mardi 31 janvier 2012

Saint JEAN BOSCO, prêtre, fondateur des Salésiens et confesseur



Saint Jean Bosco, prêtre

Fils de pauvres paysans piémontais, devenu prêtre à force de sacrifices, il se dévoue aux jeunes ouvriers de Turin abandonnés à eux-mêmes. Il crée pour eux un centre de loisirs, un patronage, puis un centre d'accueil, puis des ateliers. Ses "enfants" seront bientôt des centaines. Très marqué par la spiritualité de saint François de Sales, Jean Bosco invente une éducation par la douceur, la confiance et l'amour. Pour ses garçons, il fonde l'Oratoire, l'Oeuvre, qui sera à l'origine de la congrégation des prêtres salésiens. Pour les filles, il fonde la congrégation de Marie-Auxiliatrice. Don Bosco mourra, épuisé, en 1888, entouré de ses disciples.

SOURCE : http://www.paroisse-saint-aygulf.fr/index.php/prieres-et-liturgie/saints-par-mois/icalrepeat.detail/2015/01/31/2305/-/saint-jean-bosco-pretre

Jean Bosco est né le 16 août 1815, sur la colline des Becchi, un petit hameau près de Castelnuovo d'Asti, aujourd'hui Castelnuovo Don Bosco. Issu d'une famille pauvre, orphelin à l'âge de 2 ans, il fut élevé par sa mère Marguerite, ainsi que son frère aîné Joseph et son demi frère Antoine.

Travaillant dur et ferme, il s'est préparé à la mission qui lui avait été indiquée dans un songe, alors qu'il avait à peine 9 ans, et qu'il s'est vu confirmer par la suite à maintes reprises, de manière extraordinaire.Il a étudié à Chieri, tout en apprenant divers métiers. Il est ordonné prêtre à 26 ans. Arrivé à Turin, il est immédiatement frappé par le spectacle des enfants et des jeunes livrés à eux-mêmes, sans travail et sans guide. Il prend alors la décision de consacrer sa vie aux jeunes pour les sauver.

Le 8 décembre 1841, dans l'église St François d'Assise, Don Bosco rencontrait un pauvre garçon, nommé Barthélemy Garelli, le premier d'une multitude de jeunes. C'est ainsi que commence l'Oratoire, itinérant au début, puis, dès Pâques 1846, définitivement installé au Valdocco, faubourg malfamé, qui deviendra la maison mère de toutes les œuvres salésiennes.Les garçons affluent par centaines : ils étudient et apprennent un métier dans les ateliers que Don Bosco a construit pour eux. En 1859, Don Bosco invite ses premiers collaborateurs à se joindre à lui dans la Congrégation Salésienne : ainsi, rapidement, devaient se multiplier partout des « oratoires » (centres de loisirs et de formation humaine et chrétienne pour les jeunes), des écoles professionnelles, des collèges, des centres de vocations (sacerdotales, religieuses, missionnaires), des paroisses, des centres en pays de mission... Ainsi, en 1875, son action déborde l'Italie, une première expédition missionnaire s'embarque pour l'Argentine, et les salésiens ouvrent leur première œuvre en France, à Nice .Les filles et les laïcs aussiEn 1872, Don Bosco fonde l'institut des Filles de Marie Auxiliatrice (Sœurs salésiennes) qui travailleront pour les jeunes filles dans des œuvres variées, avec le même esprit et la même pédagogie. La cofondatrice et première supérieure a été Marie Dominique Mazzarello (1837-1881), canonisée par le pape Pie XII le 21 juin 1951.Mais Don Bosco a su s'entourer de nombreux laïcs pour partager avec les Salésiens et les Salésiennes son projet éducatif. Dès 1869, il fondait l'Association des Coopérateurs, qui font partie à part entière de la Famille Salésienne, se mettant au service de l'Eglise à la manière de Don Bosco.A 72 ans, épuisé par le travail, Don Bosco avait réalisé ce qu'il avait déclaré un jour : « J'ai promis à Dieu que tant qu'il me resterait un souffle de vie, ce serait pour mes chers enfant. » Il meurt à Turin, au Valdocco, à l'aube du 31 janvier 1888. Béatifié le 2 juin 1929 et proclamé saint par le pape Pie XI, le dimanche de Pâques 1er avril 1934, Don Bosco est considéré, à juste titre, comme un des plus grands éducateurs.

SOURCE :
http://www.salesien.com/index.php/don-bosco-un-saint/9-themes-historiques/50-don-bosco-courte-biographie


Saint Jean Bosco

prêtre, confesseur, fondateur des Salésiens

(1815-1888)

Jean Bosco naquit en 1815 dans un village du Piémont. Ses parents étaient de pauvres paysans; mais sa mère, demeurée veuve avec trois enfants, était une sainte femme. Le caractère jovial de Jean lui donnait une grande influence sur les enfants de son âge. Il les attirait par ses manières aimables et il entremêlait avec eux les divertissements et la prière. Doué d'une mémoire extraordinaire, il se plaisait à leur répéter les sermons qu'il avait entendus à l'église. C'étaient là les premiers signes de sa vocation apostolique. Son coeur, soutenu par celui de sa mère et d'un bon vieux prêtre, aspirait au sacerdoce. La pauvreté, en l'obligeant au travail manuel, semblait lui interdire l'étude. Mais, par la grâce de Dieu, son courage et sa vive intelligence surmontèrent tous les obstacles.

En 1835, il était admis au grand séminaire. "Jean, lui dit sa mère, souviens-toi que ce qui honore un clerc, ce n'est pas l'habit, mais la vertu. Quand tu es venu au monde je t'ai consacré à la Madone; au début de tes études je t'ai recommandé d'être Son enfant; sois à Elle plus que jamais, et fais-La aimer autour de toi."

Au grand séminaire, comme au village et au collège, Jean Bosco préludait à sa mission d'apôtre de la jeunesse et donnait à ses condisciples l'exemple du travail et de la vertu dans la joie. Prêtre en 1841, il vint à Turin. Ému par le spectacle des misères corporelles et spirituelles de la jeunesse abandonnée, il réunit, le dimanche, quelques vagabonds qu'il instruisait, moralisait, faisait prier, tout en leur procurant d'honnêtes distractions. Mais cette oeuvre du dimanche ne suffisait pas à entretenir la vie chrétienne, ni même la vie corporelle, de ces pauvres enfants.

Jean Bosco, bien que dépourvu de toute ressource, entreprit donc d'ouvrir un asile aux plus déshérités. Il acheta pour 30.000 francs une maison payable dans la quinzaine. "Comment! lui dit sa mère devenue son auxiliaire, mais tu n'as pas un sou vaillant!" -- "Voyons! reprit le fils, si vous aviez de l'argent, m'en donneriez-vous? Eh bien, mère, croyez-vous que la Providence, qui est infiniment riche, soit moins bonne que vous?"

Voilà le trésor divin de foi, d'espérance et de charité dans lequel Jean Bosco, malgré toutes les difficultés humaines, ne cessa de puiser, pour établir ses deux Sociétés Salésiennes de Religieux et de Religieuses, dont la première dépasse le nombre de 8 000, et la seconde celui de 6 000, avec des établissements charitables multipliés aujourd'hui dans le monde entier.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950


Mort en 1888. Canonisé en 1934. Fête en 1936.

Leçon des Matines 1960

Troisième leçon. Jean Bosco naquit d’une humble famille ; après une enfance éprouvée et pure, il fit ses études à Chieri et fut estimé pendant ce temps pour son intelligence et pour ses vertus. Ordonné prêtre, il vint à Turin, où il se fit tout à tous ; mais c’est surtout à aider les adolescents pauvres et abandonnés qu’il consacra ses efforts. Par une éducation libérale, des écoles professionnelles, des patronages il s’employa de toutes ses forces à préserver l’enfance des poisons de l’erreur et du vice : à cette fin, il suscita dans l’Église deux instituts, l’un d’hommes, l’autre de vierges. Il publia de nombreux livres, riches de sagesse chrétienne. Il contribua aussi au salut des infidèles en envoyant ses religieux en mission. L’âme constamment élevée vers Dieu, cet homme très saint ne semblait être ni effrayé par les menaces, ni fatigué par les labeurs, ni accablé par les soucis, ni troublé par l’adversité. Il mourut en 1888, dans sa soixante-treizième année. Il fut inscrit au nombre des saints par le Souverain Pontife Pie XI.



Saint Jean Bosco

De l'éducation des enfants

Je consacrerai ma vie aux enfants. Je les aimerai et m'en ferai aimer. Quand ils tournent mal, c'est que personne ne s'est occupé d'eux. Je me dépenserai sans mesure pour eux.

Si vous voulez vraiment faire du bien à l'âme de vos enfants et les plier au devoir, il faut vous rappeler, sans cesse, que vous tenez la place de leurs parents. Si vous vous regardez comme les pères de cette jeunesse, vous en prendrez le cœur... Un cœur, c'est une citadelle inexpugnable, dit saint Grégoire ; seules l'affection et la douceur la peuvent forcer : fermeté à vouloir le bien et empêcher le mal, mais douceur et prudence pour atteindre cette double fin.

Les maîtres qui ne pardonnent rien aux enfants sont ceux qui se pardonnent tout à eux-mêmes. Pour apprendre à commander, commençons par apprendre à obéir, et cherchons à nous faire aimer avant de nous faire craindre.

Avant toute chose, voici ce qui importe : attendez pour punir d'être maître de vous-même.

Second principe aussi important que le premier : ne punissez jamais un enfant à l'instant de sa faute.

Oublier et faire oublier l'heure de la faute est l'art suprême du bon éducateur. Où lisons-nous que Notre Seigneur ait rappelé ses écarts à Marie-Madeleine ? Et avec quelle paternelle délicatesse le Sauveur fit confesser et expier sa faute à Pierre ! Après son pardon, l'enfant veut se persuader que son maître nourrit l'espoir de son retournement : rien ne l'aide autant à reprendre la route du devoir.

Rappelons-nous toujours que la force punit la faute, mais ne guérit pas le coupable. La culture d'une plante ne doit jamais être violente, et l'on n'éduque pas la volonté en l'écrasant sous un joug excessif.

Rappelez-vous que l'éducation est une affaire de cœur : Dieu seul est le maître de cette place forte ; s'il ne nous enseigne l'art de la forcer, s'il ne nous en livre les clefs, nous perdons notre temps.

Saint Jean Bosco

Manière facile d’apprendre l’Histoire Sainte (1850)

Les adultes qui vivent et meurent séparés de l’Eglise catholique ne peuvent pas se sauver, parce que celui qui n’est pas avec l’Eglise catholique n’est pas avec Jésus-Christ ; et qui n’est pas avec lui est contre lui, dit l’Evangile

Saint Jean Bosco

Brochure sur le centenaire de saint Pierre (1867)

Heureux les peuples qui sont unis à Pierre dans la personne des papes ses successeurs. Ils marchent sur la route du salut. tandis que tous ceux qui se trouvent hors de cette route et n’appartiennent pas à l’union de Pierre n’ont aucun espoir de salut. Car Jésus-Christ nous assure que la sainteté et le salut ne se peuvent trouver que dans l’union avec Pierre, sur qui repose le fondement inamovible de son Eglise.

Saint Jean Bosco


Lettre à ses confrères

Avant tout, si nous voulons nous montrer les amis du vrai bien de nos élèves et les amener à faire leur devoir, nous ne devons jamais oublier que nous représentons les parents de cette chère jeunesse qui fut toujours le tendre sujet de mes occupations, de mes études, de mon ministère sacerdotal, et de notre congrégation salésienne.

Que de fois, mes chers fils, dans ma longue carrière, j'ai dû me persuader de cette grande vérité ! Il est toujours plus facile de s'irriter que de patienter, de menacer un enfant, que de le persuader. Je dirai même qu'il est plus facile, pour notre impatience et pour notre orgueil, de châtier les récalcitrants que de les corriger, en les supportant avec fermeté et douceur.

Je vous recommande la charité que saint Paul employait envers les nouveaux convertis à la religion du Seigneur, et qui le faisait souvent pleurer et supplier quand il les voyait peu dociles et répondant mal à son zèle.

Ecartez tout ce qui pourrait faire croire qu'on agit sous l'effet de la passion. Il est difficile, quand on punit, de conserver le calme nécessaire pour qu'on ne s'imagine pas que nous agissons pour montrer notre autorité ou pour décharger notre emportement.

Considérons comme nos enfants ceux sur lesquels nous avons un pouvoir à exercer. Mettons-nous à leur service, comme Jésus qui est venu pour obéir, non pour commander. Redoutons ce qui pourrait nous donner l'air de vouloir dominer, et ne les dominons que pour mieux les servir.

C'est ainsi que Jésus se comportait avec ses apôtres, supportant leur ignorance, leur rudesse et même leur manque de foi. Il traitait les pécheurs avec gentillesse et familiarité, au point de susciter chez les uns l'étonnement, chez d'autres le scandale, et chez beaucoup l'espoir d'obtenir le pardon de Dieu. C'est pourquoi il nous a dit d'apprendre de lui à être doux et humbles de cœur.

Puisqu'ils sont nos enfants, éloignons toute colère, quand nous devons corriger leurs manquements, ou du moins modérons-la pour qu'elle semble tout à fait étouffée.

Pas d'agitation dans notre cœur, pas de mépris dans nos regards, pas d'injures sur nos lèvres. Ayons de la compassion pour le présent, de l'espérance pour l'avenir : alors vous serez de vrais pères, et vous accomplirez un véritable amendement.

Dans les cas très graves, il vaut mieux vous recommander à Dieu, lui adresser un acte d'humilité, que de vous laisser aller à un ouragan de paroles qui ne font que du mal à ceux qui les entendent, et d'autre part ne procurent aucun profit à ceux qui les méritent.



Also known as Don Bosco or Giovanni Melchior Bosco, he was the founder of the Salesian Society. Born of poor parents in a little cabin at Becchi, a hill-side hamlet near Castelnuovo, Piedmont, Italy, 16 August, 1815; died January 31, 1888; declared Venerable by Pius X, July 21, 1907.

When he was little more than two years old his father died, leaving the support of three boys to the mother, Margaret Bosco. John’s early years were spent as a shepherd and he received his first instruction at the hands of the parish priest. He possessed a ready wit, a retentive memory, and as years passed his appetite for study grew stronger. Owing to the poverty of the home, however, he was often obliged to turn from his books to the field, but the desire of what he had to give up never left him. In 1835 he entered the seminary at Chieri and after six years of study was ordained priest on the eve of Trinity Sunday by Archbishop Franzoni of Turin.

Leaving the seminary, Don Bosco went to Turin where he entered zealously upon his priestly labours. It was here that an incident occurred which opened up to him the real field of effort of his afterlife. One of his duties was to accompany Don Cafasso upon his visits to the prisons of the city, and the condition of the children confined in these places, abandoned to the most evil influences, and with little before them but the gallows, made such a indelible impression upon his mind that he resolved to devote his life to the rescue of these unfortunate outcasts.

On the eighth of December 1841, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, while Don Bosco was vesting for Mass, the sacristan drove from the Church a ragged urchin because he refused to serve Mass. Don Bosco heard his cries and recalled him, and in the friendship which sprang up between the priest and Bartollomea Garelli was sown the first seed of the “Oratory”, so called, no doubt, after the example of St. Philip Neri and because prayer was its prominent feature. Don Bosco entered eagerly upon the task of instructing thus first pupil of the streets; companions soon joined Bartholomeo, all drawn by a kindness they had never known, and in February 1842, the Oratory numbered twenty boys, in March of the same year, thirty, and in March 1846, four hundred.

As the number of boys increased, the question of a suitable meeting-place presented itself. In good weather walks were taken on Sundays and holidays to spots in the country to spots in the country about Turin where lunch was eaten, and realizing the charm which music held for the untamed spirits of his disciples Don Boso organized a band for which some old brass instruments were procured. In the autumn of 1844 he was appointed assistant chaplain to the Rifugio, where Don Borel entered enthusiastically into his work. With the approval of Archbishop Franzoni, two rooms were secured adjoining the Rifugio and converted into a chapel, which was dedicated to St. Francis de Sales. The members of the Oratory now gathered at the Rifugio, and numbers of boys from the surrounding district applied for admission. It was about this time (1845) that Don Bosco began his night schools and with the closing of the factories the boys flocked to his rooms where he and Don Borel instructed them in rudimentary branches.

The success of the Oratory at the Rifugio was not of long duration. To his great distress Don Bosco was obliged to give up his rooms and from this on he was subjected to petty annoyances and obstacles which, at times, seemed to spell the ruin of his undertaking. His perseverance in the face of all difficulties led many to the conclusion that he was insane, and an attempt was even made to confine him in an asylum. Complaints were lodged against him, declaring his community to be a nuisance, owing to the character of the boys he befriended. From the Rifugio the Oratory was moved to St. Martin’s, to St. Peter’s Churchyard, to three rooms in Via Cottolengo, where the night schools were resumed, to an open field, and finally to a rough shed upon the site of which grew up an Oratory that counted seven hundred members, Don Bosco took lodgings nearby, where he was joined by his mother. “Mama Margaret”, as Don Bosco’s mother came to be known, gave the last ten years of her life in devoted service to the little inmates of this first Salesian home. When she joined her son at the Oratory the outlook was not bright. But sacrificing what small means she had, even to parting with her home, its furnishings, and her jewelry, she brought all the solicitude and love of a mother to these children of the streets. The evening classes increased and gradually dormitories were provided for many who desired to live at the Oratory. Thus was founded the first Salesian Home which now houses about one thousand boys.

The municipal authorities by this time had come to recognize the importance of the work which Don Bosco was doing, and he began with much success a fund for the erection of technical schools and workshops. These were all completed without serious difficulty. In 1868 to meet the needs of the Valdocco quarter of Turin, Don Bosco resolved to build a church. Accordingly a plan was drawn in the form of a cross covering an area of 1,500 sq. yards. He experienced considerable difficulty in raising the necessary money, but the charity of some friends finally enabled him to complete it at a cost of more than a million francs (about 200,000). The church was consecrated 9 June, 1868, and placed under the patronage of Our Lady, Help of Christians. In the same year in which Don Bosco began the erection of the church fifty priests and teachers who had been assisting him formed a society under a common rule which Pius IX, provisionally in 1869, and finally in 1874, approved.

Any attempt to explain the popularity of the Oratory among the classes to which Don Bosco devoted his life would fail without an appreciation of his spirit which was its life. For his earliest intercourse with poor boys he had never failed to see under the dirt, the rags, and the uncouthness the spark which a little kindness and encouragement would fan into a flame. In his vision or dream which he is said to have had in his early boyhood, wherein it was disclosed to him what his lifework would be, a voice said to him: “Not with blows, but with charity and gentleness must you draw these friends to the path of virtue.” And whether this be accounted as nothing more than a dream, that was in reality the spirit with which he animated his Oratory. In the earlier days when the number of his little disciples was slender he drew them about him by means of small presents and attractions, and by pleasant walks to favorite spots in the environs of Turin. These excursions occurring on Sunday, Don Bosco would say Mass in the village church and give a short instruction on the Gospel; breakfast would then be eaten, followed by games; and in the afternoon Vespers would he chanted, a lesson in Catechism given, and the Rosary recited. It was a familiar sight to see him in the field surrounded by kneeling boys preparing for confession.

Don Bosco’s method of study knew nothing of punishment. Observance of rules was obtained by instilling a true sense of duty, by removing assiduously all occasions for disobedience, and by allowing no effort towards virtue, how trivial soever it might be, to pass unappreciated. He held that the teacher should be father, adviser, and friend, and he was the first to adopt the preventive method. Of punishment he said: “As far as possible avoid punishing, try to gain love before inspiring fear.” And in 1887 he wrote: “I do not remember to have used formal punishment; and with God’s grace I have always obtained, and from apparently hopeless children, not alone what duty exacted, but what my wish simply expressed.” In one of his books he has discussed the causes of weakness of character, and derives them largely from a misdirected kindness in the rearing of children. Parents make a parade of precocious talents: the child understands quickly, and his sensitiveness enraptures all who meet him, but the parents have only succeeded in producing all affectionate, perfected, intelligent animal. The chief object should be to form the will and to temper the character.

In all his pupils Don Bosco tried to cultivate a taste for music, believing it to be a powerful and refining influence. “Instruction”, he said, “is but an accessory, like a game; knowledge never makes a man because it does not directly touch the heart. It gives more power in the exercise of good or evil; but alone it is an indifferent weapon, wanting guidance.” He always studied, too, the aptitudes and vocations of his pupils, and to an almost supernatural quickness and clearness of insight into the hearts of children must be ascribed to no small part of his success. In his rules lie wrote: “Frequent Confession, frequent Communion, daily Mass: these are the pillars which should sustain the whole edifice of education.” Don Bosco was an indefatigable confessor, devoting days to the work among his children. He recognized that gentleness and persuasion alone were not enough to bring to the task of education. He thoroughly believed in play as a means of arousing childish curiosity — more than this, he places it among his first recommendations, and for the rest he adopted St. Philip Neri’s words: “Do as you wish, I do not care so long as you do not sin.”

At the time of Don Bosco’s death in 1888 there were 250 houses of the Salesian Society in all parts of the world, containing 130,000 children, and from which there annually went out 18,000 finished apprentices. In the motherhouse, Don Bosco had selected the brightest of his pupils, taught them Italian, Latin, French, and mathematics, and this band formed a teaching corps for the new homes which quickly grew up in other places. Up to 1888 over six thousand priests had gone forth from Don Bosco’s institutions, 1,200 of whom had remained in the society. The schools begin with the child in his first instruction and lead, for those who choose it, to seminaries for the priesthood. The society also conducts Sunday schools, evening schools for adult workmen, schools for those who enter the priesthood late in life, technical schools, and printing establishments for the diffusion of good reading in different languages. Its members also have charge of hospitals and asylums, nurse the sick, and do prison work, especially in rural districts.



St. Giovanni Melchior Bosco

(Or St. John Bosco; Don Bosco.)


Founder of the Salesian Society. Born of poor parents in a little cabin at Becchi, a hill-side hamlet near Castelnuovo, Piedmont, Italy, 16 August, 1815; died 31 January 1888; declared Venerable by Pius X, 21 July, 1907. Note: Pope Pius XI beatified him in 1929 and canonized him in 1934.

When he was little more than two years old his father died, leaving the support of three boys to the mother, Margaret Bosco. John's early years were spent as a shepherd and he received his first instruction at the hands of the parish priest. He possessed a ready wit, a retentive memory, and as years passed his appetite for study grew stronger. Owing to the poverty of the home, however, he was often obliged to turn from his books to the field, but the desire of what he had to give up never left him. In 1835 he entered the seminary at Chieri and after six years of study was ordained priest on the eve of Trinity Sunday by Archbishop Franzoni of Turin.

Leaving the seminary, Don Bosco went to Turin where he entered zealously upon his priestly labours. It was here that an incident occurred which opened up to him the real field of effort of his afterlife. One of his duties was to accompany Don Cafasso upon his visits to the prisons of the city, and the condition of the children confined in these places, abandoned to the most evil influences, and with little before them but the gallows, made such a indelible impression upon his mind that he resolved to devote his life to the rescue of these unfortunate outcasts. On the eighth of December, 1841, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, while Don Bosco was vesting for Mass, the sacristan drove from the Church a ragged urchin because he refused to serve Mass. Don Bosco heard his cries and recalled him, and in the friendship which sprang up between the priest and Bartolomeo Garelli was sown the first seed of the "Oratory", so called, no doubt, after the example of St. Philip Neri and because prayer was its prominent feature. Don Bosco entered eagerly upon the task of instructingthis first pupil of the streets; companions soon joined Bartolomeo, all drawn by a kindness they had never known, and in February, 1842, the Oratory numbered twenty boys, in March of the same year, thirty, and in March, 1846, four hundred.

As the number of boys increased, the question of a suitable meeting-place presented itself. In good weather walks were taken onSundays and holidays to spots in the country about Turin where lunch was eaten, and realizing the charm which music held for the untamed spirits of his disciples Don Bosco organized a band for which some old brass instruments were procured. In the autumn of 1844 he was appointed assistant chaplain to the Rifugio, where Don Borel entered enthusiastically into his work. With the approval of Archbishop Franzoni, two rooms were secured adjoining the Rifugio and converted into a chapel, which was dedicated to St. Francis de Sales. The members of the Oratory now gathered at the Rifugio, and numbers of boys from the surrounding district applied for admission. It was about this time (1845) that Don Bosco began his night schools and with the closing of the factories the boys flocked to his rooms where he and Don Borel instructed them in rudimentary branches.

The success of the Oratory at the Rifugio was not of long duration. To his great distress Don Bosco was obliged to give up his rooms and from this on he was subjected to petty annoyances and obstacles which, at times, seemed to spell the ruin of his undertaking. His perseverance in the face of all difficulties led many to the conclusion that he was insane, and an attempt was even made to confine him in an asylum. Complaints were lodged against him, declaring his community to be a nuisance, owing to the character of the boys he befriended. From the Rifugio the Oratory was moved to St. Martin's, to St. Peter's Churchyard, to three rooms in Via Cottolengo, where the night schools were resumed, to an open field, and finally to a rough shed upon the site of which grew up an Oratory that counted seven hundred members. Don Bosco took lodgings nearby, where he was joined by his mother. "Mama Margaret", as Don Bosco's mother came to be known, gave the last ten years of her life in devoted service to the little inmates of this first Salesian home. When she joined her son at the Oratory the outlook was not bright. But sacrificing what small means she had, even to parting with her home, its furnishings, and her jewelry, she brought all the solicitude and love of a mother to these children of the streets. The evening classes increased and gradually dormitories were provided for many who desired to live at the Oratory. Thus was founded the first Salesian Home which now houses about one thousand boys.

The municipal authorities by this time had come to recognize the importance of the work which Don Bosco was doing, and he began with much success a fund for the erection of technical schools and workshops. These were all completed without serious difficulty. In 1868 to meet the needs of the Valdocco quarter of Turin, Don Bosco resolved to build a church. Accordingly a plan was drawn in the form of across covering an area of 1,500 sq. yards. He experienced considerable difficulty in raising the necessary money, but the charity of some friends finally enabled him to complete it at a cost of more than a million francs (about 200,000). The church was consecrated 9 June, 1868, and placed under the patronage of Our Lady, Help of Christians. In the same year in which Don Bosco began the erection of the church fifty priests and teachers who had been assisting him formed a society under a common rule which Pius IX, provisionally in 1869, and finally in 1874, approved.

Character and growth of the oratory

Any attempt to explain the popularity of the Oratory among the classes to which Don Bosco devoted his life would fail without an appreciation of his spirit which was its life. For his earliest intercourse with poor boys he had never failed to see under the dirt, the rags, and the uncouthness the spark which a little kindness and encouragement would fan into a flame. In his vision or dream which he is said to have had in his early boyhood, wherein it was disclosed to him what his life work would be, a voice said to him: "Not with blows, but with charity and gentleness must you draw these friends to the path of virtue." And whether this be accounted as nothing more than adream, that was in reality the spirit with which he animated his Oratory. In the earlier days when the number of his little disciples was slender he drew them about him by means of small presents and attractions, and by pleasant walks to favorite spots in the environs ofTurin. These excursions occurring on Sunday, Don Bosco would say Mass in the village church and give a short instruction on the Gospel; breakfast would then be eaten, followed by games; and in the afternoon Vespers would be chanted, a lesson in Catechism given, and theRosary recited. It was a familiar sight to see him in the field surrounded by kneeling boys preparing for confession.

Don Bosco's method of study knew nothing of punishment. Observance of rules was obtained by instilling a true sense of duty, by removing assiduously all occasions for disobedience, and by allowing no effort towards virtue, how trivial soever it might be, to pass unappreciated. He held that the teacher should be father, adviser, and friend, and he was the first to adopt the preventive method. Of punishment he said: "As far as possible avoid punishing . . . . try to gain love before inspiring fear." And in 1887 he wrote: "I do not remember to have used formal punishment; and with God's grace I have always obtained, and from apparently hopeless children, not alone what duty exacted, but what my wish simply expressed." In one of his books he has discussed the causes of weakness of character, and derives them largely from a misdirected kindness in the rearing of children. Parents make a parade of precocious talents: the child understands quickly, and his sensitiveness enraptures all who meet him, but the parents have only succeeded in producing an affectionate, perfected, intelligent animal. The chief object should be to form the will and to temper the character. In all his pupils Don Bosco tried to cultivate a taste for music, believing it to be a powerful and refining influence. "Instruction", he said, "is but an accessory, like a game; knowledge never makes a man because it does not directly touch the heart. It gives more power in the exercise of good orevil; but alone it is an indifferent weapon, wanting guidance." He always studied, too, the aptitudes and vocations of his pupils, and to an almost supernatural quickness and clearness of insight into the hearts of children must be ascribed no small part of his success. In his rules he wrote: "Frequent Confession, frequent Communion, daily Mass: these are the pillars which should sustain the whole edifice ofeducation." Don Bosco was an indefatigable confessor, devoting days to the work among his children. He recognized that gentleness and persuasion alone were not enough to bring to the task of education. He thoroughly believed in play as a means of arousing childish curiosity — more than this, he places it among his first recommendations, and for the rest he adopted St. Philip Neri's words: "Do as you wish, I do not care so long as you do not sin."

Statistics

At the time of Don Bosco's death in 1888 there were 250 houses of the Salesian Society in all parts of the world, containing 130,000 children, and from which there annually went out 18,000 finished apprentices. In the motherhouse Don Bosco had selected the brightest of his pupils, taught them Italian, Latin, French, and mathematics, and this band formed a teaching corps for the new homes which quickly grew up in other places. Up to 1888 over six thousand priests had gone forth from Don Bosco's institutions, 1,200 of whom had remained in the society. The schools begin with the child in his first instruction and lead, for those who choose it, to seminaries for the priesthood. The society also conducts Sunday schools, evening schools for adult workmen, schools for those who enter the priesthood late in life, technical schools, and printing establishments for the diffusion of good reading in different languages. Its members also have charge ofhospitals and asylums, nurse the sick, and do prison work, especially in rural districts. The society has houses in the following countries:Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, England, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Palestine, and Algiers; in Central America, Mexico, in South America,Patagonia, Terra del Fuego, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, The Argentine Republic, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia. In the United States the Salesians have four churches: Sts. Peter and Paul and Corpus Christi in San Francisco, California; St. Josephs in Oakland, California; and the Transfiguration in New York City. Very Rev. Michael Borghino, Provincial for America, resides in San Francisco.


Saxton, Eugene. "St. Giovanni Melchior Bosco." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company,1907. 31 Jan. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02689d.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Matthew Dean.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.


John Bosco, Priest Founder (RM)

Born at Becchi (near Turin), Piedmont, Italy, August 15, 1815; died in Turin on January 31, 1888; both beatified in 1929 and canonized April 1, 1934, by Pope Pius XI as the "Father and Teacher of Youth."



John Melchoir Bosco was a great lover of children, and such was the gentleness and sweetness of his life that Pius XI, in proclaiming him a saint, said that "in his life the supernatural almost became the natural and the extraordinary ordinary." Born of peasant stock, his father died when John was two, leaving his valiant wife Margaret to care for her stepson, Antonio, and her own two sons, Giovanni (John) and Giuseppe (Joseph), and her mother-in-law. She raised the children vigorously and lovingly in the poor cottage.

At age nine John had a dream in which he saw himself changing children from beasts into lambs. He decided immediately to become a priest and devote his life to children, and began at once. He haunted every circus and fair; learned to walk tight-ropes, do acrobatics, and become a conjurer at the cost of an often broken nose. He was then able to provide fascinating entertainment that would end with the rosary and a verbatim repetition of the previous Sunday's sermon.

In addition to his physical prowess, John Bosco possessed great mental acumen, a formidable memory, good looks, a sense of humor, and charm. These also attracted others. As a young man, he was of medium height with curly, chestnut hair. He had his problems, too. He was a passionate young man and, like Saint Peter, impetuous. He judged himself so full of pride that he feared he would use his position as a parish priest to feed his cravings for prestige. Yet he learned to control his passions so that calmness and peacefulness characterized his whole life and his relationships with others.

Having set his sights on the priesthood, John also learned his lessons well. John left home at age 13 to earn money for his schooling. He hired himself out to farmers, then a tailor, and later worked in a confectionery. These trades served him well later in life.

When he entered the seminary at Chieri at 20 (some say 16), he wore clothes and shoes that were provided by charity. He was ordained in 1841 by Archbishop Fransoni. He had retained his irrepressible gaiety, despite the stiff, semi-Jansenism of his professors. The young priest had thought of becoming a missionary but Saint Joseph Cafasso, the rector of the seminary and John's spiritual director for over twenty years, persuaded him to remain in Italy. He is reported to have said, "Don Bosco, you can't even take a coach ride without getting an upset stomach. How will you ever be a missionary? No, you will not go; but you will send out many to preach and teach the word of God." Father Cafasso eventually introduced John to the wealthy who would support his work with children, and showed him the immense harvests to be gathered among the slums of Turin.

Shortly after his ordination, the archbishop approved Bosco for an intensive five-year course of post-graduate theological study at Turin's Ecclesiastical College. While finishing his education, John also studied the slums of Turin, where many peasant and orphaned lads had come to try their luck. Their degradation was appalling. He could achieve no contact until one day a sacristan smacked the head of a big oaf who stood staring and had answered that he didn't know how to serve the Mass John was about to offer. "I won't have my friends treated like that," John exclaimed. "Your friend?" "The moment anyone is ill-used he becomes my friend." The lad was brought back; next Sunday he fetched others; in but a few months over a hundred were arriving. For three years this uproarious horde had the courtyard of the college for a playground.

At first he brought the boys together only on Sundays in one church or another in Turin or near by; he prayed with them, gave them brief, trenchant instruction in the Christian faith, prepared them to receive the sacraments, then allowed them to romp in the open countryside. An early disciple reminisced, "At the end of each Sunday excursion, Don Bosco always told us to plan for the next Sunday. He gave us advice as to our conduct and asked us, if we had any friends, to invite them, too. Joy reigned among us. Those happy days are engraved in our memories and influenced our lives.

"Arriving at some church in the outskirts of town, Don Bosco would ask permission of the parish priest to play. The permission was always granted, and then at a signal the noisy band gathered together. Catechism followed breakfast: the grass and rocks supplied the plates and tables. It is true, bread failed now and then, but cheerfulness, never. We sang while walking, and at sunset we marched back again into Turin. We were fatigued, but our hearts were content."

Don Bosco believed in the value, especially for deprived urban boys, both of contact with natural beauty and the uplifting power of music. That worked well during the summer, the winter was a different story. In winter, Father John had difficulty finding accommodation for the hundreds of boys who "went to don Bosco's."

Other sites were offered and soon withdrawn. No less than ten people within a space of five months had offered John the use of their facilities. Every one of them, after a few experiences, withdrew the promise. Imagine 400 young, energetic boys gathered in one place! No wonder it seemed impossible to accommodate them all. Finally he rented a roomy old shed. The number of boys at Easter time in 1846 was about 800.

Some spread the rumor that don Bosco was organizing a political conspiracy. In the unstable political climate of northern Italy, such an assumption was not unreasonable. To add to the suspicions, anti-clericalism had been rising in the wake of the desire for unification of the seven Italian states and the ousting of the Austrian and French royal houses, while the unarmed papal states benefitted from the occupation of the Austrian army. So, Don Bosco was watched by police. But the police were converted rather than Don Bosco being arrested.

When he visualized and announced what the future held, others said he was a megalomaniac. Well-meaning friends tried to have him committed to an asylum. Two priests were sent as an escort but Bosco intuited their errand. He followed them to their carriage, politely allowed them to enter first, slammed the door, and called out to the driver: "To the asylum." Well, it took a while to get the poor men out (personally, I know that Italians have a caustic sense of humor). Don Bosco had scored.

In 1844, Don Bosco was appointed chaplain of Saint Philomena's Hospice for girls, and housed his boys in an old building on the grounds of the hospice. When they became too unruly he was ordered to give up his care of the boys or resign as chaplain. He resigned and was forced to leave his apartment.

Thus, remembering Palm Sunday of 1846, when John felt his work might come to an end, he wrote: "As I looked at the crowd of children, the thought of the rich harvest they promised, I felt my heart was breaking. I was alone, without helpers. My health was shattered, and I could not tell where to gather my poor little ones anymore."

John urged the urchins to pray, and God answered the cry of the poor. Mr. Pinardi offered to rent John a piece of property in Turin's marshy Valdocco area, which had a small hayshed that could be used as a chapel. They had to dig out the floor so that John could stand upright in the shed, but it worked. Easter Mass was celebrated in the new chapel.

Three months later the exhausted young priest contracted pneumonia. Leaders sprung up among the young men who kept watch outside the hospital. They organized all-night prayer vigils, hounding heaven with sincere promises, fasting, and other penances. The boys were determined to wrestle Don Bosco from death's grip by their prayers and penances. When death seemed inevitable, John's friend Father Borel whispered: "John, these children need you. Ask God to let you stay. Please, say this prayer after me, 'Lord, if it be your good pleasure, cure me. I say this prayer in the name of my children.'" After the prayer, John's fever broke and he recovered.

When John Bosco left the hospital, like his Master before him, he had no place to lay his head. He went to his mother's farm to recuperated. Finally, in November 1846, Mr. Pinardi offered to rent John four rooms on the property in an unseemly neighborhood for a priest living alone. He asked his mother to give up her beloved farm and come with him to the city. Believing it was God's will, Margaret Bosco followed her son. They walked the 20 miles into the city because they had no money for transportation. Thus, with his mother's help, John Bosco established himself in the slum- center of Valdocco and started what he called his oratory. Until then working with the youths was extracurricular, now he could devote himself to his true apostolate.

With his mother as housekeeper and later renting the whole house, he opened a boarding-house for 40 destitute apprentices, who lived with them. This ministry began on a cold rainy night in May 1847, when Mama Margaret welcomed a youngster, chilled to the bones, who stood trembling on the doorstep. She immediately took him in and cared for "the boy who came to dinner." Mama Margaret seems to me to be a saint herself. She toiled endlessly to care for these children. When she was exhausted and frustrated, ready to return to the quiet life of the farm, she would persist for love of Jesus and the sacrifice He made for her.

Soon hundreds of waifs were crowded in the center that Don Bosco opened for instruction in the faith, for training in the crafts, and for recreation. The most gifted pupils were given additional instruction in languages and mathematics and became teachers of the others. And, of course, they were taught music, because, he said, "an Oratory without singing is like a body without a soul." If a child had a vocation for the priesthood, the way with smoothed for him.

It was a turbulent time (does Italy know any other?) and several attempts were made on the saint's life. Once a man shot him through the window as he sat teaching. The bullet passed under his arm, ripping the cloth. "A pity," said he, "it is my best cassock." And he continued the lesson. He also had a mongrel, stray dog named Grigio, who several times saved his life. No one ever saw the dog eating anything, and no one knew where it slept.

The oratory was so successful that another had to be founded, even though there was no money. That never worried Don Bosco; he knew that God would provide. And so He did. Two workshops for shoemakers and tailors were opened in 1853. By 1856, the 40 boys became 150 residents with four workshops, 10 priests, and a group of 400 of the roughest lads attached to the oratories. John's schools were considered among the best in Turin. A distinguished professor explained Bosco's success, "His love shone forth from his looks and his words so clearly, and all felt it and could not doubt it. . . . They experienced an immense joy in his presence."

In order to pay for this work, Don Bosco preached in numerous places, his reputation for oratory increasing daily as the stories spread of miraculous cures attributed to his prayers and intercession; and in addition, wrote numerous pamphlets and nearly 100 book that were distributed throughout Italy. He cured a man with paralysis and another who was blind. Another time, when there were not enough Hosts for the large crowd going to Communion, the Blessed Sacrament was miraculously multiplied so that all the people were able to receive our blessed Lord.

One of Don Bosco's greatest problems was getting help in his work, and to solve that difficulty, in 1859, he opened a religious seminary (later to be called the Society of Saint Francis de Sales or the Salesians). In 1874 this group received the approbation of the Holy Father, and before the founder's death, there were 768 members with 26 houses in the New World and 38 in the Old. Today there are almost 40,000 Salesian fathers, brothers, and sister working in 120 countries. They specialize in pastoral work and schools of all kinds. They staff 220 orphanages, 219 clinics and hospitals, 864 nurseries, and 3,104 schools (287 are technical schools and 59 are agricultural schools).

Another great work begun by Don Bosco was the foundation of a religious order for women. Together with a peasant woman from near Genoa, Saint Mary Mazzarello, in 1872, he began the congregation called Daughters of Our Lady Help of Christians, dedicated to working with poor girls--specializing in elementary schools, instruction centers in the faith, and the like.

A radical idea of Don Bosco, and one which shocked many of his contemporaries was his attitude toward corporal punishment of children. "I do not remember ever to have used formal punishment," he wrote. "By God's grace I have always been able to get not only observance of rules but even of my bare wishes." His educational method, still employed by the Salesians, tries to eliminate conditions leading to delinquency, to influence the pupils by good example and trust, and to make goodness attractive through religious motives, and easy to practice by religious means. "Frequent confession, daily Mass, these are the pillars supporting the whole structure of education," said the saint.

Such was Don John's unique power over the human heart that, having after great difficulty obtained permission to take 300 convicts, to whom he had preached a retreat, on a whole day's excursion to the country as a reward for good behavior, without any guards whatsoever, not a single one made any attempt to escape.

Towards the end of his life don Bosco's missionary spirit developed two special interests: one was England, to which the Salesians came in 1887, and the other was Latin America--he sent ten missionaries to Argentina in 1875. So, while he remained in Italy to work in the slums of Turin, he actually established the framework for the missionary work he originally wanted to undertake.

The Salesians arrived in Argentina at an important time. Many Italians had been migrating to the country during the last quarter of the 19th century, and there were not enough churches and schools to meet their needs. Half of the group travelled south to minister to the indigenous people whose land had been confiscated by the immigrants and led to war. They were instrumental in bringing about a peace, in addition to establishing schools and evangelizing as far south as Puente del Fuego.

Why did such homage surround his last years? In 1883, Pope Leo XIII asked Don Bosco to beg for funds to complete the construction of Sacro Cuore (Sacred Heart Basilica) in Rome. John readily agreed because it would provide him with an opportunity to serve and to visit his spiritual sons who had already spread into France as well as Spain (where he preached a similar mission later). Everywhere he was greeted by warm, enthusiastic crowds who responded generously.

When he was in Lyons the poor cabdriver lost his temper at the encroaching crowds, saying, "I had rather drag the devil than drive a saint." And in Paris the Church of Our Lady of Victories was crammed two hours before the Mass he came to say in that "refuge of sinners," and a poor woman exclaimed to a questioner: "You see, it is the Mass for sinners, and it is to be offered by a saint. . . ."

Don Bosco's health was giving way under the demands of so many well-wishers. His right eye pained him terribly and continuously. Although he was only in his 60's, he was so troubled by phlebitis that two Salesians had to steady him as he meandered through the crowds blessing and greeting people.

As his health continued to deteriorate, his doctors urged Don Bosco to rest. He always responded that he had too much work to do. Until the moment of his death, Don Bosco, supported by two Salesian companions, would journey through Turin visiting the poor, begging from the rich, cheering the hearts of the sad. When he knew his death was imminent, he would say, "I want to go to heaven for there I shall be able to work much better for my children. On earth I can do nothing more for them." His famous sense of humor did not fade with his body: Gasping for breath, he whispered to a son anxiously bending over him, "Do you know where there is a good bellowsmaker?" "Why?" came the puzzled response. "Because I need a new pair of lungs, that's why!"

His successor Don Rua requested that every Salesian try to come to Turin to say farewell to Don Bosco. They entered his room two-by- two to receive his blessing--the priests, the brothers, the farmers and street urchins that had been helped by him to grow into a deep, abiding love of God.

In a way Bosco lived in four worlds simultaneously--the exterior one, symbolized by the town into which his Turin Oratory had grown, the world of dreams (an exact scientific study of which would be infinitely more valuable to psychologists than that of diseased mentalities in Viennese hospitals), the world of souls into which he read with an accuracy far beyond telepathy, and the world of God.

His purity, perfect to the very roots of his thought, enabled him, as our Lord promised, to "see God," and therefore, perhaps, to read so clearly within his fellow-men; his total trust was such that he literally built up his entire life's work out of nothing; his lovable sarcasms that never hurt; his transparent simplicity; his bluff gaiety, despite terrific work (he never slept for more than five hours) and great physical pain and complete self-denial--all this was not an matter of temperament or merely talent, but a gift from God.

He wrote a little, including biographies of Saint Joseph Cafasso and Saint Dominic Savio, one of Bosco's pupils whom Bosco hoped to train to be a helper in his work, but the boy died at age 15.

Church-builder, reformer, educator, leader of the young and of religious working for the young: when Don Bosco died on January 31, 1888, he left all of Europe startled with his accomplishments-- deeds of lasting and heroic importance. Forty thousand (Martindale reports 100,000) people visited his body as it lay in the church at Turin, and the entire city assembled to see him carried to his grave. It is said that more than 200,000 people at his funeral prayed to him rather than for him (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Butler, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Karp, Martindale, Melady, Salesian, Schamoni, Sheppard).

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0131.shtml

Don Bosco un apostolo della stampa

Questo sito è dedicato al santo dei giovani, Giovanni Bosco.

Vissuto nel XIX secolo, è diventato famoso per la sua opera a favore della gioventù povera ed abbandonata di Torino e dei dintorni, in un periodo difficile, di profonde trasformazioni sociali e politiche.

Il suo metodo educativo e la sua attività ispirata dall’autentica carità cristiana si è estesa in tutto il mondo, arrivando anche nei paesi di tradizione non cristiana. Il perdurare e il moltiplicarsi delle sue opere, lo hanno fatto conoscere e studiare, tanto che oggi disponiamo di un’abbondante bibliografia sulla sua persona e sul suo stile educativo. Meno noti invece sono i suoi scritti, nonostante la sua predilezione per questo tipo di apostolato, cioè quello della stampa.

Don Bosco scrisse non perché cercava fama o perché doveva allinearsi alla moda del tempo, ma perché aveva la certezza che era questa la volontà divina.

Le necessità del tempo lo richiedevano per la cresciuta alfabetizzazione tra il popolo, la mancanza di libri adatti alle persone semplici e l'aumento della mala stampa. Gli incoraggiamenti venuti dal Papa e dai vescovi, i ringraziamenti di tante persone, i consensi ricevuti e la rapida diffusione delle sue pubblicazioni lo confermarono in questa impresa.

I destinatari della sua opera furono principalmente i giovani, ma non trascurò gli altri ceti di persone di diverse condizioni sociali, che erano bisognosi della buona stampa.

Lo scopo delle pubblicazioni era quello di fare del bene attraverso la parola fissata per iscritto, e per lui, che aveva chiesto nella sua prima messa l’efficacia della parola, un mezzo più adatto per farla ancora conoscere e diffondere non poteva essere altro che la stampa.

Don Bosco non solo ha scritto, ma ha fatto anche scrivere per il bene dei giovani e del ceto popolare in genere, contribuendo lui stesso, non poche volte, a queste iniziative. Degne di ricordo sono le diverse collane pubblicate per molti anni, che hanno avuto un successo non comune a quel tempo: Letture Cattoliche, Biblioteca della Gioventù Italiana, Selecta ex Latinis Scriptoribus, Latini Christiani Scriptores, Bollettino Salesiano, Letture Ascetiche, Letture Drammatiche, Letture Amene, Bibliotechina dell’Operaio.

Proponiamo in questo sito gli scritti di don Bosco, iniziando con quelli che sono stati raccolti nella edizione delle Opere Edite.