August 5

1854: Cholera did not spare Don Bosco

Don Bosco advised his boys to remain always in the state of grace if they wanted to be immune to cholera, but offered his own life in exchange for that of his boys. should the cholera strike any of them. One evening, during the first week of the epidemic, Don Bosco came home dead tired and went straight to bed…he felt all the symptoms of the cholera: dizziness, nausea and cramps in his legs and feet…Then he gave himself the standard treatment for cholera. Tightly holding the sheet and blankets he began to exercise his legs and feet as vigorously as he could, so much so that within a quarter of an hour, weary and gasping from fatigue, he broke into a sweat and again fell asleep. When he woke all the symptoms had disappeared…We conjecture that it must have been prompted not only by his love for his boys, but by an even more sublime motive of lively faith – the triumph of the Church and of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (BM v, 96-97)

1860: Triple tier of tables

It dealt with a triple tier of tables arranged in an amphitheater. At the lowest, seated in grief and filth and feeding on garbage, were boys in the state of mortal sin; the middle tier, bathed in celar light, was occupied by lads who had regained God’s grace by a good confession, and theirs was an exquisite meal served on rich dinnerware. Lastly, the top most tables were reserved for boys who had retained their baptismal innocence. The choicest foods, an indescribable joy, enchanting beauty and dazzling splendour outshining the sun were their lot. “There were then two hundred and twelve boys at the Oratory,” Father Bonetti remarked, “but Don Bosco saw only twelve seated at the innocents’ table.” (BM X, 92)

1872: First FMA Sisters

The clothing of 15 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians took place this day. Eleven of them, including Mary Mazzarello, also made their profession. Don Bosco presided over the ceremony together with Mgr.Sciandra, bishop of Acqui and Fr. Pestarino, director of the Institute. (cfr. BM X, 274)

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