| S. FRANCESCO DI SALES | CAMERETTE DON BOSCO | A.D.M.A. | RIVISTA MARIA A. | C. S. D. M. | INFO VALDOCCO |
The façade recalls that of the church of St Giorgio Maggiore at Venice, built by Palladio.
The archangel Gabriel is depicted on the right bell-tower offering Mary a crown; on the left bell-tower, the Archangel Michael waves a banner on which is written, "Lepanto ".
In the central niche, under the rose window, there is the marble representation of Jesus among the young boys; the side niches hold the statues of St Joseph and St Luigi Gonzaga.
There are two fascia in relief between the columns, one representing St. Pius V announcingthe victory at Lepanto (1571), the other depicting Pius VII crowning the Most Holy Mary in the sanctuary of Savona (Italy) after his liberation from Napoleonic imprisonment (1814).
The Basilica of Mary Help of Christians was born in the heart and courage of Don Bosco and his tremendous devotion to our Lady.
This was an endeavour that was marked by extraordinary events and enormous difficulties.
Don Bosco was never tired of repeating that it was Our Lady who wanted the church and that she herself, after having even marked the spot where it was to rise, would have also provided the way to find the means necessary.
But let's listen to Don Bosco himself describe one of the "dreams" he had in 1844 when he was still searching for a permanent location for his Oratory.The Lady appeared to him saying:
"Look. And looking I saw a small low church, a bit of courtyard and a great number of young people. I resumed my work.
But because this church was narrow, I ran to her again and she made me see another much bigger church with a house next to it. Then, leading me on a bit, still by my side, in a piece of cultivated land, almost in front of the façade of the second church, she added, "Here, where the glorious martyrs of Turin, Avventor, Solutor and Octavius offered their martyrdom,
she put out a foot resting it on the place where the martyrdom
took place and marking it precisely
(The monument in front of the shrine is there and is really dedicated to him!).
Therefore, the stages were all foreseen - first "the small low church" or better, the Pinardi chapel, in 1846; then "the other much bigger church " that is the church of St Francis of Sales, in 1852, and finally the church of Mary help of Christians with "inside a white fascia with, written in very large letters:
Hic domus mea, inde gloria
The treasurer, Fr. Savio, left without money, advised waiting, but Don Bosco replied:
"Start digging. When have we ever started something with the money already ready? You must always leave something for Divine Providence to do".
The work, entrusted to the master builder Carlo Buzzetti, began in the autumn of 1863. With the foundations dug, in April 1864, Don Bosco told Buzzetti: "I want to give you a down payment for the major work at once". So saying, he withdrew a small bag, opened it and poured its contents into the hands of Buzzetti - eight soldi, not even half a lira.
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