The present essay has a rather modest aim. Steering clear of the complexities of a biographical reconstruction, it will simply describe Don Rosco’s last years, including his last illness and death, with focus on the person, and with emphasis on words and attitudes.
For this it will rely on eyewitness accounts, the chronicles and memoirs authored by Salesians close to the saint. The Biographical Memoirs and other Lives of Don Bosco, reliable though they be, do not generally convey that sense of immediacy and the direct perception which those early documents possess.
Biographical concerns, as well as hagiographic purposes, have demanded molding and editing of the original material.
- Part I: Chronicles and Memoirs
- I. Carlo Maria Viglietti: His Chronicles and Memoirs
- II. Pietro Giuseppe Enria and His Memoirs
- III. Antonio Sala and His Memoir
- IV. Francesco Cerruti and His Memoir
- V. Father Michele Rua’s Reports
- VI. Dr. Giovanni Albertotti and His Biography of Don Bosco
- Part II. Don Bosco’s Bouts with Illness and the Years of His Decline
- I. Antecedent Medical History
- II. The Crises of 1884
- III. The Period of Quasi-Retirement and Decline (1885-1887)
- Part III. Don Bosco’s Last Illness and Saintly Death
- Introductory Comment of the Nature of Don Bosco’s Last Illness
- I. The First Crisis: December 20-31,1887
- II. Period of Illusory Recovery: January 1-20, 1888
- III. The Final Crisis and Don Bosco’s Saintly Death: January 21-31, 1888
Reference time period: 1884 – 1888
A. Lenti, Don Bosco’s last years, his last illness and saintly death from eyewitness accounts, in «Journal of Salesian Sudies» 5 (1994) 2, 23-97.
Institute of Salesian Studies