May 22

1869: Dying General

cured On May 22, Don Bosco heard the confession of a General who was critically ill, but, to the surprise of his family, he did not administer the last sacraments, although the doctors had declared that death was imminent. ” My dear General,” Don Bosco told the sick man, “the day after tomorrow we shall celebrate the feast of Mary Help of Christians. Pray to Her fervently, and in gratitude for your recovery come to receive. Communion in Her church that very day…” The following day the general’s condition worsened…they hurriedly sent for (Don Bosco) at eight in the evening…he continued hearing confessions until eleven… “You can eat at the general’s. Quick, quick, come!” “What little faith you have,” Don Bosco chided. “Didn’t I tell you that tomorrow the general will receive communion in the Church of Mary Help of Christians…” (on reaching the general’s house) he calmly sat down at table. After eating a bit, he blessed the sick man. Then, making no reference whatever to the Anointing of the Sick, he got back into the coach and returned to the Oratory. The general, whom everyone thought to be dead, had actually slipped into a coma. Early the next morning he awoke and told his son to fetch his clothes because, as he had told Don Bosco, he wished to go to church and receive Holy Communion from his hand. Toward eight, just as Don Bosco was vesting for Mass, a very pale man approached him, “Here I am, Don Bosco,” he said…! (BM IX, 304-305)

1879: Abjuration of a Protestant boy

Concourda was brought up in a Waldensian hospice. He was bright and by nature a good thinker. But he grew up with many doubts about the Catholic religion (he was a Catholic by birth) because of the invectives and abuses he constantly heard against the Catholic Church. However, a few years later he began to doubt about the Protestant sect. A pious Catholic helped him to escape and brought him to Don Bosco. He received instruction and was baptized conditionally in the Church of Mary Help of Christians. The Protestant Minister published a scurrilous booklet against the superiors of the Turin Oratory, who, he asserted, exploited the poverty of the boy. In a letter which Don Bosco helped him to write, the young convert set the facts straight. (cfr. BM XIV, 95ff)

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