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SERVANT OF GOD: FATHER CARLO BRAGA


FATHER CARLO BRAGA
Salesian (1889-1971)

“Fr. Carlo Braga enchanted everybody with his large-hearted goodness and super-abounding gratitude” (Fr. Luigi Ferrari).

Beginnings

Fr. Carlo Braga was born in the year after Don Bosco died and on the day before the annual solemn feast of Mary Help of Christians, in 23 May 1889. He lived his boyhood and early adolescent in Tirano, of the Valtellina zone of the Lombard Region of Northern Italy. His mother (Maddalena Mazza) died alone in a hospital while her Carlino was merely age six.
Nonetheless, in these moments of unwanted losses, Fr. Braga found providential substitutes in the Salesians, in both the masculine and feminine. The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians took him in their kindergarten and elementary school in Tirano.
But it was during Fr. Braga’s stay with the Salesians in Sondrio that Providence extraordinarily gave him the opportunity to encounter St. John Bosco’s successor, the Blessed Michael Rua, who opened to him the way to be one day to emulate St. John Bosco by becoming a Salesian himself.
And so began Carlo’s journey of becoming a Salesian. In 1904, he was sent to the novitiate of the Provincia Centrale (Foglizzo, August 1904), when the original plan was to send him to the novitiate of the Lombarda-Veneta Province which he was his Salesian province of origin. Finally, he made his profession (30 July 1906). In 11 April 1914, he was ordained, but not after some delay in his admission to the orders.
He hardly made it in time to receive the missionary cross (April 1919) from the Rector Major, Fr. Paolo Albera, in Valdocco, together with eight other Salesians and ex-soldiers like him. Again, after more delays, he left Italy in 23 August and arrived in China in 29 September 1919.

The China Experience

“Father Braga had a soul sparkling with optimism and healthy enthusiasm, with missionary zeal and cultural sensibility” (Fr. Egidio Vigano).

Fr. Carlo Braga divided into two periods what he considered as the “summa capita” of his missionary life which he spent beside the Salesian bishop and martyr Luigi Versiglia: the first, from 1919-1924, when he was assigned as superior of the orphanage “St. Joseph” of Ho Sai; the second, from 1925-1929, when he was rector of “Don Bosco College” of Shiu Chow. In 1930, he was made provincial, following the nomination of the Superior of the Mission, Fr. Ignacio Canazei, as bishop of Shiu Chow, in the place of the deceased Bishop Luigi Versiglia (+February 1930).

Conclusion

Fr. Braga was a “popular figure with an unmistakable optimism of his own [… one of those] dynamic celebrities that have kept the Salesian Congregation going” (Fr. Luigi Fiora, Procurator General).

During the 65 years of his religious profession as Salesian and 57 years as priest, Fr. Braga was rector for 14 years, provincial for 23 years and “Visitatore” for 5 years. He passed away in the early morning of 3 January 1971, Solemnity of the Epiphany, in Don Bosco Juniorate of San Fernando, Pampanga. The next day, I, who was then a second year aspirant, was there to pay homage to his mortal remains.
The death of Fr. Braga was a first in the history of the Salesians in the Philippines. But it would remain a first of those who would wish to reminisce the taste of a true and authentic Salesian.

Fr. Nestor C. Impelido SDB

 BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF LIFE OF FR BRAGA

1889                 Birth of Fr. Braga (23 May, Tirano, Sondrio, Italy)
1904                 Novitiate in Foglizzo (August)
1906                 First profession (30 July)
1914                 Ordination to the priesthood (11 April)
1915                 Conscripted by the Italian Army (May)
1918                 Invited to join the missionary expedition (November)
1919                 Left Italy for China (23 August) and arrived in China (29 September)
1919-1924       Superior of Orphanage of St. Joseph Ho Sai
1925-1929       Superior of Don Bosco College Shiu Chow
1930-1952       Provincial of China
1953                Arrival in the Philippines (Rector of Don Bosco Victorias)
1955                Delegate of the Provincial of China in the Philippines
1958                Visitor of the Philippine Visitatoria (Vice-Province)
1963                End of term as Visitatore
1971                Death of Fr. Braga (3 January, Bacolor, Pampanga, Philippines)

Prayer to implore the beatification and canonization of Father Carlo Braga

Almighty and merciful Father:
in the footsteps of St. John Bosco,
you wanted Fr. Carlo Braga to be your Salesian,
who imitated his examples, inherited his spirit
and propagated his works in China and in the Philippines.

Now that you have welcomed him in heaven,
please make him a worthy intercessor
to those who invoke him,
and give stimulus to his glorification
here on earth as an example of holiness, to your people,
to the Salesians and the Salesian Family,
and to the young.

We ask this through the intercession of Mary Help of Christians
whom he loved and honored with the heart of a son.

Amen.

For information and reporting, contact the:
Rivolgersi alla Postulazione
Via della Pisana 1111
00163 ROMA
postulazione@sdb.org


Prayers   Fr Carlo Braga - Braga- intercessory prayer (7 kB) Scaricare il file zip
  Fr Carlo Braga - Braga-brochure (1.5 MB) Scaricare il file zip
Memoirs   Memoirs of Fr Carlo Braga (194 kB) Scaricare il file zip
Documents   Brief biography of Fr Carlo Braga (24 kB) Scaricare il file zip
Photos   Photos of Fr Carlo Braga (5.7 MB) Scaricare il file zip

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