March 19

1876: Michael Unia

Michael Unia, who later became the apostle of the lepers at Agua de Dios (Colombia), came to meet Don Bosco, though he had no intention of staying at the Oratory. Michael was a farmer. In 1877, at the age of twenty-seven, he went to the Oratory on the feast of St. Joseph to ask Don Bosco to accept him at the Oratory because he wanted to become a priest. He was told to come the following August. (BM xv, 474) When Unia arrived in August he told Don Bosco that he was intending to go back home after his secondary school studies. The saint challenged him, “supposing God revealed your conscience to me and I were to tell you everything you did, would you take that as a sign He wants you to stay with me?”…”All right then,” Michael replied, “tell me what you see on my conscience.” The saint told him all his sins, including a boyish prank he played on a friend of his by putting the biggest prune he had into his mouth while he was sound asleep. All fears, doubts and thoughts of returning to Roccaforte (his home town) vanished in a flash under that magic biretta (which Don Bosco had put on his head). He walked out wearing Don Bosco’s biretta, which he always kept with him. Today it is a precious relic. (BM xv, 475)

1888: Preparation for the cause

In view of the process for beatification and canonization, Father Michael Rua asked the confreres, through a circular letter, to collect all the facts connected with Don Bosco’s life. (cfr. MB XIX, 34)

1902: Practical training

Father Rua communicated the decision of the General Council that all the clerics should, after their philosophical studies, do three years of practical training in one of our houses. (cfr. Annali 111, 156)

1929: Every moment a miracle

On March 19, 1929, approving the miracles presented for Don Bosco’s beatification, Pius XI made this solemn declaration. The bull of canonization of St. Thomas Aquinas states that, in the absence of other miracles, each article of his Summa was a miracle in itself. In our day too we could say that every year, every moment, of Don Bosco’s life was a miracle – indeed a series of miracles. (BM x, i)

1934: Canonization of Cottolengo

Blessed Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (+ April 30, 1842) was canonized by Pope Pius XI. He was the founder of the “Little House of Divine Providence,” at Turin. (cfr. MB XIX, 94)

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