August 22

1856: Building collapse

At about ten O’clock on the morning of August 22, a workman was busy dismantling the scaffolding under the ceiling of the last floor on the north side of the building…He was almost through when a small beam slipped from his grasp and crashed end first through the floor, causing each of the floors below to collapse one after another into the cellar. Within a few moments the interior of the building was a heap of ruins. …Had it occurred a few minutes earlier, many boys would have been crushed by the masonry. (BM V, 342) A special protection of God for the Oratory and its inmates was clearly visible.

1862: Hammer and anvil

On August 22 the boys insisted with Don Bosco to tell them the second part of the dream he had on 15th. After sometime he relented and spoke as follows during the “Good Night”: Now, while talking with that stranger about the rope, the snake and what they symbolized, I turned around and saw boys picking up scraps of snake meat and eating them… “It’s delicious” they replied. And yet, no sooner had they swallowed it than they would crumple to the ground and their bodies would swell and harden like stone…For everyone who crumpled to the ground, another took his place…some clerics themselves began to eat it and they too fell to the ground… “But isn’t there some way of saving these boys?” (asked Don Bosco) “Yes, there is.”
“What?”
“Anvil and hammer”… “Look”, the stranger said “this whole thing is a symbol. The hammer symbolized confession, and the anvil symbolizes Holy ‘Communion. These are the remedies you must use.” (BM VII, 146- 147)

1869: Prediction of death

Don Bosco foretold the death of Ulderico Valagossa aged eleven. He had said that during that schoolyear a pupil in the second grade whose name began with ‘V’ would die… Ulderico Valagossa, a very sturdy second-year boy, fell seriously ill and took to his bed for a month…the lad began to improve and finally got out of bed. His father came to visit him…decided to leave him there rather than take him home to recuperate. Within a week, however, the boy had a relapse and died… (BM IX, 328)

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