More Sayings from the Great Master of Youth – Saint John Bosco

Four years ago, today, I wrote a short blog post about the Great Master of Youth – Saint John Bosco. Since that time, that article, which included 10 sayings from the Italian saint has garnered over 43,461 views [at time of publishing for this post]. It is one of the most popular posts I have written in the past six years. I am often humbled and shocked on the shear mass of individuals viewing this post about Don Bosco on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.

Since so many people liked that post over the years, here is another one focusing on More Sayings from the Great Master of Youth –

1. “I will take no unnecessary walks. I will make exactingly careful us of my time.

When the salvation of souls is at stake I will always be ready to act, to suffer, and to humble myself. May the charity and gentleness of St. Francis de Sales inform my every action.I will always be content with the food set before me unless it is really harmful to my health.

I will always add water to my wine and drink it only for reasons of health. Since work is powerful weapon against the enemies of my salvation I will take only five hours sleep a night. During the day, especially after dinner, I will take no rest, except in case of illness.

Every day I will devote some time to meditation and spiritual reading. During the day I will make a short visit, or at least a prayer, to the Blessed Sacrament. My preparation for Mass shall last at least a quarter of an hour and so shall my thanksgiving.

Outside the confessional and save in cases of strict necessity I will never stop to talk to women” [one large quote broken down into smaller paragraphs to read].

2. “I have promised God that until my last breath I shall have lived for my poor young people. I study for you, I work for you, I am also ready to give my life for you. Take note that whatever I am, I have been so entirely for you, day and night, morning and evening, at every moment.”

3. “In my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth; that it is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself and easier to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them.”

4. “You should bear patiently the bad temper of other people, the slights, the rudeness that may be offered you.”

5. “Never read books you aren’t sure about…even supposing that these books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?”

6. “A saint was once asked, while playing happily with his companions, what he would do if an angel told him that in a quarter of an hour he would die and have to appear before the judgment seat of God. The saint promptly replied that he would continue playing because I am certain these games are pleasing to God.”

If you are not familiar with the life of Saint John Bosco, affectionately known to many as Don Bosco, I would encourage you to read the book, Saint John Bosco; A Friend of Youth by F. A. Forbes.

He had a great devotion, like many saints before and after him, to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His particular devotion was to Our Lady, Help of Christians.

If you are in the field of education or a catechist at a parish and working with children from kindergarten to high school, I would encourage you to read, The Educational Philosophy of St. John Bosco. It was a book that completely revolutionized my approach when I was a high school theology teacher.

Saint John Bosco…Pray for Us

10 Sayings from the Great Master of Youth – St. John Bosco

Today we celebrate the patron saint of youth, boys, and editors, St. John Bosco. Well known across the globe as the founder of the Salesian Order, he was also the educator of St. Dominic Savio, one of the youngest canonized saints the Church has in her communion.

Don Bosco

Hailed as one of the greatest teachers of his time, St. John Bosco, or affectionately known to many as Don Bosco, viewed education as the means to help Christian youth find their place in corporate society. He was the master of classroom management, good discipline rooted in liberty, and a strong Catholic identity. For Don Bosco, interpersonal relationships were his primary approach when reaching children. He advised many of his teachers to take this approach with the children under their care.

He was the first priest to introduce daily reception of Holy Communion into boarding schools. When asked by his students how one could live a long and healthy life, his maxim consisted of four things: always have a clear conscience, moderation in eating, live an active life, and surround yourself with good companions.

We could spend a plethora of blog posts talking about his educational philosophy, but for today, I want to provide you with 10 sayings of his when it comes to teaching and life in general. If you are an educator and would like to know his educational pedagogy, I suggest the book, The Educational Philosophy of St. John Bosco. It’s an excellent read and you will surely gather practical insight for your classroom and for life.

Don Bosco said…

1. “Without confidence and love, there can be no true education. If you want to be loved…you must love yourselves, and make your children feel that you love them.”

2. “The school was not the end; it was rather the instrumental means for improving the way of life.”

3. “If one is to do good, he must have a little courage, be ready for sacrifice, deal affably with all and never slight anybody. By following this method I have always had significant success, in fact, marvelous success.”

Particularly to Youth he would say…

4. “Act today in such a way that you need not blush tomorrow.”

5. “Do not put off till tomorrow the good you can do today. You may not have a tomorrow.”

6. “Let us strive to fare well in this life and in the next.”

7. “Be slow to pass judgment.”

8. “Do you want your companions to respect you? Always think well of everyone, and be ready to help others. Do this and you will be happy.”

9. “Run, jump, have all the fun you want at the right time, but, for heaven’s sake, do not commit sin!” (from St. Philip Neri).

10. “Servite Domino in laetitia!” (Serve the Lord joyfully!)

For me, Don Bosco was a major influence in my teaching when I taught high school theology in both Phoenix and Austin. I have read his educational philosophy a couple of times and often used many of the quotes from above in my classroom. Although my new position at the parish is fantastic, reading through the text and writing this blog post has made me miss teaching a bit, well at least the part of teaching that doesn’t have to do with grading.

Check out the new blog post – More Sayings from the Great Master of Youth – Saint John Bosco 

St. John Bosco…Pray For Us!