SAINT JOHN BOSCO - THE FATHER & FRIEND OF YOUTH.
Saint John Bosco, popularly known as Don Bosco (Italian for Father Bosco) was born at Becchi, in Piedmont, Italy on August 16, 1815. At a very young age, he felt that he had been called to work for the poor boys of that era, at a time when Europe was in the grip of the Industrial Revolution, and many young people questing to study or work, moved to the cities and became easy prey to the many social evils of the time.
After being ordained a priest of the Catholic Church in 1841, Don Bosco worked hard to rescue these poor boys with a novel method of educating them through a programme of total dedication and personal involvement in their lives and problems.
To ensure that this dedication to their cause was sustainable, he worked out an action- oriented plan. His system of education was based on the three great principles of Reason, Religion and Loving-Kindness, loving those to whom he dedicated his life as a caring father, and doing everything possible for their welfare. Don Bosco was keenly attuned to the needs of the society of his time.
For him, education in isolation, far away from the community parameters within which it functioned was not his calling. Vocational guidance, vocational training, job placement and follow-up were as integral to Don Bosco’s scheme of things as they are in modern day education.
The system of education that emerged from these principles of Don Bosco is popularly known as the Preventive System and is followed to the letter, in Don Bosco Schools India. The system aims at creating a generation of young men and women steeped not only in a sound knowledge-based education but also in a strong value-based education for life. “Education is a matter of the heart and God is its only master. We will never succeed unless He teaches us the art and puts the keys into our hands” – Don Bosco. 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. In fact when asked about the secret of his immense success with youngsters, he simply answered "Love".
When he died on 31st January 1888, his parting message was typical of him, "Tell my boys, I am waiting for them in heaven".
The greatest gift that Don Bosco has left posterity is his unique way of educating, a method that was inspired by his one magnificent obsession: “It is enough to know that you are young and abandoned for me to love you very much.”