The Life of St. John Bosco
One day Venerable Joseph Cottolengo met a young cleric. After they had exchanged a few words, Cottolengo said: “You are an excellent man, come into the Little House of Providence and work will not be wanting to you.” The one thus invited was the Venerable Don John Bosco.” The inscription over the entrance of the “Little House”: “Charitas Christi urget nos”–“The Charity of Christ presseth us” (2 Cor. v. 14) made a strong impression on him, and when he came into the reception room and read above the picture of the Blessed Virgin the words: “Infirmus eram et visitastis me”–“I was sick and you visited me” (Matt. xxv. 36), he was moved to tears. While going through the institution Don Bosco was highly edified and deeply impressed by everything he saw and heard. But one thing filled him with distress. He saw so many poor young people in the infirmary, who lay there wasting away and hopeless. It was the first time he clearly realized that vice alone had devoted them to death in the springtime of life. “You must save the young from vice,” said a voice within him. This thought indeed often enflamed his heart, but now it was his fixed purpose to work out this noble end in effect.
When Don Bosco was departing, Cottolengo took hold of his sleeve and said: “The cloth of your cassock is too weak and thin. You must get a cassock of stronger and better wearing cloth or it will be torn. The time will come when many people will be hanging on by it.” Cottolengo prophesied truly. Don Bosco is one of the greatest apostles of youth, the most successful teacher of the nineteenth century. And not merely this–he is a saint. In Don Bosco’s life the power of the supernatural becomes, so to speak, tangible. A brief glance at his achievements will convince us. Continue reading