St. John Bosco, commonly known as Don Bosco, was born on 16th August 1815 at Becchi, a village near Turin, Italy. At the age of two, his father died. John, who was to become the father of orphans, became an orphan himself at such a tender age. Through heroic sacrifices and hard work he became a holy priest in 1841.
As a priest, he dedicated himself to the service of boys, especially the poor by offering them food, lodging and education. Through the help of generous persons he opened technical institutes, hostels, schools and youth centres. Soon he founded a Society of Collaborators, and extended his work to the whole of Europe and the other continents. To win the hearts of the youngsters he used “The Preventive System”. Don Bosco explained it as a happy blend of reason, religion and loving kindness. Don Bosco was one of the greatest educators of the last century. He died at the age of 72 on 31 January 1888. His parting message at his death bed was, “Tell my boys, I am waiting for them in heaven”. Don Bosco was declared a saint of the Catholic Church on 1 April, 1934. On 31 January every year we celebrate the feast of St. John Bosco in all our institutions.
Don Bosco saw his religious society grow up into a big organization with three main branches: the Fathers and Brothers who take care of boys, the Sisters who take care of girls and the co-operators who are ordinary people, but through their life and work try to make the world a better place for the young people to live in. Millions are now the past pupils of Don Bosco, all over the world. They are proud of their education. Among them many occupy places of responsibility both in India and in different countries. The work of this humble priest has grown from a tiny seed into a large tree. The society he founded has now a membership of over 17,000. The Salesians, as they are called, work in 134 countries through 3500 institutions. In India alone, there are 1700 Salesians serving the educational needs of children through 275 centres scattered throughout the country.