JOHN BOSCO (1815-1888) Beatified 1929 Canonized 1934
Born on August 16, 1815 in Castlenuovo d'Asti, John was educated in the faith by his mother. He was only nine years old when he found his calling through a dream, which led him to dedicate the rest of his life to the education of young people. While still a boy, he began to enlighten his peers through games, work, prayer and religious education.
Later on becoming a priest in 1841, he chose "Da mihi animas cetera tolle" as his life motto: "Give me souls, and take away the rest" (Gen. 14: 21). He began his apostolate among poor young people with the founding of the Oratory, which he placed under the patronage of St. Francis De Sales.
He led young people to meet Christ by his educational style and pastoral practice, based on reason, religion and kindness. He led young people to reflect, meet Christ in their brothers and sisters, and to the study the faith through apostolic, civil, and professional commitment.
He left, as an inheritance for his Salesian sons and daughters, a form of religious life that was simple but founded on solid Christian virtue and on contemplation in action, which may be summed up in the words "work and temperance".
He sought his best collaborators among his young people, thus establishing the Society of St. Francis of Sales (Salesians). Together with St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello he founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters).
Finally, together with good and hard-working lay men and women, he created the Salesian Cooperators to work alongside him and sustain the education of young people, thus anticipating new forms of apostolate in the Church. In the centenary of his death, which took place on January 31, 1888, Pope John Paul II proclaimed him The Father and Teacher of Youth.