February 28

1867: Don Bosco’s admirer

On February 28, 1867 Don Bosco celebrated Mass for the seminarians of Fermo and later they gave him a reception. One of them, Dominic Svampa, read a poem composed by himself, and handed over the autographed copy to the saint. Don Bosco in return gave him a medal. In 1895 the young seminarian, now become a cardinal, opened the first congress of salesian cooperators at Bologna. On that occasion he said: “I was fifteen when I was privileged to meet that extraordinary man, to hear his fervent words, and to receive Holy Communion from his hands…he also gave me a little medal I still wear.” Don Bosco too kept till death young Dominic Svampa’s poem, a precious memento we still treasure in our archives. Om vitt, 311)

1867: messed Cardinal De Angelis

When it was time for Don Bosco to leave Fermo, cardinal De Angelis knelt for his blessing. Don Bosco protested. To win his point quickly the cardinal pointed out the purse on the desk and said: “There isn’t much in it, but if you bless me, you may have it for
your Church!” “Then I will have to bless you. You don’t need my blessing, but I need your money.” (BM VIII, 311)

1884: Salesian house wanted in Russia

During a meeting of the General Council, Don Bosco announced that two letters had come from Russia fora salesian foundation at Petersburg and at Odessa. (cfr. MB XVII, 31, 347)

1926: Death of Card. John Cagliero (1838-1926)

Caglicro was born at Castclnuovo d’Asti and died at Rome at the age of 88. He was the first bishop and cardinal of the salesian Congregation. Although only a cleric then, he was elected General Councillor on December 18, 1859 when the Congregation was founded. He was one of the 22 who made the vows publicly for the first time on May 14, 1862. Caglicro was ordained in 1862 and went to America as the leader of the first missionary expedition. He returned in 1877 for the first General Chapter and became the spiritual director of the Congregation which post he held till 1884 when Pope Leo XIII made him Bishop. In December 1887 he returned from America to assist Don Bosco in his last moments. In 1915 Pope Benedict XV made him cardinal. He died on February 28, 1926. In June 1964 his remains were brought back to Argentina and solemnly reinterned in the Cathedral of Viedma, his first episcopal residence. (cfr. MB XVII, 291 etc.) 

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