July 9

1880:Archbishop Gastaldi and Don Bosco

Endless were the misunderstandings that occurred within a span of ten years. The worst of them all was the archbishop’s obsession that Don Bosco and his Salesians were deliberately and obstinately waging war against their Ordinary’s authority. But God did not leave his servant without corn Ion, endowing him with insights and heavenly graces. On the night of July 9th, he saw in a dream a mysterious rainfall: …the sky darkened and a storm broke out… one thunderclap louder than all the rest shook the entire house. Father Bonetti stood up and dashed into the corridor, crying aloud after a moment, ‘It’s raining thorns!’ In fact thorns were falling like thick drops of water in a torrential downpour. Then came a second mighty clap of thunder…and immediately t he sky brightened somewhat. Father Bonetti was heard to shout in the corridor, “How wonderful! It is raining flower buds!” The air was full of blossoms which covered the ground in a thick layer. Then came a third deafening roar of thunder, and patches of clear blue sky appeared…Father Bonetti cried out, “Now it is raining (lowers!”… A fourth burst of thunder resounded across the heavens. The sky turned sparkling blue …Father Bonetti shouted, “Come look! It’s raining roses.” Indeed fragrant roses were falling throughout the sky. “At last!” Father Bonetti exclaimed…. However, the war was not ended. In 1883, when Archbishop Gastaldi learned that Don Bosco was going to France, he wrote to the ordinaries of Lyons and Marseille not to allow Don Bosco to preach. The letters arrived after Archbishop Gastaldi’s sudden death (midmorning on March 25). Still, Don Bosco was not allowed to speak in public in Lyons. The archbishop of Paris, instead, invited him to preach in one of the city’s principal churches, assuring him that, even were the archbishop of Turin still alive, he would have paid no heed to his request.. Soon after, the arrival of Cardinal (Cajetan) Alimonda to th archdiocese of Turin proved a cherished blessing for Don Bosco. (BM XIV, 424-425)

1884: Had he known it earlier

Although the sky was clear a great tempest hit the Oratory with lightning and thunder. At that very moment Don Bosco received the Papal decree confirming on the salesians the same privileges as the Redemptorists. Now the meaning of the dream Don Bosco had that very day four years earlier was clear! And he exclaimed: “I-lad I known earlier that the founding of a religious congregation would have cost me so much pain, fatigue, opposition and contradiction, perhaps I would not have started it!” (cfr.MB XVII, 139)

1933: No more blasphemy

When the decree proclaiming the heroicity of Dominic Savio’s virtues was officially approved by Pius XI, with the dignitaries was present also a classmate of the new Venerable, Ambre Roda aged 93. During an audience, Roda narrated the following fact: “One day I had the misfortune to utter a blasphemy. Dominic sent me to Don Bosco. The latter asked me as penance, to make the sign of the cross three times with the tongue on the floor of the chapel. Your Holiness, I have never blasphemed from that time. I have 12 sons and many grandchildren and never was a blasphemy heard in my house’ ” (cfr.MB XIX, 214) NB: Ambre Roda died in 1937 at the ripe old age of 97!

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