Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Interview with Saint John Bosco

A unique event marks the year 1884 in the life of Don Bosco. He gives his first and only press interview to a French journalist writing for the Journal de Rome. An excerpt of this historic event is reproduced below:


"Reporter: By what miracle have you been able to found so many houses in so many different countries?


Don Bosco: I have done far more than I hoped, but I don't know how.  The Blessed Virgin knows our needs, and She helps us.


Reporter: How does She help you?


Don Bosco:  For instance.  Once I received a letter from Rome saying that the building of the Sacred Heart needed 20,000 lire within a week.  At that moment I had no money.  I left the letter by the holy water stoop, fervently prayed to the Blessed Virgin and went to sleep, leaving the matter in Her hand  Next morning I received a letter from an unknown person.  "I had made a vow to Our Lady.  In exchange for a certain favour I would give 20,000 lire."  On another occasion I was in France.  There I got the unpleasant news that one of my houses was in dire straits unless 70,000 lire were found at once.  I could see no solution, so I prayed.  I was about to go to bed at 10:00 pm when someone knocked.  It was a friend of mine with a thick file in his hands.  "Don Bosco, in my will I had assigned 70,000 lire for your works.  But today it occurred to me that it is better not to wait for death in order to do good.  I've brought it to you. Here is 70,000 lire."


Reporter: These are miracles.  May I indiscreetly ask you whether you have performed miracles yourself?


Don Bosco: I have only thought of doing my duty.  I have prayed and trusted in the Madonna.


Reporter: Don Bosco, could you comment on your educational philosophy and the methods you use in your schools that are so much admired? How do you manage to maintain discipline when dealing with so many boys?

Don Bosco: The Salesian way of educating the young is quite simple. Basically, I insist on letting boys be boys. Let them play and enjoy themselves as much as they want as long as God is not offended. But if I have a philosophy of education, it consists in discovering a boy’s best qualities and then exploiting them to his advantage. You must admit, sir, that any person is at his best when he is doing what he likes and does best. Children are the same. Promote their positive qualities and they will thrive. As for discipline—love and respect for the young is the answer. In the 46 years I have worked among children, never once have I had to resort to corporal punishment, which by the way is very much in vogue. And if I may say so, all those children who have come under my care have always continued to show me their love and respect.

Reporter: Let me ask about your mission work in foreign lands. How have you managed to reach such faraway places as Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego?

Don Bosco: Well, honestly, we got that far by taking one step at a time."


Reporter: What do you think of the present conditions of the Church in Europe and in Italy?  How do you see the future?


Don Bosco:  I'm no prophet.  You journalists are, a bit.  You should be asked that.  Nobody but God knows the future.  Nevertheless, humanly speaking, the future seems bleak.  My forecast is very sad, but I'm not afraid.  God will always save his Church, and our Lady, who visibly protects the contemporary world, will make redeemers arise.


(From Teresio Bosco's book "Don Bosco")

6 comments:

Brad said...

It is sheer heaven and water to a thirsting world to hear how an ego-less saint thinks and talks: e.g. "I have prayed and trusted in the Madonna." This plain speech is hardly heard after 1960AD, even among the faithful, even at church on Sunday.

Jamie Adams said...

This is very beautiful. Is there a way to read the whole interview?

Padre Steve said...

Jamie, the interview came from the book of Fr. Teresio Bosco entitled "Don Bosco":
http://www.amazon.com/Don-Bosco-Teresio/dp/3769818032
It is a good biography of the holy man! God bless you! Fr. Steve

Jamie Adams said...

Dear Father,
I would enjoy reading that book, but it is in German! Did you translate that excerpt or did you have an English version?
Thanks! Jamie

Jamie Adams said...

Dear Father,
I would enjoy reading that book, but it is in German! Did you translate that excerpt or did you have an English version?
Thanks! Jamie

Padre Steve said...

Sorry, but here is the English edition info:
http://www.amazon.com/Don-Bosco-Teresio/dp/9966218815/ref=sr_1_40?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359759006&sr=1-40&keywords=Teresio+Bosco