|“There can be no virtue without obedience.”|
John Bosco was born in 1815 in a part of Europe where many children were orphaned and poor. Without family or religion, many of the children fought, stole and hurt others. John Bosco may have chosen the dark path if it was not for his devout mother and for God visiting him in his dreams urging him to guide and shepherd the youth. He heard a voice telling him “Teach them right from wrong. Teach them the beauty of goodness and the ugliness of sin.”
John’s father died when he was only two years old; his mother, Margherita, raised John and his two brothers. She was an avid supporter of John’s ambitions to reach out to the poor and orphaned children and steer them from evil towards goodness. At a young age, John began teaching religion to the children and encouraged them to go to church. Heartened by a priest, John decided to enter the seminary. Priests saw John was a natural leader and persuaded him to use his gifts to keep young people out of trouble. Eventually, John was able to open a house where he welcomed neglected children. He opened workshops to train children to be shoemakers and tailors. He taught them how to play musical instruments, perform in plays and engage in sports.
In 1859, John began a religious community of priests that cared for neglected boys. John named the group the Salesians due to his admiration of Francis de Sales. Later, with help from Mary Mazzarello, he began a community of Sisters called the Daughters of Our Lady to aid neglected girls. They are both still active today.
John Bosco died in 1888. Forty thousand people attended his wake.