Saint John Bosco - The Great! 1815-1888

Born into abject poverty, orphan of his father at 2 years of age, so poor that there were nights without food on the table, tempted relentlessly by the devil, shot at several times by political enemies---- all of the above describe the many trials and tribulations that one of the greatest modern saints courageously endured. The name of this saint is SAINT JOHN BOSCO!

Please listen to father Broom's talk on one of his favorite saints- St. John Bosco 

TALENTS.  Along with the trials God endowed this “Spiritual hero and giant” with innumerable talents, that the saint would use to promote the honor and glory of God and the salvation of souls. Indeed his motto in life as a priest was “Give me souls and take all the rest away!”

VARIETY OF TALENTS. Not only did Bosco have talents, but the whole gamut in extension and variety: cobbler, athlete, circus stunts, genius with a photographic memory, writer (one of the best in the Italian language), publisher of many books and various topics, Founder of a famous Order the Salesians, preacher, teacher and catechist, builder of majestic churches in obedience to the Holy Father, “Dreamer” (famous for many prophetic dreams), priest but especially a man after the heart of God, an authentic saint!
CHARISM AS FOUNDER. Living in a time of social upheaval, political tension, general agitation and unrest, as well as the blossoming of the Industrial Revolution, families were gravitating from the agrarian-farm life of the fields to the urban-city life.  This resulted in divided families, children and teens abandoned to the streets, orphans roaming the city streets with no compass and direction in life. BOSCO enters the scene! His specific charism was to become a father to the fatherless street-urchins starting in the enormous industrial city of Turin, Italy.

ORATORY.  He founded the “Oratory” which became a refuge and home for many of the orphan boys.   Food, clothing, an education, training for a trade in life--- were all part and parcel of the Oratory life. However, of greatest importance  St. John Bosco assured every single one of those boys that they were special, a treasure, of infinite value in his eyes and in the eyes of God. Such was the charism of Bosco that every one of the boys in the Oratory was convinced that “he” was Bosco’s favorite.
Our Lady Help of Christians
GOD IN FIRST PLACE.   The Oratory was not a social institution; rather it was a family with Jesus as the elder Brother, God the Father as Father, and Our Lady Help of Christians as the Mother.  The vital life blood of prayer flowed through the Oratory, the Sacramental life emphasized to the max. Of course the tender and filial love for the Blessed Virgin Mary (Our Lady Help of Christians) that John Bosco had instilled in him by his own mother, Mama Margarita, the saint labored ceaselessly to instill in his family the Oratory.

JOY IN THE LORD.  St John Bosco wherever he went radiated joy.  He knew clearly that the devil works best in sad and depressed souls.  He was a constant source of encouragement for all especially his boys.
RECREATION STYLE.  During recreation break, when the boys were in the courtyard either playing or talking, Bosco would often join them and walk with them. He had an uncanny gift in which often he was able to read to the very depths of their souls. He would approach one and whisper in his ear:
“Confession time!” or to another, “Avoid that near occasion of sin…” Still to another a word of warning or encouragement!  How he loved the boys and the salvation of their immortal souls!
SUFFERING FOR SALVATION.  Very few people knew of the countless sufferings that this great man of God endured and all in silence. Constant headaches, toothaches, the loss of sight in one eye and partially in the other, shoulder pains, varicose veins in his legs. Never a word of complaint. On one occasion a boy learned of his toothache and volunteered to take the suffering. Bosco warned him of the intensity of the pain. Still the boy insisted!  It is yours! Within a few minutes the brave-hero came running to St. John Bosco begging and pleading him to be relieved of the suffering!

PERSECUTIONS!  Once while teaching, an enemy got inside the Oratory aimed and shot right at Bosco. The bullet passed right underneath his arm cutting through his new religious habit. St. John Bosco, with his typical humor commented: “Too bad! It looks like I will have to purchase a new Religious habit!
SAINTS HELP TO FORM OTHER SAINTS! One day while Bosco was in his office a young lad came in with a determined demeanor. He asked St. John Bosco what was written on the wall in Latin.  St. John Bosco translated to the young man from Latin into Italian what was the motto of his priestly life: “Give me souls and take all the rest away!”   Admiring the spirituality of the priest the boy made an offering in these words:  “I am the cloth and you are the tailor; make me into a saint!”  The desire became a fact.  That young man, who compared himself to cloth in the hands of the tailor, was none other than SAINT DOMINIC SAVIO.   It was through the guidance and spiritual direction of St. John Bosco that Dominic Savio, eventually became  SAINT DOMINIC SAVIO.   He lived only 14 years and 11 months and his motto in life was:  “Death rather than sin.”
FAMOUS DREAM AND MEANING!  The most famous dream of John Bosco was the SHIP AND CAPTAIN at sea surrounded by the enemy ships.  The Captain lifted his eyes to see to pillars ascend from the tempestuous waves: on the top of the lower OUR LADY HELP OF CHRISTIANS, on the higher, JESUS IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. After directing safely the ship between the two pillars and anchoring the ship, the waves subsided, the enemy ships were put to flight and the ship arrived safely ashore.

MEANING. The sea is the dangerous world in which we live. The Ship is the church. The Captain is the Pope. The two pillars that will lead to our salvation is Mary and Jesus and the shore is Heaven!

May the example of St. John Bosco, his love for Jesus and Mary and the Pope, his apostolic zeal and courage inspire each and every one of us to do great things for God and become the saint that God has planned for us!