Saint John Bosco has inspired thousands of people, young and old, priests, brothers, sisters and lay people, to strive for holiness in their lives. The Church has recognised many of them as outstanding in holiness and deserving the titles of Saint, Blessed, Venerable or Servant of God.
Blessed Michael Rua 1837-1910
Michael Rua was born on 9th June 1837, the last of nine children. He entered Don Bosco's Oratory in 1852. One day Don Bosco told him: "We two will go halves in everything".
He was among the first few with whom Don Bosco shared the idea of forming the 'Salesian Society'. For 36 years he was Don Bosco's closest collaborator in the development of the Congregation, and accompanied him on his journeys. At the explicit request of Don Bosco, Pope Leo XIII designated him to succeed our Founder and confirmed him as Rector Major in 1888.
Nicknamed "The Living Rule" because of his austere fidelity, Don Rua was also known for his fatherliness and goodness. As the numbers of members and communities increased he sent Salesians all over the world, showing special care for the missionary expeditions. He visited the Salesians in Battersea several times, and supported them closely as they became established there.
In the long journeys which he undertook to visit the Salesian works in Europe and in the Middle East he was a constant source of comfort and encouragement, always referring to our Founder: "Don Bosco used to say... Don Bosco used to do it this way... Don Bosco wanted..."
When he died, on 6th April 1910 at the age of 73, the Society had grown from 773 to 4000 Salesians, from 57 to 345 communities, from 6 to 34 Provinces in 33 countries.
He was beatified in 1976 and his memorial is celebrated on 29 October.
For more biographical information and downloadable liturgy, images etc, visit sdb.org