September 11

1871: Don Bosco bishop-maker

Don Bosco left for Rome and left word for the inquirers that he had been summoned to Rome ” to assist someone very ill.” He meant the “Kingdom of Italy.” In Rome, he hastened to give the Holy Father his list of episcopal candidates. The Pope went over it carefully, and such was his trust in Don Bosco that he endorsed it in full. He then asked to which dioceses they should be appointed, and Don Bosco named eighteen. Again the Pope approved. (Bivi x,199) Mgr. Manacorda kept telling Don Bosco to have Bishop Colli of Alessandria transferred to Turin. Pius IX, gladly recalling Gastaldi ‘s stand in defence of papal infallibility during the Vatican Council, and perhaps also looking¬† forward to having him at the Vatican, was reluctant, but Don Bosco insisted so much that the Pope finally yielded. “You really want him, and so I give him to you! Tell him from me that I now make him archbishop of Turin, only to make him somewhat more in a couple of years.” This was a clear allusion to his elevation to the college of cardinals. (BM X, 200)

1880: Boys, not girls

Travelling by train once Don Bosco revealed to a nun who was sitting nearby. her thoughts regarding the size of his ears. The poor sister blushed. Wishing to release her of her embarrassment he smilingly asked:
“Where are you going, Sister?” “To Sardinia… I am going to care for orphan girls. “What if you had to look after little boys instead?” “Oh?” “Wouldn’t you like that?” “No.” “Yet one can do a lot of good for little street boys.” One of the other nuns interrupted: “Don Bosco, why don’t you send your priests there?…” “For the moment Sardinia does not seem to be our field of work”, he said, gently shaking his head. “We shall see…” On reaching Leghorn… Sister Brambilla (was told) not to go to thegirls’ orphanage but rather to a boys’ hospice. When she got there, she understood the purpose of Don Bosco’s parting exhortation… (BM XIV, 549)

1881: Dream of Ten Diamonds

On the night of September 10-11, while I was asleep, I dreamed that I was in a richly adorned hall… a man of majestic mien – so majestic that none of us could fix our gaze on him – appeared among us… He was clad in a rich mantle or cape closed at the front of the neck with a scarf from which a ribbon hung down on his chest. The scarf was inscribed in luminous letters “The Pious Salesian Society in 1881;” on the ribbon were the words; “wha tit ought to be”… Three diamonds Faith…Hope… Charity…fourth diamond: Work… the fifth…Temperance… The remaining five diamonds adorning the back of his cloak were set into a quadrangle: the largest and most brilliant sparkled in the very centre, and on it was written Obedience…. the lights were out and we were left in total darkness… the same august person appeared again, but he looked very sad and on the verge of tears. His cape was faded, moth-eaten and thread bare. Where each diamond had previously been set, there was now a gaping hole made by moths and other insects… (BM XV, 148-150 passim)¬†

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