FACT Mission Statement

We are :
From various churches
Assisting and serving our communities
Christians working together
To make a difference

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Mary Slessor and John Bosco

Mary Slessor - Presbyterian- Lay woman and Missionary ( 2nd December 1848- 13th January 1915)

Mary was born in Aberdeen and moved to Dundee at the age of 11 when her family was looking for work. Her father was an alcoholic who had to stop his work as a shoemaker and eventually became a mill labourer. Mary's mother ensured that she attended church and made her a half time worker at a jute mill, working for half the day and attending the mill school for the other half.

She developed a strong interest in religion and joined a local mission teaching the poor. One famous story from this time is that of the Red Headed Lady: Mary dared a gang of boys that she would not flinch as they swung a metal weight closer and closer to her face; she successfully stayed still, and the boys had to attend her Sunday School as forfeit.

Mary Slessor went to live among the efik people in Calabar in present day Nigeria. There she successfully fought against the killing of twins at infancy. she died there in 1915 and was given a state burial

John Bosco - Roman Catholic - Priest and Founder ( 16th August 1815 -January 31st 1888 )

John Bosco was born in Becchi, Piedmont. His father died two years later and Giovanni, together with his two brothers Antonio and Giuseppe, was brought up by his mother. She was to support him in his work until her death in 1856.

When he was young, he would put on shows of his skills as a juggler, magician and acrobat.The price of admission to these shows was a prayer that was never enforced, but always asked.

Early in his childhood he had a vision or dream in which he learned what his life would be dedicated to and in the dream he heard a voice which said, "Not with blows, but with charity and gentleness must you draw these friends to the path of virtue."It was this statement which was instilled in oratory and preventive system he was yet to found.

Don Bosco began as the chaplain of the Rifugio ("Refuge"), a girls' boarding school founded in Turin by the Marchioness Giulia di Barolo, but he had many ministries on the side such as visiting prisoners, teaching catechism and helping out at country parishes.

A growing group of boys would come to the Rifugio on Sundays and feast days to play and learn their catechism. They were too old to join the younger children in regular catechism classes in the parishes, which mostly chased them away. This was the beginning of the "Oratory of St. Francis de Sales." Don Bosco and his oratory wandered around town for a few years and were turned out of several places in succession. Finally, he was able to rent a shed from a Mr. Pinardi. His mother moved in with him. The oratory had a home, then, in 1846, in the new Valdocco neighborhood on the north end of town. The next year, he and "Mamma Margherita" began taking in orphans.

Don Bosco's capability to attract numerous boys and adult helpers was connected to his "Preventive System of Education." He believed education to be a "matter of the heart" and said that the boys must not only be loved, but know that they are loved. He also pointed to three components of the Preventive System: reason, religion and kindness. Music and games also went into the mix.

Don Bosco gained a reputation early on of being a saint and miracle worker. For this reason, Rua, Buzzetti, Cagliero and several others began to keep chronicles of his sayings and doings. Don Bosco was obsessed by the needs of the poor in his own Turin and the missions ( including sending young priests to England at the request of the Duke of Norfolk ) and he worked tirelessly for his whole life for the poor, especially the young. His work is carried on by the Salesians of Don Bosco who he founded. He died on January 31st 1888.  He was canonized in 1943

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