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 THE PINARDI CHAPEL

    IN THE COURTYARD BESIDE THE BASILICA


On the second Sunday of Lent, 15th March 1846, Don Bosco with 300 boys of his Oratory was dismissed by the Filippi brothers. He found himself on their land (to the south-east, 300 metres from here).

He looked at his youngsters and, did not know where to tell them to meet the next Sunday, having all been sent packing.

That evening -he wrote - the crowd of youngsters stayed there playing.

I was alone, exhausted with my health in bad shape. I drew myself aside and started walking alone unable to hold back the tears.

      "Oh God" - I cried - tell me what I must do".

At that moment it wasn't an archangel that appeared, but a stammering small man, Pancrazio Soave. He asked, "Is it true that you are looking for a place to set up a workshop?".  "No, I want to start an Oratory".
"I don't know what the difference is, but in any case there is a place. It belongs to Mr Pinardi, come
and have a look".Don Bosco crossed these three hundred metres diagonally (from south-east to north-west, following the road that was then called "Gardener's Road") and found himself facing a modest little house with a ground and first floor.

Pinardi showed him a roofed cabin behind the house. It is still there today snuggled in, behind the buildings - a small dark stump from which developed all the work of Don Bosco.

Now, there is written, "Pinardi Chapel", but then it was only a room used by the city's washerwomen as a store for the heaps of linen they had to wash, before it wash laid out on the grass like large white festoons. In the picture above one sees the Pinardi house in a fresco by the painter Crida. This will become the centre of all the Salesian work carried out throughout the world.
            
    THE PINARDI CHAPEL

Mr Pinardi let Don Bosco enter the cabin through the rear door (closed now by the large tablets in the background).

He said: "Is this enough for your workshop?".

And Don Bosco replied, "But I want to start an Oratory, a tiny church where I can bring my youngsters to pray".

Meanwhile he looked around. It was only a poor cabin, low and resting against the north side of the Pinardi house.

A wall all round it transformed it into a sort of shed or tiny room.

It measured 15 x 6m. Don Bosco said, "It's too low, I can't use it". But Pinardi replied, "I'll lower the floor by half a metre, make a wood floor, put in a door and windows and you'll have a church". Don Bosco paid 300 lire for a year for the cabin and the strip of land that surrounded it where his youngsters could play. He ran back to the children and shouted:

"Cheer up! We've found our Oratory! At Easter we'll go. It's there in Mr Pinardi's house!"





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