John was born in 1815 in Recchi, Italy. When John was two, his father died prematurely. As a boy, John lived on a farm with his family doing the only thing they knew how, farming. Poverty and a lack of formal education in the home did not stop the growth of John Bosco as a person. His mother was for real, realizing the importance of God in life (http://www.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca/rel/cath-boscocamp/about.html).
Getting a formal education was a constant struggle for John. The family finances being what they were, his brothers felt that he was wasting time, energy, and money and that it would be better for all if he stopped going to school and worked on the farm, earning money (http://www.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca/rel/cath-boscocamp/about.html).
At age nine John had a dream in which he saw himself changing children from beasts into lambs. He decided immediately to become a priest and devote his life to children, and began at once. He haunted every circus and fair; learned to walk tight-ropes, do acrobatics, and become a conjurer at the cost of an often broken nose (http://users.erols.com/saintpat/ss/0131.htm#john). He must have understood physical fitness for as a youngster he was known and respected as the town’s acrobat and juggler. Many would assemble to witness his tricks. He was then able to provide fascinating entertainment that would end with the rosary and a verbatim repetition of the previous Sunday’s sermon. What was amazing is the fact that before any performance he would ask his audience to join him in prayer. God was his friend This friendship with God became powerful and slowly John prepared for the priesthood (http://www.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca/rel/cath-boscocamp/about.html).
In 1841 at the age of 26, John was ordained priest. He was now ready to make his contribution toward the poor and homeless (http://www.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca/rel/cath-boscocamp/about.html).
While in Turin, the rejects of society appealed to him. His awareness of what could be in them motivated him to commit his work and style of living to the building of people. His life is unbelievable as his burning love brought him to hospitals and prisons, to the troubled and the dying. His ministry forced him to beg for jobs for the boys he was helping, visited private homes, taught night classes, heard confessions, and celebrated the Eucharist. His life was deeply questioned by his confreres. He was deeply disturbing the establishment and efforts were made by the authorities to have him committed to a mental asylum. Somehow God took care of him as he attempted to help the people around him. His life was so full that his health began to fail (http://www.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca/rel/cath-boscocamp/about.html).
John’s mother shared his dream and worked along with him. One of his boys, Dominic Savio, was also extraordinary and the Church declared him a saint. John’s work was continued by a group of dedicated people called the Salesians.
John died at the age of 73 in 1888 ending a life spent for others (http://www.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca/rel/cath-boscocamp/about.html). John Bosco was a real good man. He lived his life for truth. He searched all around, until he found that the secret lies in youth. The Church recognizes in the life and work of this man a model of virtue, of friendship for people and for God. God was the source of his goodness and John was deeply aware of this. People who met John felt that fullness of life lived in his humanity, a sign of special favor on God’s part. This is why the community of believers calls him St. John Bosco (http://www.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca/rel/cath-boscocamp/about.html).