EDUCATOR AND FRIEND OF YOUTH
St. John Bosco, commonly known as Don Bosco, was born on 16th August, 1815 at Becchi, a village near Turin, Italy. At the age of two, his father died. John, who was to become the father of orphans, became an orphan himself at such a tender age.
Through heroic sacrifice and by dint of hard work he became a priest in 1841. As a priest, he dedicated himself to the service of youth, especially the poor, by offering them food, lodging and education. Through the help of generous persons he opened formal and non-formal schools, technical schools, hostels and other institutions. Soon he founded a society of Collaborators and extended his work to all Europe and later to other continents.
Don Bosco was one of the greatest educators of the nineteenth century. He died on 31st January 1888 at the age of 73. Don Bosco was declared a Saint of the Catholic Church on 1st April 1934. He saw his Society grow up into a big organization with three main branches: the Fathers and brothers, the sisters and the Co-operators. There are millions of past pupils of Don Bosco, all over the world. They are all proud of their education and values they have received in Don Bosco schools. Many of them have excelled in life and occupy high places of great responsibility in different countries.
The Don Bosco Society is now present in over 132 countries including India, which alone has now about 650 major educational and community development centres.
DON BOSCO IN INDIA
Even though Don Bosco had a great desire to respond to the many invitations he received from India, he was not able to send his Salesians to India during his lifetime. The first Successor to Don Bosco, Don Rua was able to send the first batch of Salesians under the leadership of Father Tomatis to Tanjore in South India in 1906. However, due to several overwhelming reasons the work of the Salesians did not grow spectacularly as anticipated. In 1922, Fr. Rinaldi the fourth successor of Don Bosco sent another group of Salesians under the leadership of Fr. Louis Mathias to Shillong to look after the Assam Missions. Under the dynamic leadership of Fr. Louis Mathias the Salesians presence multiplied all over India and more so in the Northeast India. The spiritual family founded by Don Bosco is present in a big way in India. Today there are over 3000 Salesians serving the educational needs of our children through over 650 centers and institutions scattered throughout the country. Besides the Salesians(SDB) others members of the Salesians family co-operators, past pupils, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians(FMA) Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians(MSMHC), Sisters of Mary Immaculate (SMI), Visitation Sisters of Don Bosco (VSDB) and others carry on the mission of Don Bosco all over India.