Dreams and Visions of Saint John Bosco:



  • Introduction
  • Vision of Hell
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  • I. Introduction

    Many of the dreams of St. John Bosco could more properly be called visions, for God used this means to reveal His will for the Saint and for the boys of the Oratory, as well as the future of the Salesian Congregation. Not only did his dreams lead and direct the Saint, they also gave him wisdom and guidance by which he was able to help and guide others upon their ways. He was just nine years of age when he had his first dream that laid out his life mission. It was this dream that impressed Pope Pius IX so much that he ordered St. John Bosco to write down his dreams for the encouragement of his Congregation and the rest of us. Through dreams God allowed him to know the future of each of the boys of his Oratory. Through dreams God let him know the boys' state of their souls. On February 1, 1865 St. John Bosco announced that one of the boys will die soon. He knew the boy through the dream the night before. On March 16, 1865, Anthony Ferraris passed away after receiving the Last Sacraments. John Bisio, who helped Anthony and his mother during the former's last hour, confirmed the story of his part in this episode by a formal oath, concluding as foIlows: "Don Bosco told us many other dreams concerning Oratory boys' deaths. We believed them to be true prophecies. We still do, because unfailingly they came true. During the seven years I lived at the Oratory, not a boy died without Don Bosco predicting his death. We were also convinced that whoever died there under his care and assistance surely went to heaven." (p. 201)

    St. John Bosco had many dreams of prophecies concerning the future of the Roman Catholic Church and of his Congregation. We hope to bring some of these prophetic dreams to our web site in the near future. For now, we take an excerpt from the book Dreams, Visions & Prophecies of Don Bosco edited by Rev. Eugene M. Brown, Don Bosco Publications, New Rochelle, New York, 1986, pp. 211-227. The Scriptural quotations are from the 1883 Douay-Rheims Bible.

    One word of caution in interpreting dreams. The Holy Scripture tells us not to put our trust in dreams unless they come from God. The dreams of evil doers are just vanity. They are deceitful because true visions cannot come from falsehood. Vision of dreams resembles a mirror. When a soiled face appears in front of a mirror, the latter reflects a soiled face, not a clean face:

    II. Vision of Hell

    On Sunday night, May 3 [1868], the feast of Saint Joseph's patronage, Don Bosco resumed the narration of his dreams:

    I have another dream to tell you, a sort of aftermath of those I told you last Thursday and Friday which totally exhausted me. Call them dreams or whatever you like. Always, as you know, on the night of April 17 a frightful toad seemed bent on devouring me. When it finally vanished, a voice said to me: "Why don't you tell them?" I turned in that direction and saw a distinguished person standing by my bed. Feeling guilty about my silence, I asked: "What should I tell my boys?"

    "What you have seen and heard in your last dreams and what you have wanted to know and shall have revealed to you tomorrow night!" He then vanished.

    I spent the whole next day worrying about the miserable night in store for me, and when evening came, loath to go to bed, I sat at my desk browsing through books until midnight. The mere thought of having more nightmares thoroughly scare me. However, with great effort, I finally went to bed.

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    Created July 16, 1996.