Today, like every May 6, the Catholic Church celebrates Saint Dominic Savio (Domenico Savio), the little disciple of Saint John Bosco in the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales.
Domingo was a precocious saint, given his spiritual maturity, the only one carried to the altars with only fourteen years and without having gone through martyrdom.
“I want to be a saint!” Santo Domingo Savio exclaimed every time he had a good opportunity to make an effort. This young Italian is patron of the children who make up the choirs of churches around the world and of all those who participate in the ministry of music.
It is also for pregnant women, thanks to the fact that she fulfilled a commission from the Virgin Mary, with the patronage of her tutor, Saint John Bosco.
The Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales and the Company of Mary
Dominic Savio was born in San Giovanni da Riva, Piedmont, Italy, in 1842. From a very young age he felt called to the priesthood and, as soon as he met Don Bosco in October 1854, he asked him to enter the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales in Turin.
There he organized the Company of the Immaculate, for which he wrote regulations that Saint John Bosco only slightly changed. Together with his companions from the Company he attended the sacraments, prayed the Rosary, helped with the housework and took care of the most difficult children. Besides, he always kept a cheerful spirit; he liked to play and study.
Don Bosco and Dominic
The first biographer of Santo Domingo was Don Bosco himself. The founder of the Salesians wanted to keep in writing the instructive and loving life of little Dominic. It is even said that he reread it from time to time and, every time he did, tears would end up rolling down his cheeks.
In that Vita (biography), Don Bosco not only recounted those passages in Dominic’s life that could reveal his spiritual maturity, but also those images that remained forever in his memory, such as the various occasions on which he saw Dominic entranced after receiving Holy Communion or on your knees praying in the chapel.
In the Vita de Santo Domingo a singular episode is described. One day, Don Bosco found Dominic in the choir of the temple:
“I went to see –Don Bosco recounts–, and I found Dominic who spoke and then fell silent, as if giving rise to an answer; Among other things, I clearly understood these words: ‘Yes, my God, I have told you and I will repeat it again: I love you and I want to continue loving you until death. If you see that I am going to offend you, send me death; yes, rather die than sin.
When Don Bosco asked him what he was doing at that time, Dominic replied: “It is that sometimes such distractions assail me that make me lose the thread of my prayer, and I seem to see things so beautiful that the hours pass in an instant. ”.
Intercessor for women in a state of good hope
During the investigation process carried out for his canonization, Dominic’s sister, Teresa, narrated that once the little saint appeared before Don Bosco and asked permission to go to his family’s house. Don Bosco asked the reason for her and the young man replied: “My mother is very delicate and the Virgin wants to heal her.”
Then, the priest asked who had given him such news, to which Domingo replied that no one, but that he knew for sure. Don Bosco, who already knew of his gifts, granted him permission and gave him money for the trip.
On September 12, 1856, when the boy arrived to see his mother in Mondonio, he realized that she was pregnant, but that she was in severe pain. Domingo, immediately afterwards, hugged her tightly, kissed her and sat down next to her to listen to her. Her mother asked her to go immediately to some neighbors. Domingo, of course, obeyed.
After a while the doctor arrived and after examining her he saw that the woman was recovered and looked healthy. While the doctor and some neighbors were preparing everything for her mother to give birth, a green ribbon was uncovered around the woman’s neck that was attached to a silk folded and sewn like a scapular. It was the present that Domingo had given her as a sign that the Virgin would be her company. Without major setbacks, that day her sister Catalina was born.
Later, Domingo would ask his mother to keep the scapular and lend it to the women of the town whenever they need it. So it was done; and many of them obtained particular graces for having worn the scapular of the Virgin.
“I would rather die than sin” (Domingue Savio)
Not many more days passed until Dominic Savio undertook the return to the Salesian oratory. He sadly wouldn’t stay there much longer. His health deteriorated to the point that the doctors became convinced that he would not survive. He apparently had contracted pneumonia.
Dominic had to say goodbye to Don Bosco and his companions to return to his home in Mondonio. Before he died, with his last breath, he managed to utter these words: “What a beautiful thing I see!”.
Domingo left for the Father’s House on March 9, 1857, at the age of fourteen.