Saint Dominic Savio
Out of the muck and mire, a rose blooms
Saint Dominic Savio was born of very poor but holy peasant stock,
one of ten children. His parents were from Castelnuovo D’Asti, ten miles
outside Turin. When things got desperate they were forced to leave, to
find work in a small village outside of Chieri called Riva. There on
April 2, 1842, a boy child was born to Charles and Brigid Savio, whom
they baptized Dominic. When Dominic was two years old, the family moved
once again, to a village near their home town of Castelnuovo d’Asti,
Right from his earliest years, Saint Dominic Savio showed clear
signs of piety. His parents said he never gave them cause for the
slightest worry, was always obedient and thoughtful of their feelings.
At barely four years of age, he swiftly learned his prayers, and could
be observed reciting them alone, morning, noon and night. Deeply
attached to his mother, he only left her side to go to a small hideaway
where he could continue praying unnoticed.
Saint Dominic Savio never began eating without saying Grace. One day,
his family unwittingly began eating without first having prayed. Little
Dominic cried out, "Daddy, we haven’t asked God to bless our meal
yet." He then proceeded to make the Sign of the Cross and began the
prayer the family always recited before eating. All joined in, and after
they finished eating, they said the Angelus (as was their custom,
morning, noon and night). On another occasion, a guest at their dinner
table began eating without first saying Grace. Young Dominic rose and
left the table, retiring to a corner of the room. When he was later
questioned, as to his strange behavior, he said, "I didn’t dare sit
at table with someone who eats like an animal."
Short biography of Saint Dominic
In his biography of this little Saint, Don Bosco
speaks not only of the extraordinary Grace bestowed upon Saint Dominic
attributed much of his virtuous life to his parents and their tireless
commitment to bring him the treasures of the Church. Their example,
their daily, ongoing living out of the Faith, their praying the Rosary
and the Angelus as a family, their devout attendance at Mass, their
fidelity to the Sacraments, their faithful
teaching of the Catechism, bringing Dominic the stark reality of sin
with its ultimate destruction of the soul, and the luminous rays of
piety with its eternal reward in Heaven, molded him into the Saint he
Father John Zucca said of his pupil, Dominic, that
the first time he saw him was when the lad was five years old. As was
his custom, Dominic was kneeling on the ground in front
of the Church door, waiting for it to open. This was not an isolated
case. He could be seen, every morning, praying, his eyes and heart
zeroed in on something, or was it Someone, beyond the heavy doors. It
was of no consequence, if the ground was muddy and wet from the pouring
rain, Dominic knelt and prayed until the church opened.
Saint Dominic Savio was an outstanding student scholastically, as well
as spiritually. But as with today, there were rough necks who had not
the same focus as Saint Dominic Savio. These young boys attended the same school as
Dominic, bent on making trouble their primary occupation. Although out
of necessity he had to associate with them in school, he never allowed
himself to be coerced into joining them. He resisted them, gently
declining to join them in seemingly harmless pranks, which soon turned
into willful chaos and ultimate disruption of the classroom. Their
mischief unchecked, they turned to harassment of old people on the
streets, senseless, malicious destruction of property, and finally stealing. His
refusal to join the pack caused him much pain;
they taunted him, calling him all sorts of derogatory names. He just
walked away, rather than engage in a verbal skirmish which could turn
into a physical brawl.
So often we see little boys who live to serve as
Altar Servers, lose their awe and wonder of serving the Mass when they
grow older. It was
not so with
Saint Dominic Savio, who from five years of age reverently served. His life was to attend Daily Mass, so when he was not Altar
server, he still devoutly
participated in the Mass, adoring his Lord Who was coming to life on the
Altar of Sacrifice.
We trace his life from
his birthplace in Riva, Italy. Scenes from his home and the Church where he
prayed on the steps.
Italy, to Don Bosco's Oratory where his most famous student, Dominic Savio,
He formed the Company
of the Immaculate Conception at the Oratory of Saint John Bosco in Turin.
Learn how he stood up for purity against all odds. See Dominic's
home town in Castelnuovo Don Bosco,
Riva and Chieri plus Colle Don Bosco, where he met Don Bosco.
tomb in the Oratory of Don Bosco.
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