The Life of Dominic Savio
Certain Graces Obtained from God Through the Intercession of Dominic Savio.
Amongst the many graces which are attributed to the intercession of Dominic Savio I select some which are of a more ordinary nature.
Of these graces there exist at the Archiepiscopal Palace at Turin an authentic account, signed by the recipients of the heavenly favours, for the truth of which they have publicly vouched. In order that the account may be given with greater exactness and truthfulness, I have deemed it advisable to give the facts just as they are related in the authentic accounts above mentioned. They are as follows:
CURE OF A MALIGNANT FEVER.
If it be the duty of a Christian to keep hidden such facts as redound to his own honour, it is, on the other hand, his duty to manifest such things as serve to glorify God's servants and to exalt His Holy Name before men.
This duty it is that impels me to publish a fact concerning the servant of God, Dominic Savio, whom I recognise as my protector before God and the benefactor of my family.
I had recommended myself on several occasions to the pious Louis Comollo, as others had done, and God in His goodness had always answered my request; on many occasions also I recommended myself to Dominic Savio, and his intercession with Our Lord on my behalf was always efficacious. Private motives keep me from relating a number of facts; one however I must make known, both in order to give to God that honour which is His due, and to glorify before Christians the faithful servant, whom God Himself has deigned to make the depository of His treasures.
Here is the fact in question; in relating it I am only saying what is absolutely true, and conscientiously stated.
On the 8th September, 1858, I caught a severe chill, which after keeping me confined to my bed for some weeks, developed into fever.
I tried the various treatments prescribed by the doctors, but without avail. My delicate constitution and my weak state of health soon brought me to a state of great weakness and left me almost prostrate.
Visits from medical men, consultations, change of air, medicines, country, were all unavailing in my case. To my bodily ailments was added anxiety of mind, consequent on my inability to attend to my duty as a mother of a family. I was indeed unfortunate. Prostrate on a sick bed, all hopes in doctors and medicines gone, nothing now remained for me but help from Heaven, and this did not fail me. Only a few days before, a small book containing the life of Dominic Savio had been published, and moved by the virtues which he practised during life, and still more by the graces which others had obtained through his intercession, I resolved to recommend myself to him in order to obtain relief in my distress.
On the night, therefore, of February 20th, 1859, relying on the power of God, who grants His favours in abundance through the intercession of those who have been faithful to Him in life, urged on likewise by the need of comfort in my afflictions and relief in my infirmities, I gave utterance to the following words: "O thou, who in a few years of life didst attain to so high a degree of virtue, show forth the power and goodness of God; let me know that thou art in heaven and that from that happy place thou dost protect thy clients. Obtain from God that I may be relieved of my infirmities and may recover my former state of health. I promise that I will relate, whenever I am able, the favour which thou wilt obtain for me from God." I had hardly finished these last words, when I felt a sort of shivering through my whole body. I felt at once a great relief; my infirmities vanished, the fever disappeared and a sweet sleep stole upon me, so that I was able to spend that night in calm repose. In the morning I was perfectly cured. Dr. Frola, who came to see me, was not a little astonished at so great an improvement. "I do not know," he said, "what remedy has been able to do you so much good. Certainly the finger of God has been here."
I got up from my bed and found myself in perfect health, after a sickness which should have required some months at least of convalescence.
Eight months have elapsed since my cure, and up to the present, thank God, through the intercession of that holy youth, Dominic Savio, I have not been subject to ailments of any sort. All this that I have of my own accord here set down, I desire to be published wherever it may be deemed to promote the greater glory of God and the good of souls: and I am prepared to testify to the truth of the same in the presence of any person whatsoever. I have subsequently on various occasions had recourse to this heavenly benefactor and have always been heard. May these facts serve to strengthen the faith of other faithful Christians, so that they may have recourse to this source of blessings; and may they find in their spiritual and temporal needs effectual help in him, who lived a holy life on earth, and now in his glory protects us from heaven.
née di Mazzenile.
(Turin, 15 October, 1859.)
CURE OF A SERIOUS EYE COMPLAINT.
It was in 1858, about the end of May, that my eyes became seriously affected, and the pain continued, sometimes diminishing, sometimes increasing, up to the November of 1859. Beginning from the month of March of that year it increased to such an extent that I was from the very outset constrained to lay aside all studies, and later on to give them up altogether. In the early part of July my affliction had increased to such an extent, that college life, which I had before enjoyed, now appeared to me to be unbearable.
Thus it came about, that, owing to the state of my eyes, and the regret I felt at the sight of my companions working for the approaching examinations, I had to go home: I thought some improvement might follow, and indeed I did get slightly better, but only for a short time. Four or five days had scarcely elapsed from the time the improvement set in, when the malady again took a turn for the worse, and I was not merely reduced to my former state, but to a far more deplorable one. I then had recourse to several doctors. One of them required me to take about 400 pills of some particular make; I took them as prescribed and followed minutely the directions given me, but all to no effect. I was bled four times, but without avail. On five occasions I submitted to blistering operations behind the ears without deriving any benefit thereby. I was at this time visited by other well known eye specialists, amongst others Cavaliere Sperim, Dr. Fissore and Dr. Paganini, but, after submitting me to various tests, they told me plainly that the way to cure the disease with which I was afflicted was still to them an unknown problem.
Weary, then, at my hopeless plight I knew not where to turn. My days were spent continually in a dark room. All amusement was a source of horror to me and my eyes had become abnormally inflamed. Towards the end of October I seemed to feel some improvement, and, with the hope of a speedy and complete cure l returned to the college. A fortnight, however, had hardly elapsed when my eyes again began to give me so much trouble that I felt doubtful of ever being able to study again. I then had my arms blistered and the operation was subsequently repeated; the same was done several times to my ears, but no benefit resulted. I often spoke to the Director of the House about it, and he, in order to console me, would address to me such words as he knew would be to my temporal and spiritual advantage, encouraging me to be patient, and holding out hopes of a speedy recovery.
One evening, whilst all the boys were engaged in some singing classes, I was sitting thoughtful and sad, with my face buried in my hands, and leaning on the table near which the Director was seated. Presently he arose, and coming quietly up to me, touched me on the shoulder, smiling as he did so, and spoke to me as follows: "Why can we not free you, once and for all, from this trouble? I wish to see the end of it. Let us endeavour to take possession of Dominic Savio and not allow him to depart until he has obtained your cure?" At these words I looked at him steadfastly, but said nothing. Then he continued: "Yes, pray every day during this novena (it was the eve of the first day of the novena for the feast of the Immaculate Conception) to Dominic Savio, that he may intercede for you. Endeavour to be in such a state as to be able to go to Communion every day of this novena. In the evening, before retiring to bed, say these words: "Dominic Savio, pray for me," and add one 'Hail Mary.' " I promised to do this exactly, upon which he continued: "That is right, do what I have told you and I will remember you every day of this novena in the Holy Mass." "And who knows," he added, "whether this time Dominic Savio will succeed in escaping us before you have been cured."
On the very day that I began to make the novena I felt an improvement in my malady. I then continued the practices of piety with greater fervour, and was soon rewarded for doing so, for in a few days my eyes were completely cured. During the novena I had promised that, if, after a certain time, I had no further relapse, I would do my best to have published, in honour of Dominic Savio, the grace I had received from him.
I now keep my promise, for the time fixed (1st February, 1860) has elapsed and I am in perfect health. I hope that Dominic Savio will continue to bestow his favours upon me, and I on my part shall do all that I can to show my gratitude to him, striving to imitate him in those virtues of which he gave such a striking example. Meanwhile let praise be rendered to God and to Dominic Savio, through whose special protection I obtained this grace.
(Turin, 1st February, 1860).
Thank God, my eyes are still in a perfectly healthy condition, and I hereby confirm the above statement.
EDWARD DONATA, of Saluggla.
(Turin, March 20th, 1861).
INSTANTANEOUS CURE OF TOOTHACHE.
Having read the life of the holy youth Dominic Savio I conceived a deep veneration for him.
But a fact worthy of notice?a fact which has made me deeply indebted to this heavenly Protector, is the one I am about to set down, with the request that you will give it that publicity which you may think fit. On the morning of Thursday, the 7th of April of the present year (1859) I had a slight attack of headache. I paid no heed to it, thinking it was only a passing indisposition, but it increased as the day went on, so that I was unable to work or to sleep the following night. On getting up on Friday, with the pain ever increasing, I was seized with such a sharp attack of toothache that although I went to class I could neither study nor attend to the explanations given, nor to anything else, so severe was the pain I experienced. The trouble went on increasing until, in the evening, in sheer desperation, I was seized with a fit of uncontrollable weeping. It was time for the evening class and I was wandering aimlessly about the house, a prey to racking pain, when the prefect met me on the balcony overlooking the playground. "Recommend yourself to Dominic Savio," he said to me, for he understood the cause of my trouble. "Recommend yourself to Dominic Savio; he can cure you if he wishes to do so." I thanked him for this advice and reproached myself for not having thought about it sooner. I hastened at once to Our Lady's altar, knelt down on the step which had so often been hallowed by the presence of Savio, when he used to withdraw to the silence of the sanctuary, his heart filled with devotion towards her, by whose aid he succeeded in attaining the love, zeal and piety which now form a crown of glory for him in heaven.
Kneeling down there I made the sign of the Cross and began to pray, determined, at any cost, to obtain my cure, provided it were in accordance with the will of God. The pain was then at its worst, but at the moment I was saying the words: "Sed libera nos a malo," the aching pain suddenly ceased. My blood resumed its usual course, the face assumed its natural proportions and I found myself cured and at ease, without any trace remaining to remind me of the agony I had suffered. How can I express the gratitude I then felt, and will ever feel, towards young Savio! What esteem do I not furthermore owe to him, who so speedily cured my body, for the good done to my soul!
I beg you to take this account into consideration, and make use of it in such a manner as you may judge most suited to promote the glory of God, and confidence in the holy youth Dominic Savio.
MATTHEW GALLEANO, of Caramangna
THE TESTIMONY OF A MOTHER CONCERNING HER SON'S CURE.
My only son had been lying sick in the hospital of SS. Maurice and Lazarus for nearly a month. The cause of his illness was a rush of blood to the brain, which made him delirious. Amongst other circumstances of his illness, one deserving of special remark was that nothing could make him utter a word. No one can imagine the sorrow of a mother who beholds heir only son a prey to a disease which shows no hope of being cured. In my advanced years I should have been left without help of any kind, and my life, in consequence would have been a most unhappy one.
One day, when under the weight of the deepest sorrow, I went with some relatives to the hospital. Whilst we were by the patient's bed, I heard how many times he had been bled, and at the sight of the death-like pallor and emaciation of his features, I burst into tears and nothing seemed able to console me. But thanks be to God, Who deigned to comfort me in an unexpected manner and to change my sorrow into the greatest consolation! Some little distance off I noticed a young man with a small book in his hands; he went to a bed next to the one where my son was lying, and having opened the book, showed to the patient a picture of a boy about fifteen years of age, whose virtuous life was related in the book. He advised the patient to read and to imitate the virtues of the boy who lived and died like a saint. At the sight of the book and the picture I thought at once that the boy represented in it was some saint, and approaching, I said to the one who held the book in his hands, "for the love of God and of Our Blessed Lady give me one of those books for my son." He answered that he would willingly do so, but that it would be useless to give it to one in delirium to read, and that it would be better for him to recommend himself to Domiriic Savio, imploring him to obtain his cure. I at once approved of the proposal, and going close to my son I said to him in a faltering voice: "My son; listen, recommend yourself to Dominic Savio so that he may obtain your cure from God." At these words he turned towards me, but remained for a few moments motionless. Then suddenly, to the great surprise of those standing by and to my great consolation he said: "I recommend myself to him." Words will not express the joy and satisfaction which my heart experienced on hearing the voice of a son, whose cure I had almost despaired of, on hearing that voice which for eighteen days had not sounded in my ears. I then endeavoured to make him understand the holiness and virtues of Savio, to whom we had both earnestly appealed.
Shortly afterwards there was a complete change, and he was entirely cured from a disease which the doctors declared could only end in death or the asylum.
(Turin, April 10th, 1860).
SUDDEN CURE OF RUPTURE.
Amongst other favours obtained after recourse to Dominic Savio, the wonderful cure of a young student deserves to be recorded. I, myself and many others were witnesses of this fact, which is here described by the recipient of the favour.
Three years ago I suffered from rupture, and though cured of it, I had undergone intense pain on that account. But on February 20th of this year (1860), I was attacked by the same complaint whilst at recreation in the playground. I could not stand and was put to bed suffering intensely. The doctor was sent for, and at his advice, everything was prepared for another operation; a carriage was sent for to convey me to the hospital. The pain I was suffering at this time was too great to bear, and a sort of delirium took possession of me; some thought, in fact, that I was surely dying.
But it was just then that I thought of our deceased companion, Dominic Savio. I had read his life and knew all about the favours he had obtained, so I appealed to him, saying: "If it be true that you are in heaven, obtain some relief for me in this illness." I then recited in his honour an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father.
I had scarcely finished the prayers, when a peaceful calm came over me, and brought on a refreshing, sleep. But after a short time, I was awakened by those who had been sent for to take me to the hospital. To their surprise I said: "My pain has all gone." They found that I was perfectly cured, and had it not been growing late, I should have got up again from bed. However, on the following morning all traces of my attack had disappeared, and I arose with the others in the best of health.
I desire to offer my tribute of deep gratitude to this faithful Servant of God.
CHARLES BELLINO (Aosta).
A DOUBLE CURE.
The Very Rev. Don Rua, the first successor of Don Bosco, gives the following account:
A signal favour was obtained through the intercession of Dominic Savio in the town of Chieri. A man, named Charles Bechio, had suffered for three years with a very serious rupture. He could not apply himself to any work, for as soon as he made the slightest effort, the pain became so acute that he could not stand on his feet. He had already applied all the remedies suggested by doctors and surgeons, but the illness only increased.
At the beginning of this year he chanced to read the life of Dominic Savio, and learning that many sick people had been cured by him, even instantaneously, he felt his faith and confidence revive, and hoped to be favoured in the same way. He began a novena at once for this end, and promised that if he were cured, he would go to Don Bosco to attest the fact. In the very beginning of the novena he noticed that his pains were diminishing, and an improvement had set in. After three days he put aside his truss, and by the end of the novena was perfectly cured, so that he could again undertake his work, which was of a very vigorous and tiring nature. It was then the month of March, and from that time has not been in the slightest pain.
Moreover, Dominic did not only obtain for him this temporal favour, but a spiritual one as well, of greater consequence. For some years he had not approached the Sacrament of Penance, and felt such a repugnance to do so, that nothing but a special grace would have been able to conquer it. Accordingly he had recommended this intention also to Dominic, and when his novena was over, all his old repugnance and hesitation disappeared, and he felt a desire of drawing near to God. In fact he approached the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion to his great consolation.
The undersigned has taken this down from the recipient of the grace, who is ready to make any attestation required.
MICHAEL RUA (Priest).
(Turin, March 10th. 1861).
CURE OF A SERIOUS AFFLICTION OF THE EYES.
A matter of great importance urges me to write to you. During January of this year, I had been troubled with a painful malady of the eyes, and having tried all material remedies in vain, I determined to have recourse to a spiritual one. Remembering your former pupil, Dominic Savio, and the many graces obtained. for those who invoked his intercession, I had recourse to him also. It was on January 19th, and whilst in the act of prayer, it seemed that he bathed my eyes in some miraculous manner, and from that moment the pain ceased and my sight became quite clear and strong.
It is my earnest wish that the foregoing should be added to the accounts of other miracles worked by God for the glory of his servant.
(Carmagnola, April 1861).
A DANGEROUS ILLNESS OVERCOME.
Having been requested by a number of prudent persons to inform you of a cure obtained through the intercession of Dominic Savio, I would ask you to add it to the other accounts sent to you.
In July 1871, I was attacked by such a violent cough that I could get no rest either night or day. The doctor was sent for, and he consulted others, but there was no sign of improvement. After some days I was evidently growing weaker and was troubled with catarrh, which made breathing impossible. Acute bronchitis set in. I was unable to do anything but a little reading, and so I picked up Dominic Savio's life, although it was already familar to me.
His virtuous life, and the favours he had obtained, naturally suggested to me that I should have recourse to him in my illness, and I began a triduum or three days of prayer. When the doctor came next he found such a marked improvement, that he said it could not be due to human aid or power. "It seems like an illusion," he said. The cough that had been racking me for three months was gone, together with the bronchitis which was slowly wearing me away; now, instead, I go about with sound and robust health, blessing Savio for obtaining such a signal favour.
J. B. PELLEGRINI (COMO).
Such is the Ven. Don Bosco's narrative of the Life of Dominic Savio, and of some of the favours obtained through his intercession. These favours have been multiplied in the years that have passed; they have been influential in the progress of the Cause of his Canonisation, which was formally introduced at Rome in February last (1914). Much has been written about Dominic Savio, particularly since that event, but we may well conclude by giving the Reader the words of His Eminence the late Cardinal Parocchi, who wrote in 1895: "May the young learn from Savio how to sanctify themselves, even in the midst of dangers, how to join holiness with cheerfulness, frankness with reserve, dignity with modesty, the interior life and intimate union with Our Lord with the diligent exercise of external duties; let them learn of him to be beloved by God and men, and thus to leave a holy memory to succeeding generations."