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Written over several occasions between 1873 and 1875, the manuscript of the Memoirs of the Oratory remained unpublished by Don Bosco’s explicit will.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 – Appeals to private charity

The financial contributions asked for and obtained from public authorities and institutions were certainly not enough to help him confront the huge expenses of the Salesian Work. It was necessary to appeal to private charity. Logically, Don Bosco turned especially to families and individuals who had financial possibilities, meaning those belonging to the nobility, mostly large property owners, and the upper and middle class of the time who were notably ready to dispense charity. Some of these, albeit modest in their private savings, could actually find an outlet in educational and charitable works such as those of Don Bosco.

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Giovanni Bosco – Recourse to public charity

As we have just said, for the financial resources needed to supply the everincreasing costs of his work, Don Bosco appealed to institutions: the Royal family, Government authorities, public officials (local council, provincial, state …), existing charitable organisations locally, the National Bank, parishes, dioceses, the Holy See itself through his best supporters, including the Pope.

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Giovanni Bosco – Difficult relationships with the Archbishop of Turin

Relationships between Don Bosco and Archbishop Gastaldi went through two different stages, one of great understanding and cooperation, and another of notable difficulties and conflicts. The watershed could be considered to be Gastaldi’s transferral from the Episcopal See of Saluzzo to being Archbishop of Turin in 1871.

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Giovanni Bosco – Interventions to solve the matter of Bishops’ ‘Temporalities’ (1872-1874)

The Law of Guarantees on 13 May 1871 and decrees applying to this required that for newly appointed bishops to enter into possession – the so-called temporalities – they had to present the Minister with the original decree of appointment and formally ask for the exequatur to be granted. This act, in the Holy See’s judgement, implied recognising the Kingdom of Italy which came into being in 1861, and included part of the Papal States ‘illegally’ taken from the Pontiff.

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Giovanni Bosco – Indicators to the Holy see for the choice of new bishops for vacant sees (1867-1877)

One of the most difficult conflicts to resolve in relationships between the Holy
See and the new Kingdom of Italy was that of the dozens of Episcopal sees left vacant
for political reasons. Both parties were aware of the seriousness of the situation, but
attempts to exit from the situation were shipwrecked by the persistent serious friction
brought about by proclaiming a Kingdom which comprised territories taken from
the Papal States (1861). Only in 1865-1867 did a process of détente coming
into place, where, having overcome mutual resistance, the Holy See succeeded in
appointing many bishops with the agreement of authorities of the Kingdom.

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Giovanni Bosco – Confidential letters to the Pope concerning the political situation (1858-1867, 1873)

In the years immediately preceding and following Italian Unity (1858-1866), Don Bosco kept constantly in touch with Pius IX by letter. He did this not only for interests directly relating to his work, but also in reference to the worrying situation the Church was going through in Piedmont, to encourage him in his defence of the faith against the enemies of religion, and to pass on to him any likely reserved information in his possession. As already indicated, Don Bosco was with Pius IX and his Secretary of State, Card. Antonelli, on the Roman question. Slowly however, he became convinced that a too vigorous resistance to the “revolution” was becoming ever more pointless, even risked worsening the situation, so after the capture of Rome he chose, also politically, the principle of doing whatever good could be done.

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Giovanni Bosco – Beginning, extension and charismatic and institutional consolidation of the work at Valdocco

Don Bosco, at the advice of his spiritual director, St Joseph Cafasso from autumn 1844 to summer 1846 lived at the Barolo Refuge as chaplain of the Little Hospital of St Philomena, opened in August 1845. In the same place and in other temporary places not far from Valdocco, he carried out his early priestly ministry on behalf of boys, mostly immigrant lads who had no parish of reference. On the vigil of his move to the Pinardi house, he drew up for the civil authorities of the city of Turin, who were responsible for and concerned about public order, a very brief account of his three years of catechetical activity, indicating the aims and results he had achieved that were positive both for civil society and the Church (no. 1).

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Giovanni Bosco – Saint Dominique Savio 1842-1857

Dominique est entré dans la vie de Don Bosco durant l’automne 1854. L’apôtre turinois avait alors trente-neuf ans. D’emblée, l’enfant et le prêtre s’étaient compris: Don Bosco put former Dominique selon l’idéal de sainteté qu’il portait en lui. Pendant vingt-huit mois, il veilla sur son âme. Toute son œuvre en bénéficia, car il semble bien que la température spirituelle de la «maison» du Valdocco monta en flèche de 1854 à 1857.
La fragilité naturelle de Dominique s’accrut malheureusement très vite et, le 9 mars 1857, il fut emporté par une maladie de poitrine, à quinze ans moins vingt-quatre jours.
Ce jeune garçon avait produit une telle impression que ses nombreux amis et, moins encore, le directeur de son âme ne purent se résoudre à le laisser oublier. Continue reading “Giovanni Bosco – Saint Dominique Savio 1842-1857”

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