St. John Melchoir Bosco - Don Bosco
The ‘Salesians’ being the second largest Catholic order in the world exists for only one reason,
‘for the youth.’ Its sole purpose is to continue practicing Don Bosco’s living practices and
teachings; to continue to teach and treat the youth of the world with love, kindness and goodness
rather than with curse and anger. Don Bosco was an educational practitioner rather than
an educational theorist, and so his way of teaching the young was completely different to that
of his era. Because of his different stance in the system, his way of
teaching the children was often misunderstood and he was critcised
and opposed by the civil and church authorities for some time. Despite
these circumstances, Don continued to work with the youth in a
loving manner rather than the repressive way, which was approved
and acknowledged by the society in general as the correct method of dealing with the young
during the time. His early childhood experiences and with his mother’s in his life were said to
be the biggest influences upon the development of his work with the youth and the Salesian
Don Bosco was born in northern Italy on 16 August 1815 in a religious Catholic family. He grew up without a fatherly
figure and was bought up in a highly dysfunctional family that lived in dire poverty. Because of these experiences in his
early years, Don later as a priest felt the sorrow of so many orphans in his country and the world. Despite dire poverty
and severe family dysfunction, Don’s early life is characterised by great vivacity, deep religiosity and a willingness and
ability to do almost anything. He demonstrated a great aptitude for study. He entertained both the young and old with
his acrobatic abilities and held them spellbound with his talent for story telling. At such an early age, Don began to work
with the youth, and continued this work to the very day he died. Don Bosco’s work however did not end with his death,
rather it continued to lived on today and forever.
Like it says in the many history texts available today, Don was destined to live his life for God. His destiny in becoming a
priest was first recognised by his mother, Margaret when he was only nine years old. As Margaret heard the recount of
his prophetic dream of ‘wild animals transforming into lambs under the guidance of two mysterious personages,’ she
recognised Don’s future as being a priest. Don’s dream of the transformation of wild animals into lambs is said to be his
first immediate religious experience with God.
As a child, Don was a very religious Catholic boy. A religious matter that existed and found was a deep concern for Don.
When Don saw that Catholic priests were not fulfilling their role, he immediately reported it back to his mother. He
commented to his mother, on the fact that priests were cold and distant as they never bothered to speak to Don whenever
they met him on the road. He also said to his...