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Don Bosco, the founder the Salesian Congregation


The future founder of the Salesians (who are now in over 130 countries around the world) was born in a small farmhouse in the Becchi hamlet, in the municipality of Castelnuovo d ‘Asti (today Castelnuovo Don Bosco) on 16 August 1815 to Francesco Bosco and Margherita Occhiena, both farmers.

Having lost his father at the age of two, he began working at the age of 11 while his vocation grew stronger and stronger. He worked several jobs in order to pay for his studies and in 1835 he entered the seminary.

Six years later he was ordained priest and moved to the Convitto Ecclesiastico in Turin. Here he began his work of approaching the poorest young people he met on the street and in the city’s building sites

It is precisely for them that he established the first oratory in Valdocco (Turin) in 1846, a place dedicated to marginalised young people where they were guaranteed concrete help, education and job training.

Soon the number of oratories increased, helping an increasing number of children in need. In 1859 he founded the Salesian Congregation (after Saint Francis de Sales) with which he carried out his mission on behalf of young people.

He died on 31 January 1888 and was canonised on 1 April 1934 by Pope Pius XI.


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