April 11

1858: Preventive System in practice

During a walk with Card. Tosti in Rome, Don Bosco demonstrated to the Cardinal how to win over the confidence of boys. Spotting a group of boys playing, Don Bosco went up to them only to see them take to their heels. He called them back in a kindly voice. After a little hesitation, they came up to him. Don Bosco gave them some small things and asked them about their families and their game. He told them to go on with it while he watched or even joined in. Other boys who had been observing this at a distance came running over in great numbers from all sides. Don Bosco greeted them affectionately, and for them too he had a good word and some little gift…When he turned to leave, they followed him and would only let him go when he got into the carriage again. (BM v, 601)

1860: Boys’ mile

On April 11th Don Bosco sent the Holy Father 143 lire and 40 cents for “Peter’s Pence,” with a letter containing 710 signatures. A charitable lady had donated this sum to Don Bosco to give the boys a special treat at breakfast. When Don Bosco told them about it, they unanimously asked that it be sent to the Holy Father…they insisted that they would do without it and even without breakfast to foreward the money to the Pope…On hear-ing of this, the charitable lady gave Don Bosco the same amount again… To the boys’ letter, Don Bosco had added one of his own, advising the Pope that a “great calamity which would shake the faith… would have to be defended by the blood of the bravest.” He added that the Pope “was not to become discouraged, because Mary was preparing a great triumph for the Church in the near future.” (BM VI, 288)

1883: Do charity, save youth

Don Bosco visited the professional school of abbot Boissard at Lyons (France) and recommended the work to public charity. He said to the gentlemen who also had come to visit the place: “The salvation of society, gentlemen, is in your pocket! If you let these boys become victims of communistic ideology, the benefits you deny them today, they will demand tomorrow at knife’s point, perhaps then they will want your life too.” (cfr. MB XVI, 659)

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