Monday, 12 June 2017

At Colle Don Bosco

On the first day of our trip to Turin we visited Colle Don Bosco, the birth place of Don Bosco.

The main church was so huge!!  Moreover being on a hill it looked imposing.  And it had not one but two large churches within: one called the lower church and the other the upper church. Both are modern churches with the upper being the main one, with lots of wood work.

We also had a look at the original house of Don Bosco, the house where he lived as a boy, the room of Mamma Margaret, Joseph's house... We did not go into all of the different places there but spend time mostly in the house of Johny Bosco and the church.

The whole place is 96 acres!  The Salesian community consists of 28 Salesians of whom 18 are Brothers.  Unfortunately only three of the total are below the age of 56.  All the others are over and above 70.  There was a time when the Brothers took care of the estate and farm all by themselves, but not any more.

More unfortunate than that was the fact that there is hardly anyone there!!  In sharp contrast to its large and wide space, there are no resident youth, no boarding, vocational training centre, nothing!  The only youth seen around are the visitors.  Of course, being totally in a far off rural area there is no real local population either.  But why then did they build such huge churches is a mystery to me!  Can they not make use of the existing structures more wisely, meaning for young people?  After all it is sacred ground for us Salesians and to see it bereft of life and activity was very painful.  As one Salesian visiting the place seems to have said, "If only I'd known that it is so desolate, I would never have come here to visit. I had such a glorious vision of this place before coming here.  And now that I've seen it, I feel my glorious vision shattered." 

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