Posted by: fvbcdm | February 1, 2012

Feast of Saint John Bosco (31 Jan 2012)

January 31st is the annual commemoration day of Saint John Bosco, an Italian priest from the city of Turin. He spent his entire priestly life working for the homeless children of that large, industrial city, and founding the congregation of Salesian priests, brothers, and sisters for the proper education of them. He died in 1888—recently, as Church history goes, and was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI.  

This morning in our Liturgy of the Hours, we read a passage from one of his letters, in which he instructs his Salesian colleagues on how to treat the young people whom they teach and work with. It’s the kind of thing that makes me feel guilty and remorseful each time I read it, since during my years of high school teaching, I did not follow the example of Saint John Bosco. I remember one time talking to a cousin of mine who was a Sister of Mercy. I spoke of my regret for not having been a more gentle, patient, respectful, loving teacher.  She had had similar feelings and experiences.  She said to me, “I am so tired of being ANGRY with my students!” Since misery loves companionship, I found some consolation in what she said; she was a much more virtuous person than I, and her impatience and anger with her students made me feel a little less guilty about my own.

As we celebrate Saint John Bosco today, I am aware that we can and should pray for all the Salesians throughout the world who continue the work of their founder; that we who are, or have been, teachers, should ask forgiveness for our sometimes less-than-Christlike attitudes in the classroom, and then for an end to the terrible scandals in which children and young people are being abused sexually by the very ones who should be giving the best example of purity and innocence of life.

And, as we end this month of January today, let us be grateful to God for His graces of this month, and ask his blessings upon all our activities during the 29-day-long month of February that begins tomorrow.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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