Prayer for the Intercession of
Saint Dominic Savio
July 5th, 1992
Brother John Raymond
Dominic Savio was born on April 2, 1842 in the small town of
Riva, Italy to peasant parents who could neither read nor write.
Lack of education did not keep his parents from teaching their
little boy the principles of religion, which they had learned and
practiced. At the age of six Dominic started learning to read and
write in the single-room school run by the local priest in his own
home. Also he began attending Holy Mass daily. At the age of seven
he made the following resolutions before First Holy Communion:
1. "I will go often to Confession and Holy Communion."
2. "Jesus and Mary will by my Special Friends."
3. "I wish to die rather than commit a sin."
By the early Spring of 1854 Dominic began to express his interest
in the priesthood. The poverty of his parents ruled out every school
except one - the Oratory of St. Frances de Sales in Turin. This
school for poor children was started a few years before by St. John
Bosco better known as Don Bosco.
A short time after his arrival Don Bosco delivered a sermon at
Mass which had a profound impact on Dominic. He spoke of the
necessity for all to become saints, that this was God's will for
everyone and that it was easy to achieve. The next three days
Dominic played by himself, avoided his friends and spent a lot of
time praying in the church. Don Bosco was disturbed at the sudden
change in Dominic's behavior. He asked him what was wrong. Dominic
replied, "Father, you said that it is easy to become a saint. I had
never realized that before. I want to tackle this matter seriously."
Don Bosco said, "But you are going about it the wrong way,
Dominic. You have to become a saint by fulfilling your daily duties
as perfectly as you can, not by neglecting any of them. Say your
prayers well. Study as much as you can. But you must join in the
games as well. That is equally important. Here at the Oratory
holiness consists in being happy and helping others to be happy too.
Remember that!" With that Don Bosco helped Dominic to rise rapidly
Dominic's thanksgivings after Holy Communion became more and more
of a consolation and grace for him. He started prolonging them after
Mass until he regularly missed breakfast. One day he was missing for
hours. Don Bosco went searching for him. He found him close to the
tabernacle in the church absorbed in prayer. He shook the boy to get
his attention. Dominic said to Don Bosco, "Oh, I'm sorry Father, is
Mass over?" Such were the great graces Dominic derived from Holy
Another practice of Dominic was to make quick visits to the
Blessed Sacrament between supper and his studies in the evening.
Sometimes he would persuade a friend to join him. Soon several
groups of boys could be seen after supper making visits to Jesus.
Dominic had a great desire to do penance. His health, however,
was not very good. Don Bosco forbide him to practice any physical
penance. Dominic asked what kind of penance he should do. Don Bosco
responded, "Obedience is to be your penance. Be punctual to the
daily schedule, be exact in your duties, especially in your studies.
If this doesn't satisfy you there are other things like enduring the
weather without complaining or getting depressed. You can eat food
that isn't to your taste. Be patient with companions who are
difficult and who treat you poorly or contradict you."
Dominic was not satisfied with these forms of penance because
everyone has to endure them. Don Bosco replied, "Precisely because
you don't choose these penances, but accept them for the sake of
God, they are more meritorious." This fit in with Don Bosco's maxim
for the boys which was sanctification by the "martyrdom of daily
In 1856 Dominic started the "Company of the Immaculate Conception
at the Oratory." This group had the following two goals:
1. Their own personal sanctification to be accomplished by their
exact fulfillment of their duties in the school. (Don Bosco's
2. The sanctification of others by word and example.
The second goal was put into practice by each member's choosing a
boy or group of boys whom he thought to be in need of help.
During this same year of 1856 Dominic's health began to decline
rapidly. One year later it seemed certain that he had contracted
tuberculosis. Don Bosco sent him home to rest and recover his
health. A few weeks after arriving home a priest had to be called to
administer the Last Rites. As the priest was saying the prayers the
boy's eyes seemed to fix on a point far beyond the room. He then
exclaimed "Oh, what lovely things I see." What he saw he soon joined
as his eyes closed in death. He died with a smile on his face at the
age of fifteen.
At the Oratory news of Dominic's death made the boys there pray
to him instead of for him. They considered him a saint. In 1933 Pope
Pius XI proclaimed Dominic Savio Venerable. He was beatified by Pope
Pius XII in 1950. Finally in 1954 he was declared a Saint.
Dear St. Dominic, you spent your short life totally for love of
Jesus and His Mother. Help youth today to realize the importance of
God in their lives. You became a saint through fervent participation
in the sacraments, enlighten parents and children to the importance
of frequent confession and Holy Communion. At a young age you
meditated on the sorrowful Passion of Our Lord. Obtain for us the
grace of a fervent desire to suffer for love of Him.
We desperately need your intercession to protect today's children
from the snares of the world. Watch over them and lead them on the
narrow road to Heaven. Ask God to give us the grace to sanctify our
daily duties by performing them perfectly out of love for Him.
Remind us of the necessity of practicing virtue especially in times
St. Dominic Savio, you who preserved your Baptismal innocence of
heart, pray for us.