February 1

Commemoration of deceased confreres

“…each year …for the deceased confreres every priest will say Mass on the day following the liturgical solemnity of Don Bosco;..” (Reg. 76)

1865: Death predicted

During the “Good Night” Don Bosco announced that one of his boys would die before the following Exercise for a Happy Death. In case he lived long enough to make it, that would be the longest he could live. This was based on a dream of his in which a mysterious guide told him: “Ferraris will not live long enough to make the Exercise for a Happy Death more than once.” (BM VIII, 35) NB: Anthony Ferraris died on March 16, 1865.

1888: Orione’s finger healed

While the body of Don Bosco was lying in state, young Luigi Orione, a pupil at the Oratory, was in charge of getting objects from devotees to have them touched to the body. He himself had the bright idea of preserving some bread after bringing it in contact with Don Bosco’s remains, for future use for the sick. While slicing bread for the purpose, he accidentally cut his index finger. This caused him great worry, not because of the pain, but he was afraid that the loss of the finger might prevent him from following the priestly vocation. However, full of confidence he touched Don Bosco’s body with his wounded finger and was instantly cured. In fact Orion became a priest and founded the congregation of the Divine Providence. He died in the odour of sanctity on 12 March 1940. (cfr. MB XVIII, 591)

1923: Death of Servant of God Luigi Variara (1875 -1923)

He entered the Oratory in October 1887, four months before the death of Don Bosco. The year after his profession he went with Father Unia to work among the lepers of Agua de Dios. Colombia. He founded the congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, for lepers. He had a period of trials and misunderstandings, due mainly to his own confreres. Finally he himself was affected with leprosy and was taken to Cucuta where a good family took care of him. He died on February 1, 1923. The process for his beatification was initiated in 1959. (CDB, 54)

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