August 31

1844: Prayer for protection

The wife of the Portuguese ambassador made her confession to Don Bosco. As penance he told her to give some small alms that day for specific purposes. She expressed her inability to fulfil the penance as she was to take a trip that day. Don Bosco added: “Well, then do this instead: say three times theAngele Dei asking your Guardian Angel to protect you from all danger, so that you may not be frightened by what will befall you”…deeply impressed by these words, the lady willingly performed the penance and on her way home recited the prayer together with her servants, invoking her Guardian Angel’s protection for a safe journey. Then, in the company of her daughter and maid, she got into her carriage. After some distance…the horses… suddenly took fright and shot ahead, out of control…A carriage door swung open, the wheels struck a heap of gravel, and the carriage tipped over…the women were in serious danger of being crushed …The lady and her daughter found themselves outside the carriage, but remained calm and without a sign of fear… (BM II, 134)

1854: Cagliero has still much to do

John Cagliero was sick and although Don Bosco lavished all possible care on him, his condition became critical. As soon as the saint entered the room to administer the last sacraments, a surprising sight stopped him. A dazzling light emanating from a beautiful dove fluttering in the air filled the whole room; an olive branch hung on its beak which it let fall on the sick boy’s head before vanishing in a gleam of light. Don Bosco instinctively knew that Cagliero would survive and do many things for God’s glory. He took the dove for the fulness of the grace of the Holy Spirit. A second vision followed.As soon as Don Bosco advanced towards the middle of the room, the walls disappeared as if by magic. Surrounding the bed was a host of savages anxiously and suppliantly peering at the sick boy. Two of them stood out. Both were bending over the dying boy. In later years Don Bosco was able to discern that the features of those savages revealed them as Indians of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Then the following conversation took place between Don Bosco and Cagl iero: Cagliero asked him: “Is this perhaps my last confession?…” Don Bosco… said, “Tell me, John. What would you rather do: go to heaven now, or recover and wait till later?” “Don Bosco,” Cagliero answered, “I want to do whatever is best for me.” “Our Lord wants you to live because you still have many things to do. You will recover and don the clerical habit as you have al ways wanted to. You’ll become a priest…” -Don Bosco again paused momentarily – “and then you’ll do a lot of travelling, breviary in hand, and, you’ll give of yourself to others too You’ll go far away…” (13M v, 68-69)

1877: ‘Vacation’ means to be busy

In a “Good Night” Don Bosco explained the meaning of vacation and suggested a few means to spend it well: Vacation begins on Monday. I see you’re glad, and so am I! Let me say that many have asked to spend their vacation with me at the Oratory. I am delighted. ….the verb vacare does not mean to sit back and do nothing, as some believe, but rather “to be busy, to be occupied”… I want you to be ever busy and not to waste a single moment, because, while on vacation, either you will work while the devil sits idle, or you will be idle while the devil works. Does that mean you have to work all the time, without a moment’s rest? Well, understand what I mean. When I say “avoid idleness” I mean you are not to he totally unoccupied, but I am saying that you should be continually busy with manual work, study or prayer…. I used to cut patterns out of leather to make shoes which I gave away. I would buy cloth and cut and sew it into pants or underwear to wear myself or give away to others…I don’t mean that you must do what I did… If you just hang around with your arms folded, doing nothing, the devil, who is always busy, will say, “He is mine!” Does this mean you have to work forever and never have fun?…. Even fun can be have loads of fun: play boccie, handball, soccer….most of all let me suggest long, fun-filled hikes… Have breakfast and a hearty lunch. But make sure you are moderate… one more thing: while on vacation, sleep also a little longer, but look out for that certain rest which is known as ‘the noonday devil’ (Ps 90,6)…” (BM XIII, 339-340)

1885: Presage of death

Don Bosco said to some of the confreres that a few days earlier, after the consekrdtion of the Mass, there was such a dazzling light that he could not continue the holy sacrifice. It was followed by darkness. Then everything dissappeared. The saint took this apparition as a presage of his death. (cfr. MB XVII, 559)

1936: Father Vincent Reyes, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 46, a salesian for 25 and a priest for 16 – martyred at Malaga, cause introduced on January 16, 1956. (cfr. CDB, 329)

1936: Father Felix Paco, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 69, a salesian for 43 and a priest for 37 – martyred at Malaga, cause introduced on January 16, 1956. (cfr. CDB, 330)

1936: Brother Thomas Alonso, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 43, a salesiari for 21 – martyred at Malaga, cause introduced on January 16, 1956. (cfr. CDB, 330)

1936: Father German Martin, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 37, a salesian for 16 and a priest for 10 – martyred at Medria, cause introduced on October 9, 1956. (cfr. CDB, 330)

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