May 26

1860: House search

By order of the Ministry of the Interior a thorough house-search was made at the Oratory. The event is graphically described in the Biogra phi -cal Memoirs: “You still have not identified yourself,” Don Bosco firmly replied…. “Have you a search warrant, as the law prescribes?…11 you want to search my premises, you must show me a warrant.” While this argument was going on, eighteen plain clothesmen and uniformed policemen were scattering about the playground…He (the officer) then sent an aide to secure a search warrant at the police station. A good hall. hour went by before he returned. (BM VI, 317-319) The drawer of a dresser was locked and Don Bosco was ordered to open it. He protested, “confidential papers,I don’t want anyone to see them!” “Secret or no secret open this drawer, or we’ll smash the lock.” “Very well, I’ll yield to violence.” He (Cap. Tua) pulled out one sheet and read aloud, “For bread supplied to Don Bosco, amount due: 7,800 lire. Magra”… He took out another sheet: “For leather supplied to Don Bosco’s cobbling shop, amount due: 2,150
lire… They went through all the hooks to make sure that there were no concealed secret papers; in the process they raised a cloud of dust… “well done, gentlemen” Don Bosco exclaimed. “Thanks for dusting my books – a job long overdue! Were it not for you, months and may he even years might have gone by before it could he done.” (um VI, 322-323)

1870: Sick man cured

Peter Marchino who had been in the throes of a violent fever, realizing that he was getting no better, got out of bed and went to the sacristy where Don Bosco was about to vest for Mass. The saint told him: “Dear Marchino, I’ll give you my blessing now. Kneel down.” The boy did so and Don Bosco blessed him. He served Mass and was no longer troubled by fever. He testified to this after his priestly ordination. (BM IX, 423)

1877: Count Cays at the Oratory

Count Cays entered the Oratory as an aspirant on this day (cfr. 23 May). He was ordained on 20 September 1878. (cfr. MB XIII. 218)

1882: Don Bosco a communist?

Don Bosco’s writing in the Salesian Bulletin on alms-giving upset a vicar forane in Emilia. He very respectfully wrote his objections to Don Bosco: “I fully appreciate that a sacred preacher who has so much at heart the salvation of souls and the cause of the poor cannot speak with mathematical precision and therefore has to employ rhetorical devices to bring home his message, but even then I feel he must not deviate from the ambit of truth…he can rely on countless other expedients better able to produce the same results.” (BM XV, 438) Don Bosco followed up what he had said in another article in the Salesian Bulletin. The vicar forane to whom it was directed answered over a year later, moved to reply, he said, by a conversation he had with “a diocesan priest, highly respected for both piety and learning.” According to him the theories upheld in the article tallied with those of communism. His criticism, focussed on the article’s three main points and corroborated by authoritative moral theo-logians, is far from negligible. But in the matter of almsgiving Don Bosco was less concerned with theological arguments and more with the Gospel’s commands and threats issued to the rich. (BM XV, 439)

1883: Cowboy from Becchi

Don Bosco left Paris, but people spoke of him as a “saint and miracle worker!” During his train journey to Italy he told Father Rua, “If the people of Paris only knew that they were honouring a cowboy from Becchi!…the world understands so little!” (cfr. MB XVI. 256-258)

1886: Africa Don Bosco’s pet project

During one of the meetings of the General Council. Don Bosco spoke about a foundation at Cairo (Egypt), “It is one of my pet projects. which I had from my youth. If I were younger I would have asked Father Rua to accompany me to the Cape of Good Hope, to Nigeria…to Congo!” Ten years later, Father Rua sent the first salesians to Alexandria (Egypt), and Cape of Good Hope. Cairo had to wait for salesians till 1925. (cfr. MB XVIII, 142-143) 

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