August 6

1876: Too Many priests

On the occasion of the official inauguration of the rail road between Turin and Lanzo, Don Bosco received three ministers in the school of Lanzo. The school was festooned with flags flying from every pillar, between which fluttered red and white streamers. In the portico a portrait of King Victor Emmanuel Il stood on a stand, beneath it was the coat-of-arms of the municipality. At its base, on a wide red background of geraniums, a floral inscription of miniature daisies read “Joy to All.” An interesting conversation followed between Don Bosco and the ministers. “..You (Don Bosco) turn out too many priests and too many teachers.” “Well, Senator (said Don Bosco), I can’t see any harm in that The priests I turn out are not too many…. it is only natural that a priest should wish to turn out more priests Were Ito neglect training priests, people would say that I have no love for my profession…” The conversation then took a more humorous twist. “Tell us, Don Bosco, Since you can read men’s hearts,” Senator Ricotti began, “who is the worse sinner – Nicotera or Zanardelli? ” Just to get to know anyone of you would take me not only one hour, but a whole spiritual retreat. Each of you would have to review his whole life and think of death only after such reflections and an honest general confession could I venture an opinion on a persons’s inner self.” (BM XII, 304-305)

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