January 31 – St. John Bosco Meets His First Noble Patroness

January 30, 2012

Juliette Colbert

Juliette Colbert, a native of Vendée, had married Marquis Tancredi Falletti of Barolo, and of her it could be said, even as we read of Tabitha in the Acts of the Apostles: “This woman had devoted herself to good works and acts of charity.” Indeed, she used her abundant wealth to help the working classes and the poor. A most generous and alert woman, she used to say: “Whatever you give to charity is never lost. Let us not keep track of what we give. God will take care of that.”

Carlo Tancredi Fallett and Giulia Falletti Colbert di Maulevrer

She liked to visit the women’s  prisons where, with official authorization, she would spend from three to four hours every morning. Here she would endure insults and sometimes even blows. She accepted these humiliations, prayed and induced others to pray, gave generous alms, and thus was able to turn these wild creatures into repentant and resigned women…

Previously, at King Charles Felix’ request, she had brought to Turin the Sacred Heart Sisters to educate upper-class girls, and had placed at their disposal a large, magnificent villa not far from Turin…

Don Bosco, a man to appreciate noble deeds, knew full well that when a cholera epidemic had swept through Turin in 1835, this magnanimous lady, who was vacationing near Moncalieri, had hastened back to the city; day in and day out she had nursed the sick in private homes and hospitals, consoled the dying and promising to take care of their poor widows and children, which she faithfully did…

The venerable lady was now sixty years old. At this first meeting Don Bosco detected a great humility under her majestic demeanor, and sensed that her reserve and noble bearing were blended with the affability and kindness of a mother and of a lady given to charity. He was satisfied with this first interview.

Juliette Colbert

(The Biographical Memoirs of Saint John Bosco, by Fr. Giovanni Battista Lemoyne, 1839-1916)


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