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By our own correspondent

Rome, 29 October 2020 -- As with every year, today (29 October) we celebrate the liturgical memory of Blessed Michael Rua, the first successor of Don Bosco (1937-1910). It is another good opportunity to discover this great disciple of Don Bosco. A wealth of publications, collections of photos or mobile exhibitions was made available on the occasion of the centenary of Don Rua's death (2010).

Blessed Michael Rua (beatified in 1972) spent 36 years at Don Bosco's side as his faithful collaborator, and then for another 22 years guided the young Salesian Congregation and incipient Salesian Family until his death. His life is the best image of the marvellous growth of the Salesian charism in its origins:

  • 1855 (18 years) made his first profession
  • 1860 (23 years) was ordained a priest
  • 1863 (26 years) becomes the first Salesian rector in Mirabello
  • 1869 (32 years) is in charge of Salesian formation
  • 1875 (38 years) becomes Director general of the FMA sisters
  • 1884 (47 years) named as successor of Don Bosco by Pope Leo XIII...

As the first successor of Don Bosco he travelled a lot around Europe and Middle East, convoked the first international Congress of the Salesian Cooperators (Bologna 1895) and gave the first organization to the Salesian Family's main groups. He sent thousands of missionaries ad gentes and gave the organizational foundation to the young Society from the preventive system to formation.

When Michael Rua died in 1910 (73 years) the Salesian Society had grown from 773 Salesians to 4000, from 57 houses to 345, from 6 provinces to 34 in 33 countries of Europe, America, Africa and Asia. It was Don Rua who sent the first missionaries to Asia in 1906 China - Macau and to India - Tanjavur.

The visibility of Don Rua in our ordinary life - in Salesian houses, chapels or schools is not very high, although after the recent Centenary (1910-2010) there is some movement. The more we know about the charismatic dynamics of Don Rua's times the more we fall in love with the great gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed on our spiritual and apostolic Salesian family. Let's take advantage of this precious heritage at our fingertips (=Boscolink resources).

We could take the 2009 letter of Fr Pascual Chavez (AGC 405) or even the solid biography by Francis Desramaut (320 pages) or simply contemplate some Don Rua photos with a prayerful heart. One young missionary from the EAO region put it simply in one comment on his Facebook page: 'Like Don Rua I will try to be a Don Bosco, introducing Jesus to young people today'...

Happy feast day! Blessed Michael Rua, pray for us!

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