Giovanni Melchior Bosco was born in 1815, the youngest child of a peasant farmer in north Italy. Raised by a holy mother after his father died when he was only 2, John Bosco's life was marked with mystery and faith from a very young age. He began having dreams at the age of 9 that would eventually show themselves to be messages from Our Lord to John. In his very first dream, the young Bosco dreamed that he was in a field with a crowd of cursing and misbehaving children. John jumped into the crowd to try to stop them by fighting and shouting. Suddenly a man with a face filled with light appeared dressed in a white flowing mantle. The man called John over and made him leader of the boys and said, "You will have to win these friends of yours not with blows but with gentleness and kindness."
St. John Bosco's "Preventive System" of education is built upon the core ideas of reason, religion and kindness. He taught that, "Without confidence and love, there can be no true education." Through his work with boys who lived on the streets of Turin during Italy's industrial revolution, St. John Bosco's love for God was manifested in his love and concern for each of his charges.
Don Bosco's approach stood in contrast to the repressive system of fear and punishment so common in his day. He knew that true discipline comes from within and not from without, and that it is not enough for us to know what is good; we must truly love what is good in order for our faith to stand the test of time. He believed education to be a "matter of the heart" and taught that children must not only be loved, but know that they are loved.
Inspired by St. Francis de Sales, St. John Bosco founded the Salesian Order, which has used his Preventive approach in more than 130 countries around the world. At St. John Bosco Academy, we strive to emulate Don Bosco's preventive system and love for the soul of every child in our work with students. We desire to inspire in our students a love for the great loves of Father Bosco: Christ in the Eucharist, His Holy Church, and Mary Help of Christians.