St. John Bosco by F.A. Forbes (Book Review)


St. John Bosco by F.A. Forbes

St. John Bosco by F.A. Forbes

St. John Bosco, you have so deeply touched my heart.

It has been moving to read of your unceasing love. A love that poured out of you, towards those poor boys. Those, who you so readily and thirstily took under your wing. Recently on returning to the UK after many years away, I met a wonderful priest. On asking him, who is his favourite saint, he replied “St. John Bosco”.

At that time, (only 6 months ago), I knew nothing about this incredible saint, apart from a youth retreat centre named after him. It has a huge ugly modern chapel, which put me off finding out anything more of St. John Bosco …

… Until now.

For as Roger’s and my respect for this new found priest is very high, we got hold of this small book, simply called St. John Bosco.

It tells the life-story of St. John Bosco (1815 – 1888), born in Turin, Italy. It gives an outline of his childhood through to his death. It paints a picture of his purity and intelligence as a child, one that included mystical experience, particularly with Our Lady.

It also details his dedication to the welfare and care of the souls of young poor boys, whom he took under his wing, providing constant care for them.

He founded for them a type of boarding school and home that he referred to as the Oratory. It was here that he began the cultivation of the gardens of their souls, through his dedication to the sacramental life and the teaching of holiness.

Written by F A Forbes, a religious sister of the Sacred Heart, this is a book of thanksgiving, through which, she says, ‘the reader will feel the throbbing of a grateful heart in every page’.

On reading the book, I found this to be absolutely true. It was incredibly easy for me to feel a very deep love for this saint. The generosity and ease with which he welcomed even the toughest, most rogue-like boys immediately into his embrace was quite extraordinary. Not to mention the unceasing care and attention he gave them.

St. John Bosco can truly be known as ‘Father’, for he seemed to be just that to each and every boy under his care.

A perfect father, following in the footsteps of Our Lord, he was continuously nourished by the intimate relationship with Our Blessed Mother.

This was a relationship that began to develop when he was a youth, through his powerful visionary and dream experiences, of which he had many.

The depth of this spiritual calling, led to an indefatigable zeal for the care of the souls of these poor boys. A care, which came strongly through his preaching about the necessity of the partaking and receiving of the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession. In turn, leading him to be such a fine example of trust and dependency on Divine Providence.

He often had no idea of how his hundreds of boys would be fed, or how the bills were to be paid. Yet they always were …

As F. A. Forbes wrote, when St. John Bosco was asked about the secret of his immense success with the youngsters, he simply answered: ‘love …’

Thank you F. A. Forbes. Thank you St. John Bosco, you have deeply touched my heart … and left it imprinted with the zeal of ‘love …’

Note: I have written a little more about St. John Bosco here.

If you would like to buy this book from Amazon US, or Amazon UK click on the relevant link below:-

From Amazon USA:

Most of these can be also be found in our Amazon UK store here – (though sadly not the beautiful French film Bernadette which does so much more to evoke the epoch than the Hollywood version).

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  1. By Feast of St. John Bosco on 31 January 2014 at 20:34

    […] A few years ago now, a dear Priest friend of mine introduced me to St. John Bosco. I wrote of this in a review of a book by F. A. Forbes entitled St. John Bosco (here) . […]

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