20150727 John discerns his vocation

When Saint John Bosco was nineteen years old, he wanted to join the Franciscan order. John was poor and he felt he could not continue being a burden to his mother. He said to his friend, “How can I expect my mother to continue supporting me in my studies?” John discussed the matter with the Franciscan Fathers, and they invited him to join their order. They would look after all his needs. The spirit of worldliness in some of the secular clergy caused John thinking to myself: “If I become a secular priest, I will be in series danger of ruining my vocation.”
In April, 1834, John went to his parish priest, Father Dassano, for the papers he needed to enter the Franciscan community. A few days later, Father Dassano went to see John’s mother, Margaret. He said, “John wants to join the Franciscans. I have nothing against that, but in my opinion your son should be a parish priest. He knows how to talk to the people, he has a way with boys, people like him. Why on earth should he bury himself in a monastery? And then, Margaret, let me be frank with you. You are not rich, and you are no longer young. If your son becomes a parish priest, he will be able to give you a hand when you are no longer able to work. But if your son becomes a friar he will be lost to you. For your own good, I think you should dissuade him.”
Margaret put on her shawl and went to Chieri. She spoke these memorable words to John: “Listen carefully, John. I want you to think about this well. Once you have made up your mind, go ahead without looking at anyone else. The most important thing is that you do the will of God. The parish priest wants me to change your mind because one day I might be in need of you. But I want to tell you: keep your mother out of this. God comes first. I want nothing from you, I expect nothing from you. I was born poor, I have lived poor and I want to die poor. If you ever become a priest and have the disgrace of becoming rich, I will never set foot into your house. Remember that.”
John almost decided to enter the Franciscan community when he had a dream. He saw a large number of friars in torn habits. They were running here and there. One friar drew near and said to John, “If you are looking for peace, you will not find it here. God is preparing some other place for you.”
John asked his best friend, Louis Comollo, for advice. He said, “Make a novena, write a letter to my uncle priest, and obey blindly.” On the last day of the novena, John received the letter from Louis’ uncle. He wrote, “All things considered, I would advise your companion not to enter the monastery. Let him don the clerical habit and have no fear of losing his vocation. With recollection and piety he will overcome all obstacles.” To don the clerical habit meant to enter the seminary.
John was still not at peace, and another friend suggested him to consult Saint Joseph Cafasso, who was a young twenty three years old in Turin. John accepted the advice, and told Father Cafasso all his difficulties. Father Cafasso said, “Finish your year of rhetoric and then enter the seminary. Divine providence will let you know what you should do. And don’t worry about money: someone will provide.” With this advice from a holy priest, John decided to enter the seminary.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Fr. Anthony, are there still secular priests nowadays? Is that the same as non-diocesan priests? Thanks, Anita

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