October 15

1880: Future of Barcelona house predicted

Don Bosco seems to have had a very clear notion of the good work his sons were called upon to carry out in Spain. In fact, he told the future director of Utrera (Father John Baptist Branda) on the feast of St.Theresa of Avila in 1880, “Utrera will serve to hone our weapons and whet our swords as we move forward into much broader fields. In the near future a married woman living presently in Barcelona – and, mind you, this is certainly no dream – will be widowed and will ask us to go to Barcelona. There we shall establish a house, and then many other houses will follow.” This prediction began to come true in 1882 when Dorotea Chopitea de Serra became a widow; in suffrage for her husband’s soul she decided to sponsor a festive oratory and a hospice for abandoned youth, entrusting both to the Salesians. That was the real source of the vast growth of Don Bosco’s Congregation in Spain. (BM XV, 274)

1886: Help for the missions sought

Don Bosco had a circular letter on the missions printed in five languages: Italian, French, Spanish, English and German. It gave news of and asked help for, a group of 30 missionaries who were about to leave for South America. The saint sent a copy of the letter to every country in Europe, to the Emperor of China and the Shah of Persia. He had to write 100,000 addresses. (cfr. MB XVIII, 210, No. 706)

1955: Vocations predicted

Sister Frances Testa, Daughter of Charity died at the age of 81. Asa little girl of 6 at the orphanage of Bra, she was presented to Don Bosco by a bigger girl of 18. The latter asked the saint whether she could become a sales ian sister. Don Bosco replied, “No, you will not be a sister. Then placing his hands on the head of the little one, the saint said, “She will become a nun.” Once again turning to the older girl, he said, “Wait for three months and you will see!” In fact she died three months later and Catherine. Testa entered the convent at the age of 26. (cfr. ANS, October 1955)

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