November 9

1829: Studied Latin under Calosso

As was agreed on 5 November last, Father Calosso started giving John Bosco Latin lessons. The priest marvelled at the pmdigious memory of his young student. His teacher told him, jokingly: “If you continue at this rate, soon you’ll know everything there is to learn in the world!” And every time he met Mamma Margaret, he would tell her: “Your son has a prodigious memory.” (BM I, 137)

1854: Bookbinding shop

The November 9, 1854 issue ofL ‘Armonia carried the following repon. A bookbinding shop was opened by our praiseworthy Don Bosco at the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in Valdocco in order to provide employment for several boys boarding there. Those W!> wish to support this charitable enterprise (and at the same time benefit by lower prices) can do so by havine, their hooks or other publicalions bound there. We warmly recommend this institution which, among others, now shelters eighteen boys orphaned by the deadly cholera epidemic and is about to accept more. (BM V, 24)

1875: First salesian house in France

The idea of buying a place at once had to be abandoned. A committe of gentlemen rented a textile mill and provided the basic furniture. The Bishop offered over 300 square yards of his own garden as a recreation area for the boys. Sine baculo et sine pera (without purse or staff – Lk 22:35), two priests, a cleric and a coadjutor arrived in Nice on November 9. Never was any House opened so modestly. Father Rua took pleasure in extolling the squalor of those beginnings and stressed two particulars in regard to them. Once when the Salesians there had visitors, they had to sit on their beds, first removing the mattresses, in order to have seats for everybody. Then when one of them had to go into another room to look for something; the others had to sit in the dark because there was only one lamp. Father Rua ended his description by saying,”These Houses are usually those most blessed by God.” (BM XI, 395)

1876: Missionaries with the Pope

…November 9, as they stood waiting in a semi-circle in a hall adjoining the private audience room, the Holy Father suddenly appeared in the company of Cardinals….”Look,” he exclaimed in a fatherly tone, “here is a band of Salesians who are going to South America. God bless you, my sons, and may the Holy Virgin protect you.” In a burst of love, thinking that they could act the way they did at the Oratory, they all rushed toward the Pope to kiss his hand. “No, no”, he said smilingly. “Servate ordinem” (keep order). “I will make the rounds and each can offer his own greeting.” (BM XII, 376)

1936: Brother Francis Martin, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 26, a salesian for 3 years – martyred at Madrid, cause introduced on October 9, 1956.

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