(ANS – Rome) – Don Bosco is perhaps the most amazing and fascinating saint history has ever produced. Every saint carries within him or her a particular charism and fascination, but in Don Bosco one can gauge a rich and perfect combination of human and divine qualities. It is amazing to note how a simple, poor, semi-orphan peasant boy from Becchi, could rise up to the founding of a congregation, and sow the seed for the rise of a great movement, the Salesian family which has more than 400,000 members all around the world. Today his followers, the Salesians of Don Bosco are more than 14,000 and present in 134 countries, reaching out to young people most in need.
Don Bosco is loved worldwide, and is truly a magical word in the world of the young. He has transformed the lives of millions and millions of young people in this world and brought meaning to their lives. The sons of Don Bosco have committed themselves to a wide variety of activities, such as schools, colleges, universities, youth centers, technical schools, parishes, social welfare centers, orphanages, street children centers, rural empowerment centers, women development activities, and so on, reaching out to thousands and thousands of young people all over the world, forming them to be good citizens and God fearing people.
Don Bosco was no doubt a compendium of virtues, skills, talents, and divine grace. He was an irresistible force who could permeate the heart of every person he met and was indeed a magnetic personality. Think of any good quality and you will see it personified in him. A feel of this stupendous saint with his magnificent qualities is the best way to remember him.
He was first of all a man of God, who from his deep union with God was able to truly offer God’s love, mercy, and strength. Despite his hectic work, he always maintained his closeness with God and made every person experience and feel that.
Don Bosco was a zealous apostle, who endlessly grabbed every opportunity to win souls for God, no matter where he was, his only yearning was “Give me souls, take away the rest”.
He was a loving person, a winner of the hearts of thousands of young people. Every young boy who came across him felt that he was individually loved and cared for by him.
He was a pedagogue, a master educationist who through his preventive system of reason, religion and loving kindness could make his system of education very humane, spiritual, scientific, and integral.
He was a wonderful preacher and an inspiring speaker too, who knew the power of communication. People thronged to listen to him because they could feel the presence of God in every word he uttered.
He was a master counselor who knew how to counsel and console, guide and direct everyone in the path of holiness and truth.
He was a psychologist, who knew how to understand the minds and hearts of young people, and what their requirements were.
Don Bosco was a prolific writer, a journalist who knew how to write and efficiently communicate his ideas, fight heresies and promote good values through good literature.
Don Bosco was a great mystic and contemplative, drawing strength from the one who was his sole inspiration.
He was a miracle worker. Our Lady, Mary help of Christians manifested her special benevolence in all the works of Don Bosco and she did everything for him. Every miracle of Don Bosco had the blessed mother’s stamp on it, and so many miracles were done by him.
He was a hard worker, who toiled endlessly with selfless activity, dedicating himself totally for the mission from dawn to dusk.
This friend of the youth was also a wonderful musician who could sing, feel, teach music and make it a means of praising God and keeping his young boys happy and engaged. His band was very much appreciated by people from all walks of life.
He was a juggler and a magician who knew how to attract young people and lead them to God. He used these skills to win people to God.
He was a good sportsman, an athlete beyond compare who valued sports as an essential element of his educative system. Right from his first oratory, games became an indispensable element of his oratory, and this was a strategic tool to form and win the young.
He was a diplomat and statesman, who knew how to be cordial with all government officials and bureaucrats and make himself convincing and credible.
He was a dramatist, who knew how to popularize theatre and art to form young minds and communicate God’s message.
He was a multifaceted personality, a carpenter, a cobbler, a tailor, a printer, a man who had mastered all forms of trades with humility. He plunged himself into tireless activity of teaching, instructing and forming young minds to apprehend a trade that would fetch them a career.
He was a social worker, who knew how to make his boys contribute to the society in times of need, be it sickness, plague or poverty. He defended and fought for the rights of his boys in all the places they worked and in all the situations they were placed.
He was a man of poverty, a person, who was born poor, lived poor and died poor. His simplicity, frugality, and love for the poor can never be forgotten.
He was a very optimistic person, who never got discouraged by any number of difficulties. His trust in Divine Providence made him manifest that he was not going to lose heart in any trying situation.
He was very good at generating resources, be it for a new basilica or paying debts. He knew how to ask, how to beg, and how to win people to help him.
Don Bosco is undoubtedly a fascinating saint, and offers a powerful model of Christian life inspired by the values of a profound spirituality, which is credible and attractive. He continues to be a source of perennial inspiration and relevance to the world of the young, ushering a great horizon of hope for humanity.