Saint John Bosco, pray for us!


St John Bosco, who worked with destitute street children.
Wikimedia Commons

St John Bosco or ‘Don Bosco’ (1815-1888), whose feast day is today, was an Italian Catholic priest who worked in Turin. He worked with street children and juvenile delinquents, and – in contrast to the harshness with which ‘undesirables’ were treated at the time – he developed teaching methods based on love. He worked tirelessly to find jobs and apprenticeships for slum children, and the Salesian order grew out of his work.

In those turbulent times, Don Bosco faced opposition both from neighbours infuriated by the noise the children made, but also from conservatives who saw the hundreds of young men around him as ripe for recruitment to revolution. He survived several attempts on his life. When he died in 1888 thousands attended his funeral and there was a popular demand to make him a saint. He was canonised in 1929.

Here are seven quotes from Don Bosco:

1. Without confidence and love, there can be no true education. If you want to be loved…you must love yourselves, and make your children feel that you love them.

2. All past persecutors of the Church are now no more, but the Church still lives on. The same fate awaits modern persecutors; they, too, will pass on, but the Church of Jesus Christ will always remain, for God has pledged His Word to protect Her and be with Her forever, until the end of time.

3. Do not put off till tomorrow the good you can do today. You may not have a tomorrow.

4. Everything and everyone is won by the sweetness of our words and works.

5. Fly from bad companions as from the bite of a poisonous snake.

6. We do not go to Holy Communion because we are good; we go to become good.

7. The power of evil men lives on the cowardice of the good.

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