Thursday, November 11, 2010

Salesian brothers

Yesterday, we quietly marked the first day of the triduum in honor of Blessed Artemide Zatti.

I note that there was nothing special in the community schedule, no colorful fanfare, no ballyhoo at all; such a characteristic of Salesian brothers who usually opt for the sidelines, shunning away the publicity and attention.

I think it was in the library of the novitiate where my knowledge and fascination about the Salesian brothers grew more. There’s this booklet in the library entitled “Life Sketches of the First Coadjutors.” It details the life stories of Salesian brothers who helped Don Bosco when the congregation was just starting.

Among the names listed there, there were:

Marcello Rossi, a porter for 48 years.

Dominic Palestrino, sacristan.

Peter Enria, music master and in charge of stage, cook, painter

Camilo Quirino, a polyglot

Maestro Dogliani, a music genius

Andrew Pelazza, director of the press

Peter Cenci, head tailor

Joseph Gambino, head of the Salesian library

Joseph Rossi, General Economer of the Salesian Society

Among the list, my favorite is Joseph Buzzetti. He was just nine years old when he came to Turin to work as a brick layer. He donned the clerical habit in 1851. But a pistol shot wounded one of his finger so that it had to be amputated. This accident discouraged him to become a priest. However, he loved Don Bosco that much that his preoccupation was to make himself useful in the Oratory and soon he became the factotum of the house. He would teach catechism, he was in charge of music and of the choir until 1860 when Don Cagliero took over.

When Don Bosco had some important business at hand and did not know to whom he could entrust it, he would say: “Call Buzzetti!”

If there is one idea that will neatly package and synthesize that book with that of the life of Br. Zatti, it is this: They all loved Don Bosco: that even in the littlest, humblest, lowliest task they carried out, they did it with the greatest love.

I heard from someone that the greatest form of devotion is imitation. Let us do likewise. Let us live as the first lay brothers and Br. Zatti did.