August 21

1871: Donation for prolonged stay

At Nizza Monferrato Don Bosco was asked by Countess Corsi to prolong his stay. In this context the following conversation took place. “If I stay here, who will find food for my boys?” Don Bosco asked. “Divine Providence will see to it,” the countess retorted. “Yes, but Providence also says: ‘Help yourself and I will help you!’ I must do my share and find some kindly people…” “How much do you need to feed your boys for these three extra days?” “Three thousand lire.” “I will give them to you if you will stay.” “In that case I accept.” The countess gladly handed Don Bosco the sum, and he immediately sent it to Turin. (BM x, 106)

1877: Candy for Salesians

At the end of the spiritual retreat for the missionaries of the third expedition, Don Bosco narrated the following dream: I seemed to be strolling the avenues around Porta Susa…I spotted a woman who seemed to be a street vendor of roasted chestnuts…drawing nearer to watch, I asked what she was cooking in that strange-looking pot. “Candy for the Salesians,” she answered…Some candies were white, some red, some black. They were all covered with some kind of sticky sugar icing which looked like freshly fallen drops of rain or dew, here and there stained red…
“What does that sticky icing mean?” (I asked) “It signifies the sweetness of the saint whom you have taken as your model. The resemblance to dew means that much effort and sacrifices are needed to maintain such gentleness and that sometimes it can be preserved only by the shedding of one’s blood.”… I had gone but a few steps when I met Father Picco with some of our priests, all distraught, abashed, the hair of their hands standing on end… “Well,” he (continued) fearfully, “she told me to urge you to make your sons work hard. She said, ‘They will encounter many thorns but many roses as well. Tell them that life is short and the harvest great. I mean that our lifespan is short compared to eternity; in God’s sight it is but a fleeting moment, a mere nothing’…” This is the little tale I wanted to tell you. Call it a fable, a parable, a fantasy, whatever you wish. But I want you to bear well in mind what that woman said to Father Picco and the other priests: that is, that we must practise the gentleness of our own St. Francis de Sales and that we must unceasingly work hard. (BM XIII, 225-226) 

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