Who was Don Bosco?

  • St Joh Bosco, or Don Bosco, as he is popularly known, was born in Northern Italy on 16th August, 1815.
  • Don Bosco’s father died when he was two years old and he was raised by his mother, Margaret.
  • At nine years old he had a dream calling him to dedicate his life to working with young people.
  • In 1835 he entered the seminary and in 1841 he was ordained a priest and began his ministry to the street children of Turin, Italy.
  • He took as his motto ‘Da Mihi Animas Caetera Tolle’ (Give me souls, take away the rest).
  • Don Bosco created a home, a school, a playground and a Church for the boys and taught them trades to help them earn a living. He also opened a printing press to publish religious leaflets. Hence he is the patron saint of publishers and young apprentices.
  • Don Bosco developed a teaching method called the preventative system. This system is based on reason, religion and loving kindness rather than punishment.
  • Don Bosco founded a religious order called the Salesians of Don Bosco who continue to work with young people in over 108 different countries around the world.
  • Don Bosco died at the age of 72 on 31st January 1888.
  • He was beatified in 1929 and canonised by Pope Pius XI in 1934.
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