John Bosco was born on August 16, 1815, to a poorfarming family in Becchi, a small suburb of Turin,Italy. The child grew to be the Beloved Apostle ofYouth. One of John Boscos earliest recollectionsoccurred at age two. He remembers his mother tellinghim upon his fathers death , You have no fathernow. Although he stated that he could not rememberwhat his father was like , his death must have had aprofound effect on him and perhaps sparked his desireto help troubled boys, many of whom were fatherless. I cannot say that I have suffered the loss of a closefamily member and can only imagine the effect it couldhave on my life. From the time he was a young child, John Bosco seemedto have a clear understanding of Gods ways; and whathe didnt understand was often made clear to him byhis mother Mama Margaret.
She seemed to know, evenat an early age, that her son was destined to do goodin the name of God. She taught him by example from anearly age and continued to support him and all hisgood works throughout his life. She eventually joinedhim at he Oratory and became Mother to hundreds ofboys.
Her positive influence was felt by all of thoseboys. It was almost as if the Blessed Mother workedthrough her good example and words of wisdom. Mama Margaret warned her son to beware of bad boysyou may meet on your journey through life. and askedhim one day, Why do you go with such bad boys?How many mothers have echoed similar words? Howconfident John Bosco was in the power of his goodexample when he replied, If I am with them they arebetter and do not say bad words.
Wouldnt this worldbe a better place if we all had such confidence andfaith in the power our own good example. As a young child, John Bosco had the ability toattract young boys. He went out of his way to studytraveling show folk to learn acrobatic and sleightof hand tricks to entertain the boys who would gatheraround him. After a performance he would discuss asermon from a recent Mass or lead the group in a hymn.If people started to leave he would tell them thatthey couldnt come back and see more tricks unlessthey stayed for the sermon.
Of course they remained. At age nine John had a dream that clearly indicatedhis intentions of becoming a priest. Mama Margaretunderstood this dream and set out to educate her sonand prepare him for First Holy Communion. John had aspecial ability to understand and memorize thepriests sermons. He happened to impress one priestwith his retelling of the sermon.
This priestarranged for the beginning of Johns education for thepriesthood. His older stepbrother, Anthony, wasjealous of him and often begrudged him his studies byinsisting that he help work on the farm. Even Anthonycould not keep him from his studies. Priests arrangedfor him to be taught while he worked at the farm. Inlife we may encounter people who may be jealous of usand try to stop us from succeeding.Throughout the course of his religious education Johncame in contact with many different people anddifferent work experiences that helped prepare him forhis future work. Living away from home for the firsttime ,he explained the way that he best learned todeal with his new companions. He divided them intothree classes; the good, the indifferent, and the bad.
He avoided the bad as soon as their character wasdiscovered; he was courteous to the indifferent anddealt with them only when necessary. He wasdetermined to make friends with the good. This isprobably the best advice that John Bosco has to offeryoung boys. Although he said that he avoided thebad, I have a feeling that he did not give up onthem too easily.John Bosco continued to have a knack for being able toenter the boys world throughout his life. Afterbeing ordained a priest he continued his boy work. Little by little over the years his Oratoriesmultiplied in various towns, cities, and countries.
Many of the boys he taught and sheltered followed inhis footsteps and continued his good works. JohnBosco worked tirelessly for the salvation of all ofhis boys. He felt that losing one of his boys wouldbe like losing a limb, and his heart remains with anywho stray from him. Only when there was danger ofharm coming to the other boys would he agree to expelanyone.John Bosco had tremendous faith. He would oftenplan for the building of a new Oratory withoutsecuring sufficient funding. It seemed that hisprayers were always answered because the money wouldalways somehow become available to him at .
the verymoment it was needed. His faith in the generosity ofothers never failed him.It is almost impossible to imagine business beingcarried out in that manner today, yet it is alsoimpossible to imagine the religious community existingwithout that extreme faith in the generosity andgoodness of others.
John Bosco experienced a difficult, dangerous timeduring the period of anticlericalism, around 1849. Hesurvived numerous assassination attempts from variousundesirable people who opposed the good he was doingwith the boys. These dangerous times did not preventbrave John Bosco from performing his priestly duties. He seemed to have a guardian angel in both his mother,who always seemed to know when he was in danger, and amysterious dog named Grigio, who always seemed toappear when he was needed. Wouldnt it be great ifeach of us had our very own Grigio to protect us! Itmay be that He already does exist, but we haventtaken notice yet.
I have to admit that mothers seemto have this ability to sense when we are about to getinto trouble whether we know it or not. Needless to say, John Bosco worked tirelessly for hisboys. A doctor had commented that his body seemedlike that of a much older man.
Perhaps that wasbecause John Bosco never refused a request from anyonein need. He gave generously of his time, his energy,and his wisdom. He died on January 31, 1888 and wascanonized in 1934.While reading this book I could not help but recognizethe similarities between John Boscos Oratories andour school. There is clearly a feeling of brotherhoodamong the students at Don Bosco Prep. I remember howwe all laughed during orientation when we were toldabout this feeling of brotherhood, but all of us nowagree that it exists.
We are led by the good exampleof our teachers and priests, are made to follow a codeof discipline, and are provided academic and religiousinstruction. It is an atmosphere that guides us inchoosing between right and wrong and hopefully givesus confidence and faith in the power of our own goodexample. The work of Saint John Bosco continues!Words/ Pages : 1,163 / 24