St. John Bosco (1815-1888)
Patron of Editors, Publishers, Apprentices, Schoolchildren, Magicians and Troubled Juveniles
Feast Day: January 31
Canonization: April 1, 1934
In August 1815, St. John Bosco was born into a family of peasant farmers in Italy’s Castelnuovo d’Asti (at base of the Alps, near Turin), later to be named in his honor.
John’s father died when he was young, but John and his two older brothers were raised by their devout mother who taught them charity’s importance. As a child, John exhibited a playful streak along with deep faith. He would entertain his friends with juggling, magic tricks and acrobatics, then lead them in praying the rosary.
John was ordained a priest in 1841, becoming known as “Don” Bosco, a traditional honorary Italian title for priests. While in Turin, he ministered to boys and homeless young men. He established the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales. He and his fellow Salesian priests provided religious instruction, lodging, education and employment for boys. He helped St. Mary Domenica Mazzarello form a similar group for girls.
St. John Bosco died on Jan. 31, 1888, conveying the message: “Tell the boys that I shall be waiting for them all in Paradise.” He was canonized on Easter Sunday in 1934.