The sixth part contains most of what, in Salesian tradition, is known as the “Spiritual Testament”. It is a handwritten notebook entitled Memories from 1841 to 1884-5-6 by Fr John Bosco to his Salesian sons, where the saint, on different occasions, especially in the final years of his life, wrote exhortations and reminders for his disciples, friends, benefactors and Cooperators.
In the early pages of the notebook are resolutions which Don Bosco wrote down for his priestly ordination (5 June 1841)and during the retreat in summer 1842 (no. 298): this is a rare and interesting document of the initial steps the young priest took before choosing his definite field of action.
Seven texts follow of notable significance (nos. 299-305), where we can catch an overall view of the vocation and mission of the Salesian, together with an indication of the prospects deemed relevant for a dynamic fidelity: the determination to stand firm in one’s vocation until death; the importance of the exact observance of the Constitutions; avoiding triumphalism in the knowledge that every success is a gift from God; the link between the Salesian mission and Marian devotion, with a commitment to cultivate and spread this devotion; the care of vocations, forming young people to the desire “to consecrate themselves to the Lord in their youth” and detachment from the world and its allurements; the mission of the Salesian Rector as model and soul of the community with a primarily formative function; seeing to fraternal charity; avoiding “comfort” and “ease” as they are lethal dangers to the survival of the Congregation; attention to the privileged “children who are poorest, most at risk in society”; the wise administration of Houses and goods; the primacy of working for the salvation of souls; the sense of gratitude to benefactors, the “Cooperators and collaborators without whose charity we could do nothing, but with whose collaboration the Salesian work will be secure in history.”
Reference time period: 1841 – 1888
Salesian Historical Institute, Salesian Sources 1: Don Bosco and his work. Collected Works, LAS – Kristu Jyoti, Rome – Bangalore, 2017, 1104-1114.
Istituto Storico Salesiano