May 14

1860: Arrived in the very nick of time

When Don Bosco was in Bergamo two of his former Oratory boys were fatally injured. One died on the spot and the other was brought 10 the CottoIngo Hospital, unconscious. A week later, the saint called on him and the lad who though unconscious for a week, called out loudly, “Don Bosco.” All were amazed because, as the Capuchin chaplain of that ward tells us, the patient had not been able to utter a word since his accident. Don Bosco went to the boy’s bedside immediately, and the latter asked for confession. After absolving him, Don Bosco cheered him and then went around comforting the other patients. The boy lapsed back into unconciousness, and by the time Don Bosco returned to his bedside, he was dying…God had brought Don Bosco at the right moment to save the soul of a dear child of his. (BM VI, 302)

1862: First public Profession:

The Society of St.Francis of Sales was officially founded on December 18, 1859, though the first public profession took place only in 1862. Among those who took the vows on that occasion were: Father Alasonatti, Father Cagliero, Father Francesia, Father Albera and others. Twenty-two of us, besides Don Bosco, who was kneeling by the table on which the crucifix stood, took vows as prescribed by our rules repeating the formulary, phrase by phrase, as Father Rua read it…(Don Bosco said,) …”One may wonder, Did Don Bosco make those vows too?” Well, as you were making your vows before me, I too was making them in perpetuity before this crucifix. I offered myself in sacrifice to the Lord, ready to hear anything for His greater glory and the welfare of souls, particularly the souls of the young. May the Lord help us to he faithful to our vows.” (BM VII, 102)

1872: Ear-rings for Our Lady

While Don Bosco celebrated Holy Mass for the first time in the church of Mary Help of Christians after his return from Varazze, Our Lady was pleased to work a miracle through her servant. In the sacristy he met a poor old woman, stone-deaf, who begged for his blessing. He obliged, and she instantly regained her hearing. She wept for joy, and, having nothing to offer Our Lady then and there, she removed her ear-rings and handed them to Don Bosco, promising to return with a more valuable gift. (BM X, 161)

1873: Conciliatory letter

In his letter to archbishop Gastaldi Don Bosco reminded him how he himself and the Congregation had helped the archdiocese. …I would think that this Congregation, which has unselfishly worked for this diocese and since 1848 has supplied no less than two-thirds of its clergy, does deserve some consideration, par-ticularly because any cleric or priest who comes to the Oratory does nothing mole than change his place of residence, and he still continues to work in and for the archdiocese of Turin…in this connection, you are aware that but a few days ago I made sacrifices, by no means insignificant, to prevent the publication of certain derogatory articles …if Canon Gastaldi was made bishop of Saluzzo (cfr.17 May 1867), it was at Don Bosco’s suggestion, and that if the bishop of Saluzzo became archbishop of Turin, it was also at Don Bosco’s suggestion. They even bear evidence of the difficulties that had to be overcome to achieve this (cfr.Sept.16, 1871). There is also ,a record of the reasons why I championed you: among others, the valuable help you gave our house and Congregation. People are aware of how much we could do for one another if we mutually agreed, and evil-intentioned persons would greatly rejoice to see our friendship break up.” (BM X, 330-331)

1881: Death of Mazzarello

The cofoundress and the Superior general of the FMA sisters, Mary Mazzarello died on May 14th. When Father Cagliero arrived, she had already been given the last sacraments, but on the eve of her death he spent three quarters of an hour at her bedside, giving her the opportunity to talk at ease about her spiritual needs. She died a holy death on the morning of Saturday, May 14 (1881) at the age of forty-four. (BM xv, 298)

1882: Dangers of vacation time

At the seminary of Faenza, Don Bosco spoke about the dangers young-sters face during vacation time. “If one could see the souls of youngsters who go home for vacation, he would realize that many leave with the wings of a dove and return with devil’s horns. I regret to say it, but , unfortunately, one goes home with good intentions and then…1’11 say no more…” In closing he wished them the three S’s: Sanita, Sapienza, Satztita (Good health, Wisdom & Holiness), com-menting briefly on each. (BM xv, 289)

1886: Vocation predicted

During Don Bosco’s visit to the major seminary of Grenoble two seminarians asked his advice with regard to their vocation. To Edward Jourdain the saint said, “You will be a salesian,” and to the other, “I don’t need you!” The first died a Salesian on August 10, 1923 and the second became a Carthusian. (cfr. XVIII, 132-133)

1887: Don Bosco’s frankness

The Church of the Sacred Heart was consecrated by Card. Parocchi, Secretary of State and Cardinal Protector of the Salesian Congregation.Once Don Bosco remarked that the Church was built with French money (aere gallico). At dinner on the day of the church’s consecration, May 14, 1887, Fr. Dalmazzo, our procurator at the Vatican and the church’s pastor, rose to propose a toast to the benefactors. When he singled out the Romans for first place, Don Bosco tapped his glass several times with a knife, breaking into his speech and amid general silence serenely remarked, “That is not true. Now you may continue.” At that moment Don Bosco must have been thinking back to his exceptionally exhausting journeys to raise funds for the church. (BM XIV, 459-footnote) 

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