Don Bosco

From the spiritual testament of Saint John Bosco (extract)


From the Spiritual Testament of Saint John bosco


My dear and beloved Sons in Jesus Christ,

Before leaving this world for eternity, I wish to fulfill a duty towards you and so satisfy an ardent desire of my heart.  First of all, I thank you with the most ardent affection of my soul for the obedience you have given me and for all you have done to sustain and propagate our Congregation.

I leave you here on earth, but only for a short time. I hope the infinite mercy of God will enable us all to meet one day in Heaven. There I await you.

Do not grieve over my death. This is a debt we must all pay; but afterwards, every fatigue sustained for the love of our Master, the good Jesus, will be greatly rewarded.

Instead of weeping, make firm and efficacious resolutions to remain staunch in your vocation until death. Watch, so that neither the love of the world, nor the affection of parents, nor the desire of a more agreeable life induce you to make the great mistake of profaning the sacred vows, and so transgress the religious profession by which you are consecrated to God. Let none take back that which we have given to God.

If you have loved me in the past, continue to love me in the future by the exact observance of our Constitutions.

Your first Rector is dead. But our true Superior, Jesus Christ, will never die. He will always be our Master, our guide, our model. But remember that he, in his own time, will also be our judge and the rewarder of our faithfulness in His service.

Your Rector is dead. But there will be another elected, who will have care of you and of your eternal salvation. Listen to him, love him, obey him, pray for him as you have done for me.

Adieu, dear children, adieu. I wait for you in Heaven. There we shall speak of God, of Mary, the Mother and support of our Congregation; there we shall bless eternally this our Congregation, the observance of whose rules will have powerfully and efficaciously contributed to our salvation.

Sit nomen Domini benedictum, ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum. In te, Domini, speravi; non confundar in aeternum.

...The God of mercy and his Holy Mother came to our help in our needs. This was especially true whenever it was a case of providing for our poor and abandoned boys, and even more so when their souls were in danger.

…The Blessed Virgin will certainly continue to protect our Congregation and our Salesian works if we maintain our trust in her and promote devotion to her.

…Our work, the good and austere behavior of our confreres will draw and almost compel their pupils to follow their example. Let the Preventive System be practiced even at the cost of personal and financial sacrifice and we shall have vocations in abundance.

…All Salesians living in the same house must be one in heart and soul with their rector.

But let them keep well in mind that grumbling is a plague to be avoided at all costs. Let every possible sacrifice be made, but never tolerate criticism of superiors.

…I do not recommend any special penances or mortifications to you; you will gain great merit and give glory to the Congregation if you are able to bear the sufferings and annoyances of life with Christian resignation.

…Rather than make remarks about what others do, let each one take the greatest care to fulfill the duties entrusted to him.

…All are enjoined and recommended before God to pay particular attention to morality amongst Salesians themselves and amongst those who for any reason at all have been confided by Divine Providence to our care.

…Let no one be able to say: “These furnishings do not suggest poverty; the poor do not eat or dress or have rooms like this. Whoever gives cause for remarks of this kind brings disaster upon our Congregation which must be able to pride itself on its vow of poverty.

Woe to us if those from whom we seek alms are able to say that we live an easier life than they do.

…Remember that it will always be a red-letter day when you are able to win over an enemy or make a friend by charity.

…Divine Providence has prepared a happy future for our Congregation and its glory will endure as along as the rules are faithfully observed.

When the desire for ease and comfort grows amongst us, our pious Society will have run its course.

The world will always welcome us as long as all our concern is for the under-developed peoples, for poor children, for those members of society most in danger. This is our real wealth which no one will envy and no one will take from us.

…Let us never forget that we exist for poor and abandoned boys. Amongst those who know little or nothing of the true God you will see taking place wonders formerly thought incredible but which almighty God will make manifest to the world.

Let us not keep any property other than the dwelling places we need.

When it happens that a Salesian yields up his life whilst working for souls, you can say that the Congregation has registered a great triumph and that on it will descend in abundance the blessings of heaven.