In conformity with the Decree of Pope Urban VIII. the writer declares that none but human authority is claimed for whatever of a supernatural nature is herein contained.
This brief sketch of the holy life and marvellous achievements of a great inheritor of the spirit of Saint Francis of Sales, the Venerable Don Bosco is intended only to stimulate souls to a wider study of this loving Apostle of Youth, and so to a knowledge and reverence and appreciation, we dare to hope, which will urge them onward in the ways of holiness, and make them ardent and practical co-operators in the divine work of saving the young—the most pressing need of our times—initiated by the Founder of the Salesian Society, and brought to wonderful issues through the miraculous power of God and the loving intervention of Mary, Help of Christians.
Fascinating reading is the "History of Don Bosco's Early Apostolate," by an eye-witness, his saintly son, Don Joseph Bonetti, which recounts in simple, affectionate language and comprehensive detail the story of the first twenty-five years of the Oratory of Saint Francis of Sales (1841–1866), eventful years teeming with prodigies in the spiritual and temporal order. A veritable Boswell, the author declares in his closing lines: "By it I would show my gratitude to Don Bosco, who received me as a boy, who educated me, both to religion and the priesthood, in which I have been able to be of some small service to others. May my hand wither and my tongue lose the power of speech if I should ever cease to speak of that home of charity and peace, I who have lived there so many years and enjoyed its hospitality."
A complete life of Don Bosco—a monumental one—has been furnished by the Reverend John Baptist Lemoyne, another saintly disciple of the Salesian Founder. It is circumstantial and graphic in the highest degree; and, abounding in personal as well as contributed reminiscences of Don Bosco, enriched with his instructions and letters, and teeming with the historic interest of the times, it possesses an indefinable charm, which is enhanced as we enter with bated breath the world of the supernatural in which Don Bosco lived and where he led even his little ones as to their Father's home.
But a Memoir that will hold the hearts of posterity in veneration and love is the autobiography written by Don Bosco at the express command of Pius IX., a precious manuscript still in the archives of the Society, and bearing the title, "Memoranda of the Oratory from 1835 to 1855. Exclusively for the Salesian Society." This amazing record of God's miraculous dealings with an elect soul has not yet been given to the public in its entirety; but excerpts of extraordinary beauty, couched in the simple language of humility, indicate what we are to expect when the Church shall have set her seal conclusively on the life and works of Don Bosco.