I got this cartoon drawn by a third grader Bosconian in the United States from my e-mail a couple of weeks ago. It was sent to be my an American FMA novice.
FMA is the abbreviation of Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in English; they are the female counterpart of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
The idea is they asked their students to draw a Don Bosco according to how he is very much like us. The “us” here is rather subjective of course; and what do you expect about one’s impression of how Don Bosco is very much like us from the inoccent eyes of a child?
Look at the cartoonized image of Don Bosco again.
But if one would look closely past beyond the bubbly blue shoes and zesty shades of Don Bosco, one gets a profound message the artist wishes to convey to us.
Beneath this funky look of the Father and Teacher of young people is a subtle reality of how he wanted very much to be part of their world.
That’s how absolutely, deeply and madly he had fallen in love with them that, I am sure, if Don Bosco were alive today, he would not hesitate dressing up similar in this cartoon in order to win the attention,and ultimately, love of the young people.
He battled a lot of difficulties during his time in order to provide the young people a decent way of living.
As a priest then, he did not only educate them to faith; he knew that the young needed to eat, and so he gave them food. They had the need to be informed, and so, he did not only teach them the three R’s, but also helped them gain some skills such as tailoring, shoe repair, printing, so that they would have better chances to survive the challenges of their time.
And so, the young people who encountered him had come to know some essential life skills. When his young charges were hired to construct buildings for example, they could not be cheated for they knew how to count. The employers could not cheat these poor fellows by manipulating their contracts because they knew how to write.
He did all these following his passion of saving souls.
What’s the point of this piece then? You may wish to ask. Simple.
If you see Salesians—whether they be ageing priests, or brothers or even maturing clerics, dressed up like that in this cartoon—give them the benefit of the doubt. They’re just following the example of their Father.