Colle Don Bosco – Chieri – Valdocco (Italy), 2 March 2020 — Some 170-180 years ago, Don Bosco walked with his mother, Mamma Margaret from Becchi to Valdocco (Turin) – some 32-35 kilometers. Yesterday, 8 Salesians from 5 continents followed the same path but in the reverse direction – from Valdocco to Becchi, in 7 hours. As young as 37 years as senior as 62 years, they came from Lesotho, Ivory Coast, Argentina, Korea, Czech Republic, Switzerland, India and PNG – merging as one walking family on the roads Don Bosco traversed, for one day.
Although there are many thousands of pilgrims who come to the Basilica of Don Bosco (Becchi-Colle Don Bosco), not many reach the Don Bosco Birthplace on foot. Praying, walking in silence, listening to each other’s sharing – the 8 Salesians spent a not-so-easy but very interesting and meaningful day along Don Bosco’s roads. On one of the rural roads were able to read, in one small chapel: Dear Don Bosco, who have been walking on these roads, protect us on our life journey!
Leaving Valdocco at 6 a.m. walking through the hills up to Chieri (half-way) and reaching the Becchi – Colle Don Bosco in the early afternoon, with a breakfast and lunch in two Salesian houses (Chieri and Colle Don Bosco), the walking pilgrims have brought back home many experiences, feelings and precious insights. Probably the most heart-touching moments were during the shared homily at the Chapel of Mary Help of Christians (in front of Don Bosco’s house in the Becchi), during the visit to Chieri – Cafe Pianta (DNA of Don Bosco’s Oratory from Becchi, through Moncucco up to Chieri) and interaction with quite a few Salesians and lay people along the way.
A walking pilgrimage is always a challenging but also very much enriching spiritual experience. Would you like to try it? We believe that this is one of the best ways to get know Don Bosco and our charismatic roots! We would wish that every Salesian confrere had the chance of such a pilgrimage to the Holy places of Don Bosco!
Saint John Bosco, Pray for Us!
If you enjoyed the above article and would love to make such a pilgrimage (and more) on your own, please click on the two links below for details and registration for our own Salesian Family Pilgrimage next summer, 2021. And don’t worry, if you can’t hike the 30+ kilometers, there will be buses available! Join us and get to know our Salesian roots and our being Church.