St. John Bosco was a man with humble beginnings, but was well-known for his charisma, joyfulness, and skills with magic. Some attempted to assassinate him, but his ministry continued to make a difference in Italy.
John Bosco was born in Italy in 1815 and his mother raised him after his father died. He was very devout because of his mother’s example. She was very devout and generous, even though she had little to give. When he was young, a traveling circus troupe passed through. He learned magic, juggling, and other tricks because he believed he could be a witness and hold people’s attention by mastering these tricks (how cool is that?).
Despite having no education, Bosco wanted to be a priest. He eventually found another priest who could help him study and learn. He was ordained in 1841, and as a priest, Fr. Bosco ministered to many in the city of Turin, and began using his skills as a juggler and magician to attract the boys of the city to church and share the Gospel with them.
The Oratory & Mission
In his ministry, Fr. Bosco (with the assistance of his amazing mother, who is actually Venerable!) housed 800 boys, negotiated the rights of boys in Turin (especially those who were apprentices), began the Society of St. Francis de Sales, and encouraged young men in vocations to the priesthood. He founded an oratory, in the tradition of St. Philip Neri, where he rigorously educated young men and inspired them with his joy and playfulness. Fr. Bosco died in 1888, and is the patron of catechists, magicians, and school children. One of his students even became a saint, St. Dominic Savio.
Why a juggler?
John Bosco was a devout, Italian priest who was inspired by the ministry and disposition of St. Philip Neri and opened his own oratories like St. Philip. He used his talents as a performer, trickster, magician and juggler to minister to the boys of Turin and convert souls.
Who would be friends with St. John Bosco?
- Young boys
- Prison Ministers
- Those who’ve lost fathers
- Troubled youth
Need a gift for Catholic School’s Week or for a catechist? Shop for John Bosco medals in our shop.