SAINT JOHN BOSCO
FATHER AND FRIEND OF YOUTH
Saint John Bosco, fondly known as Don Bosco, was a Catholic priest who dedicated his life to the education of young people.
Don Bosco was born at Becchi, near Turin, in Northern Italy on 16″ August 1815. His father died when he was two and so his poor family needed his services at the farm. Through sheer dint of will power and the help of many generous hearts, he got himself educated.
After he became a priest in 1841, he expanded his work for poor and abandoned children born and bred in poverty, who wanted a decent home but lived on streets. He understood well their yearning for food and love which were never adequately satisfied in their environment.
To cater to the needs of such young people, he started an open house to all the boys who wished to spend their time usefully. In order to prepare youth for skilled labour, in 1853, Don Bosco turned his mother Margaret’s kitchen into a make-shift carpentry workshop.
With the dedicated group of followers, he was able to help the street urchins to become honest citizens and good believers. To win the hearts of the youngsters he developed a teaching method based on love that became Salesian Preventive System. Don Bosco explained it as a happy blend of reason, spirituality and loving kindness. In fact when asked about the secret of his success with youngsters, he simply answered “Love”
To continue the work that he had started, he founded in 1859, a religious society of priests and brothers, known as Salesians, later called Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), who are set apart within the Catholic Church for the education of youth, especially the poor and the abandoned. After a tireless journey of 73 years, he died on 31st January 1888. He was canonized a Saint on Easter Sunday, 1st April 1934.
Today the Society is working in 133 countries, having about 2700 institutions of diverse nature: schools, vocational training centres, colleges, universities, media centres, student hostels, youth clubs, sports clubs, residential youth care facilities, marginalized youth shelters, parishes and spirituality centres. In India, the Don Bosco Society caters to innumerable children and youth through 324 formal and non-formal educational institutions.