Thursday, January 31, 2013

St. John Bosco

 On January 31 the Church honors the Memorial of St. John Bosco - Friend of the Youth. He was called "Apostle of Youth" because he dedicated his life to the young people by organizing youth clubs, hostels, and boarding schools where he taught them. He founded the Salesian Society for the boys in 1854 which was named St. Francis de Sales. In 1872 he also founded the Salesian Sisters called Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians to work for girls. 

St. John Bosco had no formal system or theory of education. His methods centered on persuasion, authentic religiosity, and love for young people. He was an enlightened educator and innovator. The educational philosophy of John Bosco can be condensed in three words: reason, religion, and kindness. The basic principle of his system was a deep understanding and love for young people and their problems.

St. John Bosco is considered as the saint of the youth. Founder of Salesian Society, named in honor of St. Francis de Sales. His lifework was the welfare of young boys and girls, hence his title, "Apostle of Youth." His methods centered on persuasion, authentic religiosity, and love for young people. He was an enlightened educator and innovator. Pope John Paul II named him "teacher and father to the young."

At age 14, he really wanted to be a priest because he wants the youth to understand their faith. He served a priest for its morning masses and the priest taught John Bosco Latin. But the young John Bosco needed to stop his lessons with the priest because he needed to work in a farm to help their family for a living. But he did not stop dreaming of becoming a priest until one day his uncle brought him to a school where he can fulfill his dream.He is a patron saint of apprentices; boys; editors; young people; laborers; students and young people.

St. John Bosco was born in 1815 and died in 1888. In between is a life lived for God and for the youth he loved. His life was shaped at an early age by several dreams he had, the first one being recorded when he was 9 years of age. Much happened to him in the intervening years. His was a life filled with setbacks, intrigue, and this work with the youth of his day tended to make him unpopular with civil authorities, sometimes with church authorities and also with many rich people.

His work began simply enough working with disadvantaged youth (orphans, street children and juvenile delinquents) employing a system of teaching based on love rather than punishment. Some call it the Salesian Preventive System. His work with youth began as Sunday afternoons catechism lessons, mixed with meals, outdoor activities, and generally giving the youth a wholesome group to belong to. Later as his small group grew, he added training and apprentice programs and eventually founded an oratory that became in later years the foundation for his Salesian Order. We invite you to visit one of their websites for a look at who the Salesians' are today. He is known today as the patron saint of youth.

Perhaps one of the best known miracle stories regarding Don Bosco involves a large grey dog whom Don named Grigio. Over the course of 30 years, the dog appeared more than eight different times and often accompanied him on his travels to areas of the town which were known to be dangerous. This dog appeared and accompanied him many different times and was known to ward off attacks by would-be assassins, robbers and even vicious animals. Many think of Grigio as his guardian angel sent to keep him safe.

To know more about St. John Bosco, please click on the following links:
Novena to St. John Bosco
Novena In Honor Of St. John Bosco
About St. John Bosco
Vision of St. Bosco
St. Bosco Biography
St. Bosco Oratory Project
St. Bosco Dreams
St. Bosco Ressurection

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