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By our own correspondent

Valdocco, Turin, 29 April 2020 -- Pope Francis invited the whole Salesian Congregation to renew our 'Valdocco Option'. We like it and wish to explore this challenging invitation. But what is Valdocco, indeed, for each Salesian? Is it only a place in our imagination where we say that our Salesian vocation was born? Or during our short pilgrimage to the Don Bosco holy places did we spend just few hours at Valdocco with heartfelt remembrance?

For the 250 delegates of the 28th General Chapter the one month 'Valdocco experience' probably had a big impact on their personal and vocation journey. Especially the moments of prayer, meditation and silent contemplation in the 'DNA places of our charism'. For the English speaking group the 12 mornings spent in the 'Casa Moretta' (fifth stage of Don Bosco's wandering Oratory) that is today the 'Parish Church of Valdocco' undoubtedly left beind another specific spiritual experience. And especially for the EAO delegates, the 90th anniversary celebration of our China Proto-martyrs (February 25th) at which the Rector Major presided in this Sacred Heart church, also meant a lot!

Where exactly is the 'Casa Moretta' located? It's the venue of the penultimate wandering Oratory of Don Bosco, before landing at the Pinardi shed at Valdocco, as we know it today. It's located on the right -hand side of the Square in front of the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, and is today known as the 'Chiesa succursale' - the Parish church of Valdocco, where the sacraments are celebrated and many youth events and catechesis are held.

A brief overview ofnthe 'Casa Moretta history' (Piazza Maria Ausilatrice n. 15A)

1845. November - Fr. Moretta rents 3 rooms in his 'Casa Moretta' to Fr. Borel and Don Bosco.

1845. Nov - 1846 Feb: Don Bosco started his first 'night school' (MO chap. 35) with the help of young priests and lay people (first Salesian Cooperators)

1848. March - Don Bosco bought the whole house (18 rooms) with the surrounding land, to convert it into his boarding house, but soon he gave up due to the poor condition of the building and sold the house in spring 1849.

1875. Don Bosco bought back the 'Casa Moretta' and land and set up the first girls Oratory, giving it to the Salesian Sisters (first house at Valdocco)

1876: Six FMA sisters from Mornese arrived and settled in Casa Moretta, stayed until 1910, then moved to new construction (n. 35).

1890: Don Rua built a Church dedicated to the Sacred Heart for the first Girls Oratory - present Parish church of Valdocco since 1910

1907: first group of future VDB (Volunteers of Don Bosco) - animators of the FMA Valdocco Oratory started their formation under the guidance of Don Rinaldi who was the spiritual director of this Oratory.

This is the moving and rich 'Valdocco' history of Casa Moretta where our English prayer group spent a good period of time during the GC28. Looking back at the English group prayer time spent in this place, we give special thanks to the Japan province 'Trio' of sacristans (Frs Hamaguchi, Lap and Okamoto) who took literally day and night care oft this place of worship from the sacristy.

Let's take the Valdocco option into our daily life!

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  • vaclav 2020.04.30 12:07
    Thanks for enhancing our understanding
    and knowledge of the memorable past of the places we have occupied, used
    and visited. This gets us deeper into the Valdocco experience making us
    more established in our Salesian heritage.
    All the best, and warm regards to all.
    Stay safe and healthy.
    Fr. Godo

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