July 29

1860: Ordination of Blessed Rua

On Sunday July 29, Michael Rua was ordained a priest by Bishop Balma at Caselle in St. Anne’s Villa; the country home of Baron Bianco of Barbania, a distinguished benefactor and dear friend of Don Bosco. The clerics (Celestine) Durando and John Baptist Anfossi served at the ordination ceremony. (BM vI, 407)

1868: Rua in no danger of death

Overworked for the past several months and constantly weakened by a scanty four-hour night-rest, Father Rua collapsed on July 29. Doctors diagnosed his condition as hopeless. Don Bosco who happened to be out was called back urgently. But he arrived only by evening and even then he did not seem to be in a hurry to meet the sick man. In fact he went straight to the confessional. When he was finished, his secretary, Father Berto, insisted that he visit the patient. “Yes, I’ll see him,” he replied. “Don’t worry!” However, nothing daunted, he went to the dining room for supper. Only after having brought some papers to his room did he finally go to see Father Rua. After some small talk, Father Rua feebly asked: “Don Bosco, please tell me honestly if this is my last hour. I am ready for anything!” “Dear Father Rua,” he replied, “I do not want you to die. You’ve still got to help me with many things”… “No matter how critical he is,” Don Bosco said, “Father Rua must get well because he has a lot more to do…” “You are indeed people of little faith,” Don Bosco interrupted. “Take heart, Father Rua! You couldn’t die now even if you jumped out of the window!” (BM ix, 151)

1906: Miraculous cure of Provina Negro

Sister Provina was cured through the intercession of Don Bosco, the first miracle for the beatification. (For the second cfr. No. 703) (cfr. MB XIX, 88)

1907: Salesians of Varazze maligned

In 1907 the Salesian Congregation had to face a very trying situation. On 29 July morning a platoon of police entered the church, arrested all the salesians and the the boys and took them to the police station. Anticlerical papers came out with defamatory titles such as Unheard of Turpitude at Varazze, The Salesians of Varazze Rolling in Mud etc. Later it was discovered that everything was preplanned. The grandmaster of the Free Masons, Ettore Ferreri, had made up an obscene case against the Salesians of Varazze. After three months everything was cleared and the innocence of the salesians was proved in the court. (cfr. DR.II, p.321)

1936: Father Joseph Calasans, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 64, a salesian for 46 years and a priest for 41 – first Spanish salesian priest, provincial of Peru-Bolivia and of Catalan provinces – martyred at Valence, cause introduced on December 15, 1953. (cfr. CDB, 285)

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