This site houses my creative summary on the second of the 19-volume Biographical Memoirs.

Biographical Memoirs is the biography of St. John Bosco.

Thanks for dropping by.

-Novice Donnie

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Convitto Ecclesiastico

The summer break was drawing to a close, and Don Bosco had to plan for his future. Don Bosco was offered three options:
  • Tutor a wealthy Genoese family with a salary of 1,000 lire yearly. Board, lodging and clothing were all free. The amount can be spent to improve the condition of his family.
  • Chaplaincy in his native Morialdo with an increase in the customary salary. In the people’s desire to win his favor, they were even willing to double the remuneration.
  • Curate at Castelnuovo.
Docile to the advice of Fr. Joseph Cafasso, he declined several offers made to him in autumn 1841 and accepted without hesitation to attend the Convitto Ecclesiastico in Turin where Don Cafasso was a professor.

The Convitto Ecclesiastico was founded by Fr. Louis Guala in 1817. When Don Bosco came in the Convitto, it was still under his able directorship.

The aim of its existence was to complete the ecclesiastical formation of young priests and orient them toward pastoral ministry. Don Bosco attested to this, he once said: “There one learnt to become a priest.”

He further added that it had done much good to the Church by “uprooting some roots of Jansenism which were still prevailing among us.”

Following the example of St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, the professors of the Convitto accomplished the following:

  • Defended the thesis of the preeminence of love over the law;
  • Encouraged a “sincere and tender” devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to Mary most Holy, and to the Pope; and
  • Recommended the frequent reception of the sacraments.
The Convitto’s Impact on Don Bosco
  • The Convitto had a great beneficial influence on DB. It led him from the rigors of the Chieri Seminary to a more optimistic form of Christian life, which was more in conformity with his temperament and which would favor his work on behalf of youth.
  • The pastoral orientation of the Convitto allowed him also to give himself to preaching, hearing confessions and teaching religion in various institutes of the city.
  • Besides this, his instinct directed him towards something different: YOUTH.
  • On Sundays and when opportunity allows him, he would go around the city to have an idea of the moral condition of the youth, and he realized how truly poor (both materially and morally) and abandoned youth was.
What, however, affected him most were his visits to the prisons in the company of Fr. Cafasso. He realized that those young prisoners (between the ages of 12 and 18), were lacking a “friend” who took real interest in them. These first experiences oriented him towards “poor and abandoned youth.”

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