October 6

1876: Dream of the “phylloxera”

At the end of a spiritual retreat for confreres Don Bosco narrated a dream which he had for three consecutive nights. It is known as the dream of the phylloxera. Find a group of religious told Don Bosco: “Tell your sons to beware of the phylloxera…keep the phylloxera far from your Congregation, and it will last a long time, flourish and do great good for souls.” “I don’t understand at all”… There was a jostling in the crowd and way was made for a new personage to step forth. (he said)… “…It is true that if you fight the phylloxera with all your might and teach your sons to do the same, your Society will not fail to grow. Do you know what the phylloxera is?…listen carefully. The phylloxera first shows up on just one plant, but in a short time all nearby plants become infected, even those at a distance…it is the wind which carries this curse to the branches of healthy plants…Well now, know this: the wind of grumbling bears the phylloxera of disobedience far. Now do you understand?” “I am beginning to.” “The harm caused by the phylloxera carried by this wind is beyond reckoning. In the most flourishing communities, it first undermines mutual charity, then zeal for the salvation of souls. Later it fosters idleness and destroys all other religious virtues and finally scandal turns a community into an object of censure by God and man… Half-measures are not enough. Radical action is needed …phylloxera on a single plant can immediately infact an entire vineyard…As soon as phylloxera appears on a plant, carefully cut it down along with the adjacent brush and burn everything…So also, when phylloxera appears in any community in the form of opposition to the superiors’ will, arrogant neglect of the rules, or contempt for the responsiblities of community life, do not delay. Raze that house to its foundation, get rid of its members, and don’t yield to dangerous tolerance…It is better to dismiss these haughty individuals than to keep them in the hope that they may sow seeds in the Lord’s vineyard. Impress this principle upon your memory, use it decisively when need arises, treat of it in your conference to your directors, and make it the topic of your closing sermon of the retreat.” (BM XII, 347-349-passim)

1923: Death of Father Peretto

Cleric Charles Peretto left as a missionary to South America in the fourth missionary expedition (1978). -You will work hard,” Don Bosco said to him. Then, picking up an orange, he gave it to him, saying: “Take it. You will remember this when you will be in the land of oranges.” When Peretto reached Uruguay and saw no orange groves, he thought, / must be in the wrong place! Later, on going to Brazil and seeing endless orange groves, he exclaimed, “This is where I am supposed to be.” In fact, on Bishop Lassagna’s death, he became provincial of the houses in Brazil and worked there for many years. (BM XIII, 610)

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