January 31, 2024, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Holy Rosary (Glorious Mysteries)

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Friends of the Rosary:

Every January 31, the Catholic Church honors St. John Bosco (or “Don Bosco”), a 19th-century Italian priest who reached out to young people to remedy their lack of education, opportunities, and faith. He was an enlightened educator and innovator.

St. John Bosco was the founder of the Salesian Society, named in honor of St. Francis de Sales, and of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians. His lifework was the welfare of young boys and girls, hence his title, “Apostle of Youth.” He had no formal system of education, but rather his methods centered on persuasion, authentic religiosity, and love for young people.

At age nine, he had a prophetic dream in which unruly young boys were uttering words of blasphemy. Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary appeared to John in the dream, saying he would bring such youths to God through the virtues of humility and charity. Later on, this dream would help John to discern his calling as a priest.

He’d become a spiritual guide and provider along with his fellow Salesian priests and brothers, giving boys religious instruction, lodging, education, and work opportunities. 

This success did not come easily, as the priest struggled to find reliable accommodations and support for his ambitious apostolate. Italy’s nationalist movement made life difficult for religious orders, and its anti-clerical attitudes even led to assassination attempts against Don Bosco.

However, such hostility did not stop the Salesians from expanding in Europe and beyond. They were helping 130,000 children in 250 houses by the end of Don Bosco’s life. “I have done nothing by myself,” he stated, saying it was “Our Lady who has done everything” through her intercession with God.

St. John Bosco died on January 31, 1888, after conveying a message: “Tell the boys that I shall be waiting for them all in Paradise.”

He was canonized on Easter Sunday of 1934 and is a patron saint of young people, apprentices, and Catholic publishers and editors.

Ave Maria!
Jesus, I Trust In You!
St. John Bosco, Pray for Us!

To Jesus through Mary!
Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will!

+ Mikel A. | RosaryNetwork.com, New York