Sunday, January 31, 2010

Feast day of John Bosco

Today is the feast day of John Bosco, the patron saint of one of my very close friends. Here is the link for New Advent's brief biography of Don Bosco:

Feel free to visit and boost your knowledge of awesome Catholic saints!

For now, I would like to share a story with you from back when I was in Italy. My friend (Adam Trufant) and I ventured via train to Turin in the Northernmost part of Italy. Our destination, aside from eating delicious swordfish and drinking white wine in the piazza, was a pilgrimage to St. John Bosco's grave in the Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians.

Upon arriving in Turin at night, we were diligently adventuring for a youth hostel to rest up for the night when we got lost. Downtrodden and nearly hopeless, we came upon a wall containing a sculpture of Mary, help of Christians and Adam says, "hey, I've been praying to Mary for guidance tonight" and a feeling of comfort filled the two weary travelers.

We strolled up to the gate of what appeared to be a boy's school (Don Bosco founded a series of boy's schools as orphanages) and we gazed inside. A car of three men dressed in black rolled up behind us and said "Are you looking for the hostel?"... "yes sir"... "well, this isn't it". Wait a second, are those priests? Hold up, is this one of Don Bosco's schools? Adam quickly explains, "sir, Don Bosco is my patron saint and we're here on a pilgrimage to his grave." The men shuffle around inside the car and say some brief phrases in Italian and then invite us in for some delicious soup and drinks. What a huge blessing!

But that's not it.

After about an hour or two of food and fellowship with two peculiar french Salesian priests, we were offered a very unique experience. They took us to Don Bosco's first grave where he had been prior to his current resting place in Our Lady Help of Christians Basilica. Then they showed us a PHENOMENAL church built by Don Bosco with vibrant blues and purples, golds and greens, and glorious statues of saints lining the walls giving us a feeling of being in the communion of saints. This was no typical tourist trip.

After all of this, they gave us a ride to the hostel and got yelled at by the security guard for blasting their 90's American rock music as we pulled up.

The next day, Adam and myself took our trip across Turin to visit the beautiful church where Don Bosco rests, incorrupt. We spent over two hours praying and soaking up the splendor of the environment before heading out for some swordfish and white wine. Happy ending :)

Happy feast day of Don Bosco! God bless you.


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