THE SALESIAN SPIRITS
IN THE LIFE OF REV. FR. CARLO DELLA TORRE
“My friend, the train is about to leave the station...Are you ready?”
“Ready for what…? You must tell me where do I have to go. You have always told me that I have to go where God tells me to go to complete his work….But you have not told me yet…where do I have to go?”
“Today I received the Salesian Newsletter. It said that Salesian are opening up a house at Ivrea…to train missionaries in particular…Do you want to go there?”
“Please don’t ask me but please tell me where do I have to go? ...I trust you.”
“Well, then, I will write to inquire about the new seminary. When I get the response you are to leave immediately…God is waiting for you there.”
It was a short conversation but it was very important for the two lives.
One life realized his roles as a spiritual director who must point the way to whoever was asking for.
Another life was seeking the right path that would correspond to his deep desire…
to dedicate his life for the services of God and his neighbors.
That was not his first choice. But there were so many choices to choose from. Yet the search went on…until he met the best.
The life in the army was full of heroism and bravery on the battle-fields. He could have pursued this type of life with ease.
A lay life with a bright future in such a way that many young girls wanted to share their lives with him was waiting for him.
But deep inside him, he knew that he was created for something better than these things.
December 3, 1923, Carlo Della Torre boarded the train bound for Ivrea with determination, at the age of 22 years and 5 months.
That very day he met with the Salesian Congregation.
From that day onwards until his death, he remained faithful to the Congregation with pride of being a son of Father Bosco’s and of being one of those who carried on the work of the Saint in helping the youth.
THE BASE FULL OF LOVE…
Once he stepped into the Salesian House, he felt the warmth and the family atmosphere.
He bade farewell to his mother to find another mother in the big house.
“Welcome! This is Our Lady’s House”.
These words of welcome made his heart full of joy.
Deep inside himself, he heard a voice saying that this was the right place that he was looking for, with patience.
With the love and the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary as basic background, Carlo found out that the Salesian seminary that he was being trained to be a missionary had everything that would lead him to the full love and full trust in Our Lady.
Saint John Bosco was able to establish the Salesian Congregation because he had the greatest devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It was a devotion that led him to the full trust in her, in such a way that he dared do everything that ordinary people would not dare think of.
He repeated to everyone that whosoever that entered the Salesian house did so because Our Lady guided him.
Each Salesian house is full of the atmosphere of love towards Our Lady.
And in this atmosphere that Carlo breathed with joy and happiness.
Each of the rosary beads that Carlo counted in his fingers, every time that he could, was just like each breath to tell Our Lady that he loved her.
And the rosary was like battle flag that Father Carlo waved as his ideals of his life and his work. It was love that did not remain only inside the heart.
But it was the love that grew up so that everyone who associated with and met with him could notice…In such a way that they too want to love and to have the devotion to Our Lady… And, later, it resulted in a religious congregation that promoted the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Rev. Fr.Carlo Della Torre was able to establish the Congregation of the Daughters of the Queenship of Mary through love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Saint John Bosco was able to overcome every obstacle through the help of Mary.
Rev. Fr.Carlo Della Torre was able to overcome every obstacle through the help of Mary.
They are the same ideals, the same motivation and the same objectives.
THE BASE OF IDEALS
Since the very beginning Carlo was concerned with the poor and the oppressed. The atmosphere and the environment surrounded Carlo since his birth had helped him to open up to everyone, in every opportunity and in every situation.
The fraternity that he received at home had helped Carlo in considering all as his brothers and sisters, regardless of race and colour.
The teaching of Jesus that emphasized everyone is a child of God and all men are brothers and sisters had sunk deep into the core of his being and his Christian soul in such a way that it was part of him.
As soon as he knew someone needed help he was there to help. Even if he had to risk his life, his comforts or his time, Carlo never bothered about it, as long as he could help the other. And when that was done, he overjoyed.
When he realized that being a lay man limited his chances of helping the others, Carlo dedicated his life in order to help the others to the utmost, responding to the deep call inside him.
And after he had chosen to dedicate his life in order to help the others more. Carlo was determined to help not only his countrymen but had volunteered to leave his homeland to be a missionary…in order to help the less opportune.
His will was so wide to stop just there. His will was as wide as that of the Sacred Heart.
All the time that he was being trained at the Salesian House at Ivrea, Carlo did everything to know about the divine inspiration and searching for God’s will.
It was here that Carlo met with his objectives. They were the youth, especially the poor and the less opportune…They were the objectives set up by Father Bosco for his followers in the Salesian Congregation.
“This life is for you”. Father Bosco proclaimed it with his life and his deeds.
Carlo met the ideals of life in the person of Father Bosco and was ready to carry on the work that the Father had done …It is a source that brings God’s love to every youth.
From his ordination to the priesthood. Father Carlo was assigned to work in the parishes. There, he realized that not only the boys who needed education, the girls needed it too. So he had done everything for all of them. But he did not stop there, Father Carlo was thinking there should be someone to care of the girls specially, as the Salesians were doing for the boys. This taking care of the youth must take a form that was fitting to the Thai context. From there that Father Carlo had thought of a female religious congregation. Even though he had to endure all sorts of difficulty and obstacle, Father Carlo was resolute and in the end he could establish the Congregation of the Daughters of the Queenship of Mary.
The thai female religious to take care of the Thai female youth, in the Thai context.
THE BASE OF THE FOUNDER
As he carried on his life and his work as a Salesian with sincerity and devotion which were the characters that he had since his childhood, Father Carlo felt that he was called to do even more.
The Salesian life and spirits that he had accumulated throughout the time motivated him to go further . This made him restless and unhappy.
In fact, a priest that Father Carlo loved and respected very much had hinted to him that a big mission lying ahead of him.
“Carlo, please listen to me carefully and always remember it…You must sacrifice everything, family, work, education…because you have to be a priest and set up a religious order…”
Until he was asked to look after the girls who were working in the kitchen of the seminary that this saying was dawned to him.
A voice inside him told him that the work of Father Bosco should not stop inside the Salesian Congregation only. The life, the work and the ideals of Father Bosco’s had to go beyond the boundaries of the Salesian Congregation.
This motivation made him resolute in bringing the Salesian spirits to the Congregation he was establish.
This Congregation was affiliated to the Salesian Order. Because it was established by a Salesian, lives and works with the Salesian spirits, for the benefits of the Thai girls, especially the less opportune.
After the Congregation was family established and its mission was clear cut, Father Carlo began the process for it to be affiliated into the Salesian Family.
To be faithful to Father Bosco, the founder of the Congregation, does not mean that one has to observe the spirits, the path and the form of life of his life, in the different contexts of the world only. But one must also make these spirits and the ideals of the Saint developed into the other forms for the benefits of the youth throughout the world.
Or to put it simpler the faithfulness to the founder of the congregation is not only the observance everything faithfully, but also in knowing to adapt what the founder had initiated to the context and to the circumstances of the contemporary.
This is another form of prolonging the life of Father Bosco’s in accordance to the changing time and circumstances.
Therefore, Father Carlo was not only trying to be a good Salesian and faithful to his vocation. But he made the Salesian-ness stretched out its branches, for the good and the diversity of the Salesian spirits, not only in the form of life but in carrying out its mission as Father Bosco, the father and the teacher of the youth had done.
We may say the Congregation of the Daughters of the Queenship of Mary is the result and the concrete form of life and the Salesian spirits of Father Carlo’s.
The Congregation of the Daughters of the Queenship of Mary originated from
Father Carlo’s devotion to Mary and his faithfulness to Father Bosco.
Therefore, the Congregation of the Daughters of the Queenship to Mary is a memorial of a great Salesian….A devout son of Mary’s and a faithful son of St. John Bosco’s.
A memorial that Father Carlo built with his sweets and tears ….responding to the deep call inside his beautiful soul, as a human being, as a religious who was a priest and as the founder of a religious congregation.