August 4

1833: John confirmed

John was eighteen years old, but was not confirmed as yet since confirmation was administered rarely in country districts. That year, however, the zealous pastor, Father Vaccarino obtained this great blessing for those who had not yet been confirmed. At once John decided to make use of the opportunity. On August 4, 1833 he was confirmed in Buttigliera d’Asti by Archbishop John Anthony Gianotti of Sassari. His sponsors were Joseph Marsando and Countess Josephine Melina. We have no records extant telling how John prepared himself for the great event, but we can gauge his lively faith by the effects of this Sacrament: the luminous gifts of the Holy Spirit were manifest in him. (BN41, 207)

1865: Intervention ineffective

On August 4, 1865, Don Bosco was the guest of the bishop of Novara. A community of sisters invited him to visit them. The bishop told him to be tactful since he was already compelled to inflict canonical penalties on the convent. The sisters were in open rebellion against the bishop and seemingly could not be persuaded to obey. When Don Bosco arrived the nuns were on their knees. (Don Bosco): “Tell me, do you think much of Don Bosco?” (Superioress): “Of course we do! We look upon you as a saint.” “Will you accept what I am going to tell you?” “Most willingly.” “Good! You know that Holy Scripture says: Obey your superiors.” “These are matters for confession,” the superioress broke in, “and are the exclusive concern of our spiritual director.” “You say that you esteem me as a saint and then you refuse to listen to me?” Don Bosco countered. “Excuse me, Father, but you’d better keep out of this…” …the next day…he made another attempt to bring these tertiaries to better sentiments. “I’d like to speak to you as a father,” he said, “as a friend.” “Would you like a cup of coffee, Father,” they asked. “No, thanks, but think…your break with the bishop…” “How about a lemonade, Father?” “Please listen; you must think of the consequences…” “Leave that to us, Father. This is no concern of yours. We’ll look after our own consciences.” Don Bosco’s charitable intervention proved totally ineffective. The controversy ended with the Bishop’s suppression of the convent.(BM VIII, 92-93)

1878: Mutual aid society

As in 1850 (cfr. No. 662) once again Don Bosco invited the past-pupils to form a Mutual Aid Society. (Vita II, p, 159)

1878: I will tell you

Evasio Garmne entered the Oratory as a student on August 4, 1878, aged eighteen. Once while trying to make his confession, being unprepared he could think of a single sin: So the priest said to him, “I’ll tell you your sins.” One by one, in chronological order, the priest went through all of them, described the circumstance of each. (BM XIII, 700) The confessor, of course, was Don Bosco, who also told him later, that he would be a missionary priest. Indeed, it really happened. He died on 8 January 1911.

1880: Death of Father Bodrato (1823-1880)

Francis Bodrato was born at Mornese on October 18, 1823. He met Don Bosco for the first time in 1864 on one of the latter’s autumn picinics to Father Pestarino’s parish at Mornese. Though Francis was a widower with two children, Don Bosco accepted him. He made his perpetual profession in 1865 and was ordained a priest in 1869. After holding several offices, he was asked to head the second missionary expedition to Argentina. In 1877 he became the Provincial of the Salesians in South America. Father Bodrato died in Buenos Aires on August 4, 1880 and was mourned by the entire city.

1903: Cardinal Sarto elected Pope

The new Pope Pius X, was well known to the salesians. As a canon at Treviso, he had visited Don Bosco at Turin. (cfr. BM XI, 301)

1936: Father Joseph Batalla, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 63, a salesian for 42 and a priest for 36 – martyred at Sarria, cause introduced on December 15, 1953. (cfr. CUB, 298)

1936: Brother ,Joseph Rabassa, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 74, a salesian for 44 years – martyred at Sarria, cause introduced on December 15, 1953. (cfr. CDB, 299)

1936: Brother Gil Rodicio, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 48, a salesian for 28 years – martyred at Sarria, cause introduced on December 15, 1953. (cfr. MB, 299)

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