The accomplishments of this priest, founder, writer, builder, preacher and teacher, but especially lover of Jesus through his filial devotion to Our Lady Help of Christians is simply outstanding, almost breath-taking. On one occasion a youth entered his office. On the wall were written some words in Latin. The boy asked the saint the interpretation and meaning of those words. These words would be the motivating force of the life of Bosco and they were: “GIVE ME SOULS AND TAKE ALL THE REST AWAY!” The name of that boy was none other than SAINT DOMINIC SAVIO.
We would like very simply to list just a few of the extraordinary accomplishments Of Saint John Bosco to encourage us to follow in his footsteps to preach, teach, evangelize and to be ardent and fiery missionaries in a world that is seeking for love, joy, and happiness, but do not know where to find it.
May the great Saint John Bosco , through his most powerful intercession, help those who are walking in darkness to find the true meaning of their lives in Jesus the Light of the world and Mary, help of Christians!
Following are ten of the most noteworthy accomplishments of this extraordinary saint loved by so many, especially those who work for the conversion, sanctification and salvation of the youth!
1. FOUNDER—He was the Founder of the Salesians—in honor of a great saint that he loved and tried to imitate: Saint Francis de Sales. With Saint Mary Mozzarello, Bosco also was instrumental in the foundation of the women’s branch of the Salesians. In this year dedicated to the Religious life may Saint John Bosco’s prayers encourage Religious men and women to ardently pursue holiness of life! Jesus, the Holy Of Holies, reminds us of our vocation: “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy.”
2. WRITER. Saint John was a prolific writer. Like the saint that he admired so much—Saint Francis de Sales—he was aware of the incalculable good that could be done by the reading of solid catholic literature. Actually saints have been converted by reading: Saint Ignatius ( the lives of the saints),and Saint Augustine (The Bible: Romans 13:13), to mention just two… One of his masterpieces that Saint John Bosco wrote was the life of the child saint, prodigy that Bosco helped to form—“The life of Saint Dominic Savio.”All young people should read this classic! It helped me on my road to the priesthood!
3. BUILDER. Due to the strenuous efforts of this patron of the Youth, some of the most beautiful churches were built. Just to mention two: Our Lady Help of Christians in Turin and The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in the eternal city—Rome!
4. PATRON OF YOUTH. Bosco lived in the tumultuous time of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Many young boys wandered through the streets without home, family, work and had a very dismal future. Bosco set up the ORATORY in Turin to house, feed, educate and form morally and spiritually these abandoned youth. For this reason he is considered the patron of youth. Now Salesian Oratories and schools are spread throughout the entire world! Thanks be to Saint John Bosco.
5. SAINTS—CLOUD OF HEAVENLY WITNESSES. He was formed spiritually by Saint Joseph Cafasso. Then Bosco served as spiritual director to Saint Dominic Savio. Upon meeting Saint John Bosco, Savio put it on these terms: “I am the cloth and you are the tailor. Make me into a saint.” Furthermore, he worked side by side with Saint Mary Mazzarello to form the women’s branch of the Salesians. His successor would be Blessed Michael Rua.
6. PREACHER AND TEACHER—Saint John Bosco was a teacher to young and an ardent preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He preached first by his example and then by his word. May we learn from him! He is renowned as an educator for the school-method called the “Preventive-system.” Much better preventive medicine than curative medicine. In other words, if an educator can form well the child from the outset with the help of the grace of God, this can prevent many future disasters!
7. VISIONARY. The Mystical-Spiritual Dreams of Saint John Bosco are world-renowned. Their messages are both spiritual and very practical. Probably the most famous would be the Ship and the two pillars on top of which can be found Our Lady contemplating Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Meaning? If we want to direct the ship of our souls safely ashore, we must focus our gaze on Our Lady who points us to Jesus with these words: “Do whatever He tells you.”(Jn. 2:5)
8. CONFESSOR. One of the most renowned and dedicated confessors in the Church was the priest Saint John Bosco. He promoted frequent confession to his young boys. Pictures depict the saintly priest in a field, with a boy leaning on his shoulder, patiently listening to the boy’s confession, with a swarm of boys waiting their turn to go to confess to their beloved friend, confidant and spiritual father—Saint John Bosco, priest-confessor!
9. ATHLETE--- MODEL FOR THE YOUNG. As a boy Bosco was a super athlete. His strength was prodigious, his speed almost unmatchable, and he could even walk the tight rope. All of these feats he would accomplish not for the purpose of self-aggrandizement, but rather to bring the young people to Christ. Once he challenged a circus-leader who was preventing the youth from going to Mass on Sunday, because his feats were on Sunday. The youth Bosco challenged the circus stunt-master to three activities: 1) Running, 2) jumping, and 3)tree-climbing! Saint John Bosco won the three easily! The prize for Bosco was for the circus-leader to leave on Sundays and allow the boys to attend holy Mass—what zeal for the salvation of immortal souls, especially the young!
10. LOVER OF MARY. Many miracles were attributed to Saint John Bosco. However, the humble saint would always deflect the glory from himself. He would tell people to have recourse to Our Lady under the title, Help of Christians, and it was through her powerful intercession that the miracles would be accomplished. Jesus’ first Public miracle was done at the Wedding Feast of Cana through the intercession of Mary. Bosco had a limitless confidence in Our Lady. It was said of Bosco that the more problems he had the greater joy radiated from his face. Why? He had done all he could humanly speaking, now it was God’s turn to intervene, through the intercession of Mary, and the problem would be resolved! Praise be to Jesus through the intercession of Our Lady Help of Christians!