The hidden interior life of the social worker saint . . .
St. John Bosco was a priest of the diocese of Turin, Italy, and founder of the Society of St. Francis de Sales. Famous for his kindliness and gentleness, he is a patron of disadvantaged youth because of his caring for children on the streets and juvenile delinquents, whose care and welfare he made his life's work. Giving them shelter and care, teaching them skills for future employment, and even enticing them with his uncanny magic tricks and juggling skills, Don Bosco was famous as a helper of the poor and needy children created by the Industrial Revolution, as well as a beloved publisher of catechetical works. But as Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco shows, there is far more inside this powerhouse saint than meets the eye.
Recorded in his memoirs, St. John Bosco's dreams reveal a side of the gentle saint that is scarcely recognizable, taking him squarely from the image of the saint of social welfare to one as a mystical pastor of souls. The dreams—really allegorical visions, and terrible ones—see him tossing on the waves of the high seas of modernism that roil and rock the Barque of the Church, guided by the Pope between two pillars of Mary and the Blessed Sacrament. Elsewhere, in a mystical allegory, he faces a horrifying, massive snake that becomes strangled in the rope of the Rosary. But when his boys begin to feast on the snake's flesh, he rather has to use a hammer and anvil—Confession and Communion—to bring them back to life. And the most horrid dream of all takes John Bosco, along with his readers, straight to the depths of Hell, more awful than anything he can imagine, where he sees the fate of his poor boys unless he should help them.
Be inspired, not terrified, by the dreams of this underrated mystic who saw vividly and almost unbearably the spiritual reality of his exterior actions, showing us that nothing is without deepest and most powerful meaning in the spiritual realm. St. John Bosco shows us that through all of these perils, there is sound hope in the mercy of the All-Loving and All-Powerful God, Who does all He can for us to be saved.
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