the CAMERETTE di DON BOSCO,
or Rooms of Don Bosco,
are divided into two different floors.
the year in which Don Bosco was declared blessed, his successor,
Father Rinaldi, decided to transform those rooms used by the
Saint into a place of pilgrimage. Restorations were
made and the indoor staircase was built. Furniture completed
the rooms and the chapel; a museum with documentation and different
objects was arranged. Each pilgrim could touch the bed where
the Saint passed away and his private desk.
But unfortunately, some things were damaged and other things
was the famous inscription "da mihi animas, caetera tolle";
therefore it was reproduced thanks to some old photos.
In the 1970's
once again the appearance changed: plate glass was placed in
front of the furnished rooms, an exhibition room was created
with many objects, but without a direct connection. And thus
it remained till the year 2000, year of the Great Jubilee.
year 2000, the following is the new composition of the ROOMS
OF DON BOSCO. This explanation is provided as a accurate guide
which the pilgrim can make on his own or with the help of our
ROOM 1 / DON BOSCO AND HIS LIFE
large pictures of Mamma Margaret, the dream little John had when
he was nine, Saint John Bosco, Saint Dominic Savio, and the difference
between Valdocco in 1864 (laying of the Basilica's foundation
stone) and 2001.
plastic models, instead, show the existence of Valdocco in 1846
(when Don Bosco rented the shed attached to the Pinardi house
and used it as a chapel) and the development of the complex in
the years 1852-1859 (with the construction of other buildings
and the Church of Saint Francis De Sales).
In the center
of the room, there is a "touch-screen" computer, which
can be operated manually with ease. After choosing the language,
these will be the aspects that can be looked into:
* Spiritual Journey
* The Oratory
* The Educative System
* Don Bosco's Spirituality
* Salesian Holiness * The Successors of Don Bosco.
ROOM 2 / DON BOSCO IN THE WORLD
Together with photos of the Saint with his boys, at his desk,
and with the first Salesian missionaries, there are two plastic
models showing the development of Valdocco from 1868 (when the
Basilica was completed) till now.
A "touch-screen" computer has the following topics:
* Environments of apostolic
* The Salesians in the
* The Salesian Family
* Virtual tour of the
* Virtual visit of the
ROOM 3 / 7 MINUTE FILM (450 MB!)
film may be seen here; it's an introduction to what may be viewed
on the second floor.
to the second floor, on the walls, two paintings of Crida are
with Mamma Margaret and the Grey dog
* Don Bosco giving the Constitutions
to Mother Domenica Mazzarello (=
DMHC Sisters /or FMA / or Salesian Sisters).
DON BOSCO'S ROOM AND OFFICE (1853-1861)
This room built in
1853, initially was ti be used as a bedroom and simultaneously
as an office for Don Bosco. We would like to recall the most
important events that took place here.
January 26, 1854
God's help, I ask you to form a society with me.
Don Bosco gathered in this room four young boys Rua, Cagliero,
Rocchietti and Artiglia and told them:
We will call ourselves
Here, was the
first time the word "Salesian" was heard (MB 5,9).
October 29, 1854 SAINT
mihi animas coetera tolle".
Into this room, passing from the door that led to the balcony
(it was the only entrance door!) came Dominic Savio
with his father. The first thing he saw was the notice:
helped him u understanding that this was the theme of his first
souls, take away the rest".
commented seriously: "I
understand. Here there is not a trade in money, but in souls.
I hope that my soul too, will be part of this trade".
25, 1855 MICHAEL RUA, FIRST SALESIAN
Michael Rua (who had been clergyman
for the last three years) kneeled on this floor and, in front of Don Bosco,
pronounced the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
He was the
tiles of that first floor are preserved in the left hand corner
for those entering the room.
Here Don Bosco wrote
the first rules of the Salesians Family and the lighting that
came down the chimney, slamming into his bed and overturning
the small table, scorched all of the first manuscript.
In 1861, the building was doubled in size towards the east and
Don Bosco's room was moved in this new part. The first room became
the office of his secretary and a waiting room for all those
wishing to talk to Don Bosco.
This is the small chapel in which Don Bosco celebrated Mass during
the last years of his life.
On the altar,
is a miniature image of the Virgin Help of Christians, done by
Don Bosco celebrated
his last Mass here on December 11, 1887.
his Salesians were the celebrants, while he remained in bed with
the door opened, and he received the Eucharist.
In the two
display cases there are liturgical vestments, chalices, and the
Missal opened to the day of Easter (to remember the first oratory
Mass held on April 12, 1846.)
Built for Don Bosco, it was here he walked and heard his boys'confessions.
big windows he could see the two most important things for him:
the boys playing downstairs and the Basilica of Mary Help of
In the display
cases one can see some of the Saint's clothig: cassocks, overcoat,
gloves, a coat.
In the interior
part of the corridor, there is also a small room with a table
used for the reunions of the Superior Chapter.
is the chair on which Don Bosco was seated in his liturgical
attire, for his boys' "last respect".
BOSCO'S LAST ROOM
On the bed that can bee seen here below, Don Bosco spent his
final days. He was not ill. He died slowly, just like a candle
burning till the end. During his last journey to France, made
with the aim of finding money for all his works, a famous doctor
from Marseilles, Dr Combai, visited him and said:
are like a worn-out suit that has been worn during the week and
at week-ends. To still keep it, it has to
be put away in the wardrobe. You understand that I am advising
you to rest completely."
you doctor" he replied, "but that is the only medicine
I cannot take."
at dawn on January 31, 1888.
To the Salesians
watching over him at his bedside, he murmured his last words:
"Love each other
as brothers . Do good to everyone, harm no-one... Tell my children
that I await them all in heaven".
of Don Bosco was visited by thousands of people, Salesians, nuns,
assistants, friends and many faithful living both within Turin
and outside. The general sensation was, 'A saint who loved both
God and young people has died".
His funeral was a triumph with an enormous procession of people.
room, on a small wooden table, Don Bosco wrote his last words
on December 19, 1887. He wrote them on the white back of some
small pictures - short thoughts to send to benefactors as a mark
five sentences that he wrote, in an almost illegible handwriting
*"Whoever saves his soul, saves
*"Whoever loses his soul, loses
*"Whoever protects the poor,
will be amply rewarded at the divine court ".
*"What great reward we will
have for all the good that we do in our lives!".
*"Whoever does good during
life, will find goodness in death ".
*"In heaven you can enjoy eternal
BOSCO'S SECOND ROOM (1861-1887)
was Don Bosco's room between 1861 and 1887. At the desk he wrote
than 20,000 letters and many books, focused
on the education of the youth.
done above all during the night, by the light of just one candle.
Saint's death, for the next 22 years, this room was the office
and bedroom of Michael Rua, Don Bosco's first successor.
cupboard displays some of Don Bosco's belongings: cups, glasses,
cutlery, water bottle (perfectly sealed) that was on Don Bosco's
night desk the day he passed away. At the bottom, there is a hazelnut
box containing the remaining hazelnuts of the "multiplication"
miracle: more than 100 boys were fed from one small bag.
THE EXHIBITION ROOM
*** The first section presents three paintings of
Don Bosco and nine photos (taken between 1861 and 1888).
*** The second, instead, is focused on his great
writing activity. In the display case one can see copies and
originals of the Saint's books, each of them composed with the
intention of spreading the Gospel to everyone.
*** In the third is to
be seen one of the very **
labour contracts of history, dated 1852. It is signed by four people: the
employer, the boy, the boy's father and Don Bosco himself. This
is an example of Don Bosco's concern in the field of sociology.
fourth is centered on structures. Therefore it presents plans
of the Pinardi House, Saint Francis and the Basilica of Mary
Help of Christians.
To be noted a model made by Rollini for the cupola of the Basilica:
shown are the Salesian missioners in Patagonia and the intercession
of the Virgin Help of Christians in two of history's greatest
battles (Lepanto 1517
and Vienna 1683).
This was at Father's Rua's recommendation.
*** The fifth section is characterized by the presence
of statues of Our Lady of Consulation and St. Francis of Sales;
a painting of this Saint from whom the Congregation took its
name; a preliminary sketch made by Lorenzone for the Basilica's
main altar which Don Bosco requested be carried to completion.
*** The sixth segment has been fashioned to preserve
the dalmatic used for Don Bosco's beatification in 1929. It testifies
to the patient work of the Daughters of Mary Help of Chrstians.
The gilded wood urn used both for the beatification and the canonization
(1934) is now at Colle Don Bosco. Here we have, at least, a very
area acquaints us with highly symbolical objects, reminding us
of cornerstones of Salesian pedagogy:
* a wardrobe altar (importance of the Eucharist), * the
pulpit of the Church of St. Francis (spreading the Good News), * the confessional (the confession is "the key to the kingdom
and * the Goodnight stand from which a message given by Don Bosco as a
sort of adieu with pieces of advice for the following day, a
tradition still existing nowadays in Salesian houses scattered
around the world.
This is not its original collocation, as it used to be in Don
Bosco's bedroom. When he did not feel too
good to go down and say mass in the Basilica, he celebrated on
this small altar, which can also be closed like a wardrobe.
In the month
of December 1878, he was celebrating mass at this altar helped
by two boys, Evasio Garrone and Giovanni Franchini (both Salesian
priests years later).
At the Elevation, they
saw Don Bosco's face illuminated while his feet left the predella
and he rose up into the air.
Bosco was having a cup of coffee after the mass, Garrone summoned
all his courage and asked:
"Don Bosco, what
happened to you this morning? You became taller and taller
looked at him smiling and said: "Come on, you have a cup
of coffee as well".
how great things happened in the house of Don Bosco, in the greatest
THE CURRENT CHAPEL ATTACHED TO THE ROOMS
In the past this space was used as a dormitory for the boys who
slept here at Valdocco. According to some sources Dominic Savio
also would have slept here.
The painting was by Giuseppe Rollini: Don Bosco kneeling in front
of a statue of the Virgin Help of Christians
and in the background, in black and white, Pope Pius IX granting
the approved Salesian Constitutions.
On the side walls are
pictures of people who had contacts with Don Bosco:
* Mamma Margaret: This is the only firsthanfìd painting
we have of Don Bosco's venerable mother;
* Mother Mazzarello: cofounder of the Daughters
of Mary Help of Christians;
* Blessed Philip Rinaldi and * Michael Rua: the third and first successors of Don Bosco;
* Francesco Besucco: one of the first boys
of the Oratory;
* Marianna Rua: Michael's mother, who was a major
help to Don Bosco after Mamma Margaret's death; * Father Borel: one of the first teachers top assist Don Bosco.
Giuseppe Rollini: the
principal artist of the Basilica.