sábado, 8 de septiembre de 2012

At Chieri and Turin

Mr Ferrero is explaining in one of the Churches
where Don Bosco celebrated one of his first masses

Continuing to trace Don Bosco’s footsteps, we came to Chieri today, where he spent his adolescence and young adulthood. Under the guidance of a passionate Salesian Cooperator, Mr Giuseppe Ferrero, (who at 86 years of age amazed all of us with his energy!) we walked around the streets of Chieri, from where Don Bosco used to work hard in various jobs in exchange for a humble lodging and a bowl of soup every day, to his seminary and the room where his best friend Comollo  appeared to him. We were able to see the churches where he said some of his first masses. Everywhere we went, we could feel his presence as we were treading the same roads that he trod, and plaques, pictures and statues to commemorate him were found in many places.

The Seminary
Returning to Turin in the afternoon, we were given a tour in the magnificent Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. It was a moving experience to be able to venerate the two great Founders of the Salesian family in front of their relics, beautifully placed in glass shrines. The experience was greatly enriched with the explanations of our animators about the meaning and history of the many paintings and statues in the church. 

A plaque commemorating Don Bosco on the street of Chieri
Sr. Edna Mary, one of the animators, has said many times that our group was a lucky one as we were able to visit Castelgandolfo, have mass in front of the tomb of the first Pope of the Church, etc. Sure enough we were also able to visit the crypt underneath the church today – something that Sr. Edna Mary herself was not able to come down in the last 5 years or so due to renovation work in the crypt! Down in the crypt we were able to hear and see evidence of the story of the three Roman martyrs and how it was revealed to Don Bosco by Mother Mary, which led to the building of this Basilica on this spot! And we were able to see and venerate the relics of many Salesian Saints and other Saints who had “something to do with Don Bosco”!

The relic of Salesian Saints in the crypt of the
Mary Help of Christians Basilica in Turin
Today was also a very special day: the birthday of our Mother Mary. A solemn Eucharist was celebrated in the historical Church of St Francis de Sales behind the Basilica. Reflecting on the episode of the wedding in Cana, Fr Anthuvan reminded us to imitate Mary in her attentiveness to details and always let her words resound in our hearts, “Do whatever he tells you.”

After our evening meal, the day finished with a beautiful prayer and intimate moment contemplating the magnificent picture of Mary Help of Christians in the Basilica. A very meaningful rite was carried out as each Sister placed a symbolic “key” at the altar of Mary Help of Christians, a practice that Maria Mazzarello herself used to do to entrust the key of the house, which represented the key to the life of each Sister, to Mary.

by Sr Thuy-Linh Nguyen SPR

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