StampNews.com is glad to inform that Slovakia Post has designed and is ready to release a special stamp issue commemorating the 200th birth anniversary of Don Bosco. The item depicting the portrait of this great person will be issued and put into circulation on the 14th of August.
Giovanni Bosco was born on August 16, 1815 in a small part of the Piemonte village Castelnuovo d'Asti (today Castelnuovo Don Bosco), called by its inhabitants Becchi. He grew up in a poor peasant family. He had almost no memory of his father Francis, since he became an orphan at the age of two. His mother, Margita Occhiena, raised him and his two older brothers alone. She set them a wise and moral life example which profoundly affected mainly the soul of young Giovanni.
When he was nine, he had a dream which had a significant impact on his future life. Through a message from noble lady, he gradually started to understand his own mission. In 1835, he entered the seminary at Chieri and on June 5, 1841, he took holy orders in Turin. He dedicated his time to poor and abandoned boys. In April 1846, he found a permanent place for them – the first oratorio in Valdocco. Later, he founded seven workshops, published newspapers and wrote books.
The boys became his co-workers and thus he started to develop an educational system known as the preventive system (its first success is embodied by Saint Dominic Savio). In 1868, he founded a male Salesian society in order to continue working with youths, while in 1872 he participated in the foundation of a female branch of the Salesian congregation. Four years later, the Association of Salesian Cooperators received the pope's approval.
Devotion to Mary Help of Christians is characteristic of Don Bosco's spirituality. As a sign of veneration, he had a basilica built in Turin and the Salesian sisters were called the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Don Bosco died on January 31, 1888 at the age of 72. Pius IX declared him blessed on July 2, 1929 and canonized him on April 1, 1934. John Paul II awarded him the title of "Father and Teacher of Youth" on February 24, 1989. Today Salesians are active in 132 countries. In total 30 religious societies are a part of the Salesian family, represented by approximately 402,500 men and women devoted to serve youth.