Saint Dominic Savio

6th May

It was in April 1842 that Dominic was born in a poor but pious family, in Riva, a village in Northern Italy. They were a hard working family, the father being a blacksmith and the mother a seamstress. He was the second child among eleven children.

He had a very normal childhood. He enjoyed school and he was a bright student. He also enjoyed playing, being quite popular with his friends. He showed qualities of leadership and responsibility. From a very young age Dominic had a prayerful attitude and a spirituality that made him a good example for his friends.

He learned to serve Mass at an early age and although at that time children received their First Holy Communion when they were twelve years old, Dominic received his First Holy Communion when he was seven because the pastor of the church were the whole family went to Mass, noticed the young boy’s spiritual disposition and knowledge of the Faith. 

The resolutions Dominic made before his First Holy Communion have remained well-known and connected to his name. He resolved to go to Confession and receive Holy Communion often, to spend Sundays and Holy Days in a special way, to hold Jesus and Mary as his friends and to rather die than commit sin. When Dominic was twelve years old he started to attend the Oratory of Don Bosco. His intention was to start the initial studies for the priesthood. He started to take his spiritual life very seriously, thinking that to become holy he had to ‘suffer for Christ.’ Don Bosco noticed this attitude and bringing Dominic aside he gave him this advice:

 “The way to be a saint is to always be cheerful, do your duties to the best of your ability, give your classmates a good example. Keep in mind that the Lord Jesus is with you and wants your happiness.”

He stayed at the Oratory for just over two years. However, Dominic was not meant to be a priest. He started suffering from a persistent cough and his health was failing. He had to return home as he was suffering from a severe respiratory condition, probably tuberculosis. Antibiotic treatment was non-existent at the time. He was kept at home while his health continued to fail. 

He was nearing his fifteenth birthday when on the 9th March 1857,  Dominic closed his eyes and went to meet Jesus, his Beloved Friend.

After sharing the life story of St. Dominic Savio with the children, surprise the children with the question, ‘Do you want to be a saint?’

  • Ask the children if they remember St. Dominic’s resolution on his First Holy Communion.
  • Suggest choosing one and adopt it as a motto. You can write it out for them, decorate it and keep it as a bookmark.
  • Discuss with them how they can put it in practice in their daily life.

Dominic loved to join the other boys in the field games and races that were the kind of sports games of the time. Most of the time the boys would end up in rowdy behaviour, in hot arguments sometimes even violent ones. Dominic would step in as ‘the peacemaker.’

Engage the children in a discussion of how they can be peacemakers:

  • using ’nice’ (positive) words when we are talking to family and friends,
  • standing up for someone who is being teased/bullied
  • not to speak about another person negatively
  • being kind even when it is difficult

For Family Prayer time lead prayers:

  • for those with whom we have had some disagreement ( if they are members of the family ask pardon)
  • for those we do not like

You might consider making a prayerful experience yourself and then share with the children with “Peace in Christ” . Sing! “Peace like a river”

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.