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St. John Bosco, a man for (almost) every occasion!

John bosco

Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. | Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 01/30/23

It turns out that there’s a story about St. John Bosco for just about every person and every occasion.

Like so many great saints, St. John Bosco led an unusual life. He was aised in great poverty and with little education, yet today his name is beloved all over the world.

St. John Bosco was born Giovanni Melchior Bosco in Italy in 1888, during a harsh time of drought and famine. His father died when he was 2 years-old, leaving his mother to raise him and his two older brothers as subsistence farmers and shepherds. 

Young Giovanni had little access to education but felt called to the priesthood. Eventually a kindhearted priest helped him with some basic education, but one of his older brothers harshly discouraged his dream of becoming a priest.

At age 12, he left home and worked odd jobs to support himself until he met future saint Joseph Cafasso, who helped him get an education at a seminary. He was ordained at last in 1841.

He never forgot his tough upbringing, and as a priest, he turned his considerable efforts and talents to helping poor and neglected boys in Turin. He helped boys to access education, catechesis, and recreational activities, eventually running a large establishment that included a grammar school, technical school, and church.

Besides helping countless children, he was a popular and eloquent preacher, and eventually founded the Society of St. Francis de Sales (also known as the Salesians of Don Bosco) as well as the Daughters of Our Lady Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco), which did similar work among girls, with co-founder St. Mary Mazzarello.

It turns out that there’s a story about St. John Bosco for just about every person and every occasion.

Here are some connections he might have to you and your life

For teachers and educators5 Keys to a good education according to St. John Bosco

For teenagers and those who love them6 Short quotes from St. John Bosco for the modern-day teen

For childrenA simple child’s prayer by St. John Bosco

For when you’re feeling afraid of ghostsSt. John Bosco’s first-hand account of seeing a ghost

For dog owners and animal loversHow St. John Bosco’s life was saved by a mysterious dog

For when you’re sensing some spiritual warfareSt. John Bosco’s prayer to the Virgin Mary against demonic spirits

For writers, especially if you’re self-publishedCould St. John Bosco be the patron of self-publishing?

For entertainersWhy St. John Bosco is patron saint of entertainers

For parents and grandparents everywhereHow parents can make John Bosco their patron saint

For parents of boys especially3 Survival tips for parenting boys from St. John Bosco

For when you’re praying the RosaryThis dream of St. John Bosco highlights the power of the Rosary over the devil

And naturally, for anyone who spends time with children7 Saintly tips on how to discipline a child, from Don Bosco

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