John Bosco


Feast Date: January 31

Historical photos of St. Don Bosco, founder of the Salesians. (photo courtesy of Salesian Central Archives)

Born to a poor family in Italy, this patron saint of editors and laborers is considered one of the great social saints. Ordained a priest in 1841, he was sent to study theology in Turin, where he became a magnet for neglected youths during a turbulent period of rapid industrialization and revolutionary politics. Don Bosco, who once hoped to become a foreign missionary, founded the Salesians in 1854. The order sheltered more than 800 orphan boys, then opened workshops for shoemakers, tailors, bookbinders and other trades. Don Bosco was also a prolific writer, and co-founded a women’s congregation to work among girls. When he died, more than 40,000 people in Turin filed past his coffin to show their love and respect.

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