Tag Archives: the Gray

Dogs: possible means of “unusual events”! (part 3)


Statue of Don Bosco and the GrayAfter around 4 months since we have published our last article on this topic (for those who would like to read it again, click HERE for a direct access) and after approximately one year and a half from our first work about this fascinating matter regarding dogs as possible means of “unusual events” (for those who would love reading our first publication, please click HERE), we decided to deal again with the story of Don Bosco and the Gray dog, in order to provide you with further and interesting information.

Wait a minute! Do you remember the story that inspired us address the topic of miraculous phenomena related to the presence of dogs, which we sometimes find in the anecdotage of some Saints’ lives? The all idea came from the story of Mr. Mario Ritaldi from Rome. Should you like to enjoy again or for the first time his video-interview before continuing with the reading of this our new article, you can click HERE.

Well, now we can start!

«I have caressed the Gray».

Mr. Renato CelatoRenato Celato, a Salesian, who has been a reliable and discreet chauffeur of four Rector Majors, witnessed a “mysterious” meeting.

In May 1959, the urn containing the body of Don Bosco, during its way back from Rome to Turin on a special van incognito, made a stop in La Spezia, at the church of Our Lady of the Snow…

What do you remember about the mysterious dog that you saw beside the urn of Don Bosco?

I could see, touch and caress that mysterious dog. All happened on May 5 or 6, 1959, after the inauguration of the great church of Cinecittà (Rome). We were on our way back from Rome and were carrying the urn of Don Bosco, that had remained in Rome for a few days. Pope John XXIII had also come to see it… The urn of Don Bosco had remained for two days in the basilica of Saint Peter, while we were organizing its return trip to Turin… We arrived at La Spezia at The Gray crouching (general view and in detail)around 7:00am, instead of 4:00am. Our confrere, Mr. Bodrato, who was the sexton, had opened the doors of the church at 4:30am and had seen this dog crouching at the entrance. So, he had given a kick to the dog in order to send him away but the dog, without any reaction, had just moved aside, continuing to wait for the arrival of the urn.

Once we arrived, we took the urn into the church and put it on a carpenter table. The dog followed us and crouched under the table. At the beginning nobody cared about it, but then, when people started to gather and some Masses were celebrated, the director began to be concerned and told the policemen who were there: “Send away this dog that is lying under the urn!” The policemen did not succeed, as the dog started gnashing his teeth and looked really angry. The dog remained there until noon, when the church was closed. Then, the dog went out of the church and began to wander among the boys in the courtyard. Of course, the boys were happy to have the dog there and started to caress him, to pull his tail. I joined them too.

We went to have lunch. There were the inspector, all the directors of the inspectorate, the novices and the confreres who had been able to enter. The dining room was upstairs. During lunch, we saw this dog pushing the door with his front legs and coming in. He began to wander among the tables. Don Puddu, secretary of the High Council, gave him a kick, but the dog did not bother and continued to wander. The dog was offered some bread, ham, salami, he just sniffed as he liked that food but did not eat anything. He remained there during all the lunch. Shortly before the final prayer, the dog opened the door and went out.

The Gray crouching (in detail)At about 2:00pm we went back to the church. We had to leave because the journey was still long. The dog was again crouching under the urn. How did the dog get in, as the church’s doors were locked?

We loaded the heavy urn onto the van and the dog was still there near us. I left a photograph in our archive in order to document all that.

We left, heading to Genoa Sampierdarena through the Turchino passage, since there was no highway yet. Don Giraudi, who was in the car with me, every now and then used to ask me: “Please check if the dog is still following us!” The dog was still following the van, even in the city. I saw the dog as far as the third curve of a steep road. Then, the dog disappeared.

E.A. – V.G.

Cover of Salesian Bulletin (April 2016)Interview taken from the Salesian Bulletin, dated April 2016 (Year CXL, n. 4)
“I have caressed the Gray” – Meeting with Mr. Renato Celato (pp. 10-13), by the envoy Jesus Jurado

Dogs: possible means of ‘unusual events’!

As we already mentioned in the section Boundaries > Descendants of Anubis (http://www.liminamortis.org/boundaries/descendants-of-anubis/) concerning the case reported by Mr. Mario Ritaldi (Italy, Rome), in the anecdotage of both lives of Saints and miraculous phenomena we sometimes find the presence of dogs: in some cases positive presences that work to help, in other occasions definitely negative manifestations that come for threatening.

Let’s proceed through four examples, that are really interesting to mention.

Don Bosco and the Gray (dog)

A Piedmontese Saint from XIX Century, founder of Congregation of Salesians, don Bosco found a faithful companion in a big gray dog​​, èl Gris’ in Piedmontese dialect, by many described as a German Shepherd-looking dog that aroused fear; some people instead thought that this dog looked like a wolf: a long snout, pricked ears, gray coat, about one meter tall. This mysterious dog became Don Bosco and the Gray (dog)protagonist of fanciful stories so that don Bosco, in order to clear away possible exaggerations, preferred to directly recount the events about him, at the end of his “Memoirs of the Oratory” (anyway, recent studies confirm that before the Gray, don Bosco was helped, although for a short period, by another dog, with features similar to those of the Gray, called by the boys of the Oratory “the Polish“).

The first meeting took place during a particularly dark evening when, all alone, don Bosco had to cross an abandoned area. He saw a big dog but, since the dog didn’t show him any hostility, don Bosco approached him and began to caress him. The dog fawned on him and then accompanied him, and then disappeared. This fact happened several times.

Towards the end of 1854, on a foggy night, while don Bosco was walking, he realized there were two threatening men proceeding before him, but it was too late to change course. The two men attacked him, wrapping him with a cloak in order to block him. Then the Gray appeared. The dog barked loudly, pushed one of the men using his legs and then jumped to the throat of the other one. The attackers, terrified, asked don Bosco to restrain the dog. Don Bosco called the animal, which kept on barking, and then ran away.

One night Margherita, the mother of don Bosco, tried to dissuade his son from the idea of ​​going out, but don Bosco was determined to go, letting some big and brave boys accompany him. The Gray was lying down at the front door and did not seem willing to move. Don Bosco told him to move for going with him, but the dog, instead of obeying, began to bark and refused to move. Twice don Bosco tried to climb over, but the Gray refused to let him pass. At the end, don Bosco had to desist from his intention to go out. Later, don Bosco acknowledged that that night he was expected by some men who would have attacked him with the aim of killing him.

Don Bosco wrote that he saw the Gray for the last time in 1866 when, having to go for greeting a farmer, the Gray was locked in a room, to avoid the guard dogs of the farmer attack him. When someone, later on, went to bring him food, the dog had mysteriously disappeared. No one ever saw him again.

Don Bosco was asked several times to give an opinion on the nature of the amazing animal and he admitted that the dog was a creature worthy of note in his life. Although saying that the dog was an angel would have certainly made ​​people laugh, nevertheless he had to admit that he was not a common dog. Don Bosco often thought about the origin of that dog and he admitted that he had been a true gift from Providence.

Father Pio and the monstrous dog

Father Pio, whose original name was Francesco Forgione, born in Campania and become a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, is a Saint from last Century and his life is full of many “unusual” events.

Father Pio in 1906 was in the convent of St. Elias in Pianisi (in Campania, Italy). During a summer Father Pionight, since he couldn’t sleep because of the heat, Father Pio heard, coming from the room next to his, footsteps noise of someone who was keeping on walking forth and back.

Padre Pio, thinking that it was Father Anastasio who, like him, could not sleep, thought to call him for talking a bit and so spending some time together. He walked to the window and called the other friar, but then he stopped when he suddenly saw appearing, on the sill of the other window, a dog with a monstrous snout. After a while, while he was still terrified, he saw a big dog entering through the door. From its mouth a large quantity of smoke was coming out. Father Pio fell on the bed and heard the animal talking in dialect: è iss, è isso” (it’s him, it’s him). Then, that ugly dog jumped, with a great leap, onto the window sill and from there jumped again onto the roof of the house that was on the other side, and then disappeared.

Father Pio considered this strange event as the first encounter he had with the Devil (during his life, Father Pio had many other encounters with the Devil).

Our Lady of Divine Love and a “pack of rabid dogs”

The shrine of Divine Love, located on the way Ardeatina, in the area of ​​Castel di Leva (Italy, Rome), is the object of great popular devotion since when a traveler was saved thanks to the image of the Madonna and Child that was painted on the wall of the ancient tower.

It is said that, in the spring of 1740, a pilgrim, going to the basilica of St. Peter, got lost in the Divine Love - The pilgrim and the dogscountryside near Castel di Leva, about 12 km South of Rome. Having seen a few houses and a ruined castle on top of a hill, the traveler went there, hoping to find someone who could give him information to find his way. He was approached by a pack of rabid dogs which surrounded him. The pilgrim, looking up, saw that on the tower of the castle there was an icon representing the Virgin and Child, and on top of them the dove of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, after he had prayed the Virgin to save him from that danger, the dogs, which were going to attack him, suddenly stopped and vanished. Shepherds who were in the area, having heard the cries of the traveler, rushed to the spot and, after having listened to his story, gave him the necessary indications to get to Rome.

The name of the pilgrim is unknown but the news of the incident spread rapidly in the city, so that the place with the icon of the Madonna in Castel di Leva soon became a destination of pilgrimages, which still continue today.

Saint Rocco and his dog

Saint Rocco, who had French origins, lived in the XIV Century and, according to tradition, once his Saint Rocco and his dogparents had died and he had given the poor people all his wealth, left France and went on his journey to Italy. He chose Italy because, along the Via Francigena (road used by pilgrims), he wanted to help sick pilgrims.

At Piacenza (a town North of Italy), while attending the ones sick of the plague in the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, got sick himself. Expelled from the hospital, Saint Rocco arrived at Sarmato, 17 km from the city, where he managed to take shelter in a cave waiting for death.

It was a dog that saved him. The animal in fact, aware of his presence and of his suffering, brought him daily a piece of bread, until he recovered. Saint Rocco, once healed, did not return to France but resumed his activities in favor of the ones sick of the plague – and for all this he is still remembered – and the dog stayed with him.

E.A. – V.G.