Priest of the young


John Bosco is a priest born for young people. For them, he launched many attractive projects. He was a tireless worker who dreamed great dreams that extended into a future not even he would experience. His "dreams" revealed, little by little, God's plan that he was to realize.

Take the time to know and enter into his dream!


His dream at 9 years of age guided Don Bosco throughout his life. In it John found himself amidst a large group of boys who were fighting. A man magnificently dressed appeared:

"It is not with blows, but with kindness and charity that you will make them your friends".

Then, a beautiful Lady appeared:

"Here is your field of action! It is among these young people that we are sending you. Later... you will understand!"


Who were these boys? Most were illiterate, unemployed, uprooted, abandoned. It was for them that John Bosco, once ordained a priest, made himself their teacher. He organized night courses. He published, with urgency and aptitude, more than one hundred works. For all, he wanted knowledge, a roof, bread and a trade. He organized youth centers (oratories). These places were privileged places to gather together with friends and have some good fun.

Don Bosco is also a gifted craftsman, competent and full of initiatives. To pay for his own studies, he plied almost every trade. He opened vocational centers: they will be the professional and technical schools that will keep expanding in the future. He wanted young people to be competent.


Amid the work Don Bosco made time for his young people to experience moments of cheerful games. As a youth he would dance on a tight rope to entertain his friends. And as a priest he would initiate games, play music, sing and do magic tricks to amuse and to keep the hearts of the young cheerful. He would lead his boys in unforgettable outings, hikes, and walks. Singlehandedly he took three hundred young offenders from a Turin prison on a day picnic without the escort of the prison guards.

Games allow a real educative encounter.
Games diffuse joy.
"To serve God in joy"
was the first slogan of Don Bosco's mission.
A legacy we must not forget...

With simplicity and in words that young people could understand, Don Bosco opened for them Heavenly treasures. Through retreats, sermons, conferences and reflections he enthusiastically led youth to the hearts of Jesus and Mary.


This educator is also a gatherer. He formed in order to be a founder. It is here that we see his genius. Very early, John Bosco revealed his gift as leader of men. At 17 years old, and a young university student, he established the "Joyful Union", a kind of recreational club: 

" I was the accepted leader of this little army.
I only had to fix my gaze on someone
And I would read his intentions".

In 1841, upon arriving in Turin, he quickly began his work among youth. There were hundreds and even thousands of poor boys abandoned and left on their own. Educators came to help him: fathers of families, priests, the "Salesian Cooperators" of the first hour, and his own mother, Mama Margaret.

But is there a future? Where would he find the material to build? The Lady of his dream had told him:" right there". And among his own Don Bosco searched. He studied the character of his young people: the country boy, the student, and the worker. All generous! The dream had told Don Bosco:" You will understand". With a handful of generous young men, a congregation is born. " The sheep have become the shepherd". 

On January 26,2020, five volunteers take the name of SALESIANS (from Saint Francis de Sales, model of kindness and charity). Five years later, in 1859 his congregation, - THE SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO, is officially founded. Don Bosco even invented a new type of "worker", the coadjutor, a lay religious man "in a working shirt", to be a leader in his technical centers. In 1875, the first missionaries depart for South America.


In 1856, in Mornese - about a hundred kilometers from Turin - a few young women committed themselves to help younger girls with the same apostolic zeal as Don Bosco. At 27 years old, Mary Domenica met Don Bosco for the first time and was indelibly impressed by his spirituality and his apostolate. In 1872, she accepted, with 27 companions, to become a religious in the feminine community founded by Don Bosco. They took the name of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians because their mission was to become "helpers" to young people, particularly the poorest.

The warm welcome and joyful creativity of these Sisters encouraged many young girls to follow the call of God. They quickly became the "feminine side of the Salesian Charism". We commonly call them Salesian Sisters. They are another foundation of Don Bosco.

Finally, in 1876, he established the Association of the Salesian Cooperators, a lay branch of the Salesian Family. Friends dear to the heart of Don Bosco and precious laborers in the service of the Church, Salesian Cooperators work alongside Salesian Religious for the salvation of the young and abandoned youth.

In this way the dream of a child took its form in history.

But this dream is always in the process of being realized.

He had said: " I make a rough copy but my Salesians will make the good one".

And Don Bosco's charism still calls today!


Who is Don Bosco? - At the service of young people - A priest for young people

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