Madeleine & Jon Brakenhoff

Where We serve

God has called us to serve with the St. John Bosco Project in Denver, Colorado at the Auraria Campus! Jon is in his sixth year with FOCUS and serves as a Bosco Project Manager of the Denver formation house.

After finishing her time as a missionary to the schools in Birmingham, Madeleine has left full-time college mission with FOCUS to be an architectural designer with Populous in Denver. Madeleine plays an essential part-time role in our mission at the Auraria Campus by providing a witness to the feminine genius to a house full of young men. Additionally, she leads the female students in whatever capacity she can outside of her full-time job!

Bosco Project Mission

Inspired by St. John Bosco’s profound love for helping young men realize their God-given potential, the FOCUS Bosco Project exists to support the development of young men to serve the Church, particularly on college campuses with FOCUS. With the Bosco Project, FOCUS can hire more men, serve more campuses, and ultimately have a bigger impact on more young people across the country. We’re especially recruiting men who are new to living out their faith, desire personal growth, and want to serve God on mission. We aim to provide comprehensive formation for their continued conversion and ability to freely serve the Church. We immerse them in a rich communal life, weekly mentorship, and additional accountability and support – on top of their traditional responsibilities as a FOCUS missionary. This fall, we are collaborating with the Archdiocese of Denver’s Vocations Office to have three men discerning the priesthood join us in the Bosco Project Formation House in Denver!

don bosco hearing confession with children
Who was St. John Bosco?

St. John Bosco was an Italian priest in the 1800’s who had an incredible heart for the many poor and orphaned boys of Turin. One day, as Don Bosco was preparing for Mass, the church sacristan caught a boy attempting to steal bread from the sacristy and began to beat him. Upon seeing this, having never met the boy, Don Bosco asked, “Why are you beating my friend? He is going to serve Mass for me today.” Don Bosco befriended each troubled youth he encountered, taught them the basics of Christianity and prayer, and then gave them a sense of purpose and structure through physical labor. Through St. John Bosco’s holiness, simplicity, and deep love, he started many group homes for boys across Italy, and at the end of his life, 6,000 men attested their priestly vocation to a personal relationship with Don Bosco!

Your Impact

“I’ve wrestled with a selfish attitude, a ‘perfect’ relationship with God, expectations of ‘perfect’ mission, and the life of virtue for many years, and I have never made as much headway in growing closer to God in all of those things than the months I spent in the Bosco Project.”

– Bosco Project Alumni

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Expanding to Nebraska!

The Lord immensely blessed the Bosco Formation house here in Denver this past year and has opened the doors to a new formation house serving Doane University in Crete, Nebraska! Bishop Conley, the Vocations office, FOCUS leadership, several generous benefactors, and the Church in Crete have all been receptive to expanding the Bosco Project to the Lincoln area! Between our two locations, we will have 17 new FOCUS missionaries in the Bosco Project this Fall with two new formators for the Doane house and one new formator here in Denver. We’re ecstatic to bring FOCUS to Doane’s students and to continue to the Lord’s work in forming young men to be who God has created them to be so that more souls can be brought to Christ! Please pray for the Bosco men in formation, the formators, and our efforts to expand and grow!

If this mission or our family inspires you in any way, we want to talk to you! Please reach out to us personally either by phone (402)-310-5972 or email at [email protected].

We’d be honored to have you join this adventure with us!

God bless,

Madeleine & Jon

Find other missionaries

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By building genuine friendships, we meet students on a deeper level.

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We teach students how to share the gospel, who in turn teach other students how to pass it on.

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