January 17

1893: Death of Father Angelo Savio (1835-1930)

Angelo Savio was born at Castelnuovo d’Asti on November 20, 1835 and entered the Oratory in 1850. He was already a deacon when in 1859 he joined the first group of young men who banded with Don Bosco to form the Salesian Society. At their first historic meeting he was elected economer general, a post to which he was re-elected in 1869 and in 1873. He was ordained in Turin in 1860. As economer he was entrusted with all construction. In 1885, at the age of fifty, he went to the South American missions, opening houses in Chile, Peru, Paraguay and Brazil. A tireless and fearless worker, he was always a man of deep prayer and great trust. He died while on a missionary journey in Ecuador, after eight years of fruitful mission activity, on January 17, 1893. (BM XIV, 582-583)

1930: Death of Father Francesia (1838-1930)

Bl. Philip Rinaldi: “Till the year 1930, Father Francesia was the golden thread that connected the early days of the Oratory to our own times. He was the genuine representative of the cheerfulness, activity, holiness and traditions of the early years.” -He shared in thejoys and hopes as well as the trials and hardships of the Founder. Don Bosco called him, “the pupil of my eye”. Father Francesia:”Don Bosco was the priest destined by God for my salvation. I saw him, I understood him, he loved me, I loved him”. When Father Francesia finished his doctorate, Don Bosco decided to stop him from teaching and asked him to be a proof-reader in the press, to teach him to work with greater supernatural motivation. Father Francesia had a secret desire to become a member of the General Council, a desire which was never materialized. His chances were the brightest in the General Chapter of 1886, but he was disappointed. To console him Don Bosco gave him a rosary and said, “Keep it as a remembrance of your poor Don Bosco”. Fr. Francesia never parted with it. “I hope”, he said, “it will accompany me to the tribunal of God!”
—Father Francesia could rightly repeat that Don Bosco had been for him a father, always a father. (cfr. “Boll. Sal.” 1930. p. 68; “Profili”, p. 74)
Patron of young apprentices At the request of the Italian Minister for Labour, Pope Pius XII proclaimed Don Bosco, Patron of Young Apprentices! (cfr. “Boll. Sal.” 1958, p. 81,418)

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