St. John Bosco (January 31)
St. John Bosco was born in the diocese of Turin, Italy to a poor farming family. His dad died when John was two years old and was brought up by his mother who struggled hard to provide for the home. As a young boy of nine he dreamed he was in the midst of a crowd of fighting children, vainly trying to quiet them, when suddenly he heard a woman say to him: "Softly, softly... if you want to win them. Take your shepherd's staff and lead them to pasture." When John awoke he realized his life's work was to help poor boys.
John was ordained in 1841. In 1844 he was appointed chaplain of a Hospice for girls. Soon after, John resigned and opened a house for poor neglected boys and had his mother serving as housekeeper. Throughout the city of Turin he set up residences and schools to teach poor boys grammar and religion and to train them as shoemakers, tailors, and printers. He eventually had ten other priests assisting him in the endeavor.
At his death on January 31, 1888, John left the neglected young people of his time an immense legacy in the many projects and people whom he inspired. Almost the entire population of Turin attended his funeral in gratitude to him.