Don Bosco entered the Chieri Seminary and was ordained in 1841. He was stationed in Turin, an industrial centre which attracted young people from neighbouring towns. There he opened an "oratory" or boys club for them. Although he did not hesitate to extend his priestly services to prisons and reformatories, he gradually came to realize that his mission was to prevent youngsters from falling into crime rather then rehabilitate delinquents. Because of this insight, he opened his oratory to all boys.
Soon, as many as 1,000 boys flocked to his oratory (which was just an open field and chapel) every Sunday for religious instruction, Mass, sacraments and a full day of fun and games. Kindness, understanding and endless patience brought these boys close to their faith. Realizing that many of them needed continuous help, he enlarged the oratory into a boy's home. There, youngsters could live and either work or attend classes in the city. To prepare boys for skilled labour, Don Bosco turned his mother's kitchen into a makeshift cobbler and carpenter shop. This was the first Catholic trade school in Italy (1835).Leading educators soon came to admire his educative style, which he explained as a happy blend of reason and religion. He strove to establish an atmosphere characterized by a sense of understanding between teacher and pupil and an acknowledgment of life's spiritual aspects. Thus, he not only prevented delinquency but also produced leaders for industry and labour, well-grounded in their faith.
Updated on: [September 26, 2018]