St. John Bosco and the Path of Joy
– Taken from the writings of Steve Bollman
John Bosco was born in a small farming village outside Turin, Italy in 1815. Turin is one of the
industrial cities in Italy, home to Fiat and other manufacturing companies. This forms part of
the backdrop to Don Bosco’s story. As Turin was rapidly industrializing, families would send
their young children to Turin to look for work. Without family or a support network, these boys
were often exploited by owners of businesses and easy prey for the devil. At nine years old
John was given a mission in a dream to save these wayward souls. It would become his life’s
He grew up to become a priest and founded the second largest religious order in the Church
(the Salesians of Don Bosco) with the mission to care for poor boys. Don Bosco provided a
family to these boys by the founding of the Festive Oratory. He was fond of saying, “Let the
boys have full liberty to jump, run and make as much noise as they please… ‘Do anything you
like, as long as you do not sin.’” Don Bosco exhausted himself bringing authentic joy to his boys.
His ability to provide joy and holiness in the home is foundational to the mission of Paradisus
Don Bosco was given the grace to understand the times in which he lived as well as the spiritual
state of his boys. This knowledge was used to help guide thousands of boys to heaven. We
should pray for the grace to understand the spiritual lives of our children and spouses and how
we can help them go to heaven – especially during these difficult days.
Let's celebrate the Feast of Don Bosco by trying to bring great joy into our families. One
suggestion – Turin is also home to one of the oldest chocolate factories in Europe. So enjoy!
Learn more about Don Bosco’s amazing life by reading “Give Me Souls.”