St. John Melchior Bosco was born in Becchi, Italy on August 16, 1815. Though born to a poor family, he was an intelligent and enterprising young boy who quickly learned different trades, such as carpentry, shoemaking, and even cooking!
And just like little boys his age, John was fascinated by the magic tricks he saw performed during circuses, fairs, and carnivals that visited his little town. He copied these tricks by watching what the magicians were doing, even asking them for help when he did not understand how some tricks were done. He performed these tricks in little shows in their neighborhood, never forgetting to pray before and after each performance.
John Bosco became a priest in 1841. He felt sad about the growing number of children living on the streets, so he gathered them and began to teach them the things he learned as a young boy. This act led him to form the Society of Francis de Sales, also a saint known for his gentle ways and charity.
John Bosco knew that God wanted him to work with children. In a dream, he heard a voice say, “Teach them right from wrong.” He is called “Don,” which means father, because he helped so many children.
He was beloved saint who made the lives of the children he helped magical, despite him not being a magician. Over 4,000 mourners came to pay their respects when he died on January 31, 1888.
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