|The altar in St Francis de Sales Church|
Today is the day of the “Wandering Oratory”, aptly named as we literally wandered the streets of Turin to the various places that Don Bosco had left his mark on.
The morning started with mass in Don Bosco’s room. Fr Anthuvan gave us a profound homily on listening, as the Gospel today was about the “Ephata” story. He said, “listening to God implies obeying God in the Bible. In fact, praying is basically listening. When we sit in prayer an inner chaos opens up... but if we persevere, eventually, we can listen to the voice of love who calls us the Beloved.”
|The Marchioness Giulia Barolo|
After mass we visited the work and house of a remarkable woman, the Marchioness Giulia Barolo, one of the key benefactors of Don Bosco. Don Bosco’s life and hers crossed each other when she asked him to be the chaplain for the troubled girls that she cared for. Visiting the convent of the Daughters of the Good Shepherd, founded by her, we could hear her amazing story, told by an elderly but very strong and passionate Sister.
This courageous woman went through great political turmoil and family tragedies that could have turned a human heart into stone, but her heart was instead totally moved before the sufferings of others. Extremely rich and influential – equivalent to a billionaire in our time – the Marchioness Barolo could have enjoyed a luxurious life that money and power could bring her. But she chose instead to spend her money to help girls and women in difficulties, even to the point of suffering together with the prisoners in the prison! Her husband was of the same heart in his own charitable work, using their money to help those most in need. A married woman, she founded three congregations of Sisters, which are still active today. Extraordinarily well-educated, intelligent and influential, she even forever changed institutional laws for woman prisoners so they could be treated more humanely! Although Don Bosco later had to choose his boys over the security of this job, the Marchioness Barolo continued to help him quietly, seeing the good work he was doing. As we were listening to her story, we knew that we were listening to the life of another Saint! In fact her cause for canonisation has been started.
|The sacristy of St Francis of Assisi|
where Don Bosco met Bartholomew Garetti
by Sr Thuy-Linh Nguyen SPR