Born in Castlenuovo d'Asti on August 16, 1815, John was educated in the faith and in living according to the Gospel message by his mother. He was just nine years old when he had a dream, which called him to dedicate himself to the education of young people. While still a boy he began to entertain his peers with games alternated with work, prayer and religious education.
On becoming a priest (1841) he chose as his life's programme: "Da mihi animas cetera tolle" ("Give me souls, take all the rest" Gen. 14: 21).
He began his apostolate among poor young people with the founding of the Oratory, which he placed under the patronage of St. Francis of Sales.
By means of his educational style and pastoral practice, based on reason, religion and loving kindness (the Preventive System) he led young people to reflect, to meet Christ and their brothers and sisters, to the study of the faith and to apostolic, civil and professional commitment. St. Dominic Savio stands out among the most outstanding fruits of his work.
The source of his indefatigable activity and of the effectiveness of his work was his "constant union with God" and his unlimited confidence in Mary Our Help who he considered to be the inspiration and support of his whole work.
He left, as an inheritance for his Salesian sons and daughters, a form of religious life that was simple but founded on solid Christian virtue and on contemplation in action, which may be summed up in the words "work and temperance".
He sought his best collaborators among his young people, thus establishing the Society of St. Francis of Sales (Salesians). Together with St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello he founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters). Finally, together with good and hard-working lay men and women, he created the Salesian Cooperators to work alongside him and sustain the education of young people, thus anticipating new forms of apostolate in the Church.
In the centenary of his death, which took place on January 31, 1988, Pope John Paul II proclaimed him The Father and Teacher of Youth.
Mary Domenica was born on May 9, 1837, in Mornese (Alessandria).
At home she was helped to develop a solid piety, untiring work and that outstanding common sense and depth of judgement that she would show in later life as Congregational Leader.
At fifteen, she joined the Association of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and began her apostolate among the young people of her village.
A serious attack of typhoid, at the age of 23, had a profound spiritual effect on her. The experience of her own physical fragility, on the one hand, deepened her abandonment to God and, on the other, encouraged her to open a sewing school to educate the girls in work, prayer and love of God.
Thanks to her intense sacramental life, and under the wise guidance of Fr. Pestarino, she made great progress in the spiritual life.
On the occasion of Don Bosco's visit to Mornese (10-8-1864) she said: "Don Bosco is a saint and I feel it".
In 1872 Don Bosco chose her to begin the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (Salesian Sisters).
As Congregational Leader, she proved a capable formator and teacher of spiritual life. She was cheerful and serene, and spread peace wherever she went. She radiated joy and involved other young people in her dedication to the education of women.
The Institute developed rapidly. At her death, she left her Daughters an educational tradition, permeated by Gospel values: the search for God, whom we come to know through enlightened catechesis and ardent love, responsibility in work, sincerity and humility, austerity of life and joyful self-giving.
She died in Nizza Monferrato on May 14, 1881.
Her remains are venerated in the Basilica of Mary Our Help in Turin.
Her feast is celebrated on May 13.
After her father's sudden death, her mother, with her two daughters, sought refuge in Argentina. In 1900 the Salesian Sisters welcomed her into their college in Junin de los Andes. The following year she made her First Communion and, like St. Dominic Savio, she took the resolution to love God with her whole heart, to mortify herself and to die rather than sin, to make Jesus known and make reparation for the offences He receives. When she realised that her mother was living in a sinful situation, she offered her life to God for her conversion.
Her first biographer, Fr. Crestanello, tells us: "Laura suffered secretly in her heart?One day she decided to offer her life and to accept death willingly, in exchange for the salvation of her mother. She begged me to bless this ardent desire of hers. I hesitated for a long time."
She increased her asceticism and, with the consent of her confessor, privately vowed to live the evangelical counsels. Worn out with sacrifice and ill health, she died in Junin de los Andes (Argentina) on January 22, 1904.
During her last night, she confided to her mother: "Mommy, I am dying! I asked this of Jesus, some time ago, and offered my life to him for you, that you might return to God?Mommy, before I die, will you not give me the joy of seeing you repent?" On the day of Laura's funeral, her mother returned to the Sacraments and began a new life. Her remains lie in the chapel of the Salesian Sisters in Bahia Blanca (Argentina).
On September 3, 1988, on the Young People's mount of the Beatitudes, in the presence of thousands of young participants in the Confronto '88 Pope John Paul II beatified her. He proposed her as a model of evangelical coherence, to the point of giving one's life, for the mission of salvation. Her memory is celebrated on January 22.
Born in Chieri (Turin) on November 15, 1847, from an early age Sr. Maddalena Caterina Morano began to teach the local children. This proved to be a practical training for the work of education to which she dedicated her life, especially after she had qualified as a teacher. She was already an experienced teacher and catechist when, following Don Bosco's advice, she set about fulfilling the dream of consecrating her life to God, which she had cherished since her First Communion.
In 1879 she became a Salesian Sister and asked God for the grace "of living until I have completed my journey to holiness".
Destined for Sicily, in 1881, she undertook a fruitful educative mission among the girls and young women of the working classes. "With one glance at earth and ten at Heaven" she opened schools, oratories, hostels and sewing schools all over the island.
Nominated provincial, she took on the work of formation of the many new vocations that were attracted by her zeal and by the community atmosphere she created. Her manifold apostolate was appreciated and encouraged by the Bishops, who entrusted the work of catechesis to her evangelical creativity.
After suffering from a tumour, she closed her life of total coherence at Catania on March 26, 1908. She had always lived up to her resolution of "never blocking the action of Grace by giving in to personal egoism".
In that same city Pope John Paul II proclaimed her Blessed, on November 5, 1994. Her memory is celebrated on the date of her earthly birthday: November 15. Her remains are venerated in the Chapel of the Salesian Sisters at Ali Terme (Messina).
Sr. Maria was born in Granada, Nicaragua, on January 13, 1902.
Her father was a government minister in the republic and very rich. But he was also very generous to the poor. Unfortunately he was swindled and this resulted in ongoing economic problems. Maria was like her father. Her family had great hopes for her: she studied music, piano and violin. But she chose the path of religious life. It seemed to her that Don Bosco's charism was created to fit her aspirations. After her final profession, she was sent to San Jose de Costa Rica, which became her second home.
She was destined to teach in a college for well-off girls. But, like Don Bosco, she always sought out the "poor and abandoned young people". Having won over those in the city, she went to the mountains and valleys to "save souls". Like Don Bosco, she found disciples among the best among her pupils and formed them for the work of the oratories.
She called them las misioneritas (little missionaries) and they worked miracles, not just in the figurative sense.
Even when she had to leave teaching, she never, to her last breath, stopped teaching catechism to young and old. "Social works" sprang up around her that surprised even the Government.
She reached the point of creating a village for the poorest of the poor, giving to each family - gathered from under the bridges - a house of their own. She knew how to spread great devotion to Mary Our Help.
She built a church in her honour in the centre of San Jos, which has become a beacon of salvation for many. She performed the greatest works through faith and with the collaboration of wealthy people, won over to her cause after having experienced the effects of devotion to Mary.
This Sister, who was so active, was also eminently mystical. She was a soul of deep union with God.
She died of a heart attack on July 7, 1977. The Government of Costa Rica declared her an honorary citizen of the nation. Her remains lie in San Jos de Costa Rica, in the great work she established as the "House of the Virgin" and the "Social Work". John Paul II beatified her on April 14, 2002. She is the first "Blessed" from Central America.
The liturgical memorial of Sr. Maria Romero is celebrated on July 7th, the day of her entrance into heaven.
Carmen Moreno & Amparo Carbonell
Carmen Moreno修女和Amparo Carbonell修女的生平其實十分簡單，但是在她們的一生中充滿了每天隨時對天主候命的熱切、慷慨精神。Carmen來自一個富裕的家庭，而Amparo的家境則較貧困。Carmen誕生於1885年的瑪田村，出生於1893年的華來沙。Carmen在Seville認識母佑會修女，她在父親過世之後入讀母佑會學校； Amparo在自己出生的城市認識母佑會，很可能她是在那兒工作。Amparo的一個姊妹極力反對她入修會，但日後爲這事感到極為後悔。
Carmen曾經擔任教學及策勵團體的工作，她最活躍的日子是在Valverde del Camino度過，在那裏與另一位聖人，歐瑟比修女一起生活。歐瑟比的工作是負責這個團體的膳食，她為人簡樸真純，性格親和，具有極不平凡的特恩。1936年Amparo修女及Carmen修女身處在同一團體， Amparo為人能幹，而Carmen是會院的副院長。
The lives of Sr. Carmen Moreno and Sr. Amparo Carbonell were very simple, but marked by generosity and readiness to answer the call of God each day.
Carmen belonged to a wealthy family; Amparo's instead was poor. The former was born in Villamartin (Cadice) in 1885, the latter in Alboraya (Valenza) in 1893. Carmen met the Salesian Sisters in Seville, where she stayed in the College for a while after her father's death. Amparo met them in her native city of Valenza, where she had probably gone into service.
One of her sisters strongly opposed her vocation, something that later she deeply regretted.
Carmen's life revolved around teaching, directing works and community animation. Her most intense years were spent in Valverde del Camino, where she lived with another saint, Sr. Eusebia Palomino, the community cook who united great simplicity, a loveable originality and quite extraordinary gifts.
In 1936 Sr. Amparo and Sr. Carmen found themselves in the same community. Amparo was still 'Jack of all trades', while Carmen was vicar.
The house of St. Dorothy in Barcelona had been planned and opened by Don Bosco with the financial and spiritual help of Mrs. Dorotea da Chopitea, a very wealthy lady who lived her everyday life in Cartusian poverty and Gospel fidelity and fully shared his spirituality.
In July 1936, they learned that the house was in danger. The seventy or so Sisters, twelve novices and the ten girls, who were still in the College, dispersed as quickly as possible. Some of the religious, who could not go to their families or safe houses of friends, found refuge at Villa Jarth, which belonged to a German, Protestant lady who was very friendly with the Sisters.
It was July 19th. The following day they left Barcelona aboard two Italian ships, which, in spite of difficulties and anxiety, made room for several Sisters. Sr. Carmen and Sr. Amparo wanted to stay. A Sister had just been operated for cancer. They would leave together later.
On the night of September 1, violent steps were heard on the cobblestones. Sr. Carmen, Sr. Amparo and Sr. Carmen Xammar, who had just come out of hospital, were arrested.
At dawn on September 6, the executioners opened the door of their cell and brought the victims to the city's hippodrome, which was near the sea. A firing squad shot the two Sisters and left their bodies lying on the ground. In the afternoon there was a final macabre rite. The bodies were taken to the university hospital for a medical examination.
Their executioners felt the need for an appearance of legality; they wanted a diagnosis on their documents, together with photographs.
We do not know where the bodies of Sr. Carmen and Sr. Amparo ended up. We do know, however, that their fame as martyrs began to spread immediately and stood the test of time, until, at last, their cause of Beatification was introduced.
Sr. Eusebia was born in Cantalpino (Salamanca, Spain) on December 15, 1899.
Her childhood was poor but happy, illuminated by the great faith of that very poor home, in which father, mother and sisters alternated work and prayer in an atmosphere of mutual love and charity towards everyone. In her early life she had go into service with families in her area. From her father she inherited a lively interest in the basic ideas of the Catechism.
This made it possible for her to receive the "Bread of Heaven" at the age of nine.
On that occasion Eusebia experienced something wonderful in her heart. The spark of an intense love for Jesus in the Eucharist was lighted in her heart and she found great joy in meeting Him in Communion. This love helped her to overcome every difficulty and to go beyond the tender love she had for her family in order to consecrate her life totally to God as a Salesian Sister (1924).
Destined for the house of Valverde del Camino (diocese of Huelva), she took charge of the kitchen and various other community responsibilities, giving her service in amiable and joyful availability.
In the Sunday Oratory she followed the younger children with apostolic efficacy. However, she often found herself surrounded by the older ones and even the adults, who were attracted by her spirit of prayer and by her convinced and convincing faith.
Her deep desire was to "make prayer resound in every home" so that every person might honour the Lord's Passion. Through her numerous letters, she became an untiring promoter of devotion to the Wounds of Jesus, in order to obtain mercy for all sinners. In 1931, on the eve of the revolution, Sr. Eusebia offered herself to God as a victim for the salvation of her brothers and sisters in Spain and throughout the world.
For three years she bore indescribable sufferings in a joyful crescendo of longing for Heaven, which opened its doors to her on February 10, 1935.
Teresa was born in Milan on October 10, 1878 and was baptized the parish church dedicated to St. Francis di Paola.She belonged to a well-to-do family. Her Father Joseph, while still a young man, moved to Egypt where he opened a chain of hotels that made him wealthy and highly esteemed even by important persons and powerful men.While there he married Giuseppina Viglini, an Italian of the upper classes.
In 1882, Joseph, foreseeing the intolerant trends that were infiltrating the region, moved his family definitively to Italy. They lived first at Milan and then at Florence. In 1890, Joseph died in his villa, Bishop's Rest in Fiesole, leaving his wife and three children, Italo, his firstborn, Teresa and Giuseppina.
It was a hard blow for all, but in particular for Teresa who was very attached to her Dad. Her mother procured for the children the best education in Florentine schools, and when Italo registered at University of Rome, the whole family moved to the capital.
For some time Teresa had cultivated a profound spiritual life that offered a style of behavior suited to her social position, but modeled on decisively evangelical criteria: a preferential love for God that led her to live extended times of prayer, a strong sensitivity toward the poor, whom she helped generously and with a spirit of closeness, and an outstanding educational sensitivity.
She felt the call to a life of consecration and, overcoming harsh obstacles, after the death of her mother she entered the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians on February 2, 1901. She was 22 years old. At the time of her decision to become a religious, she had written to her brother Italo: "I have decided irrevocably." This was an attitude that she always maintained, along with the choice to "pass unobserved" that marked her whole existence.
Teresa spent a great part of her religious life at Trastevere, in Rome, beginning from the time of her novitiate. The houses of Bosco Parrasio and of Via della Lungara housed the oratory for the poorest girls of the neighborhood, little laundresses who worked in the homes of wealthy people. Among the religious of the community, Sr. Teresa was the most loved by the young people who felt the attraction of the smiling, refined presence. She had precarious health when she began to work in this environment, but did not hold back in the face of sacrifices and never allowed her past life to weigh on anyone.
In the house of the Sisters poverty was so strong that it became necessary to ask for help, to the point of asking for alms. So it was that Sr. Teresa, though with a great repugnance, did not subtract herself from this commitment that led her to knock on the doors of those wealthy people whom she knew from other times. Teresa was a strong woman, dedicated entirely to the poorest. She was decisive in defending the rights of others, especially when some inhabitants of the neighborhood tried to put obstacles to the work or complained about the present of girls who were rather rough and did not pay for services received.
After the example of Don Bosco, she immersed herself into the difficult situations of the young people entrusted to her and sought in every way to elevate their culture and to refine their lifestyle. She gave music lessons, prepared theatrical presentations, and invented those games that could interest girls who were already exhausted from heavy work. In community she was an attentive and discreet presence.
"The Lord has helped me and now I am ready for one of three things: to die, to be ill for a long time or to get well." Then with a glimmer of a smile she added: "Well, I will guess one of the three correctly, right?" She earthly life concluded in the house of Mary Help of Christians in Turin on September 3, 1907, as she had foreseen.
Teresa Valsé Pantellini was a young woman who played out her life in concrete daily availability, totally given to God and to others, imitating the Virgin Mary, the poor, free woman. She dreamed great dreams...she would have liked to be a missionary in China. Almost as though to realize her apostolic desires, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have entrusted to Sr. Teresa their missionary activity. She was declared Venerable by the Decree of the recognition of her heroic virtue on July 12, 1982.
Laura was born in Florence on January 5, 1873 to Alessandro and Angela Mazzoni.
Her wealthy, noble family moved to Rome soon after. Here Laura studied medicine.
On becoming a Salesian Sister in 1898 she worked mainly in Sicily until 1921, when she was chosen to lead the first group of Sisters sent to Poland. Especially during the events of the last war, this 'little mother' lived a life of love and courage.
Laura prayed much. When her spiritual director, a Salesian, told her that God was calling her to join Don Bosco's Sisters, she spent whole nights in prayer.
She worked incessantly and, even in the midst of extreme poverty, was capable of opening the houses to everyone in need. She began by taking in orphaned or abandoned children, then came the older girls, the schools, sewing classes, postulants, novices, Sisters; then the refugees, the persecuted, the sick, the exiles.
Mother Laura was able to comfort everyone. At the same time she prayed and suffered. She lived Poland's long agony and martyrdom in the years 1938-1945. To those who asked her: "Are you not lonely for Italy?" she replied: "I have two homelands: Italy and Poland, and I could not tell you which I love the most". The Sisters and 104 girls had to leave Vilnius, in secret, in a special train, as many had no authorisation. Mother Laura said yes to all of them!
The provincial was anxious, there might be some shooting. "Don't be afraid, I'll pray". The journey, which lasted 16 days, had a happy ending, but only by a real miracle.
When the war was over, they had to leave those territories that had become Soviet republics and begin all over again. Mother Laura started again: she opened twelve houses. The new novitiate was established at Pogrzebien, in an old castle that had been used by the Germans to exterminate women and children. Everywhere joy, life and smiles returned. But Mother Laura was growing tired.
Sr. Maria was born in Cortegno Golgi (Brescia) on February 16, 1883.
She grew up happy and hardworking in her numerous family, dividing her time between the farm and caring for her little brothers and sisters, in the warm and loving atmosphere created by her exemplary parents. She regularly attended catechism in her parish, where as an adolescent Maria developed a deep Christian spirit and opened her heart to the values of a religious vocation.
In obedience to her parish priest, however, she waited till she reached adulthood before asking to be admitted to the Institute of the Salesian Sisters.
She made her first profession in 1908 at Nizza Monferrato.
During the First World War (1915-18) Sr. Maria took a course in health care in Varazze and worked as a Red Cross nurse in the military hospital. This experience was to prove very valuable in the course of her long missionary life in the Amazon forests of Ecuador.
She left for Ecuador in 1922 and was sent to work among the Shuar people where, together with two other Sisters, she began the difficult work of evangelisation. They faced dangers of every kind, including those caused by the beasts of the forest and by fast flowing rivers that had to be waded through or crossed on fragile "bridges" made from creepers or on the shoulders of the Indians.
Macas, Sevillia Don Bosco, Suc are some of the "miracles" of Sr. Maria Troncatti's work that still flourish. She was nurse, surgeon, orthopaedist, dentist, anaesthetist. But, above all, she was catechist and evangeliser, rich in the wonderful resources of her faith, patience and fraternal love.
Her work for the promotion of the Shuar woman bore fruit in hundreds of new Christian families formed, for the first time, on a free personal choice on the part of the young couple.
Sr. Maria died in a tragic air crash at Suc on August 25, 1969. Her remains lie at Macas, in the Province of Morona (Ecuador). The Servant of God Sr. Maria Troncatti was declared Venerable by the Decress of November 8th, 2008.