Thursday, January 31, 2013

St. John Bosco

January 31 is the feast of St. John Bosco! Also known as Don Bosco or Giovanni Melchior Bosco, he was the founder of the Salesian Society. John Bosco was born of poor parents in their small house at Becchi, a hill-side hamlet near Castelnuovo, Piedmont, Italy, on August 16, 1815. Don Bosco died January 31, 1888 and was declared Venerable by Pius X, July 21, 1907.

After his ordination to the priesthood, he settled in the industrial town of Turin which was flooded by peasants in search of work. Don(Father) Bosco focused his efforts on ministry to the orphans and working children of the city and established homes called oratories where they could live, learn productive trades, and be educated in the faith. In the face of much resistance by anti-clerical politicians and unfriendly churchmen, his oratories grew so quickly that by 1868 over 800 boys were under his care. As if this work were not enough, he wrote and printed countless pamphlets that popularized Catholic teaching and answered the objections of anti-Catholics and secularists and as a result, several attempts were made on his life.

Miracles reported by numerous eyewitnesses accompanied his work, including the multiplication of food. He was also known to receive supernatural guidance from God in the form of vivid dreams which he often reccounted to his companions.