At All Saints Academy, we are Bringing on Bosco. We embrace the Preventive Method of Education because we know that education is about forming minds and hearts. Like Bosco, we have moved the wandering oratory into our own Valdocco, a permanent home, to continue the mission.
Bringing on Bosco: Keys to the Hearts of the Youth
"Remember that education is a matter of the heart, and that God alone is its true Teacher,
And we cannot succeed unless God gives us the skill and hands us the keys."
John Bosco (1815-1888)
Who was John Bosco?
John Bosco was a man with a mission to the youth. From a very young age, he was already eager to encourage his peers to choose what is right and stay away from what is wrong. When he was only 9 years old, he had a prophetic dream. In the dream, he angrily rushes into a crowd of boys who are shouting blasphemies, attempting to make them stop. Christ appears and tells him:
He began immediately offering catechism lessons to boys even older than himself, attracting them to the lessons by performing acrobatic and magic shows to entertain them.
After becoming a priest, John Bosco went to the bustling city of Turin, Italy. There he ministered to the sick and to prisoners. He began spending more and more of his time visiting the abandoned youth of the city who often were in prison. He invited the youth to come and receive catechism instruction every week. Soon, he gained quite a following of boys, but had no place to meet with them. Thus began his search for an “Oratory.” An oratory was known to be a place of prayer, recreation, reading, and religious instruction. He had many temporary locations offered to him, which soon were outgrown with the rising number of boys coming. Finally, a stranger offered them their own home – some land and an old building in Valdocco. With no money to actually purchase it, he took out a lease on it.
What was the Preventive Method of Education?
Bosco developed the Preventive System of Education. He claimed it was the opposite of the repressive system so prevalent at the time. The repressive system is based on fear, control, threats, and punishment. In contrast, Bosco’s Preventive method was based on 3 pillars: reason, religion, & kindness. Bosco chose the word preventive because it comes from the Latin “praevenire” which means to “foresee” or “provide”. The familial presence and constant availability of a teacher among his students is pivotal to this method.
The secret is …..Presence! To spend time and be actively present among them. To enter their world of games and sports and music is the key which gives you the path to help guide them to the higher values, the spiritual ones.
In John Paul II’s Iuvenum Patris 1988 letter to the Salesians, he wrote of Bosco's Preventive Method of Discipline: