September 28

1850: The Society of St.Francis of Sales

Don Bosco wrote a petition to Rome requesting special indulgences for the Salesian Society. They were all granted. The petition of Don Bosco was particularly important because the saint mentioned for the first time the title “Society of St.Francis of Sales.” (cfr. BM IV, 64; No. 521)

1850: Fransoni in exile

The Archbishop was banished from the realm by order of Marquis Massimo D ‘Azeglio. On September 28 (1850), he was removed from the fortress and escorted through the Alps to the frontier. The archbishop chose the city of Lyons as his place of exile. In Lyons civil and military authorities, priests and laymen vied with each other to honour him… continued to govern his diocese from Lyons as well as he could until his death. (BM IV, 76)

1876: Four dreams

During the Spiritual Retreat Don Bosco narated four of his dreams to his salesians. 1) Humility Saved Them Don Bosco dreamt that he was in the company of many salesians in a field between Turin and Lanzo. A mysterious personage asked him to lie down to save himself from the attacks of a wild bull. As soon as they hear the roar of a bull, an unusual and thundering roar, they are immediately to fling themselves face down upon the ground and stay that way until the bull has passed. God help anyone who will not obey. …Holy Scripture tell us that the lowly shall be exalted and the proud will be humbled.. a few remained standing in order to have a good look at the bull. “Now you will see what happens to them” the man told me (Don Bosco ). “You will see what they get for refusing to lie down.” …And my friend kept yelling: “He who humbles himself shall be exalted and he who exalts himself shall be humbled”… the bull had seven horns set almost in a circle… he kept running forward without a turn, knocking down anyone he encountered…. The bull was now upon us. The man shouted, “Now you will see the power of humility.” Instantaneously, to our astonishment, we found ourselves lifted high into the air, so that the bull could not possibly reach us…. (BM xii, 336; No. 37) 2) Prayer the best defence against devil The scene changed.Don Bosco and his companions found themselves (in the dream) in a vast church beautifully decorated with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. While we were all kneeling in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, a host of most horrid roaring bulls appeared, their heads bristling with horns. They came close to us, but since we were in adoration before the Blessed sacrament.. they could do us no harm.After a while… we saw that the bulls had left… You know well enough that the bull symbolizes the devil, our spiritual enemy who in rage against us continually tries to harm us. The seven horns are the seven capital sins. We can be preserved from the horns of this bull, that is, from the devil’s assaults, and not fall into those sins, mainly by humilty, the bedrock of virtue. (BM xi’, 337) 3) Work and Temperance
The dream continued Drawing me aside, he (the personage of the dream) said, ‘Come I will show you the triumph of the Congregation of St.Francis de Sales. Climb that rock and you will see!’ A huge boulder stood in the middle of that boundless field, and I climbed on it. A limitless panorama of spread before me… People every race, colour and nation gathered there… To the south I could see Sicilians. Africans, and an innumerable host ofpeople I did not know. All had Salesians in the lead, but I could recognize only those in the first few ranks…. Then my guide said to me, `.. Doyou see how immense a harvest it is? This vast field you stand on is the Salesians’ field of labour. The Salesians whomyou see are already at work and you know them, but then the horizon extends asfar •as you can see, filled with people yet unknown to you. This means •that not only in this century but also in the next and in future centuries, Salesians will labour in fields of their own. Do you know under what conditions the achievements you have seen are to be reached? I will tell you. Take heed: you must have these words engraved on your coat-or arms as your watchword, your badge. Note them well: Work and Temperance will make the Salesian Congregation flourish… (RM XII, 337) 4) Four Nails The guide showed Don Bosco four nails fixed to a placard. These nails sympolind the great dangers which religious congregations have to fight against. Don Bosco read the inscription under every nail. “Look at the first” (the guide said). I did so and read the words, “Their god is their belly” (Phil 3, 19). “Ah, now I began to understand,” I exclaimed. My guide remarked, “If you are not careful, it will create havoc among you also. Fight it relentlessly”… “Now read the inscription on the nail of the second compartment: ‘They are husily seeking their own interests rather than that of Jesus Christ’ (Ph 2, 21).This refers to those who seek their own comfort and ease….” On the third compartment, I saw the third nail’s inscription. 1 read: “Theirs is the tongue of an asp.” My guide said: “A fatal nail for any congregation will be grumblers and complainers, those who, right or wrong, are forever criticizing.” The fourth compartment read: “Chamber of idleness gains a footing in a community, it totally destroys it….Do you see that little cublicle which belongs to no compartment and yet reaches a little into all?”…1 peered intently and read: “The snake lurks in the grass.” “What are you driving at?” “Look, their are some people who lie low. They clam up and never confide In their superior; they keep their secrets to themselves. Be on guard, for the snake lurks in the grass. They are a real scourge, a plague for any congregation we would worthily close this retreat if we were resolve to live up to our motto, Work and temperance, and strive to a man, to keep from us the four great naild which plague religious life. They are gluttony, comfort and ease, grumbling and idleness. To this we might add that each one is to be always open, truthful and trusting with his superiors.” (BM XII, 339-341-passim)

1936: Father Salvatore Fernandez, Martyr (Spanish)

– aged 66, salesian for 45 years, a priest for 40 – martyred at Madrid, cause introduced on October 9, 1956. (cfr. CDB, 366)


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