May 16

1857: Obedience and confidence

On May 16, a boy publicly asked Don Bosco how Dominic Savio managed to become so good and holy and a true child of Mary. Don Bosco replied: “The means Dominic Savio used to put himself on the road to heaven and beyond reach of the devil were obedience to and great confidence in his spiritual director.” (MB V, 429)

1869: Blind girl cured

On May 16, an elderly woman came with her blind niece to the sacristy of the church of Mary Help of Christians. “We have tried everything,” said the woman, “but in vain. Doctors claim that her eyes are too far gone and beyond all hope.” “Will you use your eyes for the good of your soul and not to offend God?” “I promise it with all my heart!” “Good! you will regain your sight!” he blessed the girl and holding a medal of Mary Help of Christians in front of her, said: “For the glory of God and the Blessed Virgin, tell me what I am holding in my hand….” “I can see, she frantically exclaimed… “the Blessed Virgin, granted me the favour.” Then she stretched out 11%.1 take the medal that Don Bosco was offering her, but it fell and rolled into a dim corner of the sacristy…Unhesitatingly the girl retrieved the medal. Overjoyed and moved to tears, the aunt profusely thanked Don Bosco and left with tears of joy. (BM IX, 303-304)

1878: Educating the young, a divine work

Don Bosco held a conference for the cooperators of Turin for the first time, in the church of St. Francis of Sales. After narrating the history of the Cooperators Movement and what was accomplished with their help, the saint exhorted them to continue the good work: It is certain that spiritual works of mercy have even greater merit than mere corporal ones. Not only greater merit, I say, but even something which is divine. Do you want to do a good deed? Educate the young. Do you want to do something holy? Educate the young. Something even holier? Educate the young. Do you want to do divine work? Among the divine works this is the most divine of all. The Church Fathers agree with these words of St. Denis: “The divinest of divine deeds is to cooperate with God for the salvation of souls.” (BM XIII, 490)

1879: Threat to close secondary classes

Don Bosco received an order to close down the higher classes of the Oratory under the pretext that the professors were not qualified. The saint was able to get the date postponed to enable the students to take the examination. By the beginning of the next scholastic year he had qualified professors. Hence he was not obliged to close the classes. However, neither minister Coppino nor his collaborators, had reason to rejoice in their action against the Oratory. Soon afterwards Minister Coppino lost his position; Minghelli Vaini prefect of Turin – a top-rated position- was demoted to the prefecture of Catania – a third-rate station – then to Lecce and was later forced to resign…Superintendent Rho…wassuspended with-out pay, finally disturbed mentally retired to his native village … (BM XIV, 154)

1882: Saint Aloysius was not better

Franchino, a pupil of the Oratory, died suddenly back home in Rub iana, where he had gone to regain his health. Don Bosco, who cared a good deal for the lad, in speaking to the boys two nights after his death, remarked, “I doubt that at his age St. Aloysius was any better.” (BM XV, 456)

1887: Moved to tears:

Don Bosco celebrated his only Mass in the church of Sacred Heart, Rome, which was consecrated two days earlier. He was forced to interrupt the Mass fifteen times because of the intense emotions he experienced. “I thought of my first dream when Our Lady told me, ‘you will know everything in good time.’ How many years passed, from Becchi to Rome! Sixty two long years of work and sufferings!” (cfr. MB XVIII, 340-341

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