The life of Saint John Bosco is marked in particular by interventions of divine Providence and by the presence of the Virgin Mary. He was born at Castelnuovo d'Asti on 16 August 1815 into a poor peasant family, and from his childhood felt a call to devote his life to the young. He was ordained priest at Turin in 1841 after years of sacrifice, and spent all his rich natural talents and tireless zeal in setting up works for the education of abandoned youth, in defending the faith of the common people from danger, and in contributing to the evangelization of distant lands.
He entrusted the continuation of his immense work to the three branches of his Family: the Society of St Francis de Sales (1859), the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (1872), and the Association of Salesian Cooperators (1876), passing on to them as the key to success the treasure of the preventive system:reason, religion, loving kindness: a system totally inspired by a charity rooted in a living encounter with Jesus Christ, especially in the Eucharist, in boundless trust in the Virgin Mary, and in fidelity to the Church and its teaching.
He died at Turin on 31 January 1888. He was canonized by Pius XI at Easter 1934, and on the centenary of his death was proclaimed by John Paul II as the Father and teacher of youth (24 January 1989).