Want to Be a Saint? St. John Bosco says it’s easy!
What do you think of a saint who juggles, walks on a tightrope, and puts on magic shows? Meet St. John Bosco, the saint who knew how to have fun! Growing up near the mountains of Italy, John Bosco studied traveling performers and acrobats so he could put on juggling and magic shows for younger kids. He even learned to walk a tightrope. Before and after every performance, he led his audience in the rosary.
After he became a priest in 1841, Don Bosco (as priests in Italy were called) continued to help kids. In those days families were so poor that they sent their children into cities to work in factories. Imagine being alone in a strange city, with no place to live and nothing to eat. But Don Bosco and his mom came to the rescue.
Don Bosco bought an empty shed and turned it into an oratory. (That’s a place where people can pray.) Every Sunday about 500 children came to Mass there. Soon, Don Bosco and his mother, Mama Margaret, began taking in orphans, giving them food and a place to sleep. They built schools where kids could learn trades such as shoemaking and carpentry. Don Bosco visited the factories where children worked, making sure they weren’t mistreated, were paid fairly, and got time off for school and play. Most importantly, he taught kids how much Jesus loved them.
Don Bosco worked hard running schools, building churches, and starting two orders of priests and nuns. He got about five hours of sleep every night. He wore old clothes and ate simple foods. Yet he said that sanctity, or being a saint, is easy. “I want to give you the formula for sanctity,” he said. “First, be happy; second, study and pray; third, do good to everyone.”
What do you think? Can you be a saint, like John Bosco? Of course! You’re already doing it!
BONUS: Download this page in a PDF format with activities to help celebrate this feast day. Click here: CAT.Jan2019_LivingtheLiturgicalYear
This article originally appeared in Catechist magazine in the January 2019 issue.
Image credit: Don Bosco la Torino în 1880 (fotografie originală), public domain.