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.

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' news and information service.

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