We have published our first article on this topic around a year ago (for those who are interested in reading our first publication, direct access is granted by clicking HERE) and now have decided to deepen one of the four examples used in that article. We will deal with Don Bosco and the Gray Dog!
However, before starting this new work, please let us remind you what, a year ago and also today, has inspired us to debate about miraculous phenomena related to dogs, and which are found in the anecdotage of lives of some Saints. Well, we have been inspired by the story recounted by Mr. Mario Ritaldi from Rome. So, it could be interesting to watch his video-interview before continuing this reading (for a direct access, please click HERE).
And now we can start our story!
The urn of Don Bosco and the “gray dog”
The following story is a synthesis of what has been recounted by Don Tiburzio Lupo, who was at that time director of the Salesian House in Livorno (Italy) and was an eyewitness of what happened. Don Tiburzio passed away in 2001 at the Mother House in Turin, when he was around 100 years old.
In May 1959, the urn containing the body of Don Bosco had to secretly travel by a special van to Rome and then from Rome to Turin, and even the stops necessary for the long journey had to be kept completely secret. However, Don Tiburzio was determined to also have the urn of Don Bosco in La Spezia (Italy), and he had to convince his confrère Don Giraudi, who was in charge of the trip. Finally, Don Giraudi was convinced. This would have been the program: a) on May 12, the urn would have secretly arrived from Livorno to La Spezia at around 5:30am; b) confrères and youngsters of the House would have been allowed to see Don Bosco; c) on the same morning the urn would have then left to Sampierdarena, the last stop before returning to Turin.
On May 12, Don Tiburzio and some confreres got up early, and reached Garibaldi street, that was just in front of the church Our Lady of the Snow. They started waiting for the coveted arrival of the urn of Don Bosco. At this point, began the story of the “gray dog”.
A dog, that was half wolf and had gray hair, approached two confrères among those who were waiting there, and started to wander around them. They tried to drive him away, even with stones, but the dog went where Don Tiburzio, Don Oliva and a lady holding a child were waiting. Don Oliva, who was sitting on a bench, began to stroke the dog and the dog crouched beside him, putting his head on Don Oliva’s knees.
The van, together with all the people escorting it, finally arrived, albeit with an hour delay. Following persistent requests coming from Don Tiburzio, Don Giraudi agreed to let the urn be carried into the church for the veneration by devotees. The urn was placed on a steady table in the presbytery, lit by some spotlights and visible from every part of the church.
Less than an hour later, the church was completely full of people, conveyed to venerate the relics of Don Bosco.The number of people continued to increase so that, at approximately 8:00am, the police arrived in order to control devotees’ inflows.
Meanwhile, something strange happened. During the seven-thirty Mass, that was celebrated by Don Giraudi, some of the faithful followers informed Don Tiburzio that a dog was crouched on the steps of the balustrade, just on the side of the urn, and prevented people from approaching it. After having tried to move him away from there, the dog – this dog just resembled the dog which was seen before the arrival of Don Bosco’s urn – even crouched under the table on which the urn was. Since no one complained, the dog could stay under the table, all the Mass long.
After the Mass, Don Tiburzio went to the sacristy to accompany Don Giraudi to have breakfast. Suddenly, the dog, quiet and wagging, arrived there and followed them into the refectory. Don Tiburzio tried to chase him away but Don Giraudi then said while smiling: “Leave him alone… Maybe he is the Gray of Don Bosco!”
In the refectory the dog crouched under the table, between Don Giraudi’s feet, refusing any food that was offered him: buttered bread, cheese, salami. All the people there were astonished because, if the dog had been a stray dog, he wouldn’t have refused to eat.
After breakfast, Don Giraudi went to rest for a while and Don Tiburzio then picked up the dog by the scruff of his neck and led him into the courtyard. The youngsters there, who had attended the Mass celebrated by Don Giraudi, were having some free time, but as soon as they saw the dog, they gathered around him and started to stroke him. However, even on this occasion the dog refused to eat what the guys offered him.
After the school bell rang, the dog was taken to the reception. There he crouched truly miserable, and the porter, since the dog refused to move, left him alone. At around 10:00am, Mr.Basilio, who was the factotum of the House, passed by the reception and saw the dog there. So, he picked up the dog by the scruff of his neck and dragged him off the House, then closing the door. After that day, no one saw the dog anymore.
E.A. – V.G.