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August' 16, 1815 - January' 31, 1888
Don Bosco: Our Founder
Johnny Bosco, a shepherd boy, was born on 16th August, 1815, in Becchi, Italy. He lost his father at the age of two. The grief-stricken words of his mother, telling him that he was now fatherless remained deeply impressed in the child’s mind, and perhaps helped to instill into his mind the intense empathy for the orphans and the homeless which became the dominant note of his life.
At the age of nine little Johnny Bosco was given a mission in a vision. He was to transform wolves into lambs “NOT WITH BLOWS BUT WITH KINDNESS” that was the method he was given. Overcoming untold hardship and hostility he became a priest on June 5th 1841. His determination to be a priest for YOUTH combined with his dynamic optimism gradually resulted in the flowering of his long cherished dream. Don Bosco saw the untold misery of the poor boys of the working class at Turin. He saw them and other youth like them, understood their situation to the fullest extent and determined to conquer them with Reason, Religion and Loving Kindness. He opened his little house in 1846. Blooming in spite of its poverty, it soon grew into a boarding School, youth centre and a professional school.
Don Bosco was one of the greatest educators the world has ever produced. He loved the young people passionately and dedicated his entire life to make them live a dignified life. He was a man with a great dream and vision, undaunted courage and visionary foresight. He is a great Founder who founded a great society with three main branches: Salesian Father and Brothers (SDB), Salesian Sisters (FMA) and Salesian Cooperators (ASC). Millions are now students and Past Pupils, all over the world. They are proud of their education and the values they have received in the school. So many have excelled in life and occupy a great place of responsibility in the society and have contributed to make this world a better place.
In another vision the Virgin Mary pointing to a group of girls said to him: “Take care of them, they too are my children”. This came as a heavenly confirmation to a cherished dream of his to extend his work also in favour of girls.
The work of this humble priest has grown from a tiny seed onto a gigantic tree. He lived to be 73. Not a great age; but his work was done. He died in the morning of 31st January, 1888. Don Bosco was declared a Saint of the Catholic Church on 1st April, 1934.