CNA Newsroom, Jan 31, 2023 / 14:25 pm (CNA).
History notes how much the Freemasons hated St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesians — whose feast the Church celebrates on Jan. 31 — but less known are their attempts to kill him.
The title of the article was “Purpose: To get rid of our Don Bosco,” published close to 100 years after those attempts by the Freemasons to kill the saint.
The story can also be found in “The Biographical Memoirs of Don Bosco.”
According to the account, a former student of Don Bosco named Alessandro Dasso showed up at the gatehouse in late June 1880 asking to speak to the priest.
“His eyes were full of anguish,” the bulletin related. “Don Bosco received him with his usual kindness,” but faced with the “growing agitation” of the young man, the founder of the Salesian Family asked him: “What do you want from me? Speak! You know that Don Bosco loves you.”
At these words, Dasso “fell to his knees, burst into tears and sobs,” and revealed the truth.
“The young man himself belonged to Freemasonry; the sect had sentenced Don Bosco to death; 12 men had been drawn; 12 individuals had to succeed with that order, to carry out the sentence,” the Salesian Bulletin recounted.
Dasso told Don Bosco that “it was up to me to be the first, just me! And this is why I came! I will never do it. I will draw down upon myself the revenge of the others; revealing the secret is my death, I know I’m done for. But killing Don Bosco, never!”
After confessing what his mission was, the young man threw the weapon he was hiding on the floor.
Despite Don Bosco’s attempts to console him, the young man quickly left the house. On June 23, Dasso tried to commit suicide by throwing himself into the Po River but was rescued in time by policemen.
Some time later, Don Bosco helped him escape from Italy and he lived in hiding “until the end of his days,” the Salesian publication stated.
Months later, in December 1880, another “young man of about 25 years of age visited Don Bosco.”
The “sinister” gleam in the young man’s eyes caused the holy priest to have “very little trust.”
The young man, the Salesian Bulletin related, expressed himself as “a high and mighty man.” As he spoke, “a small six-shooter slipped out of his pocket onto the sofa.”
“Don Bosco, without him noticing, deftly placed his hand on it and slowly put it in his pocket.”
The young man tried to find the gun in his own pocket to no avail and looked astonished.
Don Bosco, very calm, asked him: “What are you looking for, sir?” The confused young man replied: “I had something here in my pocket … who knows how… But where did it go?”
“Don Bosco, moving quickly toward the door and putting his left hand on the handle in order to get ready to open it, pointed the gun at him and, without getting angry, said: ‘This is the tool you were looking for, isn’t it? At the sight of this, the scoundrel was stunned.” And he “tried to grab his revolver. But Don Bosco told him forcefully: ‘Go on, get out of here right away! And may God have mercy on you!’
“Then he opened the door and asked some of those who were in the anteroom to accompany the man to the gatehouse. The assassin hesitated, but Don Bosco told him: ‘Get out and don’t come back!’” And the young man who wanted to end the priest’s life had to leave along with other companions who were waiting for him outside in a carriage.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.