When John was nine, in a “dream,” John found himself fighting a large crowd of rowdy lads who were cursing and carrying on abominably. He tried to stop them, but they refused to listen to him. Suddenly, a Man appeared, who motioned to John and said, “Not with punches will you help these boys, but with goodness and kindness!” “Who are you?” gasped the astonished boy.
Then a Woman appeared. Putting her arms around him, she said, “Watch what I do, John.” John looked. The boys changed to a pack of snarling wild animals whose growls sent terror to his heart. Then the woman put out her hand. The beasts changed again, to a frolicking flock of lambs.
“But what does it all mean? I’m just a farm boy. What can I do?” He burst into tears.
The Lady’s answer came to him, ever to resound in his heart, to be repeated audibly several times in his life, “This is the field of your work. Be humble, steadfast, and strong!'”
John now for the sake of domestic peace, Mary sold off all her land left by her husband and allowed her son John Bosco to go and attend seminary. Alone in the town, John soon learned the hardships of an orphan’s life. He worked after school to support himself. After his graduation in the university, John worked as a shoemaker–anything to get a few pennies and ease his mother’s burden.
At school he did exceptionally well. True, teacher and classmates had looked upon him as a country dolt in the beginning, but his brilliant memory and steadfast application soon won him everyone’s respect.