July 7

1862: I Stand by the Pope

On July 7, a few priests and clerics tried to bait Don Bosco into the topic of his allegiance to the Pope, to see how he would handle it in those troubled times. The saint answered: “I am a Catholic; I stand by the Pope and obey him blindly. If he were to tell us Piedmontese, ‘come to Rome,’ then I too would say: ‘Let’s go!’ But as long as he considers the Piedmontese expedition to Rome a seizure, I will agree with him.” (BM VII, 131)

1872: Retreat badly done

From 3rd to 7th of July the boys of the Oratory made a spiritual retreat. Don Bosco prayed God to let him know how fruitful it had been for his pupils. He had this dream which he narrated later. I seemed to be in a playground far larger than ours at the Oratory… Scattered throughout trees and thickets were nests full of fledglings about to fly off…a little nightingale dropped in front of me. Oh, I exclaimed, you fell! your wings can’t hold you yet and I’ll catch you,.. as I caught hold of its wings, the little bird shook itself free and flew to the centre of the playground.. but again the bird fooled me the same way and flew off… I went after it a third time… it slipped out of my hands…suddenly a large hawk swooped upon it…carried it off as prey. Turning toward me, the nightingale feebly chirped three times, “there are ten of us… ten of us…” The following night the dream returned… the same hawk… I threatened it with my fist, it flew away in fright, dropping a note at my feet. Uneasily I picked it up and read the names of ten boys herep resent. I quickly grasped the full meaning. These were the boys who had no regard at all for the spiritual retreat, who had not set their conscience straight… (BM X, 42-43)

1921: Death of Father Anthony Aime

As a cleric he was very weak. But Don Bosco reassured him, “Are you satisfied with 60? Then get ready to work for many years for the good of souls.” After his ordination he was sent to Spain where he became Provincial. In 1903 he went to Colombia, in the same capacity. Nearly for twenty years he worked in the service of youth and lepers. He died exactly at the age of 60, as Don Bosco had foretold. (cfr. Mortuary letter)

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