Arthur Lenti – “Margaret Occhiena Bosco (1788-1856). Don Bosco’s Mother, Educator and Vocational Support” in “Journal of Salesian Studies”

Who was Margaret Occhiena Bosco? What do we know about her, and how? Don Bosco’s biographer, Fr. John Baptist Lemoyne, and ultimately Don Bosco, are our chief sources. The Biographical Memoirs contain abundant biographical material pertaining to Don Bosco’s mother. Volume I in particular, especially in its first part (Chapters 2-25), gives much more space to Margaret (affectionately known as Mamma Margaret) than it does to John. Where did Lemoyne get the information? Father Lemoyne had not known Mamma Margaret personally. She had lived at the Oratory from 1846 until her death in 1856, and Lemoyne had joined Don Bosco only in 1864, 8 years after Mamma Margaret’s death. However, passionately engaged as he was in collecting and recording everything that had to do with Don Bosco and his work, he was eager to gather information also on Don Bosco’s mother.

Chi era Margherita Occhiena Bosco? Cosa sappiamo di lei e come? Il biografo di don Bosco, p. Giovanni Battista Lemoyne, e infine Don Bosco, sono le nostre principali fonti. Le Memorie Biografiche contengono abbondante materiale biografico relativo alla madre di Don Bosco. Il volume I in particolare, soprattutto nella sua prima parte (Capitoli 2-25), dà molto più spazio a Margherita (affettuosamente conosciuta come Mamma Margherita) che a Giovanni. Da dove ha preso le informazioni Lemoyne? Padre Lemoyne non aveva conosciuto personalmente mamma Margherita. Aveva vissuto all’Oratorio dal 1846 fino alla sua morte nel 1856, e Lemoyne si era unito a Don Bosco solo nel 1864, 8 anni dopo la morte di Mamma Margherita. Tuttavia, impegnato con passione nel raccogliere e registrare tutto ciò che aveva a che fare con Don Bosco e la sua opera, era desideroso di raccogliere informazioni anche sulla madre di Don Bosco.


  • The Boscos and Their Social Status
  • Francis Louis Bosco and Family
  • Death of Francis Louis Bosco
  • Sources for the Biographical Material included by Lemoyne
    in the Biographical Memoirs
  • Margaret Bosco’s Situation after Her Husband’s Death
  • Margaret, Christian Mother and Educator
  • Margaret Bosco and John’s Religious Education
    • Faith and Devotion
    • Margaret and John’s Sacramental Life
    • Margaret ‘s Educational Style
  • Margaret Fosters John’s Vocation
    • John Bosco at Father Lacqua ‘s Primary School in Capriglio
      (1824-25; [1825-26? ]-Vocational Significance
  • Text of the Vocation Dream in Translation
    • A Dream
  • Brief Comment the Vocation Dream
  • The Trouble with Anthony
  • Margaret’s Options
  • John’s Two Years of Service away from Home
  • John’s Return fr·om Moglia’s after the Feast of All Saints
    (November 3, 1829)
  • John Bosco’s Meeting with Father John Calosso
  • John Bosco at the Primary School of Castelnuovo
  • Significance of the Year at Castelnuovo
  • John Bosco’s Summer Vacation at the Cascina Matta of
  • John Bosco at the Public Secondary School of Chieri (1831-
    1835). Significance of Margaret’s Decision
  • Margaret Bosco in a Supporting Role
  • Margaret Bosco’s Last Years (1846-1856) as Mother of Don
    Bosco’s “Orphans”
    • Mamma Margaret ‘s Decade (1846-1856)
    • Testimonies
    • Mama Margaret’s Death and Parting Words
  • The Church Looks at Margaret Bosco

Reference time period: 1788 – 1856

A. Lenti, Margaret Occhiena Bosco (1788-1856). Don Bosco’s Mother, Educator and Vocational Support, in «Journal of Salesian Studies» 13 (2005), 1-42.

Reference institution:
Institute of Salesian Studies
Institute of Salesian Studies

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