Saturday, January 31, 2009

St. John (Don) Bosco

Today is the Feast day of one of my very favorite saints: St. John Bosco (Don Bosco)
From the memorare dot com:

John Bosco lost his father at age two and saw his mother work hard in the fields to support her family. The first of his many supernatural dreams came at age nine when the Jesus and the Virgin Mary appeared to him, showing him a vision of children fighting and cursing: "This is your field: this is where you must work." He devoted his life to fulfilling that command.
Young John perfected many entertaining skills (tightrope walking, juggling, acrobat, ventriloquist) and put on shows for other children. His 'payment' was for them to attend Church or pray with him. John's training for the priesthood was difficult: a step brother objected to having to work hard while John only had to study. This foreshadowed the lifelong turbulence and trials which the Saint would face in finding a place for his Oratories, working with homeless and often troublesome young boys, establishing his Order (the Salesians named after St. Francis de Sales), in the day to day financial needs of his work, and even in physical ailments that would have stopped less determined men.The 'festive' Oratory was a place where young, poor boys could find love, wholesome recreation and sound Church teaching. In a time when social welfare organizations were virtually non-existent, Don ('don' is an Italian title of honor given to priests and nobles) Bosco filled the gap physically and spiritually. His preventative system combined teaching of catechism, frequent confession and communion with the teaching of practical trade skills and education. Holding it all together was the 'preventative system' which saw the role of the priest not just as 'teacher' but as a 'brother' and friend to the boys. Don Bosco was also instrumental later in forming a division of the Salesians to perform a similar ministry to young girls.
The supernatural followed Don Bosco all of this life: dreams guided his steps and revealed sin in the hearts of his boys. He used this to steer them to Jesus. He was seen to levitate in the air during Mass, a mysterious protective dog (Grigio) accompanied him on dangerous journeys, and communion Hosts once multiplied to meet the needs of a larger crowd.His life and work is best summed up in his own words: "Give me souls; take away the rest." Da mihi animas caetera tolle

Prayer to Saint John Bosco

O glorious Saint John Bosco, who in order to lead young people to the feet of the divine Master and to mold them in the light of faith and Christian morality didst heroically sacrifice thyself to the very end of thy life and didst set up a proper religious Institute destined to endure and to bring to the farthest boundaries of the earth thy glorious work, obtain also for us from Our Lord a holy love for young people who are exposed to so many seductions in order that we may generously spend ourselves in supporting them against the snares of the devil, in keeping them safe from the dangers of the world, and in guiding them, pure and holy, in the path that leads to God. Amen.
from Catholic dot org

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