1853: Brick-Bat Welcome

1853: Brick-Bat Welcome

Don Bosco was on his way to the villa of Father Matteo Picco, in the company of young Francesia. When they reached a spot named after SS.Bino and Evasius, a group of young boys appeared from behind a clump of trees and began to pelt Don Bosco with stones. This was their usual pastime when anyone – especially a priest – ventured that way. Don Bosco turned around and calmly walked toward them, but they immediately began to run away…he took some medals out and held them up for their inspection. The bolder lads drew nearer, saying: “We didn’t throw the stones. It was the boys over there hiding behind those mulberry trees”…the boys came out of hiding and ran to him. “How about some cherries?” Don Bosco continued “We could eat a whole bushel of them,” they chorused (Don Bosco told us that this kind of approach always worked and that by spending a few soldi on fruit he was able to make friends with almost any boy)…. “We go to Don Bosco’s Oratory in Borgo Vanchiglia (some said). On important feast days we get a free breakfast.” With a smile, Don Bosco said: “What! You go to Don Bosco’s Oratory, and then you throw stones at him?” “Are you Don Bosco?” “That’s who I am.”
“Oh. Father, we’re sorry.” (BM iv, 469-70)

1867: Fingers Better Than Pliers

That day, Don Bosco called on Father Matthew Picco to wish him a happy name-day. He found him vainly attempting, with hammer and pliers, to pull out a nail firmly planted in the wall. “Let me try,- Don Bosco suggested. So saying, with two fingers he pulled the nail out with ease. (BM VIII, 410)

1870: Let The Sentry Remain

The Italian soldiers entered Rome and the Pope became a prisoner. The Holy Father was about to leave the eternal city, he was only waiting for Don Bosco’s advice on the matter. Finally the messenger arrived with the following advice. The Biographical Memoirs writes: It was, indeed, generally taken for granted that the Pope would leave Rome. He did not, however, and this was due precisely to this message from Don Bosco: “Let the sentry, the Angel of Israel, remain at his post and guard God’s stronghold and His holy ark.” The solemn tone of these words clearly reveals their source. Nordid thc Pope ever forget them I While even Catholics continued to believe that his departure from Rome was imminent, Don Bosco, to the astonishment of all, hastened to defend the rights of the Church and of the Supreme Pontiff so effectively that the latter was able to appoint bishops for more than a hundred vacant Italian dioceses without governmental interference. (13M x, 57)

1878: Ordination of Count Cays

Finally, on September 20, the archbishop ordained him a priest in the cathedral, in the presence of the nobility, his relatives, friends and acquaintances and a huge throng. The newly ordained priest could have solemnly celebrated his first Mass in Turin, but this would only have unduly interfered with his piety. Hence without fanfare of any kind, he went with his son to Sampierdarena and there celebrated High Mass in the church of St.Vincent’s Hospice. (BM XIII. 174)

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