Skip to comments.The Many Miracles of Don Bosco
Posted on 01/31/2014 2:21:57 PM PST by NYer
One well-authenticated cure by Fr. John Bosco took place the same year that six boys were healed of smallpox at Lanzo. It occurred about 5 p.m. on May 16, the evening of Pentecost, in the Church of Mary Help of Christians, which Don Bosco built next to his complex of homes and schools for boys in Turin. Maria Stardero, a blind girl of ten or twelve, was led by her aunt into the church, where dozens of boys were standing about or kneeling in prayer as they waited for Don Bosco to arrive for confessions. Fr. Francis Dalmazzo, one of the first Salesians, spoke to the woman. In his testimony he later recalled, I was grieved to see that the young girls eyes had no corneas and resembled white marbles.
When Don Bosco arrived, he questioned the girl about her condition. She had not been born blind, but as a result of eye disease her sight had been completely lost two years earlier. When he asked about medical treatment, the aunt began to sob that they had tried everything, but doctors could only say the eyes were beyond hope.
Can you tell whether things are big or small? the saint asked.
I cant see a thing.
He led her to a window. Could she perceive light?
Not at all.
Would you like to see?
Oh, yes! Its the only thing I want, and she began to sob about how miserable she was.
Will you use your eyes for the good of your soul and not to offend God?
I promise I will, with all my heart!
Good. You will regain your sight, the man whose own vision was in need of help assured her. With a few sentences he encouraged the visitors to have faith in the intercession of Mary. With them he recited a Hail Mary and another prayer to Mary, the Hail, Holy Queen. Then, urging them to have absolute trust in the prayers of the Mother of Christ, he blessed the girl. After that he held a medal of Mary Help of Christians, in front of her and asked, For the glory of God and the Blessed Virgin, tell me what Im holding in my hand.
She cant . . . the elderly aunt began, but Don Bosco paid no heed, while the girl after a few seconds shouted, I see! Immediately she described the detailing on the medal. When she stretched out her hand to receive it, however, it rolled into a dim corner.
The aunt moved to retrieve it, but Don Bosco motioned her back.
Let her pick it up to see if the Blessed Virgin has thoroughly restored her sight, he insisted. Unerringly the girl bent into the shadows and picked up the tiny object. As the many witnesses looked on, awed and profoundly moved, Maria, beside herself with joy, bolted for home, while her aunt thanked Don Bosco profusely with sobs now of joy.
If Maria Stardero was so wild with joy she forgot to even thank the one whose prayer obtained her cure, she returned soon afterward to make her small donation to his work and offer thanks. Forty-six years later, in 1916, when some Salesians checked on her, she still had perfect vision.
Among the other cures that seemed to be given by God to gain benefactors for the humble priests work were a number in Rome. For example, when Don Bosco had great trouble there getting approval for his radical new congregation, God used the saint to give healings to several important church officials who opposed approval or to members of their families. For all todays theology about not bargaining with God, God seemed himself to barter the cures for approval of his saints congregation.
Among these cures a key opponent, Monsignor Svegliati, was healed overnight of virulent influenza following the saints visit; Cardinal Antonelli, in great pain and immobilized by gout, when Don Bosco called on him was well the next day; and the eleven-year-old nephew of Cardinal Berardi, dying of typhoid, was inexplicably healed after the saint came to pray over him. To each of these churchmen, before working the cure, Don Bosco made it clear that their vote was expected in return. These changed votes gave the Salesians approval.
Unbelievers were also among those healed by the saint. I think of the prominent doctor who came to visit Don Bosco. After a few social remarks, he said, People say you can cure all diseases. Is that so?
Certainly not, the saint answered.
But I’ve been told The well-educated man was suddenly stammering. Fumbling in his pockets, he pulled out a tiny notebook. See. I’ve even got the names and what each one was cured of.
Don Bosco shrugged. Many people come here to ask favors through Marys intercession. If they obtain what they seek, thats due to the Blessed Virgin, not me.
Well, let her cure me, the doctor said agitatedly, tapping the notebook on his well-clad knee, and Ill believe in these miracles too.
Whats your ailment?
Im an epileptic. His seizures, he told Don Bosco, had become so frequent during the past year that he couldn’t go out any more. In desperation, he was hoping for help beyond medicine.
Well, do what the others do who come here, Don Bosco said matter-of-factly. You want the Blessed Virgin to heal you. So kneel, pray with me, and prepare to purify and strengthen your soul through confession and Holy Communion.
The physician grimaced. Suggest something else. I cant do any of that.
It would be dishonest. Im a materialist I dont believe in God or the Virgin Mary. I dont believe in miracles. I dont even believe in prayer.
For a space the two men sat in silence. Then Don Bosco smiled, as only he could, at his visitor. You are not entirely without faith after all, you came here hoping for a cure.
As the saint smiled at him, something welled up in the doctor. Don Bosco knelt, and he knelt too without another word and made the Sign of the Cross.
Moments later, he began his confession.
Afterward, he declared, he felt a joy he would never have believed possible. Time and again he returned to give thanks for his spiritual healing.
As for the epilepsy, that simply vanished.
After Don Boscos death, there were many miracles to testify to the sanctity of this great friend of God. Ignoring those involving after-death appearances by the saint because I treat this subject at length in another book, and ignoring those in which the saints relics played the predominant role, I offer as examples the cures of two women.
Sr. Mary Joseph Massimi, of the convent of Santa Lucia in Selci, Italy, was about to die in 1928 of a duodenal ulcer. Her confessor gave this Augustinian nun a relic of Don Bosco, who was not yet beatified, and advised that she make a novena for his intercession. During the novena, instead of improving, her condition got worse. It was obvious that her recuperative powers were simply gone. But the nuns faith was unshaken. She simply began a second novena.
He was a TRULY amazing man and saint.
Thanks for that. I needed it.
That reminds me, I have a novena to St. Dominic Savio that I sometimes remember to start on the first of the month.
A couple of years ago EWTN showed an Italian made biography of Saint Bosco. It was subtitled in English. I thought it quite good. Especially for one whose sole identification with the name Bosco meant a chocolate syrup from his childhood days.
If you see the bio pic advertised, please watch it.
If it’s “St. John Bosco: Mission to Love,” Netflix has it on DVD, and I think Ignatius Press sells it.
I DID see it. It was WONDERFUL . I was picturing the movie as I wrote about him.
I was glad that we got to see some of the BOY, Giovanni Bosco.
Isn’t he the patron saint of recruiting every teenage athlete within 50 miles, and then crush your opponents into the dust.
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