Saint John Bosco
By Carina Ann Borges
St. John Bosco was born on August 16, 1815 in Becchi, Italy. He was a man with multiple talents. He was a teacher, priest, and most importantly, a great friend to young boys. When John was a boy, he always wanted to be a priest, but it was hard for him. He lived on a farm with his mother and brothers. When John was nine he had a strange dream that changed his life. In his dream he was in a field surrounded with boys who were misbehaving and acting cursed. John jumped into the crowd to try and stop them but it didn’t work. Then suddenly a man appeared glowing with white dressed in a white robe. The man told John that he was to be the leader of these boys. John was shocked and surprised that he was being put in charge of such a difficult task. The man said “You will have to win these friends of yours not with blows, but with gentleness and kindness” John argued with the man saying “I’m just a boy, how could you order me to do something that seems impossible?!” The man answered, “What seems so impossible you must achieve by being obedient and acquiring knowledge.” At that point the boys transformed into the animals that they were behaving as. The man then said, “This is a field of your life work”. Once John changed and grew in humility, faithfulness and strength, he would see a change in the children. After this the boys transformed back into themselves again and the dream ended. From that point on John new that he would lead those misbehaving boys. When John told his family about the dream they all laughed at him. Everyone took it as a joke and didn’t understand the real meaning of the dream. Even his grandmother didn’t take it seriously; she had always said, “You mustn’t pay attention to dreams.” John said, “I felt the same way about it too, but I just can’t seem to get the dream out of my head.”
Eventually the first dream leads him to helping poor and neglected boys. He would take them to Mass and talk to them, even juggle for their entertainment. It wasn’t always easy though: most people don’t enjoy big crowds of loud boys, and even the priests would get frustrated. In another one of his dreams Mary was there. She led him to a beautiful garden. He was asked to take off his shoes and walk through a rose arbor. After he walked a few steps, the bottoms of his feet were covered in blood and thorns from the rose bushes. When he said he would have to turn back, Mary told him he would have to put on sturdy shoes. As John stepped a second time a group of helpers followed him. Then the walls of the arbor started closing on him, the roof started sinking and the roses were going on the path. He was trying to push the roses off to the side but the more he did that the more cuts he got. He was finally tangled in thorns. On the other hand some of the workers left but others stayed next to him saying, “How lucky John is, his path is forever strewn with roses! He hasn’t got a worry in the world.” Many of the helpers who expected a safe journey turned back while the rest stayed. John finally figured out a way out of the rose bushes that were tangling him; when he escaped he found himself in another garden. His cuts started to heal and the blood went away with every step he took. John figured out the interpretation of the dream. The path was his mission, the roses were the charity to the boys and the thorns were his distractions, obstacles and frustrations that got in the way. The true message of the dream was to keep going and to never lose faith.
After John became a priest he traveled to Turin which is a large city in northern Italy. Many people in this city were poor and had no job. Most of the young boys were living on the streets. One day John was in the back of his church after Mass and saw a man yelling at a boy who came into the church to get warm. Don John Bosco told the man to stop yelling at him. The Man wanted to know why. John said “Because, he’s my friend.” From that moment on John knew that he was going to help the boys of Turin by being their friend.
Ever since then Don John Bosco helped the boys of Turin. He was a teacher, Priest, and most importantly a good friend. Through the years John’s house for boys began to grow even more. They eventually built a large area full of buildings were John had all of the boys live. This area was called an “oratory”. Ora means prayer in the Latin language. John Bosco eventually became ill and died on January 31, 1888. He left behind many schools and young boys. He also left behind a religious order called the Salesians. This order was devoted to pass down love and teaching to boys and girls all over the world. John was known to his students as the best and most loving teacher that they’d ever had.
I think St. John Bosco can teach us to have patience and to never give up. He would help us realize that no matter how hard the situation is you can always fix it and do better than you expected. Always have faith!!! He is the true Saint that teaches us to always trust in God and to never let Him go.