April 12

1846: A permanent home at last

This day, Easter Sunday, Don Bosco took possession of Pinardi shed: That morning Don Bosco first blessed and dedicated the new chapel to St. Francis of Sales and then celebrated Mass for his many boys, some neighbours, and other townsfolk. (13m II, 334) On another occasion he told the boys: “My dear boys, listen to what has just now come to my mind. Some clay on the spot where we are now standing there will he the main altar of a church all our own, where you will receive Holy Communion and sing the Lord’s praises.” (BM II. 342)

1847: Sodality of St. Aloysius

Don Bosco realized that some means had to be found to spur his boys on to virtue, to arouse their enthusiasm and help them overcome human respect and give them self confidence. To meet this need Don Bosco decided to establish the St. Aloysius Sodality, and thus to have the boys commit themselves to practise constantly the more characteristic virtues of this Saint…He therefore drew up a set of brief but forceful sodality regulations suitable for his purposes, and submitted them to the archbishop. (BM III, 147)

1860: Don’t make fun of prayer

Don Bosco advised Dominic, one of his Oratory boys. to make the sign of the cross well even when at home. He did just that. His big brother began poking fun at him: “Is this all you have learned in Turin? Was it worth going there if you still hung on to these old-fashioned ideas?” The younger boy defended his behaviour and even allowed his brother to eat his portion of meat while he said grace. The elder brother and his companions once again made fun of his pious behaviour. But by 10 p.m. the fun was all over and the elder boy had to be carried to his bed with a severe stomach ache. Writhing in pain because of internal bleeding, he died that same night. Even so, he was able to make his peace with God and tell his friends: “Don’t make fun of religion. You can’t mock God and get away with it. God has punished me for my gluttony and blasphemies.” (BM VI, 290)

1861: Don’t hide your sins

One day a boy wanted to go to confession to some unknown priest at the Monte dei Cappuchini Church or at Our Lady of Consolation Shrine. Don Bosco said: “You may go with a companion, but on one condition.” “What is it?” `That you tell the priest this and that” and I told him his sins. The boy was amazed and gasped. “Those are just the sins I was ashamed to confess! Now I may as well confess them to you.” (BM VI, 523)

1886: The magic touch

During his journey to Spain, a past pupil of the Turin Oratory visited Don Bosco at Barcelona. James Gherna (that was his name) wanted Don Bosco to cure him of the pain on his legs. The saint placed his hands on his knees and James got well immediately. (cfr. MB XVIII, 77-78)

1934: Altar for Don Bosco

On the anniversary of Don Bosco’s coming to Valdocco (April 12, 1846), the corner stone for the altar of Don Bosco was laid in the church of Mary Help of Christians (cfr. MB XIX, 348-349)

1934: Commemorative slab

A marble slab was unveiled in the Pinardi chapel in memory of Father Achille Ratti’s visit to the Oratory (Oct. 1883). It was he who later, as Pius X1. canonized Don Bosco. (dr. “L’Oratorio”, p. 84-85)

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