Monday, January 31, 2011


Today, January 31st is the feast of St. John Bosco

A Summary of St. John Bosco's Life

cc photo by IMA Neuquen on flickr
- St. John Bosco or more popularly known as Don Bosco ("Don" an Italian term of respect for priests) was born Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco on August 16, 1815 at Becchi, Castelnuovo, Italy.  

- He was the youngest of three children of Francis Louis Bosco who died in 1817 and Margaret Occhiena.

- He had his first communion in 1826, and had his Elementary studies in Castelnuovo in 1830.

- He entered the Seminary of Chieri in 1835 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 5, 1841 in Turin.  In December of that same year, he began his work for the young when he met a 16-year old orphan, Bartholomew Garelli.

- He instituted the Salesian Order on December 18, 1859 with 18 members.

- He built a church in honor of Mary Help of Christians which is now the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin.  It was consecrated on June 9, 1868.

- The Salesian Society was approved by Rome on February 19, 1869.

- In 1872, he and St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello instituted the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco or Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.

- On April 3, 1874, Rome approved the Salesian Constitutions.

- In 1876, he instituted the Salesian Cooperators which is a movement of the laity.

- St. John Bosco died on January 31, 1888, and was proclaimed "Venerable" by Pope Pius X on July 24, 1907.

- On June 2, 1929, he was beatified by Pope Pius XI, and the same pope canonized him on April 1, 1934.

- On May 24, 1946, he was declared patron saint of Catholic editors, and on January 24, 1989, Pope John Paul II officially proclaimed St. John Bosco as father and teacher of the youth.

Don Bosco's bronze statue, beside the church of the 
Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cebu City, Philippines

One of Don Bosco's famous teachings is the Preventive System, a method of education that he developed and practiced.  This system is based on reason, religion and kindness.  He believed that the youth should be disciplined with kindness and respect rather than with embarrassing or violent punishments.

Don Bosco is also well-known for his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Mary Help of Christians.  He built the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin in her honor. With regards to our Blessed Mother Mary, Don Bosco had this to say: "Invoke Mary and you will see what miracles are."

Don Bosco, pray for us!

- Salesian Bulletin, Special Issue Vol. 40 No. 2 September-November 2010

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