ST. DOMINIC SAVIO: HIS MEMOIRS
On June 12, 1954, Pope Pius XII elevated a fifteen year old boy from a small town in Italy to the altar of canonized saints. This lad had shown a shining example for the youth of today—living an angelic, innocent, and pure life which is manifestations of his great regard for Christian virtues.
He kept the flame of Christianity by practicing faith heroically. He was an extraordinary lad, well-loved and commanded a great deal of respect from his friends and teachers. He is St. Dominic Savio.
Born in a small town in Murialdo, Italy on April 2, 1842, Dominic Savio became the sole object of his parent's love, care and attention. His parents, Charles and Brigit, nurtured him in love especially after the death of his sibling. And even though his parents were extremely poor, they were hardworking and pious peasants for the treasure their Christian faith as their ultimate wealth.
St. Dominic Savio, whose first name came from the Latin word 'Dominicus' which means 'belonging to the Lord' while 'Savio' means 'wise', values education. This liberated him from the lure and sins of the materialistic world. For him, LOVE, LEADERSHIP and SERVICE were the FOUNDATIONS OF TRUE CHRISTIAN EDUCATION.
However, just like an ordinary boy, he emulates and admires his teacher who molded him in the direction of the Christian faith. Thus, St. John Bosco, his teacher, made a mark in his life.
Under the tutelage of St. John Bosco, Dominic Savio was molded to have a strong Christian foundation, thus, he took it by heart to live his life in holiness. And during his first communion, he noted some rules that will govern his life, thus:
- He will go to the confession and communion often;
- He will keep the Feast days holy;
- Jesus and Mary will be His best friends;
He will rather die to commit sin.
He displayed unrelenting faith through deep prayers, fidelity to Christian duties, diligence in school, zeal in spreading the Christian doctrines amongst his fellow youths, and him being a peace-maker were as what St. Paul called 'the sweet fragrance of Christ.'
However, on 1857, the young Dominic contracted tuberculosis that prompted him to go home to his parents. And after four days of enduring the burden of illness, his condition worsened. He can no longer bear the weight of sickness and it was when he repeatedly recited a verse of prayer that displayed his undying faith. And even though it pained his parents to see him suffer, his prayers were like music to their ears.
“Lord, take my freedom I give it to thee;
My body and all its strength are thine;
All that I have you gave to me;
To bow is to thy will be mine.”
His parents knew that he will be leaving them to be with his Creator, thus, he recited the lines:
“When feet benumbed in death,
Shall warn me that my mortal hour is drawing to a close...
Merciful gems have mercy on me.”
“Oh, what a beautiful thing I see!” uttered the 15 year-old Dominic as he drew his last breath. His hands crossed His breast as His parents sat beside Him stricken by grief.
The news of his early demise reached his classmates, friends and his mentor, St. John Bosco. His death, however painful it may be was not in vain. The Church hierarchy paid tribute to his greatness as Pope Pius X said:
“Dominic Savio is a real model of the youth of our times. A boy who has carried his baptismal innocence with him to the tomb, and who has never shown a single defect in his short life is truly a saint....”
The clamor for St. Dominic to be a member of the Altar of Saints had been championed by many especially in His hometown in Murialdo. Such clamor drew in many supporters who believed in him that on July 9, 1933, Pope Pius XI declared that young Dominic's virtues were heroic and that his life was worthy of imitation. Thus, the investigation for the miracles performed by the Boy Saint began.
Until finally, in 1950, two miracles were approved by the Ecclesiastical Commission in Rome as a part of the Church Law on the Divine Testimony on the holiness of a candidate for beatification.
Two children, one suffered a hemorrhage and one a fractured bone, were miraculously healed. With this, Pope Pius XII declared Dominic Savio as Blessed during a ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica on March 5, 1950.
Four years after His beatification, the Catholic Church approved two more miracles on two women this time--one suffered from hemorrhage and the other one from infected sinuses. The miracles were final pre-requisites for a Blessed person be bestowed with full honors as a canonized saint. Hence, on June 12, 1954, Pope Pius XII solemnly declared Dominic Savio a saint and bestowed him all honors of the altar. Thus, the date of his death, March 9, was celebrated as his feast day among the throng of faithful gathered at St. Peter's Basilica.
Radiating with purity, piety and zeal, these are the springs of St. Dominic Savio's strength. His purity, inspired by the Virgin Mary is a perfume that pleases the heart of God. His pureness safeguards him from material lure and other earthly sins and this inspired the faithful to emulate him.
Aside from this, his reverence to God is on the highest order for he never failed to religiously adhere to his spiritual and moral obligations. He took it to heart his prayers and not just merely uttered or memorized and his penance and sacrifice were all offered to God.
His zeal on the other hand, was his flame to help and reach other people, may it be in his own age or older. His virtue never failed him to continuously talk, listen and understand those who were around him. From actively joining catechisms to just merely a boy who showed grace and understanding, St. Dominic's life was colorful, meaningful, and influential to those faithful whose lives he touched.
Thus, St. Dominic Savio's virtues, leadership and youth can be exemplified by young boys and girls, for he is their Patron Saint. Hence, his motto is DEATH RATHER THAN SIN.