Memorial of St. Don Bosco
In the early 1950s, I was a frequent acolyte at the Passionist parish of Saint Bridget, Marrickville. A young priest named James Wood, CP, started a Don Bosco Boys’ Club. There he skillfully told stories—many quite dramatic—did magic tricks and organized games. As we played, he introduced us to Don Bosco and told us marvellous stories of his life.
Don’s father died when he was two years old, leaving his mother to look after the children.
Blessed are those who mourn…
When Don was 9, he dreamed that a beautiful man and woman and a Jesus-like figure charged him to live a life that “was humble, courageous, and charitable.” Inspired by his mother’s taking care of local children, Don gathered friends and children from the street on Sundays, performing magic tricks and acrobatics he had learned from a travelling circus and ending by praying the Rosary.
Blessed are the gentle…
At age 12, Don was badly beaten by his older brother and agreed to live on a farm for three years to keep the peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers…
As a young seminarian, Don was outraged to discover that prisons held hundreds of starving, homeless children.
Blessed are those who seek justice….
He later opened the Oratory of St Frances de Sales, a place of prayer, home, and shelter for the children of the street. His companions joined him, teaching work skills, educating young minds, and sheltering the homeless. This work goes on today.
Blessed are the poor…
Don Bosco was a blessing. He lived the Beatitudes and followed his dream, and his work and spirit live on in our Salesian Brothers and Sisters.
Thank you, Fr. James, CP.
David Peter Folkes is a former Passionist Priest who resigned and married with 2 children and 2 grandchildren living in Chicago. He is mostly involved with refugee resettlement and racial equity issues.