Michael Rua – A mission situated in Randvaal, Gauteng
- To be the local Christian centre with quality education for all
- To develop the youth’s potential through learning
- To provide skills to upgrade their lives and that of the community
- To inspire our youth to be honest, caring and enthusiastic members of societ
Blessed Michael Rua (1837-1910)
The Southern African province or region, which includes South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho, has Blessed Michael Rua as its patron. Born on 9 June 1837, the last of nine children. He entered Don Bosco’s Oratory in 1852. Don Bosco told him: “We 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. He was ordained a priest in 1860, and amongst many other important offices, he was the companion of Don Bosco on his many journeys.
At the explicit request of Don Bosco, Pope Leo XIII nominated him to succeed Don Bosco as Rector Major in 1888. Fr Rua was seen as the ‘living Rule’ because of his austere fidelity, yet he also displayed a fatherly spirit that was capable of great thoughtfulness, so much so that he was known as ‘a king of kindness.’
As the numbers of members and communities increased he sent Salesians all over the world, showing special care for the missionary expeditions. 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 (same age as Don Bosco!), the Society had grown from 773 to 4000 Salesians, from 57 to 364 communities, from 6 to 34 Provinces in 33 countries.
During the Beatification ceremony on 29th October 1972, Pope Paul VI declared “The Salesian Family had its origin in Don Bosco, its continuity in Don Rua… He made the example of Don Bosco into a school, his Rule into a spirit, his holiness into a model; he transformed a spring into a river.” His body is venerated in the crypt of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin and his memory is celebrated on 29th October.
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