July 6

1859: Peace prophesied

aWe have the following account from Sister Philomena, daughter of Countess Felicity Cravosio. During the 1859 war raging in Lombardy, my mother had a son and a brother in the army. The latter had been wounded. Heartbroken and fearful of their fate, she asked me to go to Don Bosco with her… To our surprise Don Bosco received us in the dining room… After all the priests had excused themselves, Don Bosco said to her: “Countess, I know what you want to tell me. Cheer up!” Then, lowering his voice, he added, “This very night peace will be made”….Next morning …we heard news vendors shouting: “Peace at Villafranca! Napoleon, Victor Emmanuel, and Francis II met in night session!”… (BM VI, 133)

1862: Persecution predicted

On July 6, Don Bosco narrated a dream he had,the previous night. With Marchioness Barolo, I seemed to be strolling about a small plaza which opened into a vast plain where the Oratory boys were happily playing.. she began talking about my boys. “It’s wonderful that you look after boys,” she said. “Let me care for the girls. Leave that to me, so that there’ll be no disagrements”… They stopped playing and, looking very frightened, fled helter-skelter… I saw an enormous horse alight upon the ground. So huge was the animal that my blood ran cold… “It must be demon,” I exclaimed.. “what kind of a monster is this?” I asked one of them. “The red horse of the Apocalypse,” he replied. (BM VII, 128) Perhaps in Don Bosco’s dream the red horse symbolized contemporary (European) godless democracy which, fuming against the Church, was steadily making headway to the detriment of the social order and gaining control over national and local governments, education, and the courts… (BM VII, 130)

1875: Endangering salvation

During a conference Don Bosco spoke of the dangers of holidays and the temptation to abandon one’s vocation. …Theoretically speaking one may still be a good Christian outside the Congregation, and anyone who leaves the Congregation may still be saved. But believe me, I can tell you quite frankly that this is true in theory more than in actual fact. 1 am really convinced that very few people who leave a religious Congregation may be saved. To start with, by the mere fact that they entered a Congregation, one may be reasonably sure that they had a vocation; if they lost it by their own fault, it will be very hard for them to return to the right path… (BM XI, 279)

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