Born in Castlenuovo d’Asti on August 16, 1815, John was educated in the faith and in living according to the Gospel message by his mother. He was just nine years old when he had a dream, which called him to dedicate himself to the education of young people. While still a boy, he began to entertain his peers with acrobatics and games alternated with work, prayer and religious education.

On becoming a priest (1841), he chose as his life’s programme: “Da mihi animas cetera tolle” (“Give me souls, take all the rest” Gen. 14: 21). He began his apostolate among poor young people with the founding of the Oratory, which he placed under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales. During the time he was starting his school he had opposition in the community and he was protected by a large grey dog named Grigio who came to his aide anytime there was trouble.

He led young people to meet Christ by means of his educational style and pastoral practice, based on reason, religion, and loving kindness (the Preventive System). He led young people to reflect, to meet Christ and their brothers and sisters, to the study of the faith and to apostolic, civil and professional commitment. St. Dominic Savio stands out among the most outstanding fruits of his work.

The source of his indefatigable activity and of the effectiveness of his work was his “constant union with God” and his unlimited confidence in Mary Our Help who he considered to be the inspiration and support of his whole work.


He left, as an inheritance for his Salesian sons and daughters, a form of religious life that was simple but founded on solid Christian virtue and on contemplation in action, which may be summed up in the words “work and temperance.”

He sought his best collaborators among his young people, thus establishing the Society of St. Francis de Sales (Salesians). Together with St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello, he founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters).

Finally, together with good and hard-working lay men and women, he created the Salesian Cooperators to work alongside him and sustain the education of young people, thus anticipating new forms of apostolate in the Church. In the centenary of his death, which took place on January 31, 1888, Pope John Paul II proclaimed him The Father and Teacher of Youth.

8 Teachings of John Bosco:

1) Never postpone the good you can do today to tomorrow;
2) Let us treat others with kindness, with courtesy, with charity;
3) Faith opens a path through humble and concrete steps;
4) Do good to everyone, harm no one;
5) He who is humble and loving will always be loved by all;
6) It is not possible that whoever has gratitude does not have the other virtues;
7) The most effective teaching is to do what one expects from others;
8) Do the good you can, without appearing.

Miracles of John Bosco:

With his blessing, Don Bosco cured people disease. After his prayers on their behalf, the deaf heard, the lame walked, and once, a dead boy was raised to life. He had the gift of prophecy. He could read consciences, and used this gift to assist penitents in confession.

Pray: St. John Bosco Friend of the young, Teacher in the ways of God, your dedication to empowering the needy inspires us still. Help me to work for a better world, where the young are given the chance to flourish, where the poor’s dream for justice can come true, and where God’s compassion is shown to be real.

Dress: Dress as a priest and teach about how God’s love will make way for a great path in life.

Dog: Spend time with a protective and sweet dog!

Eat: Any traditional Italian Meal. A pasta dish, caprese salad or sandwich, kids can make their own pizza’s. A traditional Italian dessert like Tiramisu, Pignoli cookies, Cannoli.

Play and Learn: Don Bosco loved to play and learn often entertaining children with acrobatics to keep their attention while teaching them about God’s love. Have your children do acrobatics or magic tricks and take breaks to teach you about where they see God’s love working in their lives.