Hi ! My name is John, but everyone calls me Don Bosco! I was born on 16th August 1815, a few miles from Turin. My parents: Francis and Margaret, are farmers; I have two older brothers, Anthony and Joseph.
Bedroom Kitchen Yard I’ve decided to tell you a bit about myself and invite you to have a look at my home Some places are especially important for me.
This is my home... I was only two years old when my father died. As well as looking after us, my mother had to take over my father’s work in the fields She was a strong woman… The farm work is hard and she cannot do it all by herself. So my brothers and I help her...
My bedroom... In this room, when I was about nine, I had a strange dream... ...it stayed with me throughout my life!
I seemed to be somewhere close to my house in a very large school yard. “ Not with punches, but with kindness will you win over these boys...” I was only nine years old... Who was asking me to do these impossible things??? There were lots of boys, some of them using bad language. When I heard these words I rushed at them, fists flying. Just then a Man appeared...
He replied: “I am the one your mother taught you to greet three times a day. Ask your mother what my name is.” Suddenly there appeard a Woman of majestic appearance. I was confused…she beckoned me towards her and took me by the hand. I noticed that all the children had disappeared and in their place I saw animals: goats, dogs, cats... She said: “Make yourself humble and strong… what you see happen to these animals, you will have to do for my children.”
I turned round and saw that the wild animals had changed into gentle lambs... I did not understand at all… I asked the woman to put it more clearly...
Only many years later did I realise that in the dream Jesus and Mary were showing me what I would do with my life.
The kitchen was the heart of the house… This was where I learned the meaning of charity… patience… generosity to the stranger who knocked on the door asking for food... More than that... Jesus was practically one of the family. My mother, Margaret, knew by heart a few passages from the bible… We could not go to catechism classes, so she herself taught us our faith.
Here, in this very place, I began to build a simple but deep relationship with God. In my family I learned to respect and have confidence in God... ...Almighty, yes, but also an ‘everyday’ God, familiar, part of normal life.
As I grew up I came to understand that I had to pass on this motherly and fatherly love I had received from my earliest years to those who had no home, no family. Time flew by during my years at school and at last I came to put into action my DREAM of BECOMING A PRIEST
After many years of study at the Seminary, here I am, a young priest in Turin, with so many boys who need a place to play, to enjoy themselves, to be together, to pray, to sing... It’s a difficult problem and it has cost me tiredness and tears… but finally, one day...
A man has heard that I am looking for a place where the boys can meet… he decides to offer me an old shed… On Easter Sunday 1846, after a lot of work to get the place ready, I’ve finally managed to bring the boys to their new Oratory!
Every boy could feel ‘at home’. By means of games, prayers and Holy Scripture, I have tried to pass on everything my mother taught me as a child. Love, work, sharing, friendship with God and with others, dreams… Every boy who came into the Pinardi Shed could find all of this!
I have held on to one rule throughout this whole adventure: “ Love what the young people love so that they will also love what the Educator loves.”
Many of them decided to stay, to offer a ‘home’ to young people, taking Jesus as their model just as I had done... Many others chose to move on, taking with them the joy, the happiness and the beauty of their encounter with Jesus… You too can help other young people to find their dreams, just as you have. You and me together on the way to Holiness!!!