November 19

1830: John’s hopes too died

Fifteen-year old John was staying with Father Calosso who took great interest in him like a father. One morning the priest sent the boy home on an errand. “He had scarcely reached the house and was packing a few shirts when someone burst into the room and told him to rush back to Father Calosso immediately. The priest had been taken gravely ill and was asking for John… The priest nodded at something and made an effort to explain; he tried to speak, but his lips could not form a single word. Finally, he took a key from beneath his pillow and gave it to John, intimating with gestures that he was not to give it anyone and that everything contained in the chest was to be exclusively his… With a son’s love he gave the old priest his complete attention. Father Calosso died two days later, on November 21, at the age of 75, John’s hopes died with him. (BM I, 161)

1862: Rose bush blossomed in Winter

The following account was given by Mother Julie Sonnazzaro of the Sacred Heart Sisters on May 8, 1903. “Without previous notice – as was his (Don Bosco’s) custom with intimate friends – he called at the castle around eleven or eleven-thirty. It was November 19, 1862, feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and my grandmother’s name day. Like our uncles and aunts, she was a Salesian cooperator. During lunch Don Bosco became aware of the celebration in grand-mother’s honour. Simply and charmingly he expressed his regret at not having known of it beforehand, adding hope fully that the good Lord would make up for his oversight. We all took his words as a gracious compliment and nothing more. When lunch was over, we moved to the adjacent drawing room which opened into grandmother’s bedroom. (Both rooms have two windows). Imagine our astonishment at seeing all four windows framed in gorgeous roses and the entire castle wall on the side of grandmother’s bedroom literally covered with them. A climbing rose, barren at this time of year. had suddenly flowered. Joyous shouts came from all, as Don Bosco good-naturedly kept saying, ‘You see, the good Lord really did remember grandmother’s name day!’ ” (BM VII. 210-211)

1874: Prediction of death

On the occasion of the Exercise for a Happy Death, Don Bosco announced that one of the boys would not make it again. Two days later, on November 19. Father Berto asked for an explanation of the prophecy and recorded what Don Bosco said. Rather reluctantly, he answered: “I seemed to see all our boys walking towards a meadow, each on a path marked only for him. Some paths were very long, with signposts indicating the year 1874, 1875 and so on: others were not quite as long, and still others were much shorter. A few paths were very short and ended abruptly, marking the end of the boy’s life. There were also extremely short paths that were strewn with snares. t saw one boy standing on the spot where his path ended. The barely legible signpost was inscribed ‘1875: ‘l’his boy will not have a chance tor another Exercise tor a Happy Death, since he will die in 1874; possibly he may barely see the dawn of 1875, but he cannot make this pious exercise’ .” (BM X, 67)

1876: Re-accepted

On 19 November, eight years after he had unwisely left the Oratory CoCccro came back to Don Bosco Congregation. and was accepted into the Sale-,iar, At the end of his secondary school Don Bosco had told him, “You are not made for the world; what you need i the boy replied that he intend is a sheltered life.” But ed to enter the seminary, especially to please his parents. “Do as you wish,” you will be a priest only Don Bosco advised, “but y if you join a religious order.- He entered the seminary …in his fourth year of theology, however, his rector called him one day and told him abruptly that he had no priestly vocation, on returning to his family, the poor fellow felt like a fish out of water. He stayed at home for two years, restless in spirit, until he recalled Don Bosco’s advice at his departure from the a oratory. He went to speak with him, pleading to be admitted into the Salesian Congregation. After securing adequate information, Don Bosco accepted him. (BM XII, 238)

1885: Not a nun but a mother

Princess Caroline de Bourbon asked Don Bosco’s opinion on her entering the Carmelite Order. “No,” the saint replied, “you will marry a nobleman from Poland and have many children.” On November 19, 1885 she married count Andrew Zamoyski of Poland and had 12 children. (cfr. MB XVII, 897)

1922: Death of Father Milanesio (1843-1922)

In 1866 young Milanesio called on Don Bosco for advice about his vocation and, as a result, promptly decided to become a Salesian. In 1877 he tookpart in the third missionary expedition to Argentina. He first worked at “La Boca” in Buenos Aires, but in 1880 he became a full-fledged missionary at Viedma in Patagonia, which he criss-crossed at incredible sacrifice, winning the love of all. When in 1883 the leading cacique Manuel Namuncura decided to surrender to the Argentinean government, he asked Fr. Milanesio to act as an intermediary. It was he again who, on December 24, 1888, baptized the cacique’s son, Zephrin, whose cause of beatification has been introduced. Fr. Milanesio was rightfully called the “Father of the Indians.” He died in Benal, Argentina, on November 19, 1922. (BM XIV, 576)

1936: Brother Eliseus Garcia, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 29, a Salesian for 4 years – martyred at Garraf, cause introduced on December 15, 1953. (cfr. CDB, 434)

-1936: Alexander Planas, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 58, a domestic – martyred at Garraf, cause introduced on December 15, 1953. (cfr. CDB, 435) 

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