Saint John Bosco
St. John Bosco (1815–1888) was born in Italy to a poor farming family. His father died when he was two, leaving his religious instruction to his pious mother. At the age of nine he had his first of many powerful visions which would come throughout his life. In it Jesus and the Virgin Mary showed him that he was to instruct poor, wayward boys and bring them back to God. John eventually joined the priesthood, paying his way through school with odd jobs. As a priest he began ministering to the poor and neglected boys of Turin, Italy, who were driven to desperate conditions in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Many of these street boys ended up in prison as teenagers. Don Bosco became a mentor and spiritual director to them, helping them to live a life of virtue and saving many from a future of crime and poverty. He met with them as a group – called the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales – and catechized them as a kindly spiritual father. He also established the Salesians of Don Bosco, priests and brothers who minister to and educate boys under the patronage of the great spiritual director, St. Francis de Sales. Don Bosco is the patron saint of boys, laborers, young people, students, and Mexican young people. His feast day is January 31st.
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