Prolific Growth in Fifty Years
The Salesians of Battersea celebrated the jubilee (50 years) of their English founda tion on Tuesday. The Rev. Fr. E. Tozzi, the provincial, received the following Papal telegram: On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Salesian foundation in England, the august pontiff, from his heart, sends your reverence, brothers in religion, co-operators and pupils paternal apostolic blessing in the Lord, invoking plenteous grace, personal sanctification and fruitful labour.—Pacelli.
In the morning High Mass was sung in the presence of the Bishop of Southwark, a meeting was held in the afternoon, and Bishop Butt was present at the sermon of the Provincial, who outlined the difficulties and successes of the congregation since the arrival of the first three founders at Victoria on that foggy November 16 in 1887.
" The beginnings were very dismal indeed," said Fr. Tozzi. " In a little over twelve months Fr. McKiernan was dead, and the first saintly aspirant, John Pash, followed him within three months. Er. Galeran had written . . . Bro. Rossaro is still waiting to see the sun. I told han that he would see it. He has got faith but he has lost hope.' And Bro. Rossaro being unwell had to go away to Belgium.
"/ can see Fr. Macey in the poor cottage in High Street, looking around, his first companions both gone. He had been through his Calvary. Two others now stood by him—the saintly and intellectual Fr. Batavia, his fellow-novice, and the enterprising and untiring Rabagdiati, still a sub-deacon.
"The first thought was to get a new church, a real church. Don Bosco was gone to his reward, but his successor, the Servant of God, Don Rua, came, examined everything and gave fresh encouragement. He approved of the building of this church and promised to collect and borrow the money which might be needed. The building was designed, approved, completed, and finally consecrated in 1893 by the then Salesian missionary, Bishop Cagliero."
Then Fr. Tozzi quelined the next foundations of the congregation—in Capetown, in Burwash, Farnborough, and Malta, and then Ireland. These were followed by Oxford, and Bolton, where it is now hoped that a new church, dedicated to St. John Bosco, will be ready for blessing by next June, the 50th anniversary of the saint's death.
Other recent foundations, mentioned by the Provincial were the Schools of Agriculture at Blaisdon, and the novitiate at Beckford. A hostel and club also have been lately opened for working boys at Compton Street, London.
Fr. Tozzi described the work of the Salesians as of a humble character which has not yet reached its full development. " But if," continued the Provincial, " they have been able to carry out their work of secondary education in seven colleges, and for poor boys in three schools of trades and four agricultural schools; if they have been able to build four parish churches, run six parishes and several clubs and festive oratories, it is through the charity of the Salesian co-operators, who have came to their assistance and to that of the Daughters of Our Lady, Help of Christians."