When he was a boy, the young John Bosco would put on juggling shows for his friends.
But it wasn’t just for fun. He combined these performances with prayer and discussions on the Faith. Even as a kid, he was already embarking on his life’s work.
Later on, John was ordained a priest amidst massive societal shifts resulting from the Industrial Revolution, which drove families en masse into the cities looking for work. The young priest noticed the terrible conditions of the inner city boys who often ended up in prison as teenagers.
So, he did something about it.
He began gathering the neighborhood boys for instruction. Don Bosco celebrated Mass for them, heard confessions, and taught them the Catechism.
Excursions, games, musical instruments, and other recreation were all part of the plan. He ran technical classes and workshops to improve the boys’ prospects in life, often at night so that those who worked in factories could join.
This was the first house of the Salesian Order, dedicated to St. Francis de Sales, which Don Bosco would found some years later. Attracted to the fatherly kindness of the good priest—who is still fondly known as Don (“Father”) Bosco—the boys soon numbered in the hundreds.
Then, they numbered in the thousands. By the time Don Bosco went to his eternal reward on January 31, 1888, 250 Salesian houses were serving 130,000 children throughout the world. One of the boys he taught, Dominic Savio, would himself become a saint.
Don Bosco’s devotion still resonates today. He remains an intercessor for teachers—especially, perhaps, those who work with the poor and despised. At The Catholic Company, we offer many gifts for the special teachers in your life, such as our bestselling “Good Morning from God” mug. This sturdy ceramic coffee cup will give a teacher not only a morning caffeine boost, but a spiritual boost as well. Pair it with a bag of our Catholic Coffee for an extra special gift (and don’t forget to get some for yourself, too!). Available today at The Catholic Company!