SACRA RITUUM CONGREGATIONE – SACRA RITUUM CONGREGATIONE, Aquen, Beatificationis et canonizationis servae Dei Mariae Dominicae Mazzarello prima antistitae Instituti Filiarum Mariae Auxiliatricis. Summarium super dubio

Giovanni Bosco – “Memoirs of the oratory”

Written over several occasions between 1873 and 1875, the manuscript of the Memoirs of the Oratory remained unpublished by Don Bosco’s explicit will. However Fr John Bonetti drew on it abundantly for his History of the Oratory of St Francis de Sales, (which found its way into English under a different title Don Bosco’s Early Apostolate) published as a series in the Salesian Bulletin between 1879 and1886. And Fr John Baptist Lemoyne included it in its entirety in the first volumes of the Biographical Memoirs, adding in other information and anecdotes drawn from other witnesses. The first complete edition of the Memoirs appeared in 1946. The decision to put the book in the public domain in its entirety was motivated by the universal dimension that the Saint has taken on, as Eugene Ceria wrote in the presentation: “Today Don Bosco has become part of history and also been listed among the saints.”

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Giovanni Bosco – Spiritual Testament

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.

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Giovanni Bosco – Exemplary biographies

The biographical profiles of Louis Comollo (in the 1854 edition), Dominic Savio, Michael Magone and Francis Besucco are among the spiritual and pedagogical documents which are most representative of Don Bosco’s outlook. From these stories comes a horizon of meaning, a way of thinking and acting thoroughly rooted in his cultural context. At the same time however, beyond historical contingencies, they highlight a range of elements which better illustrate the characteristic features of the saint’s spiritual pedagogy.

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Giovanni Bosco – The marian dimension of salesian spirituality

Don Bosco, a tireless apostle of Marian devotion, emphasised the role of the Blessed Virgin for salvation of the individual in the Companion of Youth: she is the mediatrix of graces, defence against the assaults of evil, support in living a Christian life and on the way to holiness. These are things he draws from St Alphonsus Liguori: true devotion expressed through a life of virtue above all guarantees the most powerful patronage one could have in life and in death.

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Giovanni Bosco – Zeal for the salvation of souls Don Bosco’s models

Efforts to reform society along Christian lines, undertaken in the Turin diocese after the fall of Napoleon’s Empire, in addition to taking up systematic parish catechesis once more, fostering popular missions, the Forty Hours and retreats for all kinds of groups, focused above all on reform of the clergy, beginning with more careful selection of candidates for the priesthood and diligent care in their preparation. With this in mind diocesan authorities first reorganised the seminary in the capital (1819), strengthening disciplinary and spiritual aspects, and encouraged the initiatives of Fr Luigi Guala, approving the Rule for the Pastoral Institute [Convitto ecclesiastico] (1821), then extended the seminary at Bra (1824-1825), and finally set up a new seminary in Chieri (1829) in the old house which belonged to the Oratorians (St Philip Neri’s priests), putting trusted formators in charge. The model of formation espoused by the archbishop, the Camaldolese Colombano Chiaveroti (1754-1831), drew its inspiration from priestly ideals belonging to post-Tridentine Catholic tradition, with a strong emphasis on apostolic charity and pastoral sacrifice (the priest had to be a “victima charitatis”). Meanwhile groups of generous clergy, supporting his reform efforts, made themselves available for preaching to the people, the ministry of confessions and spiritual direction, along with some orders and congregations that had been set up once more after the suppression in the French era.

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Giovanni Bosco – Spiritual advice for friends, cooperators and benefactors

Don Bosco’s correspondence with the Cooperators and friends, lay and clerical, always contains detailed and substantial spiritual suggestions aimed at proposing a way of interior life along with devotion and spiritual fervour, the practice of virtue, charity, loving and faithful fulfilment of the duties of one’s state in life.

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Giovanni Bosco – Cooperators in the salesian mission

The first text (no. 272) included here is an extract from a long conference which Don Bosco gave at the opening of the Patronage de St Pierre in Nice, on 12 March 1877. After summing up the events which led to the founding of the first Salesian House in France, thanks to the involvement of a group of lay people belonging to the St Vincent de Paul Society, supported by Bishop Pietro Sola, the saint said that the work was only set up because of the fruitful cooperation between the Salesians and the Cooperators. Then, pointing out the principal purpose of the Institution (“the good of humanity and the salvation of souls”), he concluded with the reflection that we offer here, focused entirely on practical charity, works of mercy, essential features of true Christian discipleship and on the eternal reward that comes from it (cf. Mt 25:34-35).

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Giovanni Bosco – Spiritual resources of the christian

All the means of salvation are to be found in the Church, where holiness and charity flourish. Don Bosco constantly invites adults and young people to cooperate with the action of grace, hope and charity, generously offering themselves through constant prayer, and by frequenting the sacraments but especially by imitating Jesus Christ in a virtuous life of charitable works.

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Giovanni Bosco – Personal letters to Salesians and Daughters of Mary Help of christians

These brief items of correspondence, written in familiar tone, contain simple advice on spiritual life. Don Bosco knew those he wrote to, their character, defects, the circumstances in which they worked. In a practical way he invited them to focus on concrete attitudes essential for nurturing their attachment to their Salesian vocation, constantly keeping their hearts leaning to God and charity.

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