Today we commemorate the feast of St Francis de Sales. Besides being the founder of the MSFS, he is venerated as the patron of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
When Don Bosco founded his congregation for the youth at risk, his natural choice of St Francis de Sales was not an impromptu decision. It was out of a personal and historical resonance with the Saint that made Don Bosco propose St Francis de Sales as the patron. Of all the virtues of St Francis, what attracted Don Bosco and something which moulded his own life, was the virtue of self-discipline. St Francis is renowned for his gentleness and meekness. However, he was not 'born' with those virtues. He had to strive to excel in them. Don Bosco was much worse. He was short-tempered, rebellious, hard-headed and as stubborn as a mule. Don Bosco himself acknowledges these vices in his life. And with this baggage he could not have done much for the kids to whom he was keen to reach out to. For they too were of similar character! Don Bosco then makes the difficult choice: to change himself in order to be useful to the boys whom he loved most. In this arduous task of working on oneself, he chose St Francis de Sales. Though, honestly speaking, he did not have as much a success as did St Francis, but there was considerable change.
|Stained glass arcade of St Francis de Sales at Saint Paul Catholic Church (Westerville, Ohio)|