Saturday, June 11, 2011


Born April 2, 1842(1842-04-02)
San Giovanni, a frazione of Riva presso Chieri, Piedmont, Italy
Died March 9, 1857(1857-03-09) (aged 14)
Mondonio, a frazione of Castelnuovo d’Asti ,Piedmont, Italy
Beatified 5 March 1950 by Pope Pius XII
Canonized 12 June 1954 by Pope Pius XII
Feast  9 March

Dominic Savio (Italian: Domenico Savio; April 2, 1842 – March 9, 1857)was an Italian adolescent student of Saint John Bosco. He was studying to be a priest when he became ill and died at the age of 14, possibly from pleurisy.
His teacher, John Bosco had very high regard for his student, and wrote a biography of his young student, The Life of Dominic Savio. This volume, along with other accounts of him, were critical factors in his cause for sainthood. Despite the fact that many people considered him to have died at too young an age - fourteen - to be considered for sainthood, he was considered eligible for such singular honour on the basis of his having displayed "heroic virtue" in his everyday life. He is the only saint of his age group, which includes Maria Goretti and Ponticus of Lyons, who was declared to be a saint not on the basis of his having been a martyr, but on the basis of having lived what was seen as a holy life. He was canonised a Saint on June 12, 1954 by Pope Pius XII, making him the youngest non-martyr to be canonised

Here is a boy-saint who died at the age of fifteen, was one of the great hopes of St. John Bosco for the future of his congregation, and was canonized in 1954.
He was one of ten children of Carlo and Birgitta Savio. Carlo was a blacksmith and Birgitta was a seamstress. When Don Bosco was looking for young men to train as priests for his Salesian Order, his parish priest suggested Dominic Savio. Dominic became more than a credit to Don Bosco's school—he single-handedly organized those who were to be the nucleus of Don Bosco's order.
St. Dominic Savio was twelve when he met Don Bosco and organized a group of boys into the Company of the Immaculate Conception. Besides its religious purpose, the boys swept and took care of the school and looked after the boys that no one seemed to pay any attention to. When, in 1859, Don Bosco chose the young men to be the first members of his congregation, all of them had been members of Dominic's Company.
For all that, Dominic was a normal, high-spirited boy who sometimes got into trouble with his teachers because he would often break out laughing. However, he was generally well disciplined and gradually gained the respect of the tougher boys in Don Bosco's school.
In other circumstances, Dominic might have become a little self-righteous snob, but Don Bosco showed him the heroism of the ordinary and the sanctity of common sense. "Religion must be about us as the air we breathe," Don Bosco would say, and Dominic Savio wore holiness like the clothes on his back.
He called his long hours of prayer "his distractions." In 1857, at the age of fifteen, he caught tuberculosis and was sent home to recover. On the evening of March 9, he asked his father to say the prayers for the dying. His face lit up with an intense joy and he said to his father: "I am seeing most wonderful things!" These were his last words.
Thought for the Day: "I can't do big things," St. Dominic Savio once said, "but I want everything to be for the glory of God." His was the way of the ordinary: cheerfulness, fidelity in little things, helping others, playing games, obeying his superiors. This heroism in little things is the stuff of holiness

By the age of four, Dominic was able to pray by himself and was occasionally found in solitude, praying.In his biography of Dominic, John Bosco records that Savio's parents recollect how he used to help his mother around the house, welcome his father home, say his prayers without being reminded, (even reminding others when they forgot) and say Grace at mealtimes unfailingly.

Control of the eyes
Don Bosco records that once a boy who was visiting had brought with him a "magazine with bad pictures", and a group of fascinated boys were looking. On finding out, Dominic snatched the magazine and tore it up, saying,
"....You know well enough that one look is enough to stain your souls, and yet you go feasting your eyes on this. I know it is fascinating but your soul will feast one day on a much more satisfying feast."

First Communion
Fr. Giovanni Zucca from Moriondo, who was then the chaplain at Murialdo when Dominic was five years old, notes in a statement to John Bosco that he came to notice Dominic due to his regular church attendance with his mother, and his habit of kneeling down outside the church to pray (even in the mud or snow) if he happened to come to Church before it had been unlocked in the morning. The chaplain also notes that Savio made good progress at the village school not merely due to his cleverness, but also by working hard; he would not join the other boys in doing something that he believed to be morally wrong and would explain why he thought a particular deed was wrong; At the age of five, he learned to serve Mass, and would try to participate at Mass every day as well as go regularly to Confession. Having been permitted to make his First Communion at an early age, he had much reverence for the Eucharist

At that time, it was customary for children to receive their First Communion at the age of twelve.(Pope Pius X would later lower this age to seven)After initial hesitation, and subsequent consultation with other priests, the parish priest agreed to permit Dominic to receive his First Communion at the age of seven, since he knew the catechism and understood something of the Eucharist.He spent much time praying and reading in preparation,asking his mother's forgiveness for anything he might have done to displease her and then went to Church. In his biography of Dominic Savio, John Bosco devotes a chapter to tell of Dominic's First Communion. He says that several years later, whenever Dominic talked of the day of his First Communion, he said with joy:
"That was the happiest and most wonderful day of my life"
John Bosco records that on the day of his First Communion, Dominic made some promises which he wrote in a "little book", and re-read them many times. John Bosco once looked through Dominic's book, and he quotes from it the promises that he made:

Resolutions made by me, Dominic Savio, in the year 1849, on the day of my First Communion, at the age of seven.
1. I will go to Confession often, and as frequently to Holy Communion as my confessor allows.
2. I wish to sanctify the Sundays and festivals in a special manner.
3. My friends shall be Jesus and Mary.
4. Death rather than sin

Desire to become a saint

In his desire to become a saint, Dominic attempted to perform physical penances, like making his bed uncomfortable with small stones and pieces of wood, sleeping with a thin covering in winter, wearing a hair shirt, and fasting on bread and water. When his superiors (i.e., John Bosco, or his Rector, or his confessor) came to know this, they forbade him from doing bodily mortification, as it would affect his health.[39] John Bosco told Dominic that as a schoolboy, the best penance would be to perform all his duties with perfection and humility, and that obedience was the greatest sacrifice. Thus, Dominic formed an important aspect of his philosophy of life, which was, in his words, "I can't do big things but I want everything to be for the glory of God." Don Bosco notes that from that time on, Dominic did not complain about the food or the weather, unlike some other boys at the Oratory, bore all suffering cheerfully, and practised custody of his eyes and tongue. Eugenio Ceria, a Salesian commentator on the autobiography of John Bosco, (Memoirs of the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales) notes that by this time, owing to his experience as an educator, John Bosco's ideas on several pedagogical and spiritual principles were well developed and linked and this led him to associate the fulfillment of daily duties with holiness in his advice to Savio

Preparation for a holy death
All the pupils under John Bosco observed a monthly event called The Exercise of a Happy Death; this practice continues under the name The Monthly Day of Recollection.This practice was encouraged by Pope Pius IX. Part of this was to make a Confession and Communion as though they were the last ones to be made before death. Bosco notes that Dominic observed this practice devoutly, and that one day, Dominic said that he would be the first amongst the group to die. During the month of May, before his death, the intensity of his spiritual practices increased. John Bosco notes that he said, "Let me do what I can this year; if I am here next year I'll let you know what my plans are."

Failing healthDominic's health was steadily deteriorating, but he spent most of his time with his friends, talking with them, and encouraging those who were experiencing troubles.He also helped at the school infirmary whenever his companions were admitted. On the recommendation of doctors, Dominic was sent to home to recover from his ill health, but a few days later Bosco found him back at the Oratory. In spite of his affection for Dominic, and his wish to allow Dominic to remain at the Oratory, John Bosco decided to follow the recommendation of the doctors, especially since Dominic had developed a severe cough and he wrote to Dominic's father, fixing the date of his departure on March 1, 1857. Though Dominic said that he wanted to spend his last days at the Oratory, he accepted this decision and spent the evening before his departure at John Bosco's side, discussing spiritual matters. (Bosco recorded a part of this conversation in his biography of Dominic).On the morning of his departure, Don Bosco notes that Dominic made the Exercise of a Happy Death with great zeal, even saying that this would be his final such devotion.He said his farewell to John Bosco, asking as a keepsake that Bosco add his name to the list of those who would participate in the Plenary Indulgence that John Bosco had received from the Pope, to which John Bosco readily agreed. He then said took leave of his friends with great affection, which surprised them, for his illness was not considered by many of his companions to be serious.
Death In his first four days at home his appetite decreased and his cough worsened; this prompted his parents to send him to the doctor, who, at once, ordered bed rest. Inflammation was diagnosed, and as was the custom at that time, the doctor decided to perform bloodletting. The doctor cut Dominic's arm ten times in the space of four days and it is now considered that this probably hastened his death.In his biography, John Bosco records that Dominic was calm throughout the procedure. The doctor assured his parents that the danger had passed and now it only remained for him to recuperate. Dominic, however, was sure that his death was approaching, and asked that he be allowed to make his Confession and receive Communion. Though they thought it unnecessary, his parents sent for the parish priest who heard Dominic's confession and administered the Eucharist. After four days, in spite of the conviction of the doctor and his parents that he would get better, Dominic asked that he be given the Anointing of the Sick in preparation for death. Again, his parents agreed, to please him. On March 9, he was given the papal blessing and he said the Confiteor. Don Bosco records that throughout these days, he stayed serene and calm. On the evening of March 9, 1857, after being visited by his parish priest, he asked his father to read him the prayers for the Exercise of a Happy Death from his book of devotions. Then he slept a while, and shortly awakened and said in a clear voice,
"Goodbye, Dad, goodbye . . . what was it the parish priest suggested to me ... I don't seem to remember . . . Oh, what wonderful things I see ...".
With these words, Dominic died, though, at first, it appeared to his father that he was asleep.Dominic's father wrote in a letter to John Bosco, conveying the news of the death of his son,

"With my heart full of grief I send you this sad news. Dominic, my dear son and your child in God, like a white lily, like Aloysius Gonzaga, gave his soul to God on March 9th after having received with the greatest devotion the Last Sacraments and the Papal Blessing


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