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Recommended By

Milan Sime Martinic

Date Recommended

9 Jan 2022

Date Updated

9 Jan 2022

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Santuário São João Bosco

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In Brasilia


All Ages


Received from Milan Sime Martinic via Submit Reviews:

If one could see the light of the spiritual soul of Brasilia it would be a majestic blue as we imagine the heavens to be. If you could enter the spiritual heart of the symbolic and well-thought-out city it would be a grand structure that hides at its center, just under the surface, beating with meaning and destiny and working as an essential tool of the divine forces. It is the blessing and good fortune of all who live and pass through Brasilia that such a place exists, that it is real, and that it iswelcoming, and that it has the power to reach into your own soul and thread the cityscape and your moment there as a long line of events destined to be – the spiritual heart and soul of the city is the Sanctuary of Dom Bosco --Santuário São João Bosco-- a massive monument to destiny and to the spiritual flags the universe placed there long ago.

Bathed in the blue light that comes through its 80 floor-to-ceiling panels of stained glass, the building that sits along Earth’s 15th parallel throws its image onto those who enter its white marble floors, surrounding body and spirit in an embrace that began in 1883 when the Italian priest and educator Dom Bosco foresaw Brasilia in a dream of prophecy.

Dom Bosco related his dream in which he envisioned an extraordinary New World capital, a utopian civilization that would flourish “at the point where a lake was formed,” between the 15th and 20th parallels to lead a promised land of inconceivable wealth, a great nation. These things will happen in the third generation," wrote Dom Bosco. Brasilia, situated between the 15th and 16th parallels and built in 1956 by the third generation after Dom Bosco’s death, is widely accepted among Brazilians to be that place.

"The mysterious forces that rule the world have acted in such a way as to ... create the opportunity to convert the old dream into reality," wrote Joscelino Kubitschek, the president who inspired and spearheaded the construction of the Brasilia; the capital often referred as “the city Dom Bosco dreamed of.”

Built between 1963 and 1970, the sanctuary is a Gothic-style square cathedral of 80 columns wrapping all four sides and reaching 16 meters high, topped by Gothic arches that evoke sentinels of heaven. Pink stained glass at the four corners give a transcendental frame to the 12 shades of blue to purplish-blue stained glass that fill the columns in some 140,000 squares designed by Sao Paulo architect Cláudio Naves and manufactured by the Belgian artist Hubert Van Doorne. Dotted with tinier white squares, the blue background looks like a starry sky and invokes heaven itself, creating a celestial meditative space where visitors aim to clear the clutter of their lives, get lost in its immensity, and find themselves.

Under this glass-box and concrete structure lies Dom Bosco’s Royal Urn, containing the saint’s right arm and visible through a glass frame on the marble floor to allow the faithful to see the saint and to be seen by him as do the pilgrims in Dom Bosco’s native Italy where they are said to go seeking in him “a father, a teacher, a friend.” Dom Bosco’s right arm is significant because that is the arm used to bless, reconcile, and lead millions of children around the world out of ignorance and poverty through education, work for which he is recognized the world over and for which he was canonized as a saint.

Bronze reliefs by artist Gianfranco Cerri at the doors, and the crucified Christ by Santa Catarina sculptor Gotfredo Thaler complete the geometrical sanctuary. It is illuminated by a single chandelier made of 7400 Murano glass pieces from Venice.

The sanctuary is the largest spiritual monument in honor of Dom Bosco in the capital district. Along with others around Brasilia, it forms the thread that binds the capital city and holds it and gives it its spiritual soul. For Brasilia, the sanctuary is its light and heart, and a monument to its destiny.

Santuário São João Bosco is open daily from 7 am to 9 pm.

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