November 21

1830: Detachment

Father Calosso died on November 21, at the age of 75. John’s hopes too died with him. The circumstances in which he sent for John before his death, what he had told the boy earlier, the manner in which he placed the key of the strongbox into his hands, all indicated the dying man’s intentions very clearly. But John Bosco was not fully convinced and handed over the key of the strongbox to the heirs of the priest: “Here is the key to the money. Your uncle made me understand that I was not to give it to anybody. Some persons have told me that I had the right to take what was in the strongbox, but I’d rather be poor. I don’t want to start any trouble. Your uncle did not tell me clearly that the money was for me.” (BM I, 162)

1866: Dominic Savio’s remains exhumed

Don Bosco left Lanz° on November 21. On that same day Dominic Savio’s remains were exhumed at Mondonio – a desire he had always cherished in his heart. His skeleton, whole and intact, was reassembled in a new coffin, which was placed in a vault cut into the rear wall of SS. Fabian and Sebastian’s Church adjacent to the cemetery. (BM VIII, 233)

1867: Our Lady’s statue on the dome

On November 21, Don Bosco was at the oratory for the solemn blessing of our Lady ‘s statue on the top of the dome by Archbishop Riccardi of Turin. Solemn was the moment of the statue’s unveiling. It shone bright in the sunlight while the brass band accompanied a majestic hymn in Mary’s honour, sung by hundreds of voices.Now (in 1912) forty-five Years later, the statue still seems to say to its beholders who come from near and far:1 dwell in the highest places… that I may enrich those who love Me and may fill their treasures – (cfr.Sir 24:7, Pro v.8:21). This feast solemnly fulfilled Don Bosco’s old dream.” (BM VIII, 422)

1875: First house outside Italy

The Directorof the first house in Nice, France, was Father Ronchail, who later became provincial of France and Belgium. The house was opened on this day. “Don Bosco opened the house officially in Sunday, November 21, while the Festive Oratory dedicated to St. Peter in honour of the Bishop of the same name was opened the following Sunday. The Bishop said Mass in the humble chapel in the presence of many distinguished citizens. Announcing the ceremony that was to take place next day, the local catholic newspaper, La Semaine de Nice, began as follows in its issue of November 27: “At the beginning of the week we had the good fortune to welcome to our town the Rev. John Bosco of Turin; he is the apostle of homeless youth, a man of God, humble and admirable in his works. He came here to install three of his collaborators and to lay the foundations for one of those Institutes such as he alone is able to create with the sole help of Providence and without any other support save that of God.” (BM XI, 398)

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