Also known as
Don Bosco; Giovanni Bosco; Giovanni Melchior Bosco; John Melchoir Bosco
Son of Venerable Margaret Bosco. John's father died when the boy was 2 years old, and as soon as he was old enough to do odd jobs, he did so for extra money for his family. Bosco would go to circuses, fairs and carnivals, practice the tricks he saw magicians perform, and then present one-boy shows. After his performance, while he still had an audience of boys, he would repeat the homily he had heard earlier in church.
Worked as a tailor, baker, shoemaker, and carpenter while attending college and the seminary. Ordained in 1841. Teacher. Worked with youth, finding places where they could meet, play and pray, teaching catechism to orphans and apprentices. Chaplain in a hospice for girls. Wrote short treatises aimed at explaining the faith to children, and then taught children how to print them. Friend of Saint Joseph Cafasso, whose biography he wrote, and confessor to Blessed Joseph Allamano. Founded the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in 1859, priests who work with and educate boys, under the protection of Our Lady, Help of Chistians, and Saint Francis de Sales. Founded the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians in 1872, and Union of Cooperator Salesians in 1875.
16 August 1815 at Becchi, Castelnuovo d'Asti, Piedmont, Italy
31 January 1888 at Turin, Italy
24 July 1907 by Pope Pius X
2 June 1929 by Pope Pius XI
1 April 1934 by Pope Pius XI
God is gracious; gift of God
apprentices; boys; editors; Mexican young people; laborers; schoolchildren; students; young people