In 1856, St. Dominic Savio founded the Immaculate Conception Sodality. The purpose of the sodality was to seek the protection of Our Lady in life and especially at the hour of death by promoting practices of piety in honor of Mary Immaculate as well as frequent Communion.
Members of the sodality took turn to receive Holy Communion at weekday Masses, and consecrated each Saturday to Our Lady by some acts of devotion in honor of her Immaculate Conception.
Each week, members of the sodality held a half-hour meeting. The meeting began with a prayer to the Holy Spirit and a brief spiritual reading. Members reported on the results of their works of charity, and discussed matters that were conductive to the well-being of the oratory.
The members made a list of boys in the oratory who needed greater moral assistance. After studying their temperaments, each boy was assigned to a member. The sodality members were like guardian angels for those boys. A sodality member would won the friendship of a boy through kindness and generosity. He would exhort and urge the boy to be good, and would invite the boy to go to confession. Members of the sodality helped troubled boys to remain at the oratory and to apply themselves successfully to their studies.
The sodality members paid special attention to new boys who were homesick. Members would approach those boys and engage them in conversation. A member would invite a new boy to play and would lead the boy to pray a Hail Mary before the altar of Our Lady. He would explain to him that Don Bosco was a loving spiritual father and exhort him to receive the sacraments.
One time a stranger mingled with the boys during recreation. He attracted attention by telling amusing tales. As soon as he had a sizable audience, the man switched the topic to religion and attacked the Catholic Church. Some boys walked away but were too timid to speak up, while many others thoughtlessly stayed on. Dominic Savio came along, and when he realized what was happening he fearlessly said, “Let’s go! Let’s leave this wretch alone. He’s trying to ruin our souls.” All the boys obeyed him and the stranger left and was seen no more.
Another time, an outside boy brought in a newspaper with indecent and irreligious illustrations. Other oratory boys gathered about him to look at them. Dominic ran up, and when he saw the pictures he took the paper and tore it to shreds. He exclaimed, “God help us! Have you forgotten everything that you’ve been taught? Our Lord says that a single glance can soil our souls, and you go ahead and gloat over things like this!” One boy replied, “We are only looking at them for fun.” Dominic said, “Sure, it was fun, laughing yourselves right into hell. Do you think you’ll be laughing if you land there?” No one in the crowd dared to reply.
In 1856 and 1857, two saintly people of the oratory died. Toward the middle of November 1856, Mamma Margaret was stricken with pneumonia. She died on November 25. Don Bosco saw Mamma Margaret several times in his dreams. In August 1860, he dreamt that he met Mamma Margaret. She told Don Bosco that she was very happy. She sung a heavenly song and said, “I’ll be waiting for you. The two of us must always be together.”
On March 1, 1857 Dominic Savio returned home due to sickness. He died on March 9. Before his death he said to his father, “Good-bye, dad, good-bye! Oh! What a beautiful thing I see…”. A month after his death, Dominic appeared to his father letting him knew that he was in heaven and promised to pray for his family.