Tag Archives: La Spezia

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”! (part 2)

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!

‘Don Bosco and the Gray Dog’, illustration by Andrea F. PhillipsHowever, 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.

‘Church of Our Lady of the Snow’, La SpeziaOn 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.

‘The Gray Dog crouched’, illustration by Andrea F. PhillipsMeanwhile, 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.