May 23

1877: Count Cays to become a Salesian

Count Charles Cays, one of the first benefactors of the Oratory, was born in Turin in 1831 of an ancient, noble family. He became a Deputy in the Subalpine Parliament from 1857 to 1860. He had a son and daughter, but was widowed at the age of 32. After retiring from politics, he confined himself to works of charity. He was thinking of becoming a salesian. On May 23, 1877 as he sat in Don Bosco’s waiting room,’ he saw a lady dragging and half-carrying her eleven-year-old daughter, Josephine Longhi. The girl had lost her power of speech and the use of her right hand. Count Cays said to himself. “If that girl comes out cured, it will be a proof that Our Lady wants me to become a Salesian, and 1 shall put aside all doubts and fears”… He (Don Bosco) blessed her and told her to make the Sign of the Cross. She started to do so with her left hand, but he stopped her. “Useyour right hand,” he said. “She cannot,” her mother objected. “Let her try”…the girl quickly obeyed…her tongue was loos-ened… she exclaimed, “Oh, Mamma, the Madonna has cured me”… Count Cays had no further doubts about his vocation… (BM XIII, 160-161)

1881: French Cooperators

The vigil of Mary’s feast was enhanced by the presence of a group of French pilgrims who stopped in Turin for a half day, spending part of their time at the Oratory…After recalling their recent encounter in St. John Lateran, he (Don Bosco) thanked them fortheir visit and assured them of his own prayers and those of his Salesians and boys…then a good number of pilgrims, urged by Father (Francis) Picard, superior of the Assumptionists and eloquent leader of the pilgrimage, asked to be enrolled as Salesian cooperators. (BM XV, 138)

1895: Costamagna a bishop

The episcopal ordination of Costamagna took place on 23rd May. He was ordained by archbishop Riccardi of Netro and was the third salesian Bishop. Two years earlier Don Bosco foretold this event with these words: “My dear James, you will become a bishop later on!” (cfr. CDR, 205)

1906: Father Cafasso Venerable

Father Joseph Cafasso (+23 June 1860), confessor and spiritual director of Don Bosco, was declared Venerable on this day. (cfr. DDB, 205)

1920: Monument to Don Bosco

A monument to Don Bosco was inaugurated in front of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians in Turin. In 1868 Don Bosco had stopped in front of thissquare and said to his companion, Father Garino: “Here I would like to erect a monument to Moses who with his staff made water gush forth from a rock.” (cfr. MB IX, 207)

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