December 31

1858: ‘Strenna’ for 1859

During the “Good Night” Don Bosco gave the `strenna’ for the new year 1859. “Centuries upon centuries will pass before the end of the world; peoples and nations will succeed one another, but the year 1858 will never return. Time and mankind forever sink into eternity.This is the first thought I want to leave you tonight…I too wish you to leave you some spiritual keepsakes. To the clerics I say: “Give good example, as befits those who are the light of Christ.” To the students: “Receive Holy Communion as often as possible.” To the artisans: “Go to the sacraments on Sundays and holy days, since you cannot easily go on weekdays.” To all in general: “Make good confessions. Candidly open your heart to your confessor, because, should the devil get you to conceal a sin, you would indeed be caught in a net of sacrileges, and would be hanging on the brink of eternal damnation. So always make good confessions…” (BM VI, 57-58)

1859: ‘Strenna’ for 1860

…I exhort the students of us earthly knowledge as a stepping stone to heavenly things – virtue and its practice. To the artisans I say that since they have little time to look after their spiritual needs during the week, they should do so at least on Sundays and holy days by hearing Mass well, by paying attention to their religious instruction… I wish to remind the clerics that they are wholly dedicated to God’s service and, therefore, must no longer be concerned with earthly matters… To priests, though but a few, I recommend that they strive to be inflamed with a burning zeal for souls… (BM VI, 203)

1867: Predictions

Don Bosco narrated a dream during the “Good Night.” He saw his boys playing in a garden and heard three times “Miscrere.” That meant that during the following year three boys would die in the Oratory (cfr. 22 January, 24 May, 22 September). A little farther away Don Bosco saw some boys with one or two horns on their head which indicated the state of their conscience. The guide also said that there would be war, chorela and famine during the following year. (cfr. BM IX. 6; No. 214)

1867: “Strenna” for 1868

Don Bosco fell asleep thinking about a strenna for 1868. He began to dream and a stranger told him:
…Tell your boys that if they wish to die a holy death, they must go to Holy Communion often and be properly prepared, first of all with a good confession. This, now, is the strenna (for 1868): `The devout and frequent reception of Holy Communion is the most effective guarantee of a holy death and eternal salvation’.” (BM IX, 9)

1868: `Strenna’ for 1869

First for Himself: That while trying to save others, he must not forget himself. To Father Prefect: Patience with all. To all the Priests, clerics, Assistants and Teachers: Be vigilant. To Assistants: Be punctual at your posts. To Teachers: Prevent foul conversation; do good to all; harm no one; question your pupils when teaching. To all, in Brief: Do everything for God’s greater glory. To Those Engaged in Manual Tasks: Diligently fulfill all your duties. To all Students and Artisans, from First to Last: Avoid bad talk, whether it be against morals, religion or piety. ( BM IX, 210-211)

1885: ‘Strenna’ for 1886

During the “Good Night” Don Bosco gave the strenna for the following year. Frequent Communion and prompt obedience. Don Bosco predicted the death of six persons in the Oratory. (Jan. 14, April 13, May 4, 28, July 5, Sept. 21) (cfr. MB XVII, 512; XVII I, 18)

1900: Salesian Society consecrated to the Sacred Heart

At the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th, at midnight Blessed Rua solemnly consecrated the salesian society to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This was done in front of the High Altar of the Church of Mary help of Christians in the presence of the General Council. After the ceremony a Mass was celebrated with the special permission of Pope Leo XIII. (cfr. DR. II, p. 97)

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