early supporter of her son’s ideals.When he was young, he would put on shows of his skills as a juggler, magician and acrobat with prayers before and after the performance.
In 1825, when he was nine, Bosco had the first of a series of dreams which would play an influential role in his outlook and work. This first dream “left a profound impression on him for the rest of his life”, according to his own memoirs. Bosco apparently saw a man, who “appeared, nobly attired, with a manly and imposing bearing”. The man said to him: “You will have to win these friends of yours not with blows, but with gentleness and kindness. So begin right now to show them that sin is ugly and virtue beautiful.”
Saint John Bosco, you reached out to children whom no one cared for despite ridicule and insults. Help us to care less about the laughter of the world and care more about the joy of the Lord. Amen