Don Bosco and the Salesians
John Bosco was born on August 16, 1815 in a small town near Turin, Italy. His father died when he was two years old. He was raised by his mother, Margaret. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1841 and went to work in Turin, where the industrial revolution was attracting waves of young people to the city. The misery and abandonment of these youngsters moved him deeply. He dedicated his life to them and began homes and schools for them.
In 1859, Don Bosco (Don in Italian means– Father) began a religious congregation in the Catholic Church to continue his work for poor boys. He called this congregation the Salesian Society. It was named after St. Francis de Sales who was known for his kindness and for a simple spirituality that anyone could aquire. Don Bosco chose Mary, the Help of Christians, as the patroness of the Salesian Society.
The style, method and mentality of Don Bosco can be summarized as Faith and Fun become one. He made loving Jesus and following him very joyful. Three key words in his educational philosophy are: reason, religion and kindness. Don Bosco understood where young people were coming from and had the knack for helping them believe in themselves. He helped produce many good Christians and good citizens. John Bosco died on January 31, 1888. He was canonized a saint in 1934.
Prayer to Our Lady, Help of Christians
Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth
You are the mighty and glorious protector of the church.
You are the marvelous help of Christians.
You are awe inspiring as an army in battle array.
In the midst of our anguish, struggle, and distress,
Defend us from the power of the enemy,
And at the hour of our death, receive our soul in Heaven.